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  • Emma Levine

Emma's Eyes: A Teen's Perspective on Street Art

The first time I was introduced to art was when I entered the Clinton School for Writers and Artists. Our school was surrounded with art from Andy Warhol and my peers. Yet around the block was a wall covered in what I assumed to be scribbles. After talking to my Mom she assured me that they were letters. She called them tags, and said that tags represented nicknames or words that are specific to each individual artist. After realizing that they were letters I began to try to understand the writing, which I found to be extremely hard. I remember seeing all different ways to write the alphabet but could never figure out what was written.

After my mother, Nicole Gordon, pointed out that not all artists on the street used words, I began to find stickers and murals everywhere I went. Being a fourteen year old that goes out to art shows and galleries is rare. The shows are mostly filled with adults, but I've had such a great time attending the shows with my Mom. I feel my perspective is different since I look at it as a child, it's colors and composition may have different meaning. For example, while I may categorize Hektad's work as meaningful, people walking by may see it as just colorful. Not only do I see the colors but I try to put together a meaning. When I see a Hektad piece I see the love he has for art and the love people have for each other even though they are just hearts. I haven't lived through heartbreak or much tragedy so the more dramatic pieces are new for me to interpret.

Wall created by @adamdare, @madmanart and @hektad._official

Like Hektad, Curtis Kulig represents love. Within love, there is love for each other and love for one's self. I wear a Curtis Kulig "LOVE ME" necklace to remind myself that loving me comes first. Art is not just color and shapes to me, it also has emotional, hidden meanings within the pieces.

A print by Curtis Kulig that hangs in our home.

One of the most recent events I attended was The Bushwick Collective. I enjoyed watching people painting murals. Even though everyone started with similar canvases (walls), their end results were completely different. Some people did faces such as Sipros, while others did creatures or tags. I was wondering why they were covered in clothes even though it was a hot day?! My Mother informed me that in order for their identity to be hidden from the cops they had to cover tattoos because police had files on each artist. When taking photos with the artists, some kept their head down while others weren't anonymous. The people who weren't anonymous were interviewed on camera and took photos with art admirers. Not only did The Bushwick Collective involve artists, but there were many interactive tents like body painting and another tent that had T-shirts, and really cool pins. They also had live music that set a hyped mood for the crowd.

I was amazed when I saw a young beauty named Lola The Illustrator. She was so young yet she had painted a mural that stood out because of its color and energy. These events have taught me so much. I'm continuing to learn more about art because of my amazing Mom, and all of her talented friends!

Sipros at The Bushwick Collective

Lola The Illustrator at The Bushwick Collective

Author Emma Levine in front of a piece by Don Rimx.

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