Queens’ longtime graffiti mecca 5Pointz was recently whitewashed ahead of its imminent demolition, to be replaced by luxury condos.
But street art culture is alive and well in other parts of the city. In Brooklyn, the Bushwick Collective at Troutman Street and St. Nicholas Avenue is emerging as a new destination for street artists.
Joseph Ficalora, a longtime neighbourhood resident, curates the vast outdoor art gallery. He’s thrilled with the transformation after seeing crime and graffiti plague the area.
Ficalora, whose family owns a steel fabrication plant in Bushwick, coordinated with other local building owners to find and provide empty walls for street artists. They have come from as far as France and Italy, as well as right here in the U.S. like the Iranian duo Icy and Sot, who moved for political asylum.
“The place is buzzing,” street art aficionado Spencer Elzey told Business Insider. “There are cycles where two or three new walls go up in a week or two.”
Elzey gave us an insider’s tour of the Bushwick Collective, starting at Jefferson Street and Wyckoff Avenue.
The Bushwick Collective is just two years old, but it's already become a thriving scene for street artists. This lion was created by artist ND'A near Jefferson Street.
The area, an outdoor art gallery, is now home to dozens of murals, some by well-known artists. Buff Monster, a street artist who is featured in the Banksy movie 'Exit Through the Gift Shop,' painted these ice cream characters.
The street artist known as Phlegm came to Bushwick all the way from London to paint this giraffe in his signature style.
Reka, a popular street artist from Australia, was in town most of November. He painted this psychedelic mantis before heading off to Art Basel Miami, and then Berlin.
Polish-born Olek is known for her 'yarn bombing,' where she will cover an object completely in crochet. This old-school sled says, 'The end is far.'
A lot of the work in the area includes a 'Bushwick Collective' tag thanking Ficalora for curating the space.
This portrait of a cow's insides actually predates the electrical box on its face, as the building is becoming a bar. 'It's one of the side effects of gentrification,' Elzey said.
Muralist Joe Iurato's work pops off the wall: It looks like this boy himself spray-painted the message 'Never let go' on the sidewalk.
Here, Biggie Smalls is painted next to a portrait of Joseph Ficalora's mother, who died of a brain tumour several years ago.
New York-based artist Zimad painted this bird-tiger hybrid. Birds, particularly pigeons, are a popular motif in the Bushwick Collective.
Some people think Banksy ripped off the signature style of French street artist Blek le Rat, who contributed this piece to the collective.
Brooklyn-based street artist Never finished this giant cicada just as 5Pointz was being buffed last November. The whitewash behind the bug is a bit of a slap at the establishment for destroying the iconic Queens building.
Artists Shery-O and Misery worked together on this surreal piece. Collaborations in street art are fairly common.
Gardner Avenue was full of street art even before the Bushwick Collective was formed. The group Robots Will Kill used have the run of the street, and this is one of their murals.
A few companies around the Bushwick High Line, a raised portion of railroad track by Scott Avenue, let street artists work on their trucks.
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