Whether it’s a phrase (“Ain’t nobody got time for dat”), a dance craze (twerking) or a fashion style (high top fades), there’s never a shortage of fads to follow, trends to choose, waves to ride.
Even something as widely subjective and diverse as visual art has its own trends.
However, according to Brooklyn artist Jelani Buckner, what may start out as a trend can certainly become a movement. And what becomes a movement can evolve into a cultural shift, a change in the way we think about the subject altogether.
Buckner, 39, says the latest trend he’s noticed is the installation of art by well-known, respected and high-brow artists in unusual outdoor spaces.
“I was inspired by what seems to be a street art renaissance going on,” Buckner said. “These beautiful pieces are being put up by professional artists– most of them, commissioned works done with the permission of the property owners.”
Buckner points to a warehouse building on Troutman Street and St. Nicholas Avenue in Bushwick, Brooklyn, called “Bushwick Collective.” All around the building, there used to be a lot of vandalism and spray paint, said Buckner.
Then, one guy came up with the idea of getting renowned international artists to do these works of art. He felt it would deter vandals who did not want to disrespect the artists or their work.
And so far, the open-air gallery has been a big hit. The gallery and the spaces and buildings around it have become an outdoor museum that continues to grow and expand.
“Now we see the environment around us as simply a canvas where street art turns the community into something beautiful,” Buckner said. He rattled off street artists such as Ziamed, Danielle Mastrion, Shok 1 and a duo named Icy and Sot as some of his favorites.
Buckner, a graphic designer, wanted to expose more people to some of the great street art he was witnessing: pedestrian art that was anything but pedestrian.
And so in August 2013, he, along with two colleagues– Raki, an art enthusiast and Richard Burroughs, an art curator– formed the Walk of Art organization, an arts and events production company that sponsors a Walk of Art Tour of the Brooklyn’s best street art and a non-profit arm, “Walk of Art Kids” that provides arts-education for children across the city, utilizing street art.
With Walk of Art Kids, young arts are encouraged toward self-expression while also learning about the kinds of challenges street artists face: the behaviors of art materials in open air, the need to conform to local regulations, and the diplomacy required to forge the vital connections with the community in which the art will reside.
On Thursday, May 1, from 7pm-1am, Walk of Art will hold a launch party for the organization at Lot 45, located at 411 Troutman Street in Bushwick, featuring an open bar, a DJ performance by DJ Red Alert, along with an art showcase of original paintings, by renowned street artists.
Also, Saturday, May 3, and Sunday, May 4, Walk of Art will conduct a set of tours, from 2:30pm – 4:00pm of the Bushwick Collective space, guided by Danielle Mastrion, a street artist and licensed tour guide.
The basic tour is $20 and will leave from Dekalb and Wykoff. Participants can take photos and the tour guide will give a history of the neighborhood and offer an in-depth explanation of the pieces based upon the tour guide’s relationship with artists. There will be a Q&A afterward.
Also on Sunday after the first tour, from 4:30pm – 6:30pm, there will be a second VIP tour, the “Toast of Art” Tour for $35 that, in addition to the same things offered from the basic tour, will give participants an opportunity to stop into some local restaurants for food and drink samples along the way.
The Walk of Art team is aiming to change how people view and experience outdoor art as more than vandalism or graffiti, bigger than a trend and even greater than a movement…
They want to inspire a cultural shift where works of art become walks of art– seen, felt and celebrated with every step you take.