Manhattanite turned Brooklynite – Art on the Streets of Bushwick

After 20 years of living in Manhattan, we recently moved to America’s third largest city, the borough of Brooklyn (see Biting the Bullet in Brooklyn for more about our Fort Greene neighborhood). In celebration of our move, we have been playing the tourist and exploring Brooklyn, neighborhood by neighborhood.  This is the 4th in a series of posts about the diverse “hoods” of BK.  See our other posts on Brooklyn below:

Let’s Go to Prospect Park,  A day out in the hipster hub of BK – WilliamsburgDown Under the Manhattan Bridge The Point of Greenpoint

This past weekend we took to the streets of Bushwick. With the help of our well-informed tour guide Chelsea of  Street Art Walk,  we were able to explore some of NYC’s most amazing street art.  The first thing I learned is that street art is very different from graffiti. Graffiti is the often illegal “tagging” in a public place of the artists graffiti name.   I learned this weekend, that street artists and graffiti artists are a completely different breed and they frequently don’t work together.  While they both work with spray paint, street artists generally prepare their work in advance and come prepared with a piece that has a message.  The goal of a graffiti artist is to “tag” property as quickly as possible and escape fines and punishment.  See an example of the differences below.


The Bushwick Collective is an annual street art project started by native Bushwick resident, Joseph Ficalora that attracts street artists from all over the world. Ficalora was raised in Bushwick at a time when the neighborhood was riddled with prostitutes, drugs and gangs.  In fact, his father was murdered on the streets when he was 12 yrs old just for the money in his wallet.  In May 2012, he created the Bushwick Collective to bring street artists from around the world in to enliven a very damaged neighborhood.  Just 4 years later, the creativity of the art in the streets brings visitors, new business, and revitalization to a neighborhood that was in great need of help.  Whether you are visiting NYC for the first time, or have lived here for your whole life, we highly recommend the 2 hour walking tour by Street Art Walk to experience a creative part of New York that is using art to change the world!

The piece on the left is by well known English street artist Dface.  The mural on Troutman St. was described by our tour guide as Pop Art meets grotesque and was completed during the Bushwick Collective party in June of this year.  The artists signature can be found across the street from the mural which was where he would stand to make sure the mural was lined up properly.  The signature on the sidewalk is technically illegal graffiti while the mural is legal street art.

I liked the art on the right by Jef Aerosol – he reminded me of Banksy.  The thing that makes his work recognizable is the red arrow, usually pointing out from the subjects line of vision.   Both of these pieces can be found among the streets of Jefferson and Troutman.

img_7658                                                                                                                                                                                          This super cool piece was done by @lolatheillustrator who is a 9yr old female street artist with a whole lot of street cred!.

The following four pieces were the favorites of each of my family members.  The native american piece by QRST was a fave of my teenage artist, while the bunny with the bee by Louis Masai was the fave of my teenage animal lover.  The Kool dragon was done by Phlegm and was Dads fave.   My favorite of the many pieces we saw, was the black and white piano with handcuffed hands by Oji from Mexico City.



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