Brooklyn Bound: Gilf! Curates Bushwick Open Studios' Opening Party
This past weekend Bushwick bustled with people from all over the city visiting spaces for Bushwick Open Studios. Based in the area, street artist Gilf! curated a set of eight murals for the opening party. Originally, the artist intended use only artists based out of Bushwick. However, she decided to include those from Williamsburg as well for aesthetic diversity. Bishop203, Gilf!, Hellbent, ND’A, QRST, Sheryo, Willow, and the Yok came together to represent the neighborhood for their biggest event of the summer. Combining fiber arts, wheatpaste, and several kinds of paint, these artists represented the balance of thought provoking and playful imagery that can be seen in Brooklyn’s street art scene.
Artists Hellbent, Willow and QRST hand-painted pieces in line with the detailed aesthetics that can be seen in their street work. However unlike their art in the public sphere, these pieces were available on view indoors. Here, the attention to detail that each individual put into their artwork was preserved from the dirt and grime the outdoors. From the use of lace in Hellbent’s triangular shapes to the vibrant brushstrokes of Willow’s owl, each viewer could examine the artist’s labor while it remained fresh as the day it was painted.
Meanwhile, the Yok, ND’A, Bishop203, and Sheryo continued their style of characters from their street murals to this space. Of particular note with these works was the stencil that Bishop203 added to his figure after it was originally finished. Commenting on a recent incident in which someone attempted to steal one of his works only to destroy it, the artist spray painted “ignorant people steal street art” onto the character’s heart.
In addition to the charged commentary of Bishop’s stencil stood the wall that the curator, Gilf!, chose to create specifically for the space. Always confronting issues in contemporary society, the artist chose to tackle the police lockdown that has occurred in New York City since September 11th. By redesigning the state crest to a landscape of pre-9/11 New York City flanked by two police guards holding batons, Gilf! calls attention to the devastation that caused a shift in how the city felt its population needed to be protected. To further underscore this message, the artist designed a replica of a highway sign, complete with reflective tape, that read “Welcome to New York the Police State.”
Text and Photo: Rhiannon Platt