Articles

At the Northside Arts Festival, the Art Is on the Streets

by Emily Colucci on June 15, 2012

One of two Faile columns in the area, this one is at Kent Ave and N14th Street (via flickr.com/hragvartanian)

When going to the Northside Art Festival this weekend, remember that the art is not just in the galleries and open studios but some of the most innovative and radical art is located on the walls and streets of North Brooklyn.

And with Hyperallergic’s map with a tour of the best work by Faile, a prolific North Brooklyn street art collective, and our favorite street art and graffiti spots in the area, it will be easy to some of the best illegal art in North Brooklyn.

Perhaps the most famous local street artists are Faile, whose work was recently featured on the Bowery Wall, following murals by Barry McGee or Twist and Kenny Scharf, on East Houston Street earlier this year as they have reached a higher level of street art superstardom.

Consisting of Patrick McNeil and Patrick Miller, Faile is known for their ripped, fragmented, graphic wheatpasted style, resembling a comic book that has been run through a blender. Using a wide variety of materials from wooden boxes, grocery store signs to basic stencils, Faile’s work can be seen all over Williamsburg, where their studio is located on North 6th Street.

There's soo much street art to discover in the area, like this street sculpture by MRToll on Bedford Avenue at N7th Street. (photo via hragvartanian.com

In addition to their wheatpasted works, Faile is also known for their spinning prayer wheels, carved wooden posts that resemble a combination of Buddhist prayer wheels and street posts. With the market currently obsessed with street art works, Faile’s prayer wheels are sold for high prices, tens of thousands of dollars according to Animal NY. Street art enthusiasts are so in love by Faile’s prayer wheels that at least two prayer wheels have been stolen — or something — right off of the street in Williamsburg and on the Bowery, where they were both bolted to the street.

Not only working illegally, Faile has also recently created a public art mural on 104 N. 7th entirely of thousands of painted tiles. A quieter, more meditative departure from their normal “destroyed pop” style, the mural resembles a more traditional public art piece, appearing as if it could be found in Morocco if the tiles weren’t hand-painted with Faile’s obvious moniker.

Even though Faile might be the most famous street artists located in North Brooklyn, they certainly aren’t the only street artists wheatpasting, stenciling or bombing their way through the streets. From street artists Os Gemeos to Roa, who has a large mural of a squirrel on N5th and Berry, and graffiti writers such as REVS, the area is full of both anonymous and well-known artists, presenting their work on the streets whether motivated by a belief in fine art or pure vandalism.

Part of the pleasure of street art is its ephemerality, like this popular spot at Metropolitan and Kent that featured a large happy heart by Chris Uphues last year. Today the spot looks very very different. (via flickr.com/hragvartanian)

As seen on Hyperallergic’s map of the hottest street art spots in the area, you can walk down pretty much any street such as N7th and Bedford or N4th and Berry and see layers upon layers of stickers, posters, tags, throw-ups and pieces. Its difficult to predict what street artists and graffiti writers might be up during the Northside Festival since new graffiti writers and street artists seem to be popping up every day with plans to put their tags on as many spaces as they possibly can.

Even though Hyperallergic’s street art map is thorough, wander around and discover your own street art and graffiti finds as the most of the streets of North Brooklyn are constantly changing and evolving.

The Northside Arts Festival guide with Hyperallergic’s Faile Tour and Street Art Spots can be found  at Reverse Space at 28 Frost Street and various locations around North Brooklyn.

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