If you're a photographer or artist you should check out today's evgrieve interview in its entirety. Nicolina is the street artist behind the beautiful Bean and Two Boots storefronts, among many other places around New York. What you'll learn from her, among other things, is that art is often as much about the people and the community as it is about the artwork itself.
"I grew up in Seattle. When I was young I drew all over my parents’ house and all over the walls. I would take a permanent market down the hallway and onto their lampshades and into the bottom of their shoes. They finally were like, “You cannot do this anymore. Please don’t draw anywhere in the house. You can have your room to draw in.” And so I covered every square inch with detailed drawings and poems and secret codes. Even when I was like seven years old I made a little symbol and I put it all around the neighborhood. It was a weird beginning to street art.
I moved to New York in 2002 and to the East Village in 2003. I wanted to see the whole world but didn’t have a lot of money. I just had enough to go to one place and New York was the one place you could go where the whole world was. I wanted culture.
...I started doing face painting in Central Park for kids and six months after that I painted my first window — at Umberto's Clam House in Little Italy. That was the beginning of Paint The Town. It started spreading down the block and so I put a portfolio together. Now we have over 40 clients all over the City.
Art spreads like a happy virus. If you paint one guy’s shop, then the guy across the street wants it. We just did a project last year in Rio de Janeiro where we painted one boat in a harbor of 60 and then the guy next to us was like, “Hey can you paint my boat?” We ended up painting 58 fishing boats and working with 45 different artists. It was a floating gallery.
I do a project called the Hearts of the World for the Lower Eastside Girls Club. They were the first ones to give me a chance and now it’s been all over the world. It’s a collaborative project with kids from around the world, basically asking them to paint what’s in their hearts inside the panel of the stylized anatomical heart. I silkscreen the outline for them and then they can paint in whatever they want.
Recently I did it at an orphanage for blind people in Beijing. I had no idea what to expect and so I outlined the hearts with yarn so they could feel the edges. And one of the children, who was around 7, painted the whole heart blue and I asked him what he was painting and he said he was painting the sky. And then he painted a yellow sun and a green forrest and white clouds. And then he painted over everything in black. And I said, “What are you Painting?” and he looked up at me with these cloudy eyes and a big smile on his face and he said, “I paint the darkness.” I asked him why he painted the darkness and he said, “The darkness is very beautiful. There are many color lights in the darkness.” He painted all of the things he couldn’t see and then he covered it up in the darkness.
I’ve painted on boats, on pedicabs in Central Park, a Tap Tap in Haiti, which are these big, brightly colored taxi-buses, I painted a tour boat in Chile, an Ascensor, which is like a cable car, a few trucks, a piano in Tompkins Square, a canoe. I love to paint moving objects because it will travel to different places and lots of people will see it. It also brings in another level of life and action. I’ve always wanted to paint an airplane. So if anyone has one...
Portal Zero is an introduction to a new project that I’m doing in the East Village with Perola Bonfanti. It was a test to see how many people would use the QR code and to see people’s perception of it. Way more people than we thought used it. Within just a couple of months we had a few hundred people scan it. The official opening is in July. You have to start at Portal Zero outside of the Bean [on East Third Street and Second Avenue]. You scan the QR code and then either answer a question or complete a task and then you can pass through the Portal to the next one."
Read the full interview here.
1/400th at F10, ISO 1600 (28mm).
This is ever so tangentially related to this photo, but every summer I ask my wife what color is 'in fashion'. According to her, this summer it's green. So anyway, I'm now noticing green clothes and accessories everywhere. I don't own green anything, of course.
1/400th at F5.6, ISO 1600 (28mm).
New York, the city where the people that go through the trash have better fashion sense than everyone else.
If you haven't seen the movie Zoolander, the title of this post is from this classic scene.
You can't visit Charleston without visiting a plantation. Charleston was the port of which over 40% of African slaves that were brought to America passed through. It is why the city was at one time one of the richest in the Americas and why the landowners and well off residents in the city were said to have lived like kings. It is also why the Charleston elite were at the forefront of the Southern resistance during the civil war.
More on the city itself in another post, but the plantation was home to the Drayton Family and the original house dates back to 1738 and included 630 acres of land. It primarily produced indigo and rice and was entirely self sufficient.
If you're interested, you can do a full tour and read more about the plantation here. Unlike many of the others, which have been restored, this plantation is special because they chose to preserve it in its current state and the seven generations of Draytons that lived here family preserved it. The rooms are all empty, but you can see the original details with all of the wear that time has taken.
The details were by far the most interesting aspects photographically.
1/125th at F6.3, ISO 200 (28mm).
Just got back from a week vacation in Charleston, which was the reason for the slow posting the last few weeks.
Here's a quick shot in front of one of the oldest buildings in the city, dating back to 1743. No matter where I travel I always manage to capture a dumb shot like this. One day I'll have a books worth of shots of ridiculous tourist shirts in front of grand architecture and monuments around the world.
But more on the city, the history, and the architecture, with some (sans tourist) travel shots over the next few days as I get more time to write some posts. It was one of the most stunning cities that I've ever been too, both in history, in the preserved, grand architecture, and in the food. The food was incredible.
1/400th at F13, ISO 1600 (28mm).
It's often on purpose, but even when I'm not trying I can't seem to take a photo without that damn New York Dolls taxicab advertisement. It's on half the cabs.
Here's the last one. If you notice, it pops up in a lot of my street work.