For decades, graffiti has plagued urban landscapes stretching from Lima to Inverness, bringing with it an air of desperation and anxiety for local communities, councils and property developers. I have tried to understand the need for this form of visual expression, accepting its original political or social relevance from disenfranchised groups, only to be sent in a fit of outrage when I discover another of my favorite iconic, historical or simply beautiful construction or building in Copenhagen “tagged” yet again.
Street Art Branding A Local Community.
On a recent trip to Brooklyn, I discovered how street artists, given legal walls to work with can help transform a derelict and neglected neighborhood to a vibrant outdoor street gallery. Bushwick, bordering onto its more affluent neighbor, Williamsburg, has been hosting some of the worlds best street artists since 2011. The man behind this visual experiment and founder of The Bushwick Collective, Joe Ficalora grew up in Bushwick and has witnessed how street art has energized his own hood. Today, Bushwick’s streets, once barren are now buzzing with curious visitors capturing the latest murals from artists from Buenos Aries to Tokyo. With this growing confidence, cafès, bars and delis are beginning to establish themselves. Street art in Bushwick has played a significant role in its global branding. Interestingly, mindless graffiti and tags have been radically reduced due to this inspiring initiative.
A special thanks to Dani for guiding me to these wonderful murals.
Content & Images: Phillip Mills