Ode to the LES
The Lower East Side (LES) used to have two meanings to me, one because of the geographical location within the isle of Manhattan and two because of the impoverished neighborhood made up of low income earners that were tenants who settled there for generations since the days when immigrants came pouring in from Europe during the 1850’s until the 1920’s. It was known as a tough neighborhood for decades but that gritty part of New York City has been seen as going through a tremendous make over the last ten years. Construction and remodeling has picked up pace with major transformations from the old New York that I grew up with to the New-New York it has become. From the down trotted slum to the trendy and upscale neighborhood that has a multitude of bars, restaurants, bicycle hubs and the traffic to go along with it. The LES is still a special place where the old architecture and streets have aged with character and so much so that there has recently been walking history tours on Orchard Street. Orchard Street used to be known where you bought your leather goods and apparel. I remember back in the day there were Chico and Lee graffiti murals, a lot of tags and throw-ups. Today when you walk through the LES you’ll see a variety of contemporary murals by street artists and stickers all over and on every corner. While walking around The LES there is a good chance that you’ll come across a Table Series Logo or
Grampa stickers, or Fumeroism wheat paste art. I have been sharing my work in the LES since 2006 and that little yellow sticker with the family gathered around the kitchen table has led into 2017 with an exhibition entitled 'Grafstract by Fumero'. The opening was on Oct. 26th that launched a four-week show. It is currently on display inside The Storefront Project at 70 Orchard Street until November 26th. (Link to photos)
You will see Fumeroism in more than just one gallery as you can see it all over the LES outdoor gallery.
If you would like to take a walking tour from Houston Street and turn onto Orchard walking south toward 179 Orchard Street you’ll see a large Table Series Logo (TSL) wheat paste on the top of the building and also a few blocks away at the corner of Houston and 2nd Avenue where the F train subway stop is you’ll also see another large TSL wheat paste art. Some of my past murals are no longer there but the ones that remain are located at 163 Orchard Street.
If you keep walking south on Orchard and cross over Delancey Street then Grand Street, you’ll see a TSL painted on a rollgate at 61 Orchard St. This gate is only visible before and after business hours and next to a Kenny Sharf gate.
Walk a little bit further but before Broome Street you’ll be at The Storefront Project gallery where my solo show is on exhibit until Sunday, November 26th (Closing party - Saturday November 25th from 6-9 pm) Inside, you will see a visual metaphor describing my artistic evolution from a kid who liked to draw, to a teenager who painted graffiti, to the Grafstract artist that I am.
After you have experienced my "ism" and after taking a walking tour, you may have developed an appetite. Well, I will recommend that you walk a few blocks, back across Delancey Street, to Ludlow Street walking north toward Houston Street to 177 Ludlow. Here you can feast on decadent shakes and tasty burgers with craft beer at Black Tap. There you can see a large and detailed installation mural inside the restaurant. It was created by 'yours truly' early last spring 2017 as an ode to old school NY, entitled 'Tru York'. While you are noshing away, I hope you enjoy the many fine details of this mural.
(Photo credit to Mario Pena for the Tru York mural)