Legendary street artist and social satirist Ron English’s Hulk Baby Mural has been on display at the corner of Houston and Bowery since late April, but you know sometimes we arrive a little late to the party, because so much else is going on. Because, NYC!
The selfie-friendly mural shows English’s Hulk Baby character (AKA Temper Tot) set against a patchwork American flag, featuring reproductions of the many scathing corporate/brand parodies, memes and unique characters he has introduced over the past two decades as “guerilla” billboards, paintings and collectible art toys. Here are a few of our favorites.
Painted by muralist Rip Cronk, this likeness of a microphone-holding, shirtless Jim Morrison can be seen on the side of a three-story building located at 1811 Speedway and 18th Place in Venice Beach, CA. Originally painted in 1991, Cronk touched up the painting in the Summer of 2012, creating a vibrant orange background over what had previously been both a darker blue color, and the building’s natural white brick. The mural is a must-see for Doors fans if you happen to be in the area.
Jim Morrison shuffled off this mortal coil exactly forty years ago today. Wow. A lot of Doors fans reading this post weren’t even born then. I was ten years old, so Jim has been dead for most of my life. He left us a lot of good and very unique music, and for this we should continue to fete him each year on the anniversary of his passing. My fellow rock critic Rob O’Connor has an noteworthy contribution to this day of remembering Jim Morrison in his latest Yahoo Music column, List of The Day, in which he conducts an interview with himself about Morrison’s life and The Doors’ contribution to music. It is quite clever/hilarious while also remaining respectful to the memory of Mr. Mojo Rising. Sort of. Also, O’Connor offers some solid advice for the novice Doors collector. Example:
Question #7: Which Greatest Hits Album Should I Buy?: Thanks for asking! The Doors, like The Smiths, have more greatest hits albums than actual studio albums. So, I would suggest buying all six of their studio albums. They’re all super! Then grab Absolutely Live!
With a background as a graffiti artist who progressed to cartooning and illustration – studying at NYC’s School of Visual Arts where he developed the distinct style he calls, simply, Fumeroism – local painter Fumero has joined the ranks of up-and-coming artists currently creating a buzz on the New York City art scene. While Fumero made an impression at last winter’s Art Basel contemporary art fare in Miami, and he has participated in a group show at NYC’s Art Bazaar space, his work officially graduates from the streets to the Gallery with his first solo exhibit now on view at Phantom Audio, just a few blocks east of the Chelsea gallery hub.
Show Curator Frankie Velez Poses with his Likeness
Curated by artist Frankie Velez, Fumeroism showcases nearly two dozen of Fumero’s portraits on canvases of various sizes. Fumero explains that his preferred palette of vibrant colors and the definitive line details of his portraits are directly influenced by the shapes and colors of “wildstyle” graffiti lettering to create an abstract yet recognizable human likeness. The work is really quite remarkable and each portrait invites a trail of possible conversations which must be blazed. For example, his portraits of iconic figures such as Gandhi, Bob Marley, Jim Morrison and Marilyn Monroe could not be mistaken for anyone other than their subject, but through Fumero’s eyes and brushstrokes their expressions transform into something almost otherworldly.
Jim Morrison’s mouth has a noticeable feminine pout while Monroe looks more gaunt and menacing than voluptuous and inviting. Marley’s portrait embraces such a sense of movement in the way the colors interact with each other that, to be quite blunt, it reminds me of how one might “experience” the paining while frying as hard as possible on LSD. Fumero has a unique way of seeing the face that is undeniably hallucinatory but also very effective.
My favorite piece in the exhibit is a portrait of Fumero’s grandfather, entitled “Grandpa,” which flaunts equal parts abstraction and realism in how the loving, aged character of Grandpa’s face is represented not by wrinkles but by colors. Needless to say, this collection of portraits is extremely compelling.
“The Family Portrait” (Table Series)
“Table Series Logo” By Fumero
Also on display at Phantom is a representation of the artist’s semi-autobiographical paintings, The Table Series. This series of works in progress depicts an Italian American family (reflecting Fumero’s heritage) congregated around and socializing at the kitchen table. In this way, he brings his life experiences, traditions and nostalgic memories directly into his work. The Table Series also spawned the well-known “Table Series Logo” sticker, which has become one of the most famous, iconic street tags in urban settings from New York to Los Angeles. Clearly, for Fumero the story behind the painting is just as important as what goes on the canvas. We should all look forward to hearing more of the story.
Table Series Logo Sticker
Fumeroism is on exhibit now at Phantom Audio, Located at 48 West 25th Street (East of 6th Ave), 10th Floor in NYC. Viewings are by appointment only, so please call (212)727-0452 if you plan to stop by.
Jim Morrison, singer for The Doors would have celebrated his 67th birthday today. Thanks Jim, not only for the great music which will live forever (Favorite Doors’ Song: “The Crystal Ship”) but also for generating more traffic to The Worley Gig than any other dead rock star. Don’t think I don’t appreciate it.