The GOOD Cities Project — led by Bristol Baughan, Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning filmmaker — is diving into a five-month multi-media exploration with Ford Motor Company and inviting their favorite thought leaders to create visual love letters to cities across the country. This fall, The Street Museum of Art was asked to share our unique and personal perspective of the city we live in and love through billboard takeovers in and around New York during the month of November. Focusing on found works of street art that have taken on lives of their own throughout this city, SMoA’s behind-the-scenes video and billboard designs call for the public to take an active role in the GOOD Cities Project and ‘Rediscover Our City’ through the lens of a street artist.
NYC; a place where dreamers and artists migrate. A Mecka for the arts. The cultural epicenter of the world — this was my understanding when I moved here from California over seven years ago, and I have yet to be disappointed. The diversity of cultures, colors, and backgrounds that blend together in this city create an incredible energy, unlike anywhere else. Inspiration abounds. This love for the city has culminated my determination to beautify the city as well. While there are so many things to love in this city, I find that I can still contribute and add life and culture and even more love. Scouting blank walls, brown walls, empty walls has become a hobby. I dream onto those walls and decide what sort of color it should posses. I add power and love and contribute my two cents to a commuter’s day. I find that discovering street art in our city is like finding gems or running into old friends. I love that I can participate in the energy and color and enrichment of a city in a public manner, sometimes adding floral inspiration from a botanical garden, or a twist to a piece I saw in a museum, or some other hidden gem in the city, and bringing it to a blank wall in a different location. The loudspeaker that is a blank wall in New York city is my canvas and my opportunity to share beauty and love with others.
I was nine years old and four thousand miles away when I did my first tag. Born and raised in the blue-collar housing projects of Bergsjön in Gothenburg, Sweden I pictured New York City, the graffiti capitol of the world before my eyes.
I went on imaginary strolls through its streets. I yielded for yellow cabs and stepped through the white steam pushing from its subway system. I took the train to the Bronx to see the legends tackle bricks and concrete, to feel the punch from the aerosol in my nose.
Thirty years later I’m here. These streets that I have loved as if though they were my own are mine now, for real.
We’re all creators of the cities we love. I create with frosty rivers and snow covered pine trees, with grey granite and white summer nights. With every press of the cap I’m merging my roots with this overwhelmingly inspiring, rigorously demanding, and gritty – yet dreamy – metropolis.
Being born and raised in Queens, I’ve always wanted to paint something that was quintessential to my upbringing. New Yorkers are always going to be harsh on you and don’t always accept stuff right away but that makes you work harder and push harder to innovate yourself. Most of my paintings are self portraits built up through signage and urban imagery — the city creates the being. Dotted lines show the pathways and inner working of a complex city and how it created me.
The GOOD Cities Project is a five-month collaboration with Ford, exploring how we make our cities and how our cities make us. As part of the project, GOOD and Ford have commissioned cultural creatives across the country to help illuminate and celebrate the rich and vastly diverse points of view that make up each city’s individual character. Each week, we will be exploring attributes that we believe are fundamental to living meaningful urban lives.
To read more about this project, click here.