Do you make the time to observe your surroundings? I mean really observe your surroundings. It’s easy to let the day slip away, a passing blur like in the passenger window. Constant distractions are literally at the tips of our fingers.
Today I got to see one of Banksy’s pieces today. I saw a few days ago that he made this in the UWS. It was a stone’s throw from my new apartment. As soon as I found out the location, I made my way there. I hopped up the stairs of the subway, eagerly anticipating what I’d see.
At the corner, I saw a guy with headphones. I tugged at his sleeve to tell him the news. Excitement tumbled out of my mouth like a really long hast tag:
He was happy to hear about it, and see it from afar. But he didn’t stop to see it.
I stood in front of it for a while. People stopped to look. It started with children, asking their mothers about it. They seemed the most observant. Then, the adults would get engaged, explaining the concept. A small crowd started to form. I started talking to a man and woman, taking photos for them in front of the piece. I went on and on about Banksy’s artist residency here in New York. When the man came back for his camera phone, he remarked:
“The painting is so simple. It doesn’t take a lot of skill. I think I could do it.”
I couldn’t help but think:
“If you can barely take the time to look, how can you take the time to create?”
I mentioned in my last post that I started a new job. Part of my training took me to Richmond. After work, I decided to roam around the city for a bit by myself. My only plan was to check out a few vintage stores, figuring that fashion would somehow lead me to an adventure. I hopped into the hotel shuttle bus and gave them the address to a local vintage retailer in Carytown.
I had no real desire to buy anything, but just wanted to walk around – absorb some of the local scenery during my short time in the city. Chatting with the driver, I looked out the window. We passed an old bus terminal that was absolutely irresistible to me. It was covered with hundreds of the most evocative, brightly hued art I’d seen. Set against the warm, sunny late afternoon the setting seemed dreamlike.
Cooing while trying to snap a few photos from the van, the driver sensed my enthusiasm. He didn’t really know what the site was, other than it was an old bus terminal. I asked him if we could take a quick detour and investigate the site.
Everywhere I looked was beautiful! The space has previously belonged to the Greater Richmond Transit Company (GRTC). Built in 1902, the structure housed trollies and buses that were not in use or needed repair. The site was abandoned back in 2009. Residents were unhappy with the crumbling buildings. They pushed for a creative use of the space, hoping to install stores and restaurants to boost the local economy.
The city’s response was to create a Street Art Festival, inviting artists from around the world to create large scale murals. Since the time frame was limited, it became a hotbed of creativity. Artists were working side-by-side, helping and inspiring one another.
Hamilton Glass, a Richmon-based artist, likened the festival is like a jam session for artists:
“We feed off each other, he said about five hours into his mural. It’s great painting next to someone who’s being creative.“
I could have spent all day here! There was no evidence of any businesses within the compound. But there was a young couple walking around taking photos. They took a photo of me, which shows you the scale of the work. It’s really massive and overwhelming!
Like a kid in a candy store, I ran down the empty streets eagerly taking in as much art as I could. Every mural was so interesting and unique. Some were even 3-dimentional. One of my favorites was a blue wall filled with metal birds.
After closer inspection, the birds are decorated with names and poems. If you’re in Richmond, I highly recommend stopping by to see it for yourself: 2501 W. Cary St.
To see the rest of my photos from the Old GRTC Bus Terminal, follow me on Instagram!
Every now and then, I’ll find a site that wows me. Street Art News is definitely one of those sites. I discovered the site through their facebook page. The site brings you the best of street art from around the world.
Graffiti can cause strong reactions. I engaged with a person recently who felt thought there could be little meaning from street art, and that graffiti was an offense of the worst kind. His direct quote, is as follows:
The graffiti pictures, you just love the color blends and the risk they took and the rebellious attitude. Maybe if someone put graffiti on your house or on you directly you would also find such pleasure in that.
Some people do put graffiti straight on their bodies, and I think it’s pretty cool.
This gives me some great ideas for Halloween . . . .although it’s doubtful I’d make it out of the house with at least some clothing covering me.
So when does graffiti meet fashion? While I wish I could say I was the first to be inspired by the Urban Landscape and graffiti, I certainly am not. One of the most iconic designers to use graffiti was Stephen Sprouse (1953 – 2004). A fashion designer and artist, Sprouse infused elite, Fifth Avenue culture and their wardrobe with street style. His signatures? Day-glo colors and graffiti-printed clothing.
His first major success was in 1983, and his cloths sold at Bergdorf Goodman, Henri Bendel, and swanky boutiques. Interesting that suck ritzy clientele would adorn their body in wearable graffiti.
Part of the allure was high quality, expensive fabrics that were custom dyed and hand painted by Sprouse himself. It was a disheveled, deluxe chic. Other characteristics of his clothes included the Day-Glo colors, all-black palettes, mirrored sequins, high-tech fabrics and Velcro attachments.
In 1987-8, Sprouse produced a line that used Andy Warhol’s Camouflage as a screen print as well as abstract graffiti prints of Jesus Christ that were a collaboration with artist Keith Haring.
His biggest success was a collaboration with Marc Jacobs for Louis Vuitton in 2001. The collection was Sprouse’s graffiti sprawled rendition of the Louis Vuitton logo and name printed over the classic monogram design. The fashion world went gaga, and the pieces sold-out instantly.
Posthumously, his success continues. For both Fall 2006 and 2008, Marc Jacobs utilized Sprouse’s graffiti images for handbags, shoes, and scarves for Louis Vuitton, which sold-out instantly. This tribute to Sprouse garnered worldwide press, and a cult-like following.
Marc Jacobs went on about Sprouse and how, with his graffiti infused clothing, has changed the landscape of fashion. Jacobs wanted to deface the traditional LV monogram with graffiti, which he says:
has always viewed and a defiant act, a rebellious act but that creates a new surface with, giving new meaning to something old.
Mr. Jacobs is such a fan that he appeared in several magazine editorials naked and painted in Sprouse’s graffiti.
Apparently, so does LVMH, the mega conglomerate that owns Louis Vuitton, They graffiti-ed all of the store fronts for the collection debut, and are still pulling profits in this economic downturn. I guess graffiti can be genius after all.