“Brooklyn is the Future” exhibition recap and interview with Spread Love
This past Friday, April 17th, a street art exhibition, entitled Brooklyn is the Future, was held in the Bushwick, Brooklyn. The show featured over 40 artists who painted murals on the exterior and interior walls of the building, and showcased their paintings and installations indoors.
The art show was held at The Vazquez, which is an event space that believes in using their venue to host creative projects for the community. The main room was filled from top to bottom with vibrant and diverse murals and panels. Another room contained smaller artworks by the artists. Around the corner from the main event, The Vazquez’ window were open to the public as a pop up shop for the event. Some smaller renditions of the murals were painted on canvases to be sold, along with prints, shirts and bags made by a variety of different artists and designers.
The show went from 6pm – 9pm, and within those three hours, over 200 people showed up, packing the place full with art lovers of all kinds. The theme of the show, “Brooklyn is the Future,” was a perfectly apt name for the event. When people from NYC think of Bushwick, it’s hard to forget the booming art and street art scene within the community. Murals, graffiti and street art have infiltrated Brooklyn, and this particular art show took all the art we’ve been seeing on those streets and placed them in one giant space for viewers to experience all at once. The passion, style, creative process, talent and distribution of art daily is the underlying message behind Brooklyn is the Future, according to N. Carlos Jay, an artist, curator and team member of SPREAD LOVE, the masterminds behind the show.
“I’m a native New Yorker, born and raised here in Brooklyn… we still have to keep some sort of real [authenticity]. We are from New York so I feel like the future of New York City and Brooklyn specifically is about that and I feel like we [are] capturing that spirit. I feel like a lot of artists here in Brooklyn and here in New York are getting lost in this tidal wave of gentrification, corporate worlds and developers moving in and changing what you’re used to and I feel like the future is this right here, at the end, the human spirit, what we are, what we’re really about to me, it can be literally and it can be figuratively.”
While at the event, N. Carlos Jay talked to 12oz about how he became a curator, and how this particular event came to fruition. With three years under his belt as a curator, what initially drove him to start actually organizing his own events was his own frustrations as an artist in the gallery scene.
“I was going to a number of shows and I felt like they didn’t have strong curation or artists weren’t placed in a position where they could sell their work, or people could see them properly. And I’ve been involved with those type of shows, group shows, where things were just thrown randomly, the eyes didn’t flow, didn’t move nicely and I was like I could do a better job.”
Believing that smart curation is integral to any show, he used a theme to keep the artists on task. However, artists were allowed their creative freedom to express what the phrase “Brooklyn is the Future” means, individually. Every painting, mural and installation to had a unique voice. With such a wonderful line up of diverse artists ranging from graffiti artists like Ghost and Giz to muralists BK Foxx and Chris Soria, this art show provided the public a way to experience all styles of the Brooklyn art scene.
Jay’s process of selection usually includes a set core of people that he has been rocking with for awhile and then looks for artists who he admires. What ends up happening is those people “reach out to their amazing friends and their amazing friends reach out to their amazing friends and then you have your pick of the litter… ” So the line up ended up being over 40 artists as opposed to the 25 that J originally had in mind because he just “couldn’t say no” to all that talent. And who can blame him. When you have the opportunity to bring together such a wide range of amazing artists and have them create for a good cause, you definitely take it.
N. Carlos Jay teamed up with Michael Peterson of SPREAD LOVE to produce the show. SPREAD LOVE is an international and intergenerational passion project encompassing music, technology and all forms of art. It takes place globally, and has home bases in Berlin and Brooklyn. With Jay’s leadership on the artistic front, Michael Peterson handled the marketing. Peterson collaborated with Jay to create an amazing concept and to begin a movement that evokes powerful thought through amazing art from the likes of Jay, and a slew of other Brooklyn-based artists.
Michael Peterson is also the Dream Director at the Brooklyn Theatre Arts High School at the South Shore High School Campus where he and N. Carlos Jay have organized a mural project inside the school’s hallways. When Jay found out that Peterson was trying to raise money for the students’ supplies, they got together to create this event so that a portion of the proceeds from the show could be donated to this cause. As a father from Brooklyn, Peterson understands the need to have a strong relationship with the community.
“As two fathers who are about raising strong powerful, caring, and loving Brooklyn children, we must also connect our goals to the youth outside of our immediate families. It is important that we build a village to raise the youth who don’t necessarily have all of the advantages in the world. This is how we build a better community from Brooklyn to Cape Town.”
Jay’s objective as an artist and curator is to present and provide opportunity, not only for himself but for his community.
“I’m a classically trained artist with a fine arts background so I will paint that way but I also have a graff background as well and I started out in graffiti so I like to marry those two worlds and I feel like right now the direction street art is going, there’s a lot of opportunity for artists out there doing it, so they have to put themselves in a position where people can see you in the right light. So I would do these type of shows where you marry the two, because there’s a lot of graffiti artists as well who do it really really well too…. So these types of shows can expose the public to the fact that A) They have talent and B) Street artists, Graffiti artists, those worlds, you don’t need titles. We’re all artists. And this is a prime example, look at the turnout, look at the people, they’re all excited cause it’s amazing to look at.”
It was pretty evident in our conversations with the two that their movement is very much about love and opportunity for all artists and their community in general, and that message resonated throughout the show.