Brooklyn is where it’s at. A tree grows there. Beards grow there. But most importantly, the art scene grows there.
Last weekend, I ventured out to Bushwick, a cool “up-and-coming” neighborhood in Brooklyn. I say “ventured,” but it was a much quicker ride than I expected – taking the L train to Jefferson Street took about 20 minutes from Union Square. I don’t love the phrase “up-and-coming,” but it does apply to Bushwick. You’re probably familiar with Williamsburg, Brooklyn, birthplace of the hipster – well, Bushwick is being called “the next Williamsburg.” It has changed so much over the last few years and is expected to look even more different over the next few. I hope it doesn’t change *too* much, because I fell in love with what I found there last weekend.
I was in Bushwick to take a Brooklyn Art Tour with Like a Local Tours. In addition to art tours in Bushwick AND Park Slope/Gowanus, Like a Local Tours also offers food and booze tours of Williamsburg, tours of the Flatiron district, and tours of North Fork wineries on Long Island.
We started off our tour with Lauren, the founder of Like a Local tours, outside of AP Cafe where I grabbed a chai to comfort me on that gloomy day. Like a Local tour groups are traditionally small (around 15 max), but our group was even tinier, which I’m sure was due to the weather.
I’ve been on a lot of tours in my day but I’d never been on one that seemed like I was just walking around with a group of friends until last weekend. It was more of a conversation than a tour. Lauren took us around to the popular outdoor gallery of street art, the Bushwick Collective, which reminded me of my visit to 5 Pointz, which I explored just two days before it was surprise white-washed. There are blocks and blocks of buildings covered in a diverse array of street art. I loved the bright colors against the bleak sky we had that day.
Lauren told us about the history of the Bushwick Collective, how it got started, and got into details about specific artists (which you’ll have to experience when you go on the tour yourself). The art work will freshen up every once in a while, as the artists are contracted for a specific amount of time, but the most popular artists’ work will stay longer. So get out there soon and get out there often.
After walking around outdoors for a while, we entered Brooklyn Brush Studios where we were given access to three artists’ studios AND the artists themselves – a true treat.
Luis Martin, @ArtEngineer, took us around the studio and showed us his collages, many made of pictures from magazines + paint.
Samantha Robinson, @samantha___robinson, walked us through her process, which includes constructing wooden frames into different shapes and painting silk fabric to stretch over the frames.
We talked with Annesta Le, @annesta_le, who forms her artwork with straight tubes of neon and bends them over fire with her unprotected-from-the-heat hands.
After seeing their artwork and asking them questions in their studios, the tour concluded with a “mixer” with the artists where we drank wine and had some snacks, along with some more conversation with the artists and Lauren.
Would I recommend this tour? One word, as represented on the side of this building:
Many thanks, Like a Local Tours and Young Travel Professionals for hosting me on this tour and to my dear friend The World Wanderer for letting me know about it – into street art? Check out her post on The Colorful Walls of Miami’s Wynwood!