Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Celebrating and Elevating Urban Art

By Brianne Harrison

For the most part, we look at graffiti and see narcissistic defacement—someone so enamored of themselves they simply have to scrawl their name on a train car or a highway overpass or a wall. And typically, that’s exactly what graffiti is. But every now and then, an actual artist takes up this medium, and instead of a sloppy, drippy name, we see an astonishing mural, usually colorful and packed with meaning, that moves beyond vandalism and becomes art, in some cases, actually elevating its (oftentimes) rundown surroundings.

That type of “street art” is what’s being celebrated in Fresh from the Streets, an exhibit at the Mikhail Zakin Gallery at the Art School at Old Church, which will draw to a close on September 10. The exhibit brings a typically urban form of art to the suburbs and features an 8’ x 20’ collaborative mural created by street artists Leon Rainbow; Demer; Will Kasso, and Chris, Veng, and Kev/Psyn of Robots Will Kill. Other artists, such as Karlos Carcamo, Michael Ciccotello, Joe Egan, Dan Fenelon, Jerry Gant, Peter Krsko, and Sue Zwick are showing stickers, posters, stencils, paintings, and sculptures influenced by street art and urban culture.

If you’re interested in pursuing art yourself, you might want to take the opportunity to check out the courses offered at the Art School at Old Church. A $40 annual membership fee (for an adult, teens 15 and under are $20) allows you to participate in the school’s courses. Life drawing studio time (Saturday mornings) and workshops are separate. Regular courses include ceramics, drawing, fiber arts, glass, jewelry, painting, photography, sculpture, and watercolor. Workshops for fall 2009 include papermaking, sculpting with books, functional pottery, creative dollmaking, introduction to stained glass, and jewelry making.

The Art School at Old Church is located at 561 Piermont Rd. in Demarest. They can be reached at 201.767.7160 or info@tasoc.org. For more information, visit tasoc.org.

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