Within the last 15 years Williamsburg, New York City, has transformed into a thriving neighbourhood with creativity and diversity boasting from the heavily trafficked streets. Now also a coveted neighbourhood for street art, Tawny Saez shows us some of Williamsburg’s finest pieces of street art and the artists to keep tabs on!
CLICK HERE for a full interactive map of Williamsburg’s street art!
The ‘Mona Lisa of Williamsburg’ by Colossal Media & Steven PaulWhat has become one of the most iconic walls in Williamsburg, started as one of 255,000 art submissions to The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards in 2014. Steven Paul, a High School Senior from Brooklyn, won the Gold Medal for his photograph, ‘Lost Time’ which Colossal Media created into a 4 story high mural in partnership with The Alliance for Young Artists and Writers. By donating the massive wall and their own artists’ time, Colossal Media was able to bring Steven’s photograph to life – and making it into what some call the “Mona Lisa of Williamsburg.” The mural overlooks Broadway Avenue at the corner of Bedford Avenue.
Icy & SotJust three blocks west of the “Mona Lisa wall” on Wythe Avenue is a life size mural of smiling children looking up at the sky, painted by Iranian brothers and stencil artists, Icy and Sot.
Icy and Sot are a street art duo known for creating thought provoking installations that force viewers to re-consider the norm. Originally born in Tabriz, Iran in the mid eighties/early nineties, Icy and Sot have been creating stencil art since 2006. Their work appears on walls and galleries throughout Iran, USA, Germany, China, Norway, and more. Icy and Sot transcend their histories of artistic and political censorship by using public art as a vehicle to drive awareness around human rights, ecological justice, social and political issues.
‘Peace & Love wall’ by Chris RiggsLess than five blocks east of the Icy & Sot Mural is the Marcy Ave Subway, where international contemporary artist, Chris Riggs decided to bring some love with his iconic Peace and Love layered mural pictured here.
Chris began creating the Peace and Love layered mural style in 1988 in New York City and has painted them around the world from France to South Korea. Chris’s first commissioned job was in 1985, by then New York City Mayor Ed Koch, in a citywide art contest between all New York City Schools. This event kicked off Chris’s career as an artist and he has been painting and drawing for a living every day since. Chris believes that peace and love are the most important things in life, and his main goal is to bring those values to the world through his murals.
Delivering Wow Mural Tour: ‘Five Bronze Mercuries’ by GaiaHeading north from Marcy Ave is one of Williamsburg’s most popular streets; Bedford Avenue – where there are murals and wheat paste ups on just about every corner. This mural on the corner of N8 and Bedford was painted by New York City native, Gaia, for a very unique cause; the “Delivering Wow Mural Tour” launched in the summer of 2016 from the partnership between Zappos and Beautify Earth.
The campaign nominated local artists in 10 cities to interpret Zappos’ 10 core values. The ‘Five Bronze Mercuries’ is Gaia’s depiction of the Zappos value #9. ‘Be Passionate and Determined.’
Gaia has exhibited his work throughout the world, most notably The Baltimore Museum of Art, Rice Gallery and Palazzo Collicola Arti Visive.
‘In Your Face’ by Damien Mitchell
Australian stencil artist has also made a name for himself in Williamsburg with his head-turning, in-your-face murals. Both of these murals were painted one after each other on the same wall on N3rd between Berry street and Wythe Avenue.
‘The Bedford Ave Polar Bear’ by Iena CruzProbably one of the busier subway stops in Williamsburg is the Bedford Ave L stop – where Federico Massa aka Iena Cruz painted this Polar bear mural for Martin Miller’s Gin. Iena Cruz, originally from Italy, has called New York City home since 2010. As a globally recognise muralist and contemporary designer, Iena Cruz has significantly contributed to the public art scene in Williamsburg and Bushwick with his vibrant, large scale, layered murals. With a strong belief in conservation, most of Cruz’s murals feature nature or animals with a Latin aesthetic inspired by his first roommates in Brooklyn.
Among the other many other noteworthy murals, here are a few other eye catching wheat pastes not to miss:
Artist: Square, City of origin: Denver
Ant Carver, London
Franck Duval, Paris
Dee Dee, New York City