The Other Art Fair coming to Greenpoint

October 13, 2017 By Angelica Hill Special to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Ave De la Luna, creator of Nite Owl’s piece in Greenpoint on Dupont Street, just off McGuiness Boulevard. Photo by Ave De la Luna
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The Other Art Fair, a global event that will also be held this year in London, Sydney, Melbourne and Bristol, will take place at the Brooklyn EXPO Center in Greenpoint Nov. 9-12. The Other Art Fair celebrates street and graffiti artists from across the world. However, critics say Greenpoint isn’t a key player in the street art and graffiti scene.

“I wouldn’t hype about Greenpoint being a top place of street art,” said Jeff Stirewalt, from Brooklyn Unplugged Tours, a company that gives street art tours around Brooklyn. Stirewalt, who calls himself a “big fan” of graffiti and graffiti art in Brooklyn, has been working as a tour guide for four years. He spoke of Greenpoint as being a non-factor when it comes to the alternative art scene.

“The majority of street art is located in the neighboring areas of Williamsburg and Bushwick,” he added. “There are a couple of particularly nice artworks, but nothing very outstanding, in Greenpoint.” He noted that Greenpoint is an artsy neighborhood, but is not graffiti- and street art-orientated.

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Zeso Oner, a graffiti artist from France who began doing graffiti in 1995, spoke of how most of his work is freestyle, and doesn’t plan where he places the art or what the finished product will look like. He said most of his work is in Long Island, Williamsburg and Bushwick.

“I don’t think it would be right to describe the Greenpoint as a scene itself,” said Oner. “Greenpoint is like every other part of the city, it can’t be separated.”

However, artist Paul Richards, who will have a booth at the event, said there is an art scene in the neighborhood.

“In Greenpoint, my street art includes drip drawings, designated art [museum labels affixed to common objects] and random signs. I would say it’s innocuous.

“The placement of my pieces is usually related to where I happen to be going — my studio is in Greenpoint, I live in Manhattan and my errands generally take me around Greenpoint and lower and upper Manhattan.”

Despite having worked in Greenpoint, when asked what he thought of the art scene, Richards said, “I don’t know much about the street art scene in Greenpoint, but it looks like a big range from clever and relevant to anomic and gratuitous. Most of it is anonymous.

“If there is something different about the Greenpoint street art scene I would think it might have something to do with its industrial history. Commercial buildings provide plenty of ‘canvas’ for street artists.”

Ave De la Luna, creator of Nite Owl, was born and raised on Staten Island and said she has only one piece in Greenpoint.

“I’m not sure about the street art scene in Greenpoint. It seems rather small. The mural scene on the other hand is pretty legit. There are plenty of works from local artists, as well as some out-of-towners. There is a nice mix of traditional graffiti letters with newer forms of street art, which, in my opinion, make for a much richer visual experience.”

Residents of Greenpoint agreed that the piece of most significance in the community is FAILE’s “Love me, Love me not” in WNYC Transmitter Park. FAILE is a Brooklyn-based artistic collaboration between Patrick McNeil and Patrick Miller. The two artists created a huge image of a girl lying on grass, picking a daisy with a frog at her feet, which covers almost the entire side of a building near Transmitter Park. When McNeil and Miller were creating the piece in 2016, they spoke of wanting to create an image that “let the viewer experience a visceral emotion and give room to project into the work.” They also said they used tradition Polish art to influence the piece and pay homage to the neighborhood’s Polish community.

Lauren Chilcote, a local resident who goes to WNYC Transmitter Park regularly, said she thought the piece was a nice juxtaposition to all the glass and concrete in the surrounding buildings.

While the graffiti and art scene in Greenpoint may not be as prevalent as in other areas of Brooklyn, it does seem to be meaningful and important to the community, making its position as a headquarters for The Other Art Fair less debatable.  

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