It’s obvious that this fun Shark paste-up by street artist Captain Eyeliner (@captain_eyeliner) has been out in the elements for a while, but I just noticed it while I was visiting Freeman Alley on my recent Birthday, and happened to walk west on Rivington toward Bowery instead on heading east towards Chrystie, which is my usual route. The message of Smash the Patriarchy, featuring an engaging image of Uncle Sam as a hungry Shark is both powerful and timely. A bit of research on Captain Eyeliner’s Instagram tells me this campaign is from 2019. Glad to see it has survived. Shark Attack on the Patriarchy, Bitches!
The pandemic has changed a lot about the way I live my life, and it has definitely changed my relationship to art. During the months when galleries and museums were closed, I turned to the galleries of the streets for inspiration, and spent hours each week walking and documenting what I saw. I discovered that many street artists were inspired by the experience of isolation due to Covid, and the increasingly dystopian nature of society imposed by the previous administration, to step-up the surreal nature of their creations. One new artist I kept seeing all over the city, whose work moved me immediately, was called Eye Sticker. Of course, the Eye is Pink.
Eye Sticker (also known as EYE) is an anonymous, gender-unspecified persona whose work often centers on a familiar, pop-culture image distinguished by the inclusion of a bright Pink Eye with an x-shaped iris at its center. The first work I saw by Eye Sticker was a paste up on St. Mark’s Place in the East Village, where I live. The piece depicted Dump as a Troll Doll, with a shock of pink hair and beady pink eyes that looked like those drawn by cartoonists to indicate that a person or animal is deceased. Appropriate, I thought.
Post Continues, with More Photos, After the Jump!
I just heard or read (who can even remember) that Elon Musk is all of a sudden the richest man in the world, but that will probably change by the time this posts. Because that is what happens. I spotted this paste-up of the Tesla creator / general psycho as Fictional Action Figure Buzz Lightyear on a boarded-up menswear store as I walked up Broadway toward the Flatiron Building. The quote, “Dream Until It’s Your Reality” is a new tag that I see all over the city now. Life is strange.
Update! See how this image changed just few days after the post went live, after the jump!
Democratic Vice Presidential Candidate Kamala Harris is the latest public figure to be transformed into street art by artist Sacsix, who recently did a fantastic job on Dr. Fauci. In his latest iteration, SacSix channels Harris’s inner Fearless Girl for a winning mash up. This paste-up is only few inches tall, so I had to really get down there to get the shot. Worth it. Good luck to Joe and Kamala in this race for our lives and our country’s future. I will be Voting Blue in November!
If you travel all the way to the back end of Freeman Alley (right by the city’s most secret restaurant) you may still be able to find this Astronaut floating amid a constellation of stickers, stencils and paste ups, accompanied by the phrase “Fly me to the moon!” spray painted in vibrant pink. How delightful. The artist, Poet (#poetwastaken on Instagram) offers that, “the astronaut is both an ode to Ol’ Blue Eyes‘ lyric of love, yet a modern nod to the Coachella Moon Man.” “After all,” he concludes, ” love is out of this world!” Amen to that!
Poet is the name of a street artist whose work I discovered through his Pink Mail Box series, which is called Love Letters. I started following him on Instagram under the hashtag #poetwastaken and, over the weekend, I went out looking for a few of the works he’s been posting on his feed. This piece, which includes an image of Kurt Cobain alongside a spray painted quote, is located in Freeman’s Alley on the LES.
Once I found the piece in person (and if you’ve seen Freeman’s Alley, you know that’s no easy feat) I was disappointed to discover that the quote had already been pasted over by another artist’s work, even though Poet’s piece had only been up since January 28th. This kind of thing happens so often that Poet said he has learned not to let it bother him. Everything is a work in progress.
Poet, who is based in Los Angeles, told me a bit more about the Cobain piece in a chat via Instagram. “The Kurt Cobain piece was actually initially derived from his quote “Thank you for the trajedy (sic), I need it for my art.” I had spray painted that next to that paste up, but the very next day it was covered by another paste up. This lead me to a add a short and sweet message of “I’m so happy” over Kurt’s image. I’ve been painting that quote for about a year now, and with paste ups only for a few months.”
Watch for more street art by Poet to be featured here in the coming weeks!
I’m not sure who does the Dasani Air street art — which has been floating around the east village since 2013 — but this one (spotted on Bowery just below Houston) was new to me. I’ve seen it with Queen Elizabeth sucking on a canister of Dasani Air (clearly parody of Coca Cola brand’s Dasani Water) but Batman is pretty popular as well.
Update October 2020: Since it was announced that Dump now has the Covid, I saw a bunch of these “Trump Air” paste-ups on First Avenue walking from 27th to 14th Street. Despite their recent appearance the image goes back to 2017. I’ve also discovered that the artist is Raimann (#Raimann1 on Instagram).