Being from Long Island, my friend Mark and I were confined to social bubbles in our corresponding towns. Everyone behaved similarly, everyone dressed similarly, and any attempt to stand out and be unique was quickly looked down upon. As time progressed, Mark and I dared to always be different and always wanted to find somewhere where people not only appreciate art, but where the people themselves are part of the art. This demand of being different led us to the very well known area of Soho. Street art covered the walls, some people dared to be different, but still there was an absence. Soho has become a tourist attraction, and therefore there is a lot of individuals that are “visiting” the area, and are not from Soho. So we took to the streets to find what we were looking for.
Our endeavor took us to the Williamsburg Bridge, where we knew that we were going the right way. This behemoth of a bridge is riddled with graffiti, wheat pasting, paint splatter, and any medium that could be used to create art. After crossing the bridge, we stepped foot in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Here, we immediately found again walls of wheat paste, as well as commissioned graffiti. The area in general has its good and bad parts, but we decided to focus on the good parts for our peace of mind. The people that would walk in the opposite direction of you, beside you, sitting in a cafe, having a smoke outside of a bar, all had their own unique style. Anything from quilted pants accompanied with a white top, to skinny jeans and a bomber jacket for the women. The men were seen to walk around with again, anything from suede oxfords for shoes and cuffed chinos for their choice of pants, to a pair clearly custom designed sneakers that corresponded with a pair of joggers. There is a very “stress-free” vibe in Williamsburg and that is crazy to think about being that Brooklyn is in New York as we know. We are also aware that New York has a hustle and bustle, rise and grind kind of mentality. Eat. Work. Sleep. Repeat. A very cyclic lifestyle that makes life seem boring. The people of Williamsburg have a different outlook.
In Williamsburg, the area is littered with small scale coffee houses, cafes, restaurant, bars, but all on a small scale. There have been nights where walking past a bar and then a restaurant a few buildings down carried the same level of volume. Both packed to the brim, however there was no loud music, but instead a slew of indie songs at mellow volume. It seems as if time goes by at a much slower pace when we are here. The people are always very warm and welcoming, as if you are not in New York where the most interaction you would get would be getting bumped accidentally as someone impatient would be walking in the opposing direction as you.
There had been multiple times where we were stopped by strangers who were interested in the art we were making, and were very social with us; asking us about our art, while they spoke about their professions as well as any past art experience. One interaction was with a very friendly woman in about her late 20’s that approached us and began to tell us about walk-in art exhibits that were occurring that night, along with other art shows that were blocks away that would be open for viewing in the upcoming days. After we told her what we do, why we do it, and the message behind our pieces, she was just as intrigued as we were with her knowledge. This was a woman with quite the exotic hair who was wearing a knitted shawl along with a brown cardigan and a black dress; not exactly the person you would be comfortable speaking with if they approached you on the street. But thats the beauty about Williamsburg, there is nothing off putting or creepy about her attire and appearance, its just another unique representation of how each individual expresses themselves.