You’ve probably walked the streets of Brooklyn on your way to the Museum, the street fairs, or the Brewery, and completely disregarded the actual walk there. What do you pass? A few trees, some old apartment buildings, some delicious-looking restaurants? Do you notice the art? That’s right. Art. Outdoors. Most people simply pass by the drawings on the side of buildings, simply relegating them to “graffiti” – just some letters or images that some kid with a spray can scrawled on the wall late at night. Well, ok, maybe a lot of them actually were spray painted on late at night – but that doesn’t preclude these pieces as works of art. That’s the whole point David Meade hopes to make as he provides tours of Williamsburg and Bushwick on his “Street Art Walks.”
It was a rainy Saturday in Williamsburg when David met with Examiner to give us a glimpse into his art walk. David jumped right in to the tour despite the weather, excitedly pointing out the black-and-white image of a young child on an alleyway door, then rushing to the corner to point at an image of a skull with curled horns painted on the upper wall of a building. “This image is everywhere,” he smiles. “It’s by an artist named Swampy – he likes to get up in those hard-to-reach places and leave his mark so that the image lasts a while.” Having always expressed an interest in art himself, David’s project only gained fruition in late 2012 when he began showing friends and family some of his favorite artworks around town. Now, tours are offered every Saturday and Sunday to groups of up to twenty, at a price of $20 apiece.
If you’re someone who has eclectic tastes and are looking for something different to do on a weekend afternoon, then this is the tour for you. If you’re typically a museum visitor whose loves include Renaissance art or Impressionism, then you might want to reconsider your decision to jump on this tour. Understand that street art is not your typical museum art and this street tour offers a glimpse into the “other” art of today.
That said, there are a few things about this tour: David is a very willing tour guide and has done some great research. If you didn’t know anything about street art before wandering Brooklyn, you’ll certainly leave with a better sense of what goes into those little paintings on the walls or the man (or woman) behind the large mural on your way to the grocery store. David seems to know some of the artists personally, and notes that he regularly attends gallery openings and art shows just to discover more about the art. He regularly covers up to twenty different artists in the span of two hours.
In addition to Swampy, the works of C215 (a gifted portraitist who leaves colorful artworks on the side of mailboxes and telephone poles), Gilf (an art school graduate who uses wheatpaste to create simple yet large and eye-catching wall murals that “provoke thoughtfulness” in her viewers), Icy and Sot (whose black-and-white images of young children are particularly arresting), and Bast (a prolific artist who can be recognized through his incorporation of cartoons in his street art) are all scattered throughout the streets of Brooklyn. Would you have noticed them if they weren’t pointed out to you on this tour? Probably not.
If you’re interested in learning more about David’s Street Art Walk, check out the website and social media channels, including Facebook and Twitter. The tour is also listed on Vayable.com and Trip Advisor, both of which give favorable reviews of the art walk, noting its eclecticism and the passion with which David gives his tours.
If you get a chance to take this tour, let us know your thoughts by leaving a comment in the space below! Have you ever been on a street art walk before? What did you think?