For years, Brooklyn has been a pilgrimage site for old and young graffiti artists, competing for the neighborhood walls in order to present their artwork. Over the past decade, graffiti – which started out as an ideologically subversive activity – has evolved into a popular art form, gaining extensive recognition in international galleries and impacting marketing campaigns, graphic artists and the fashion industry.
Bushwick is home to a flourishing artistic community as well as access to public spaces – both elements attracting a wide variety of local and international artists who continue to maintain the street art genre using various artistic media and techniques.
The neighborhood’s graffiti highlight is the Bushwick Collective, operating on the project’s main streets – Jefferson St., Troutman St. and St. Nicholas Ave.
Bushwick Collective’s curator, Joseph Ficalora, was born in Bushwick and, growing up, he suffered from quite a few family tragedies (his father was mugged and murdered in the middle of the street and his mother passed away after battling cancer). As an adult, Joseph decided to establish the project, aiming to please the neighborhood’s residents. He obtained approval from business owners and city authorities and went on to commission famous graffiti artists from around the world. The initial artists were joined by other, young and kicking artists who, together, transformed the neighborhood into a paradise of street art.
When to Visit
It is a street gallery, open 24/7, but it is relatively busy after work hours and on weekends. Therefore, it is best to visit on weekday mornings and afternoons. June offers two advantages: the weather is pleasant and suitable for street tours and it is the month of Bushwick’s annual collective block parties. Visit here to enjoy a festival of street art, music, food and live shows. The neighborhood’s atmosphere and bustle usually liven up a few weeks prior to the festival.