Back in January, I performed at The Moth storyslam in Brooklyn, New York City in front of 400 people. The theme of the night was ‘Cravings’ so I spoke for 5 minutes about being heartbroken, homeless, and hustlin’ on the streets of Europe. It’s basically the conclusion to this spoken word piece I performed at Spark London in the UK back in 2013. I got a standing-O from this crowd, and people were approaching me afterward to give me high-fives and fist-bumps. The crowd was so kind. As I’ve said before, I’ve developed a taste for Spoken Word and live-storytelling, so expect more from me on this front.
My life has been pretty strange over the past two years, but I’ll tell you one thing, it’s never fucking boring.
Live a life less ordinary, munchkins. There are no rules to this thing. Go out and make it yours.
Fanks for watching.
I first photographed Icy and Sot in Amsterdam, both on the street at at one of their gallery shows. They’ve become street art darlings since then, with major turns at Norway’s NuArt fest in Stavanger, and also, it seems, New York City. I literally couldn’t walk through a single borough without running into their work. Most of these were in conjunction with the Bushwick Collective, but also, they were part of the Welling Court Project. Even still, some of it just seemed to be good, ol’ fashioned illegal graff. Good on ’em.
This delightful mural in South Williamsburg just went on and on….
… and on….
This massive, colourful explosion in Bushwick seems to depict suicide bombers in Iraq, but it could also be the way protesters are gunned down in Gaza. Or perhaps it’s Tel Aviv. Syria? Tahrir Square? I’m not really sure, but then again, the goal isn’t to precisely identify what the artist is trying to say. The point is to make it mean something to you.
I love how his arm reaches up and hangs off of the barbed wire on the roof.
Apologies for not getting a close-up of his hand. I should point out that I took these photographs the first week of January when it was about -20 degrees and removing my hands from my mitts to take photos was a race against frost bite. I could only take maybe two or three pictures before my hands would sting and splinter and redden and become numb. Graff hunting in winter is so much different than in summer. Le sigh.
Their famous portrait here in blue was a massive mural up in Queens, as part of the Welling Court project.
I love this cop and his shadow mural off of Meserole in Bushwick. It must have been erected during the Black Lives Matter protests, as it seems to be a direct comment on Police Brutality, and appearance vs reality when it comes to New York cops.
You know what’s funny of this walking boy of theirs? If you go on Instagram, everyone thinks this is Banksy.
No, beebees, just, no.
I will do anything you tellllll meeeee toooooooooo.
I had never photographed or heard of Vexta until this trip to NYC, but her work was everywhere and it was gorgeous, dark, haunting, emotive, and meaningful. I really liked her use of colour, and subject matter. And the pieces are just so provocative, you never forget them once you’ve seen them!
I found most of her work in Bushwick as part of the Bushwick Collective, but there were some pieces found in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, so just keep your eyes peeled when you’re walking around!
Post No Selfie.
Post No Bills, Give No Fucks.
Know Thy Selfie.
I Reeeally Dislike The Word ‘Artist.’
Fuck Your Phone – Keep Your Head Up!
I’m More Of An Internet Artist.
no more tears.
The Power Of Kanye Compels You.
All I See Are Naked Emperors. –Gilf
Never Let Go.
Loveless (I am not).
Black Is Beautiful – Jef Aerosol.
We’re all alone
Bound by fear
Seeking the mirage of love.
I photographed this three years ago. It seems the #FairyTalesfortheFatherless wheatpaste crew is still at it.
Sound familiar? Look to the right of this blog.
Aren’t we all.
In October 2013, Banksy performed a month-long outdoor extravaganza in New York City. He called it “Better Out Than In.” (Har har har). Each day of the month, he erected a new piece somewhere in Gotham. That’s a lot of pieces and a lot of work. I figured I’d see what remained a year and a half later. To my surprise, I actually found three pieces that remained. In street art circles, lotsa people really hate Banksy. With a passion. He’s reviled by most. I thought his work woulda been paint bombed or destroyed by now. I found three! I was delighted.
The first was this piece at 79th and Broadway on the Upper West Side. The owners of the wall put the piece behind plexiglass to stop people from destroying it, but that hasn’t stopped people from dropping their business cards down there. If you look closely, someone’s house key is stuck in there too.
Now I walked by this wall on Delancey near Bowery many many times as I was hunting street art and didn’t think much of it, until I gave it a good look. What struck me as odd about it was that the rest of the wall had been painted except for this perfect little square of what looked like random tags.
Ahhh, but look closer. Do you see the words “The Musical” embedded in there? Banksy did this thing where he added the tag “The Musical!” to random tags. For example, one tag had said “Dirty Underwear” and he added “The Musical!” This is New York after all.
For reference, this is what the wall looked like before it was heavily tagged:
Playground Mob, The Musical!
And I found this piece by accident 🙂
Finding this piece was a rare treat! It’s Banksy’s Geisha Girls and tree. I was searching for it in Bed-Stuy and couldn’t find it, until I came across one of those rolldown grate thingies on this wall. I figured the piece had to be behind it, so I went inside the business that owns the wall, an optometrist, and asked them politely if I could see the Banksy behind the rolldown grate.
They said sure, came out with the keys, rolled it up, let me take my photographs, and chatted pleasantly with me. And that was it!
Ask and you shall receive, people.
Check out my Banksy category for more of his work that I’ve photographed around the world!
As I’ve mentioned previously, last year Space Invader came out with an app called Flash Invaders. It turns graff-hunting into a real-life video game. You take a photograph of his work you’ve found, and the app will award you points. Get enough points, you’re in the high scores! It’s like living inside a 1980s arcade game! Anyway, I’m in the High Scores (naturally! I peaked at #25, but last time I checked, I had dropped to #50 because there are no ‘Vaders in Toronto!) and you get an extra 100-point-bonus for every new city you flash, so I was excited to go hunting in NYC considering he has put up hundreds in the city over the years (previous examples here and here). The last time he visited NYC was in 2013, but since then, people have ruthlessly cut his work off of the buildings and very few remain! Here are the ones I managed to find. I understand that there are some I have missed, so if you’ve found some recently that I’ve missed, let me know in the comments below!
‘Vader has been collaborating A LOT with Cost and Enx as of late (check out my ‘Vader post from Paris, you will all of their collabs there), and this massive piece worth 100 points on the app was in Bushwick in the heart of the Bushwick Collective area.
Space Invader does Snow White! He loves doing this big characters. From my Paris piece, you’ll remember he’s done Picasso, Mona Lisa, Robin Hood, the Pink Panther, Star Wars, and many others. This was in the Lower East Side and I had to stand in the middle of busy Manhattan traffic just to get this shot. Totally worth it.
Also, it was freezing outside, so taking my fingers out of my mitts to wield my camera was really painful and I lost feeling in my hands many times, so I hope you appreciate my dedication here!
Super Mario Brothers! If you remember the video game, Mario would get sucked into those tube-like things, so it’s funny that he placed this mosaic right underneath a tube, hahah…. not so funny that it’s next to a baggie of dog poop. I found this one just north of the Meatpacking district on the West side.
An actual ‘Vader, probably dating back a few years. This was on Bowery, and I kicked myself for missing this one so many times, as I walked up and down Bowery a gazillion times before finding it.
A 3-D ‘Vader! I had intel on this one, but then my intel got damaged and I had to throw it out (specifically, the cat I was looking after pooped on it) and I had written this one off. But then one night I was walking along the High Line (which you really should do in Winter as there’s no one on it in Winter so you have it all to yourself!) and I found it while looking at the view of the city! Totally stumbled upon it by accident, and worth 50 points too!
This one pissed me off because I had the location and intersection for this one and searched and searched for it to no avail. Until one day I decided to go a bit south of the indicated location and found it! My intel had been wrong!!! I hate it when people aren’t specific!! They had told me it was at 17th and 10th. WELL IT WASN’T.
Another one I found by accident. This was in South Williamsburg. It’s half-destroyed, but I figured it might still be flashable, as many of the ‘Vaders I found in Paris were half-destroyed but still flashable. I was right!
Oh and this sweet lil’ thang was in the Museum of Moving Images in Queens!
Check out my Space Invader category for all of his pieces that I’ve photographed from around the world!
If you’re a Torontonian, it’s almost certain you have, at some point, walked past a wall and seen the lady-faces of Anser spraypainted up on a city wall. I used to think he might live in the Dundas and Ossington area because I had found 10 pieces within one block. But I had never found his work outside of Hogtown. So this past month in NYC, I was delighted to find that he had dusted off his passport and taken the time to tag Williamsburg and Bushwick in Brooklyn!
This was in Bushwick
This kind of East Williamsburg, bordering into Bushwick.
Check out my Anser category for more of his work that I’ve photographed.
I’ve blogged many times about one of my fav street artists, Swoon, who is also one of the more successful women in the boys-only-club. DON’T PEGGY OLSEN HER, MOTHERFUCKERS.
Anyway, I found this gorgeous wheatpaste of her in Bushwick, which I think dates back to just last summer/autumn when she had an exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum. It’s so gorgeous, that once I took this photograph, I had the photo blown up on canvas, and now it’s hanging in my room.
Also, it was featured in the infamous SNL skit, “Bushwick, Brooklyn” from a couple of weeks ago.
Tangent: that skit is so spot on, and my life in Bushwick over the past five years has been exactly like this, a blend of raw and wild with gentrification and artist’s ghettos. After the skit aired, everyone in Bushwick was talking about it. I went to a cafe on Flushing and Bogart in Bushwick, and all the punters sitting at the counter were regaling the waitress with the facets of the skit. Also, the intersection where they’re standing in Bushwick is just up the street from the main section of the Bushwick Collective, where I spend most of my days. So I know it well. It’s not actually as busy as the skit portrays it as, but many parts of Bushwick look like that (think the intersection of Bushwick Avenue and Meserole).
Here’s another Swoon piece I found, which I like to call, “Swoon Behind Bars.”
Check out my Swoon category for more of her work that I’ve photographed around the world.
I’ve spent the past month in New York City; lots was seen, done, experienced and felt. Joyous, ephemeral, exhilarating, but I will get to that in later posts. The only thing I want to talk about right now was my visit to new 9/11 Memorial Museum at the World Trade Centre complex. It’s free on Tuesday evenings if you don’t mind lining up outside in the snow for a while (the line moves quickly). In most sections of the museum, photography isn’t allowed, so I couldn’t capture the artifacts procured on display (pieces of the airplanes, filing cabinets, destroyed firetrucks, twisted metal and steel support beams…) or the personal belongings to many of the victims (almost blemish-free wallets and purses, bifocals, photographs, watches, bracelets and other jewellery)… But I must say that most of the information contained within the museum I had already seen on YouTube. In fact, I think I’ve seen more on YouTube than contained within the museum. However, the transcription of the blackbox flight deck recorder was really interesting, especially the translation from Arabic to English of the terrorists. And the reconstruction of events was really helpful. Each room has a box of tissues in it too, which I thought was a nice touch. It can get rather emotional in there. If you decide to go, prepare yourself for the worst.
All that’s left of the North Tower antennae from the roof
In any case, I went back a second time after my night visit to the museum to check out the names along the two memorial fountains in the complex where the North and South towers once stood. I find it rather appropriate that fountains with a massive drop of water should symbolize the towers and the people as they fell. The names of the almost 3,000 people who died are engraved on the sides of both fountains.
What I wasn’t expecting was how many of the women murdered on 9/11 were pregnant. It’s actually really disturbing.
Vanessa Lang Langer and her unborn child.
Jennifer L Howety and her unborn child.
Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas and her unborn child
Renne A May and her unborn child
Dianna Lynn Galante and her unborn child
Dianne T. Signer and her unborn child
Sylvia San Pio Resta and her unborn child.
Rahma Salie and her unborn child
Patricia Ann Cimaroli Massari and her unborn child
Helen Crossin Kittle and her unborn child.
See what I mean?
Since it has been over 13 years since this event, we’ve all had plenty of time to familiarize ourselves with some of the names of 9/11. As I was reading the names off the fountain, I actually recognized some of them.
Betty Ong was a flight attendant on Flight 11, the first plane which crashed into the North tower. She was on the phone with American Airlines emergency line when her plane crashed into the tower. You can hear her right up until the plane crashes, then you don’t hear anything, except the AA crew on the other end of the line confirming they’ve lost her. It’s not disturbing per se, it’s more haunting.
Edna Cintron has long haunted me. Her’s is a strange story. When the first plane hit the North Tower, it is believed that everyone on the impact floors were killed instantly. But then in the footage, if we magnify, we can see a woman standing in the gaping plane-shaped hole, waving for quite some time. She has a shock of ginger curly hair, is wearing a black shirt and khaki slacks. Here is footage here and here. At first when I came across this story years ago, I thought it was the work of some of the conspiracy truthers that populate YouTube (and there are many of those nutters).
But when I was at the museum, they showed this photograph and the caption said that the museum had confirmed with her family that that was indeed her, based on what she was wearing that day, her hair, and where she worked in the Tower. She died when the North Tower fell, but somehow survived the initial plane crash. That gaping plane-shaped hole should have been thousands of degrees hot because of the fire, but as I’ve learned, the fire caused by the jet fuel would have actually burned out really quickly, it was the secondary fires engulfing the furniture, drapes, paper, and other items within the towers that kept burning and caused the collapse. It is impossible to tell if she was injured by the initial plane crash, but I would wager that since she waves her arm for over an hour, doesn’t fall off the ledge (thus no head-trauma causing dizziness and no smoke-inhalation causing unconsciousness), and her clothes appear to be unscathed (not burned off from fire, or ripped from debris), she seems to be okay. Such a haunting, strange story.
Kevin Cosgrove. I remember him because he was on the phone with emergency workers when the towers fell, and you can actually hear him dying. This is extremely disturbing and so please use your discretion.
Mark Bingham was on the United 93 plane and is believed to have orchestrated the plan to overtake the plane from the hijackers, preventing them from crashing it into the White House. He was one of the first heroes of 9/11.
Now I’ve been to New York lots and lots of times. The first time I was there in 2007, Ground Zero was still a gaping hole, barely cleaned out and still under construction. I’ve walked the streets of lower Manhattan countless times, over and over again. But now that the Freedom Tower is finally completed, and the WTC memorial complex is open to the public, this visit to New York, for me, was somewhat different. There just were no more visible remnants of what happened there. You can walk Lower Manhattan and, yes, while there is still a lot of construction happening in the area, you would never know a massive terrorist attack happened there. You would never know lower Manhattan was blanketed with twisted steel, sulfur, dust, debris, paper, and body parts. It’s so strange to walk Vesey or West Street or Greenwich or Church or West Broadway. These are the places that were completely blanketed. Life goes on, people move on. I just wonder how does anyone look at their scars and not hate the world?
… this happened!
ALL HAIL ANNY CHIH!!
Love this SO MUCH!
If anyone in Brooklyn stumbles upon this bit of graff, be sure to let me know!
Gotta be by the same guy who did Ceci n’est pas un NDN.
I really like Hot Tea’s guerrilla knitting street art. Not only is it really difficult to do (that is one long unbroken piece of string!), but it’s also completely removable and doesn’t damage any property. So really, how can this really be considered vandalism? In case you haven’t picked up on it, the string SAYS hot tea, duh! This is the new graffiti calligraphy!
I found this at Ludlow and Stanton in the LES back in October.
Speaking of hot tea, right after I found this piece, I walked up Orchard and drank exactly that whilst writing in my journal. This was the day before I flew to Bangkok. Oh if only that woman knew what was in store for her…..
I found this Nick Walker stencil in lower Manhattan back in October, right before I flew out to begin my “SituAsian,” and never got the chance to blog it. See how backed up I am with content! So many great finds yet to blog!
I love Nick Walker’s work. It’s vibrant and in your face, but also has a touch of forlorn regret embedded in each theme.
I’ve already blogged about this piece that I found at Bushwick 5Pointz, but it was only a small photo so I thought I’d share all the pics I took.
You see what I mean about the levels of sadness in his work? Tis one is uplifting but also with a tinge of pain.
Check out my Nick Walker category for more of his work that I’ve photographed.
Whilst I was in New York shitty seven weeks ago, I took these photographs at the Bushwick 5points location of Swoons work. It looks like a collab between Swoon and another amazing nyc artist Elle, but I’m not 100% sure. If you look closely, you’ll see what appears to be Elle’s signature.
Anyway, as with doing an RTW trip (Round The World), sometimes you get behind on your blogging and don’t get to post everything, which is why those photographs have been sitting in my storage for 7 weeks!
But now that I’m in London and I found more Swoon on Brick Lane, I figured it was time to break out the awesomesauce.
Swoon never signs her work, I’ve just come to recognize her style and form from photographing it a lot.
About seven weeks ago when I was in New York shitty, I found everyone’s favourite Andre the giant proponent, Shepard Fairey . Now I’m in London and also finding his work errr-where!
This final one below is actually from New York, I found it off of Meserole street in Bushwick, Brooklyn, and never got to post it. You should see the amount of work I found in New York that I have yet to post! Trust me, I will.
Check out my Shepard Fairey category for more of his awesomesauce that I’ve photographed around the world.
Today is a travel day for me (heading to Koh Phangan for the Full Moon Party during Halloween) so enjoy more New York Street art! Once again we revisit our loveable boyfriend Hanksy. He’s my boyfriend …in my brain. Shaddup!
This was on Ludlow and Hester in the LES. This was Hanksy’s “bi-curious george” before some idiot with no sense of humour ripped off the best part. People like that should be dragged into the street and shot….. Too far?
That’s our boyfriend alright.
This was what it looked like before the damage. It’s george clooney with a penis shaped banana framed in a curious george motif. Love this so much! It’s so clever and still provocative. And the puns, good gawd, the awesome puns! (Photo via Hanksy’s tumblr)
When I told my boyfriend, he was none too impressed. Neither of us were. This is disgraceful. Hang your head in shame, unfunny bastard with a scraper.
and around the corner, just underneath his Ice Ice Babies piece, was one of his infamous Tom hanks/banksy blended stickers. His original style, he has of course grown since then, but it’s fun to revisit the old stuff.
actually if you look really closely at my Ice Ice Babies post, you can see this sticker, I guess I missed it last time. That’s the thing about street art, there’s always something new to discover!
Check out my Hanksy category for more of his fine work that I’ve photographed.
once again, another aside in between travelogues. Right now I’m off for a kayaking and snorkelling extravaganza off the coast of Koh Samui so I thought I would appease you with one of my favourite female street artists, GILF! Check out my GILF category for more of her brilliant work that I’ve photographed.
I found this at the Bushwick 5points, which is a new addition to the 5points family based in Long Island. This piece shows Dorothy from the wizard of oz as a bag lady, pushing two shopping carts fulla junk. Some stencil work here. Simple design done with brilliant, effective execution.
this next GILF, I found on Orchard just north of division in the LES.
why are your eyes closed?
Yesterday I was in transit for 11 hours, from Phuket to Koh Samui, I took two buses, one ferry, vomited my guts out (stupid Delhi belly), then hopped on the back of some guys motorbike in the pouring rain to get to my hostel at beautiful Lamai Beach. It was a long day and this morning I’m still recovering, my body feels a bit weak. I’m testing the waters right now, I may or may not go out today ( at present, quarter to 11am, I’m still in bed) but since I don’t have much in way of travel stories to share, I thought I’d share more of the graffiti and street art photos I took in NYC earlier this month. I have so many to share! After this “Situ-Asian” is over, it will take me a long time to blog them all, so I might as well start now whilst I’m under the weather.
First up, I thought I would continue with that Hope post I initially briefly blogged earlier this month. Amber and I found this post, where people are invited to write what they hope for on a tag and leave it for others to find, and we decided to contribute our own hopes.
there’s Amber writing down her hope tag.
you see that “I handprint ny” poster? That’s a Jef Campion
so many tags and hopes to discover. I love ephemeral, community projects like this. It’s free, democratic, liveable, and it connects you to other people in a fun and creative and meaning-potent way.
this one is probably my favourite. It meant something to me seeing as how I was about to embark on my travels, and my heart is constantly bursting with love. (Shaddup)
I have found these wheat pastes by Fairy Tales for the Fatherless before and I was glad to find a couple more in Williamsburg before I flew to Thailand.
You’re reading this while I’m in transit to Asia by the way. Oh the joys of pre-scheduling posts!
I once photographed these stencils all over Williamsburg but this one I found on 14th street and Irving in the LES.