About a year ago, an artist named Rusty Zimmerman aimed to capture the essence of the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, a rapidly changing neighborhood. According to a recent article, the idea came after Zimmerman wanted to devote more time to his portrait painting, which began with his closest friends from around the area.
In his relaxing art studio environment, he invited locals to sit, drink and discuss the pros and cons of their vibrant Brooklyn home. Zimmerman’s mission required a whopping 200 portraits before the end of June 2016 and as today, it looks like he is going to hit his mark or come really close.
“My constant half-joke is that I’m just trying to bring Hasids and Haitians and hipsters together to talk some smack about the neighborhood and tell their stories from their unique perspective,” Zimmerman says.
After the portraits were completed, Zimmerman found a thrill in giving the oil paintings to the Crown Heights residents for free. He recognized that an oil painting portrait was a unique gift, one that most people might never be able to afford and he found comfort in providing that experience. Now the portraits are part of a final exhibition and parade at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum; where visitors can listen to audio stories about the subjects and their Crown Heights experiences.