Tag Archives: new york times

When Banksy comes to town

When elusive London-based street artist and social activist, Mr.Banksy, landed in New York earlier last month, he apparently made some serious noise.

1) He set up a blog to document his artistic residency on the streets of New York, and actually used a hashtag #banksyny, which was reason enough for his avid followers to use and abuse all social media platforms.

2) The NYPD were kept on their toes, and stayed alert in fear of him secretly communicating “bold” messages to the community as always (yes, well, Surprise!)

3) The New York Times declined to publish the Op-ed column he had written for them, as his dark humor “brutally” offended one the NY’s heritage sites). He still published the article on his blog, casually referring to the World Trade Center as a “Shyscraper” – and then subtly concluding with: New York, we lost our nerve (ah, you’ve got to love him!)

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But all in all, from the looks of it, New York, the city, seems to have fallen under the spell of Banksy’s wit, and Banksy in return, seems to have fallen “shyly” but surely in love with the city where dreams are rumored to come true (one could develop a sense of belonging to both London and New York at the same time according to NY-based photographer Daniella Zalcman) . He not only set up a stall in Central Park where 100% original and signed Banksy canvases were sold for only 60$, he also bid New York farewell with a set of balloons that read “Banksy” right before he fled, to say (in his own words): “Thanks for your patience, it’s been fun. Save 5pointz. Bye”

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I was just browsing through Streetartnews’ most popular murals of October 2013, and Banksy’s New York mural “Waiting in Vain” outside the Hustler Club topped the list. The truth is, he wowed, throughout his entire month’s excursion on the streets of New York. His adventures will soon be showcased in a Camden shop near you Londoners, so make sure you stop by and stock up on Banksy postcards and canvases (the flying balloons girl below, painted on a wall in West Bank – and portraying the desire of freedom, and the yearning to be able to float away, still is my ultimate fav).

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Below are some highlights of his street graffiti work in New York (mostly murals because I am fond of them), and just so we’re clear, I am publicly green with envy. If Banksy is to keep flying out of London, he might as well bring his greatness over to Dubai soon, because you know, New York’s got nothing on you, beautiful City of Life!!

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Graffiti is a crime – Manhattan

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A test of childhood strength

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Stenciled Geishas in Williamsburg

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A robot spray- painting his tag in Coney Island

<> on October 7, 2013 in New York City.

A patched-up heart for the love of smiles…

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The rise of the Selfie

Oxford Dictionaries have officially given in to the rise of the Selfie (also known as selfy), introducing it to their lexicon as “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a webcam and uploaded to a social media website”.

selfieAlthough selfies go back to the 1800s (Chemist Robert Cornelius took his first selfie in 1839, while Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia took her first selfie using a portable Kodak Bownie Box camera in 1913 ), but the rise of the digital selfies is quite recent (Justin Bieber, Michelle Obama, and even the Pope are now huge fans). They’ve taken over the globe in 2013 with giant social media platform Instagram  providing photo-editing and sharing services. A simple hashtag search for #selfie on Instagram this morning revealed over 51,706,771 posts compared to less than 10,200,000 in January 2013.

Being an instagram lover myself, I’m quite excited that the selfie movement is finally getting acknowledged (in London of all places). London’s Moving Image Contemporary Art Fair has just launched the “National #Selfie Gallery” which showcases a collection of selfies in the form of videos from emerging artists from Europe and the United States. “The gallery explores the range of performativity, personality, authenticity, and expression inherent in the #selfie form, from the instant gratification of its creation to the popularity contests of its publication.”

“A Visual Diary” is how a selfie is described in a recent New York Times article. I tend to agree (heart shaped-eyes, pouting lips, bad hair day, empty stomach,  employee of the month, posed- selfies all included).

I hesitated to share the below, but here we are: a somewhat weird video from one of the participating artists for your pleasure! (I’ve only seen this in movies but the geek in me is not one to judge) . Morning Selfie anyone?