New York City

American Hip Hop Culture In the Style of Norman Rockwell

For his 2012 mixtape Royalty, rapper Donald Glover, better known as Childish Gambino, hired NYC– based artist Sam Spratt to create his album coverSpratt explained, “What began as cover art for his mixtape “Royalty” evolved into a series of Rockwell-esque vignettes on Americana meant to highlight the side of hip-hop that tends to take a back seat to “money, cars, and jewelry” – where you come from… The pieces are littered with tiny nods, details, and Easter eggs that Childish fans will appreciate, but really these are the stories of many people—not just one. The chance to paint vignettes based on Donald’s music, and the genres it’s born from, wasn’t something I would ever pass up.”

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Found on: Visual News

Banksy hits New York City, but the City Hits Back



    Banksy taunts the law with the first piece in his residency, completed on October 1st at Allen and Canal Street in Manhattan. Photo courtesy carnagenyc on Flickr.

Acclaimed street artist Banksy has crossed the pond from his native UK, and is now leaving his marks all around New York City. Since October 1st, he’s created upwards of 10 pieces as part of his monthlong “residency” (to borrow a term from the professional art world), titled “Better Out Than In.” Banksy’s playful work often offers social or political commentary, and he hasn’t limited himself to sidewalks and walls in New York — he’s already created two mobile pieces ontrucks. Many of the New York pieces include mock audio guides that poke fun at the recorded messages offered to museum-goers, which are also available online.

Banksy’s work by its very nature is ephemeral — property owners often paint over it, or opportunistic looters extract it from the streets and sell it for vast sums, sometimes even chiseling it out of exterior walls. The short shelf-life of Banksy’s work has never been more visible than here in New York. A little less than halfway through his tour of the Big Apple, local graffiti artists and property owners have already altered his first few pieces dramatically with their own marks. See the biggest transformations below. — Photography by William Mansell and Sam Sheffer.


    Manhattan (After)

    The work was completely destroyed soon after when the building owner painted over the work. Others have tagged over it since.



    Perhaps the most iconic of the set was completed on October 2nd at 25th Street between 10th and 11th avenues.


    Westside (After)

    The monotone piece later acquired an explosion of color from local graffiti artists.



    Completed October 3rd at 24th Street and 6th Avenue, Midtown Manhattan. Image courtesy carnagenyc on Flickr.


    Midtown (After)

    There were some tags already on the wall before Banksy marked it, but more have been added since.



    Painted October 4th at Stanwix and Melrose in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Banksy added “The Musical” to three different graffiti tags around the city as part of a series on this day.


    Bushwick (After)

    The piece has now been painted over, but the faded outline of his work is still visible, just barely.


    All City

    Banksy’s first mobile piece of the residency created an idyllic paradise inside of an old box van. It has since disappeared.



    Completed on October 7th at King Street and Van Brunt Street in Red Hook, Brooklyn. The battered and bruised heart-shaped ballon is patched up enough to stay afloat.


    Brooklyn (After)

    It was later tagged over by local graffiti artists, before someone put a plastic barrier up to prevent further scrawls.



    On October 8th, Banksy painted a satirical quote, deliberately misattributed to Plato, on this door in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, between Provost Street and McGuinness Boulevard.


    Greenpoint (After)

    Soon after, the door was completely removed (presumably for sale) and replaced. Someone then offered their own satirical retort to Banksy’s original work.


    Lower East Side

    This simply titled work was completed October 9th. It is located as its name suggests in Manhattan’s Lower East Side on Ludlow Street, between Stanton and Rivington Streets, is one of Banksy’s most elaborate yet, spreading from the wall onto a car nearby. The accompanying audio comes from “Collateral Murder,” the military footage showing soldiers gunning down civilians in Iraq from a helicopter, first posted online in 2010 by Wikileaks. Looters have since taken the rear left door and the front left mirror. The front door is also unable to close, as The Verge‘s Sam Sheffer notes.


    East New York

    Banksy certainly likes furry animals. The artist’s work comes off of the wall here, as a pile of debris near the base of the post suggests the beaver managed to chomp through the metal, felling the sign. It’s located in East New York, Brooklyn, at Bradford Street and Pitkin Ave. Photo courtesy of carnagenyc on Flickr.


    Meatpacking District

    Titled “Sirens of the Lambs,” the second mobile work drove the streets of Manhattan’s Meatpacking District on October 11th. It has since disappeared.


    Central Park

    The next day Banksy let New Yorkers know that they had missed the opportunity to buy an original stenciled work for just $60. The stall set up in Central Park sold eight pieces in total.



    Completed October 12th, this “Concrete Confessional” features a stencil of a priest peering through an actual concrete window cutout, located at East 7th Street and Cooper Square in Manhattan’s East Village.



    On October 14th this Banksy appeared in Woodside, Queens. The quote, “What we do in life echoes in eternity” comes from the 2000 Ridley Scott filmGladiatorImage courtesy Flickr user carnagenyc.



    This tiny but immensely evocative memorial to the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center is arguably Banksy’s most emotionally riveting work yet. The Verge‘s Sam Sheffer photographed this on October 15th, the day it was created. He’s since heard the candles were knocked over and the flower taken.


    All City McDonald's

    Banky’s first trip to the South Bronx on October 15th was an interactive sculpture of an elitist Ronald McDonald getting his shoes shined by a real performer. Bansky’s website explained the sculpture would also be mobile, appearing at McDonald’s restaurants around the entire city, and sure enough, shortly after this photo was taken it was removed by the shoe shiner and another man and placed into a black cargo van and to another McDonald’s, but not before a local politician thanked the performers for visiting.


    Bed Stuy

    Banksy took his usual mix of high-and-low art to Brooklyn on October 17th, with this painting that turns a pre-existing archway into a bridge for his two finely-dressed silhouettes. Despite the title, it’s located in Williamsburg, not Bedford-Stuyvesant.


    West 24th Street

    Banksy created an outdoor art gallery on October 18th, replete with champagne, a bench, and a security guard. It’s located in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood, near many of the city’s finest (and most expensive) art galleries. Both paintings are collaborations with Brazilian street artist Os Gemeos. Here, one of Banky’s typical riot police figures stands among Gemeos’ characters.


    West 24th Street

    The second of two works unveiled on October 18th under the Highline. It appears the space was rented out for the occasion. The second painting is the opposite of the first, and it is also a collaboration with Brazilian artist Os Gemeos.

Found on: The Verge

The Most Common Practices Of Super-Achievers

For their new book The Art of Doing, Camille Sweeney and Josh Gosfield interviewed 36 super-achievers at the tops of their fields. They started seeing patterns emerge. These are the 10 most common practices of the highly successful.

1. Good Storytelling:

Stories have the ability to transport people to your world, so they’re more likely to invest in you and your brand. Instead of million-dollar ads, CEO Tony Hsieh wanted each customer interaction to sell the brand. With positive word of mouth, every customer was telling the story of the company.

2. Dedication To A Vision

Super-achievers are dedicated to their vision day in and day out. Philippe Petit, famous for his high-wire walk between New York City’s Twin Towers, dedicated himself to the feat before he was even an accomplished wire-walker. He stuck with it until he’d accomplished his goal.

3. Listening And Remaining Open

Successful people practice the art of listening to learn what they need to know about the world around them. They may listen in the tradition sense, but it’s also about being open more generally. Actress Laura Linney does this with every script. She never takes a part unless she has read and reread the script so many times that it has opened up to her.

4. Pursuing Happiness

Success fuels happiness, and happiness in turn fuels greater success. Game show champion Ken Jennings said his passion for the game helped him win, and every win gave him more confidence for the next round.

5. Intelligent Persistence

Super-achievers are intelligently persistent—meaning they know when to pivot. When faced with setbacks, instead of doggedly using the same tactics that aren’t working, they examine the problem and figure out what will work. Opera superstar Anna Netrebko was initially discouraged from being a solo singer. However, she took a job as an opera-house janitor, got the chance to audition and eventually got a shot at the lead role.

6. Testing Ideas In The Market

“Everybody has a bias to think their own idea is brilliant,” says co-author Gosfield. “[Achievers] roll it out in an environment that’s as close as possible to the market.” Bill Gross, the head of Idealab and a mega-successful entrepreneur, always tests his business ideas first to better understand consumer interest before he launches them.

7. Fostering A Community

Success cannot be achieved alone. Achievers galvanize a group of people around their idea or goal. Jessica Watson, who sailed around the world at age 16, sought the help of mentors, experts and friends to support and prepare her for the journey.

8. Constantly Evolving

Successful people maintain success by consistently learning and adapting to the environment around them. Tennis champion Martina Navratilova realized this when her game suddenly started sliding. She decided to transform her training routine and diet, and soon was back on track to become an all-star athlete.

9.  Managing Emotions

Super-achievers know how to manage their own emotions and those of the people around them. Gary Noesner, former FBI hostage negotiator, would listen and find out what the person’s needs were in order to gain their trust and diffuse the intense emotions.

10. Practicing Patience

Co-authors Sweeney and Gosfield heard again and again the importance of patience–whether it’s strategically waiting for the best time to take action or continuing to pursue a larger vision without receiving immediate rewards. Jill Tarter, director of SETI research, has been searching for life on other planets for the last 50 years without any guarantee of success.

Found on: Forbes

Converted Clock Tower Loft

At the top of a former cardboard box factory built in 1915, within a clock tower overlooking Brooklyn and Manhattan, is one of New York City’s most remarkable residences. The pinnacle of the Clocktower Building is a three-story penthouse measuring over 6,800 feet, with four 14-foot glass clocks – one on every wall of the top floor.

Converted Clocktower Penthouse 2

Converted CLocktower Penthouse 3

Converted Clocktower Penthouse 4

Converted Clocktower Penthouse 5

Converted Clocktower Penthouse 6

Converted Clocktower Penthouse 7

Found on: WebUrbanist

Haunting Images of Abandoned Places That Will Give You the Creeps

I.M. Cooling Tower, Belgium



Here’s a selection of some of the most ghostly abandoned places around the world, every single one of which has its own special charm. Beneath all the dust, rust and cracks, there are stories of people who used to live, pray, or take their daily train rides there, and when you try to imagine these people and their lives, each picture gets a special aura of nostalgia. It’s as if the people in these places just picked up and left.

Kolmanskop, Namibia


Image credits: Chris Gray

Kolmanskop was a small settlement in Namibia that saw a boom in the early 1900s when German settlers realized that the area was rich in diamonds. The surge of wealth gave out after WWI, however, when the diamond field began to deplete. By the 1950s, the town was completely deserted, and is now visited by photographers and tourists.

Last House on Holland Island, U.S.A



Image credits: baldeaglebluff

This house was part of what was once a fairly successful small island colony in Chesapeake Bay in the U.S. Rapid erosion of the island’s mud and silt coast, however, meant that there was less and less room to live on the island. This house was the last one left on Holland Island before it too collapsed in 2010.

Abandoned Mill, Italy


Image credits: Dale Tennyson

This mill in the Valley of the Mills in Sorrento, Italy was abandoned in 1866. This mill ground wheat, and a sawmill operated nearby as well. The mill was isolated from the sea by the construction of Tasso Square, which raised the humidity in the area and caused it to be abandoned.

Sunken Yacht, Antarctica

Image credits:

This eerie ghost ship is the Mar Sem Fim, a Brazilian yacht that was shipwrecked near Ardley Cove in Antarctica. A Brazilian crew had taken it to film a documentary, but strong winds and stormy seas forced the crew to abandon ship. The water that washed over the ship froze, cracked its hull and sunk the yacht, but it has since been salvaged.

The Haunting New Bedford Orphuem, U.S.A.

Image credits: Frank Grace

The New Bedord Orpheum is an old theater and entertainment building located in Massachusetts in the U.S. It was opened in 1912 and closed in 1959 – since then, it has stored tobacco and served as a supermarket. Now, the Orph Inc. nonprofit is trying to raise money to revitalize the building.

Underwater City in Shicheng, China

Image credits:

This incredible underwater city, trapped in time, is 1341 years old. Shicheng, or Lion City, is located in the Zhejiang province in eastern China. It was submerged in 1959 during the construction of the Xin’an River Hydropower Station. The water protects the city from wind and rain erosion, so it has remained sealed underwater in relatively good condition.

The Abandoned City Hall Subway Stop in New York, U.S.A.

Image credits: John Paul Palescandolo & Eric Kazmirek

This beautifully-designed metro station sits underneath City Hall in New York City. Because of its location, much attention was given to its design, but nearby stations ensured that this one never received a significant amount of traffic, and its curved layout made it unsafe for use with newer, longer trains. The station was closed in 1945 and, because of security concerns, it generally remains closed, with the exception of occasional exclusive tours.

Salto Hotel, Colombia

Image credits: astrophysicistkev

The Hotel De Salto opened in 1928 near Tequendema Falls in Colombia to serve tourists who came to marvel at the 157 meter-tall waterfall. It closed down in the early 90s after interest in the waterfall declined. In 2012, however, the site was turned into a museum.

Abandoned Military Hospital in Beelitz, Germany

Image credits: d.r.i.p.

These eerie pictures are part of the Beelitz-Heilstätten hospital complex in Beelitz, Germany. The large complex was built at the end of the 1800s and helped Adolf Hitler recuperate from a leg wound incurred at the Battle of Somme in 1916. Parts of the complex remain in operation, but most were abandoned after the Soviets withdrew from the hospital in 1995.

Abandoned Church in the Snow



Found on: Bored Panda



Interactive Photo Series Compares NYC’s Past and Present

New York City is constantly evolving and growing, making it difficult to document every change that has occurred, but NYC Grid is taking a stab at it. Run by Paul Sahner the ambitious website seeks to map the entire city “street by street and block by block” through photos. In addition to simply capturing present-day neighborhoods, though, the site also gives a peek of what specific areas looked like in the past, comparing the two in its “Before & After” section.

Each location examined in this catalog presents a side-by-side look at one perspective of the designated place, revealing the differences and similarities over decades and even a century. With a moveable, dividing slider going straight down the middle, visitors are given the opportunity to shift between the past and present. This interactive element reveals changes across time with great ease. As one shifts the slider back and forth, streetlights, modern cars, public art installations, and new buildings vanish and reappear.

Be sure to compare New York City’s past and present with the interactive slider on NYC Grid’swebsite.

via: My Modern Met

Until the Kingdom Comes

Simen Johan

Untitled #152, 2008.Simen Johan/Yossi Milo Gallery, NYC.

In his project, “Until the Kingdom Comes,” Simen Johan creates and photographs animals living in harsh, confused, and climate-disrupted landscapes. His work, on display through Feb. 17 at David Winton Bell Gallery, in Providence, R.I., is a magnificent display of these shifting environments.*

Johan’s skill lies in creating images of a perhaps-not-so-mythical future world where creatures are depicted in the wrong environment, and beasts that shouldn’t coexist do just that. These tremendous images certainly have a footing in the tradition of naturalists such as John James Audubon. Johan’s work, which has contemporary counterparts in artists like Walton Ford, presents an alternative to the traditional view of the natural world in which the influence of humanity’s excesses is sensed, if not immediately seen.

Simen Johan

Untitled #169, 2011, and Untitled #155, 2010.Simen Johan/Yossi Milo Gallery, NYC.

Simen Johan

Untitled #168, 2011.Simen Johan/Yossi Milo Gallery, NYC.

Johan, who began his continuing project in 2006, explained his process via email. He crafts his fantastical images mostly by photographing “animals that live in zoos, on farms, or on nature preserves,” but he occasionally relies on creatures that have been taxidermied in museum dioramas or found as road kill. “I then situate them in settings that I have photographed elsewhere.” He prefers photographing live animals and says, “When you create images as large as I do, up to 10 feet, you’re limited to what you can do digitally. Taxidermy looks dead and if you tweak too much, you’ll end up with Michael Jackson.”

Simen Johan

Untitled #159, 2010.Simen Johan/Yossi Milo Gallery, NYC.

Simen Johan

Untitled #133, 2005.Simen Johan/Yossi Milo Gallery, NYC.

Talking about his project, Johan writes, “When working on an image, I strive to create tension and confuse the boundaries between opposing forces, such as the familiar and the otherworldly, the natural and the artificial, the amusing and the eerie. I often feel like I am attempting to reconcile the irreconcilable as I explore the paradoxical nature of existence, its simultaneous abundance of beauty and horror. For example, in one of my photographs, two moose in combat are set upon by a flock of tropical parakeets behaving at once ravenous and playful. The overlapping ecosystems—northern moose, tropical birds, and signs of human civilization in the desert valley below—evoke a world where human intervention has caused ecological disarray.” The result is work that is both imaginative, thought-provoking, and more than a little foreboding about what our world could look like someday.

All photographs © Simen Johan and courtesy of Yossi Milo Gallery, New York City.

Simen Johan

Untitled #137, 2006, and Untitled #163, 2011.Simen Johan/Yossi Milo Gallery, NYC.

Simen Johan

Untitled #156, 2009.Simen Johan/Yossi Milo Gallery, NYC.

Simen Johan

Untitled #154, 2008.Simen Johan/Yossi Milo Gallery, NYC.

Simen Johan

Untitled #153, 2008.Simen Johan/Yossi Milo Gallery, NYC.

via: Slate

‘Art of the Brick,’ Nathan Sawaya’s Solo Show of LEGO Art in New York City

“Art of the Brick” is an ongoing solo exhibition of the LEGO art of artist Nathan Sawaya at Discovery Time Square in New York City. The exhibition includes recreations of famous paintings and sculptures, as well as original works by Sawaya, including a massive 80,020-brick T-Rex. We previously posted about the exhibition back in June. “Art of the Brick” runs until January 5, 2014.

Art of the Brick by Nathan Sawaya

photo via My Modern Metropolis

Art of the Brick by Nathan Sawaya

photo by Maddie Potter/Redesign Revolution

Art of the Brick by Nathan Sawaya

via: Laughing Squid

Manhattan Inside the Grand Canyon

At the end of 2012, Swiss photographer Gus Petro traveled to the United States. On his trip he visited the Grand Canyon in Arizona. 277 miles (446 km) long, up to 18 miles (29 km) wide and over 6,000 ft (1,800 m) deep, it is considered one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.

In a series entitled Empty, Petro captured the vastness of the mighty canyon.

From the emptiness of the Grand Canyon, Petro then journeyed north to the metropolis of New York City. There he captured the density of a major urban center in the aptly titled series, Dense.

The contrast of the two locations struck Petro, and he wondered what it would look like if he combined the opposite forces. In a final series entitled Merge, Petro brought together the feelings of emptiness and density he experienced on his trip.

via: Twisted Sifter