J M Z Walls is a non for profit collective named after the elevated subway lines of the J, M and Z trains that run past these walls everyday. The curator is a long time resident of the neighborhood and a good-hearted, ‘down to earth’ guy. He is another outdoor gallery curator who wants to bring the culture of New York contemporary mural art to the public and brighten up Brooklyn with an art education.
The outdoor art revolution is strong in Brooklyn with the Bushwick Collective curated by Joe Ficalora; Dodsworth Street Murals curated by Rocko; a short walk away from JMZ Walls, whose curator prefers to remain anonymous. On the other side of town, Pierre Francillon curates The Bakers Dozen Mural Project in Flatbush. In Astoria, Queens, Welling Court Murals Project curated by Ad Hoc is bringing the colors of life to barren walls. In the East Village/LES of Manhattan there is Centrefuge Public Art Project curated by Pebbles Russell and Jon Neville and The LISA Project (Little Italy Street Art), curated by Wayne Rada. All of these are non for profit street art collectives here in New York.
Grass roots street art projects like these are changing how we look at urban landscapes. These outdoor curators expose what artists exhibit inside the galleries and bring the art outside for the public to enjoy but on a larger scale. These enrichment programs are spearheaded by individuals who see the value in the power of art because they know that art does make a positive difference in our society.
With this mural I wanted to paint a female in repose as an homage to Titian’s “Venus of Urbino”, 1538 and Ingres’s “Grand Odalisque”, 1819. The female I chose does not have the body regarded by some as a perfect one, but it is a common one. You would not find this body type on a magazine cover, but how many women look like those photoshopped models anyway? Very few women possess the magazine image of the so called ‘perfect body’ and that is okay.
My purpose with this mural is to show not only the nature in the human anatomy but also the naturalism in how most bodies are not perfect. This type is actually one type that I find engaging when observing for a drawing. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder in the same regard that art is in the mind of the viewer. The human body, perfect or not, is nothing to be ashamed of and this person posing reflects just that notion. She is confident in her relaxed pose, feeling secure about who she is without regard toward the stigma of society’s definition for beauty.
In my version of this particular subject matter taken from the pages of art history, I replaced the scenery with a grafstract background filled with organic shapes and black contours moving about with an energy emanating from the colors of life from her radiating aura. Here the abstract background design shares a commanding role with the female figure as dually important within the mural’s composition. The background is competing with the posing female in the same sense that Matisse’s textile patterns compete with his nudes. Matisse represented the town of Nimes, France which was known for the manufacturing of textiles. The word denim comes from “de Nimes” (from Nimes) because denim pants were produced in Nimes’ factories during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. I am representing my style of grafstract patterns of graffiti motifs I used to incorporate inside my letter designs.
JMZ Walls is located at the intersection of Mrtyle Avenue and Broadway on the borderline of Bushwick and Bedstuy, Brooklyn with more murals by other artists. It is worth a visit. I want to thank the curator for inviting me to paint there and as always, appreciate the visits and comments from people who walked by.
This is my final New York mural of 2014. From March to November I created 24 murals at home and abroad. Next up is Art Basel Miami, so I am not quite finished yet…Carpe Diem!
[The three images from Google include 1) Venus of Urbino, 1538 2) Grand Odalisque, 1819 3) Reclining Nude Back, 1927]