Sweet Toof, Cern, Brown Boys, Shiro, Yes One & False
Welcome to the first installment of our monthly showcase of the top five New York City graffiti and street art pieces found on the city’s walls, rooftops and tunnels, an expansion of our popular semi-annual column, curated by Untapped Cities Street Art columnist, Christopher Inoa.
Lucky for us, the graffiti and street artists of New York are not taking a break just because it’s January. The temperature may be below freezing, but the men and women who pick up spray cans and paint brushes are not letting something like the cold stop them from making the streets just a bit more colorful. Fresh off a great 2014, the new year has already given us great murals to admire. To catch you up on what’s been going on in, here is the first of the monthly column. Happy hunting!
5. Shiro & Yes One
Shiro & Yes One (JMZ via Instagram)
What we love most about this collaboration between graffiti artists Shiro and Yes One is the explosion of color here. Blue, pink, brown, yellow and red all come together to contrast the very gray and bleak days that winter usually gives NYC. Yes One adds his name in bold letters that reminds us of the lettering found in classic comic book covers and Shiro—a Japanese artist heavily influenced by Hip Hop culture—adds one of her trademark female B-Girl characters. This wall is a part of JMZ Walls: a collection of murals in Bushwick.
False (Fromqueens via Instagram)
For years False has put his name on walls, trucks, tunnels and rooftops. This piece on a rooftop somewhere in Brooklyn, shows that in 2015, the veteran graffiti artist is continuing to experiment with different styles, impressing the many who continue exploring the city for his latest work.
Cern (Halopigg via Instagram)
It’s no secret that we’re big fans of Cern. His beautiful truck made it on our Top 10 NYC Graffiti Trucks of 2014 and he is starting 2015 with this wonderful mural in Williamsburg. The inspiration for this piece (filled with the colorful and unique animals common in Cern’s work) is obviously from his many journeys riding the subway. If you take a closer look at the mural, you can see that all of the humans in this train car are looking down, on their phones, ignoring the beautiful animals and plants riding this surreal train car with them. It could be Cern telling us all to move our eyes away from the black mirrors in our hands and see the beauty that’s around us.
2. Sweet Toof
Sweet Toof (Lfader via Instagram)
Holding two spray cans (one yellow, one pink), rocking a suit and hat combo that is more than likely an homage to fellow UK street artist Nick Walker. Sweet Toof, coming off a great solo show at Pandemic Gallery last month, continues to bless NYC with great murals throughout the city. Out of all of the walls and gates the artist obsessed with dental hygiene has put up, our favorite is this large mural in Brooklyn.
1. Brown Boyz
Brown Boyz (NickrMartin via Instagram)
The best mural of the month comes from a group calling themselves the “Brown Boys.” The group consists of NYC street artists Lunar New Year, Mata Ruda, Don Rimx and Ricardo Cabret. The title for this piece “Con Nuestros Propois Esfueroz”, comes from an instructional book published by the Cuban government in the early ’90s. Translated, it means “With Our Own Efforts;” LNY (in his personal Instagram post of the mural ) says that the title and imagery come from discussions the artists have had about current Latin America and the recent negotiations between the United States and Cuba. LNY goes further, saying that the mural “sources imagery from the Cuban National Seal, portraiture of its citizens and the double edged ideals of isolation, separation, strength and unity.”
And that’s January, come back next month for the best pieces of February 2015. Until then, don’t forget to check out our Street Art Archive, as well as our Top 10 Street Art Pieces and Trucks of 2014.
The author may need some help shoveling snow in order to get his required daily slice of pizza, if you want to help contact him on twitter @ChrisLInoa.