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Posts Tagged ‘Victor J. Blue’

I continue to be a fan of street art and the way it allows informal artists to express themselves while also letting passersby enjoy both homespun and professional achievements as they go about their errands.

In Rhode Island, there’s a painted rock. Everyone paints it, and no painting lasts for long. In the summer, paintings wishing someone happy birthday may last only a few hours, as mine did one Birthday Week when Suzanne turned 16 and John turned 21. (They didn’t wake up in time to see it.)

There has also been some amazing work by experts on that rock, too, but it gets respect for only a couple days. It’s essential to capture it with a camera.

Yesterday I passed along an idea to a gallery owner that she liked. How about painting the painted rock to look like a rock!? Crazy, huh? She may do it, too. She has a painting of rocks in the current show that she could replicate. She knows she’d have to take a photograph, though, or the rock might be painted over before anyone sees it.

Meanwhile, here’s a nice story about street art in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn.

Amy O’Leary writes at the NY Times, “Growing up, Joseph Ficalora would sit on the roof of his family’s steel fabrication business. In Bushwick, Brooklyn, in the 1980s, it was one of the few safe places outdoors. The view was grim. The streets were dirty. Graffiti was endless. …

“Most people want to hold onto their past as it was, but Mr. Ficalora has found greater comfort in obliterating it, bathing the neighborhood in paint.

“Today the rooftop of [his] family business, GCM Steel, offers an eye-popping panorama of street art. More than 50 multicolored murals have transformed a swath of nearby buildings into a vast outdoor gallery called the Bushwick Collective, anchored at the intersection of Troutman Street and St. Nicholas Avenue.” More.

Photo: Victor J. Blue for The New York Times
Gaia, well-known among street artists, paints — legally — on a building in Bushwick, Brooklyn.

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An artist discovered at 64 has a gallery show in New York.

Jim Dwyer writes at the NY Times, “For more than three decades, [Rafael Leonardo] Black, 64, has made a portal to the world in dense, miniature renderings of ancient myth and modern figures: Frank Wills, the security guard who discovered the Watergate break-in; Shirley Temple as a sphinx; the head of the surrealist André Breton as the head of John the Baptist; Marianne Faithfull in multiple incarnations.

“Until recently, few people ever saw his work because he had almost no visitors. He held paying jobs as a typist in a law firm, a salesman at Gimbels and then Macy’s, and as a secretary in a school. Most recently, he has worked mornings as a part-time receptionist in a hospital. …

“ ‘I just never made the effort to sell it,’ Mr. Black said. ‘I never expected to be able to make a living at it, but I’ve always done it since — well, I guess, since I’ve known my self.’

“Then [in May], a Manhattan gallery owner, Francis M. Naumann, mounted ‘Insider Art,’ an exhibition of 16 works by Mr. Black. Ten of them sold within days, at prices ranging from $16,000 to $28,000.

“ ‘People liked them, people who know art,’ Mr. Black said. ‘It makes me very happy.’ …

“Late last year, [his friend John] Taylor passed along Mr. Black’s number to [another] friend, Tej Hazarika, who publishes in the art world. Mr. Hazarika urged Tom Shannon, an artist and inventor, to look at the work. In turn, he brought it to Mr. Naumann’s attention. …

“ ‘If you are going to make a picture, you have to make something that’s in concert with the way the world operates,’ Black said. ‘There’s a line from the Lovin’ Spoonful: “You came upon a quiet day, and simply seemed to take your place.” ‘ ” More.

Photo: Victor J. Blue for the NY Times
“There’s a saying: ‘Everybody writes poems at 15; real poets write them at 50,’ ” said Rafael Leonardo Black, who draws miniature figures.

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