ROSARIO DAWSON BY SHEPARD FAIREY FOR GREAT BOWERY
Actress & Activist Rosario Dawson stopped by Great Bowery to get a closer look at her Shepard Fairey-created water tower portrait, and we filmed the auspicious occasion. The mural was created in part to spotlight the charity LES Girls Club, of which Rosario is on the board, and to promote an overall theme of “Power and Equality.” During a 90 minute conversation, the star spoke of her desire to once more collaborate with Fairey on topics like climate control and sustainability – a shared passion. A zine was also created to celebrate the theme of “Power and Equality.” Please firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a copy in the mail and make sure to watch the film with Rosario here (created by @chopemdownfilms).
PROJECT RUNWAY SEASON 18 BY JOE PUGLIESE
B&A artist Joe Pugliese shot the promotional material for the new season of Project Runway. Including the faces of host Karlie Kloss and mentor Christian Siriano, among others, the promos pop with bright, bold colors and the words "Make it Fashion" sprawled across each image. Project Runway airs Thursday evenings on Bravo.
PLEASED TO REPRESENT LUCAS BENARROCH AKA MRKA
Lucas Benarroch moved to New York in the early 2000s and began creating under the name MRKA. Versatile in both style and medium, Lucas is known for providing solutions to visual problems. His creative strengths include graphic design, illustration, motion, installation design, and, most recently, experiential creative direction.
Lucas' work has been exhibited globally in galleries such as Wallplay and The Cooper Union. He has collaborated commercially with the likes of Harvard, HBO, NASA and WU-TANG.
MORE ABOUT UTILITY WRITERS
"Utility Writers [is] a study of the symbols written by construction workers on the asphalt and sidewalks of the New York City streets between 2016 and 2018... Their sudden appearance on the streets. The endless possible interpretations of these symbols, and ultimately the individuals involved, who [write them]."
MRKA REMINDS YOU TO...
Do And Read. A clever take on the vintage Duane Reade Pharmacy logotype, the project serves as a commentary on the big business of pharmaceuticals and their massive advertising budgets. In addition to promoting two fundamental activities in life, doing and reading.
JASON SCHMIDT SHOOTS THE HOME'S OF DANIEL ARSHAM & URS FISCHER FOR ARCHITECTURAL DIGEST
Jason Schmidt's two latest collaboration with Architectural Digest focused on the home's of visual artists, Urs Fischer and Daniel Arsham respectively. Both shoots feature bold colors, lush greenery and artistic finishes. His photography often includes a "wink", in the form of whimsical still life or a humorous lifestyle moment, that sticks with you. Whether he's on an editorial shoot or working on a commercial project, Schmidt excels at capturing both a physical space and the story it embodies.
MADE READY: JOE PUGLIESE FOR CITIZENS BANK
For his latest collaboration with Citizens Bank Joe Pugliese captured everyday people. The aim was to underscore the vast variety of Citizens’ clientele and that there is no one typical customer. Joe brought his copious portraiture experience to this project in order to showcase the humanity of the stories Citizens was trying to tell. Whether shooting motion or still content, he always finds that special moment between poses that feels refreshingly candid.
HERSHEY'S FOR THE HOLIDAYS BY PAOLA + MURRAY
Husband and wife duo Paola + Murray latest commission captures the sweet side of life. Their collaboration with Hershey's pays homage to the brands rich heritage, with a mix of bold colors and graphic shapes, creating a decidedly modern take on the classic brand. The focus of course is an abundance of party pleasing desserts, featuring chocolate as the special ingredient, that make this time of year all the more delicious.
Pleased To Represent Keena
Keena is the people’s photographer. He lives for shooting authentic people in action, finding the organic moments in real time experiences. Starting with skateboarding documentation in Encinitas, California, Keena’s sense of restless adventure and style is firmly planted on his sleeve, as well as his lens. He is a lifestyle wunderkind who prefers to take the gritty road less traveled, never failing to capture brilliant shots from his subjects and surroundings. Not wanting to compromise his love of either coast, Keena splits his time between NYC and LA.
Past Commissions: Samsung, Olmeca Alto Tequila, Intel, Invisalign, Chrome Industries
Bose Collins For National Geographic
Bose Collins’ latest project for National Geographic, a CGI-render underground of the ancient city of Jerusalem brings the old world into new life. Revealing the story of our common journey toward modernization, preservation, and inevitable clash.
PLEASED TO REPRESENT TROY HOUSE
Photographer Troy House excels at capturing everyday moments in a way that makes you want to jump inside his photographs. Although he grew up helping out in his father's portrait studio, Troy evolved stylistically into a location-based accidentalist. His passion for travel has also influenced the subject of his work, which often showcases far flung corners of the world. Whether he’s shooting a couple at a Brooklyn coffee shop or a family vacationing somewhere slightly more remote, his images always have that spark of excitement.
Past Commissions: Chase, Hilton, United, Bon Appétitand The Sunday Times
WORK THAT MOVES YOU: BEN RAYNER SHOOTS FOR ADIDAS
Ben Rayner's latest work for Adidas, features both the Ozweego, a sneaker that fuses 90's vibes with futuristic styling, and apparel line R.Y.V. Both campaigns were shot in Brooklyn, capturing the energy and authenticity of the street. In his work Ben plays with movement and crops, while also manipulating image competition and color. The result is dynamic and often subtly humorous. Not to mention as bold and bright as the Adidas product itself.
POLYESTER STUDIO'S LATEST ANIMATION HAS US EXCITED FOR HALLOWEEN
Halloween is almost here, but if you just can’t wait you can hear it right now. In honor of the spooky season, imagination studio Polyester collaborated with audio designer Jeff Moberg. Polyester’s animations pair with Moberg’s six second audio clips to create something entirely new: micro doses of frightful film.Get ready to grab the edge of your seat and just make sure you don’t scream too loud.
Jason Madara Covers CEOs for Wired UK, Fast Company & Southwest
In his latest editorial collaborations, photographer Jason Madara takes on the covers of WIRED UK, Fast Company and SouthWest the Magazine to showcase portraits of individuals who are creating real change in their respective industries. Captivating the inspiring industry leaders, Jason highlights their ambition, the duality of their humbleness and entrepreneurism, but most importantly their humanity. These covers convey the same sense of authentic connection and personability that he himself strives to create while on set.
“I’m always photographing real people and sometimes it requires real patience. I’ve realized that honestly, 90% is just being present and just having a real conversation with people. They put their guard down with me and then we have a good time together. The camera is really a small part of what I do. I’m a strong believer that intimacy and connection are created by being present with somebody and becoming part of that moment is what I think comes through in my portraits,” explained Jason.
For the cover of FastCompany, Jason shot Katrina Lake, CEO of StitchFix. “I did literally put her on a pedestal. That was my furniture from my studio and one of my boxes. I wanted this to feel heroic and badass, but also endearing as well. I think that low angle is my thing for sure, shooting up. One of my inspirations has always been Helmut Newton, my whole life. I always loved the way he made portraits.”
Running from shoots in New York to London and back to San Francisco in his studio, Jason’s portraits manage to capture both the personalities and the power seen in the faces of his subjects. “The creative team at WIRED UK is I think one of the most creative in the business. When they called me to come out there, I went from NY right to London. I loved the idea that they wanted me to come to London to shoot this, cause I always really loved the magazine and the people that worked there. But I was curious, why me vs so many portrait photographers that are closer? Andrew the creative director said, ‘You have an amazing way of connecting with people that really don’t want to be photographed. Like real people that are not normally, genuinely comfortable in front of the camera.’”
Utilizing elements of lighting, low angles and a presence of ying-yang in these leaders, Jason captures and communicates their essence to the world in these series of portraits.
Patrik Giardino Celebrates China with Adidas
Adidas and 72andSunny Amsterdam brought photographer Patrik Giardino to China to capture the key art for the brand’s latest Chinese campaign.
Patrik was working on a shoot in Silicon Valley when he connected with a producer about the campaign. A few days later, he was on a plane to Shanghai. “The shoot is for China’s 70 year anniversary this year. China has officially been an independent country for 7 decades, starting in 1949 after WWII. Adidas created this ad campaign to celebrate the country and it's history. It’s actually a huge campaign, it’s one of the biggest media campaigns in China. It was all over the country,” explained the photographer.
The photoshoot consisted of a series of portraits of different Chinese figures. The shoot took about three days to complete, working with the busy schedules of the Chinese celebrities and athletes involved in the shoot.
“These shoots were way bigger than I had expected. The idea was to have portraits among illustrations to be mixed together. The illustrations were added to guide the identification of the women’s and men’s sports teams and categories,” explained Patrik. “All of the subjects from this campaign are very famous Chinese athletes. China is very different than America when it comes to sports, the focus is different. In America, you could shoot a massive athlete like LeBron James because everyone loves him. In China, there’s less focus on the individual, so they don’t get paid the same way. They have a different way of looking at sports, it’s much more focused on a team and the community.”
Although Patrik only had a half-hour with each athlete, after about 15 minutes he was sure he got the shot. “It was a lot of work jumping on the project last minute, but it was very rewarding. It was really nice to work with the Adidas team in China. There were fun moments. Proud moments. It was great to shoot in Shanghai.”
The Illustrators of B&A Find TIME for Climate Change
For the special edition of their Climate Issue, TIME Magazine tapped illustrator David Doran to reimagine the world as we know it, in a series of sketchbook drawings that depict the future in a sustainable light. Drawing inspiration from the classic sketchbook images shared on his Instagram, David created a future we can thrive in. In the same issue, illustrator Jing Zhang created infographics to showcase how and why our Earth is as far along as it’s proven to be.
“It was really nice to see how my sketchbook pages had been seen and adapted to this concept. The concept was actually built around my sketchbook pages where I’m often onsight, on-location drawing what's in front of me. But instead of drawing reality, we were using the sketches almost as a portal into a really idealistic future reality. Looking at how we can make these changes in society for the future we want to have for everyone,” explained the illustrator. “In general, there's a grim sense to someone’s process when you do show sketchbook pages and how it develops to the final stage. But in this project, it was really nice to take that format and treat that as the final product in itself. The combination of having the photographs in the background ties it all together in a personable, human way.”
Although David’s signature aesthetic includes vivid colors and defined shapes, the work that goes into his sketchbook remains raw, colored in only black and white. For this project, the sketches were the final result. David illustrated a future our world could be headed for, shown in the article for TIME against a backdrop of how it looks current day, in today’s society.
“I pitched ideas before making the sketches, so we kind of ironed out the ideas. In terms of the details, I think that was a level of confidence in my sketchbook pages. I think emphasizing on that juxtaposition, having the pollution in the background and the fumes of smoke kind of contrasted the fresh lake and people on the boats, using energy in a very natural way,” explained David. “The whole project was really collaborated; it was a really nice chance to work on a project like this. When we went back and forth with the photograph options, we really just wanted to communicate the concept as strongly as possible so you have that real contrast of the background and the industry and pollution and meat and all these kind of things in a very extreme way that quite drastically contrasted with the sketchbook drawings.”
For her latest endeavor with TIME magazine, illustrator Jing Zhang was asked to reimagine the maps of the 7 continents of planet Earth, highlighting their unique climate issues. Jing's informational depictions show that the climate fight remains the consuming battle of our age, but its most intense phase may be in our rearview mirror. Jing's precise infographics give viewers the opportunity to look back to see how we might have managed to dramatically change our society and economy.
Both projects contribute to Time Magazine’s mission to make this Issue of Climate Change a midpoint in their coverage of the biggest crisis facing our planet.
Vault49 Creates New Cow City with Burger & Lobster
For their latest mural project, design agency Vault49 created a series of murals in collaboration with New York restaurant, Burger & Lobster.
In the Flatiron District of Manhattan, there are many options for dinner. In an effort to stand out, Burger & Lobster asked the team of local artists at Vault49 to help connect with the restaurant with its downtown New York location and its core offering: prime-cut burgers and wild, fresh Atlantic lobsters.
“Vault49’s team of talented artists and creatives have a passion for visual storytelling and we knew they would bring their authentic style to the narrative we wanted to tell around our history and story in a way that ignites our brand essence,” explained Vladimir Borodin, co-owner of the restaurant chain. “Their passion for craft signaled to us they understood the importance of quality and creativity in the simplest of forms, making them the perfect creative agency partner.”
Throughout the restaurant, the artists at Vault49 decorated the walls with floor to ceiling murals that feature different branded narratives, including the journey of the lobsters from Maine all the way to the big apple. Their works of art contribute to the brand messaging and help communicate the restaurant’s personality and set the brand apart from other eateries. Working with an open brief, the team was able to get creative and pull inspiration from the restaurant’s location and history, and imagine a new world, New Cow City, where the wall mural featured depictions of cabs and subways, with a cow-inspired twist.
“We were delighted when Burger & Lobster asked us to create murals for this site and we loved visually weaving the neighborhood into the restaurant’s brand story. The Flatiron District is a creative neighborhood with some of the best creative agencies in New York choosing to base their studios here, so it is a wonderful opportunity for Vault49 to contribute as our studio is close by,” explained John Glasgow, Creative Director of Vault49. “One factor we had to consider was the team would need to paint during the restaurant’s opening hours which created a new set of challenges in terms of lighting and limited space, but we turned it into an exciting experience for diners to watch the murals take shape as they dined, creating elements of surprise and delight.”
Photographer Joe Pugliese Captures Strength with JLo & ESPN's Body Issue
In his latest editorial endeavors, photographer Joe Pugliese reunited with Variety’s cover star Jennifer Lopez for their third photography collaboration and returned to set with ESPN for the 2019 edition of The Body Issue.
In an Instagram caption describing the experience, Joe mentions that when working with the actress, singer, and performer, Jennifer Lopez, it’s merely his job to just keep up. “She won’t wait for my direction to change what she’s doing. Some people will be in a pose or a position and they will stay there until I say move on, but she is not waiting for me. It’s for sure me witnessing what she’s giving me and recording it as much as I can,” explains the photographer. “She’s truly a director. People of this magnitude, no matter if they are technically directors or not, are directors in their lives. They curate their persona and their look and their businesses and when they get to a photoshoot, that doesn't turn off for them. I had things I wanted to do - some things worked and some things didn't, but she was pretty on board for them all. It was truly collaborative, she and I figuring out what we’re doing.”
The photoshoot took place in Chicago at the superstar’s hotel during one of her few nights off from performing while on tour. Joe first photographed JLo during a music tour for Billboard and again focusing on her physique for the Body Issue of US Magazine. For this shoot with Variety, Joe wanted to capture her fierceness and strength. “I don’t think I veer one way or another in terms of soft and feminine photography, or strong and masculine photography. I like playing both sides for the right subject, and sometimes also disarm the viewer against what would be expected. I like taking soft quiet moments of men who would normally be photographed in a strong way and the opposite to show the many sides and the range of emotion that people have. JLo was dressed very elegantly, the first look where she’s in the pantsuit with the tucked top, that was very theatrical. It made sense for that to be graphic but the look in the hallway was more playful, and she still brought a fierceness to it. It was a nice way to reveal that no matter what she’s doing, she’s serious about it.”
“Jennifer Dorn at Variety and Karen Frank at ESPN are real champions of photography and thoughtful about the way they assign their photography. I know when I get a call from either one of them that there was a lot of consideration why I was the choice, and I always want to do right by that and respect the fact that there are so many photographers to choose from for every shoot. When it does land on me, I need to think about why they hired me and when we discuss it, that’s where I get a lot of the direction and the approach,” explained Joe. “Karen has looked after the Body Issue for most of the 10 years that it’s been around, and it’s the kind of assignment that every single editorial photographer absolutely wishes for. When you get the call, it’s like you won the lottery." For ESPN’s 11th edition of The Body Issue, and his fourth collaboration with the annual periodical, Joe got the call to capture MLB’s MVP, Christian Yelich.
“It’s important to understand the crux of The Body Issue. If you talk to the athletes about why they even want to do it, they feel like their livelihood is around their physical abilities and that people don’t understand how much work goes into what they do for a living. Christian is at the peak of his career, he wants to look back at these pictures and say 'That's what I really looked like when I was Major League Baseball's MVP. He wants a record of truth, of what his body is doing for him,” explained the photographer. “Baseball is not like boxing where you can see their physique. It’s hidden by pretty baggy clothes, a lot of baseball players don’t get the idea that they’d be that fit, and a lot of them are not that fit. This is his way of revealing that it’s not by chance that he's extremely successful at baseball, I think he wants to show that a lot of work goes into it.
As a portrait photographer, Joe developed a concept to showcase the young and exciting athlete that stayed true to his aesthetic responsibility of human truth. “I have to follow what feels right for the tone of my work. I think the ideas that I came up with had a notion of fun involved, but it was important to me to not make it a funny shoot. I want to show high reverence for people and their demeanor. He's known for stealing bases and sliding, so I thought, a slip and slide is such a great way to make him slide while being nude. We had to build it indoors because of privacy and the light I wanted to control. I had Chicago based set designer, Dan Griffin, come all the way to Milwaukee to build a pool from scratch. It was an amazing achievement to build this 16 by 20-foot 6-inch water slide in a raw warehouse space that we found.”
“Catching the ball in front of what looks like an outfield wall: my concept of that was really that I wanted all of these shots to feel like you’re in a dream, and the way that dreams are sort of surreal with an inkling of reality, but all the soundings unreal. You might have a dream in a nondescript place that you can’t describe once you're awake but doing something you totally know, like playing baseball, but you don't know why you would have been where you were. The sliding in water: doing something he totally knows that's rooted in reality but for some reason, he was naked and was going through water. The idea of being able to describe it but it doesn’t make any sense that it would be there -- I was trying to keep the dream narrative going. There's some fog and a little bit of the haziness in the photos to represent the in-between place between reality and a dream.”
Although Christian was recently selected as Major League Baseball’s Most Valuable Player of the year, Joe described him as demure. Usually, funny stories from set come from people trying to mask their discomfort about photographed, because they want to laugh through it. For this shoot with Christian, there weren’t many funny moments. “The thing that did surprise me, I didn't actually really think about it this way, but there was a shift, and the shift came when I realized how unbelievably comfortable he was with the process of being naked in front of a crew full of people and photographers. We usually take such care for someone's comfort level on these shoots. This was the fourth shoot I did for the body issue and normally everyone has a way through it. Some subjects just want some tequila shots and mellow out. Some subjects just want as much privacy as possible to go back to their room whenever we’re not shooting and Christian it’s almost like he forgot he was naked the second the robe came off. It was almost more uncomfortable for us than him. He would walk up to the monitor and we would be like, you can wear a robe if you want.”
Kate Darvil Styles Elle Mcpherson for Vogue Australia
In her latest collaboration with Vogue Australia, stylist Kate Darvil worked with Australia native and fashion industry legend, Elle Macpherson, in her first family photoshoot. Kate styles Elle in a simple blue and belted shirtdress for the cover, positioned between her two sons in matching two dark blue suits.
The shoot came at a time of many milestones for the Macpherson family, each celebrating a major birthday, with Elle leading the charge as the matriarch at 55. It was the family’s first time back in Sydney as a family in years, and the camera captured all the effortless beauty, styled by Kate, as the memories and good times of the past came flowing back to the present. Kate styled the family in cool tones with varying textures, as they focus on what’s important to them now, simplicity and getting back to basics.
The Selby and Taylor Swift Ask Anna
In the latest chapter of his ongoing Ask Anna endeavor with Conde Nast, artist The Selby worked with the cover star of the September issue of Vogue, Taylor Swift, to produce the latest segment.
For this collaboration, the team captured Taylor’s asks for Anna while on set shooting the cover of the September issue of Vogue. Taylor came prepared. “During the cover shoot, we were able to film Taylor asking questions, whatever she wanted to ask and find out. It was definitely exciting if you’re a person who’s into fashion like Taylor is. Getting the opportunity to kind of just go for it and ask Anna anything you want is the dream for some people. Taylor was really into it, asking Anna about her favorite cat from the show. Her energy with Anna was great, they have a respect for each other and they made it really fun for everyone to watch.”
After they filmed the questions and answers, The Selby worked to add his signature illustrations to the piece. For this special feature of Ask Anna, Selby added more details with borders around the subjects. “I like the moments when Anna gets the most animated, so I can use the illustrations to play off of it.”
If you were wondering which the project was filmed, you would have a hard time deciding based on Anna’s outfit. “She loves a floral print or any kind of colorful print. All-year-round. It’s kinda rare when you see her in a solid which I appreciate because I’m the kind of guy who loves color myself. I’m a more is more kind of person. Some people have a misconception about Anna, something about wearing all black, which is actually totally incorrect, she loves print and color. Except for leggings. She does not like a colorful legging. Although Anna did wear pink leggings in like 1993. Honestly, I did call her out on her pink leggings, but you know it was 1993, I don’t even know what I was wearing in 1993.”
Serial Cut Celebrates 20 Years with SC99
In celebration of their 20th anniversary, creative studio Serial Cut embarked on a visual journey they’ve dubbed SC99: Purely Iconic. The year-long campaign that debuted in January of this year reached its final culmination point this Monday, September 9th, 2019 or, 9.9.19. The date pays tribute to the year in which the brand was incepted and this year, 2019. The endeavor included a film, book release, and event, complete with monthly Easter eggs to entice viewers to keep checking back.
Serial Cut worked with over 50 professionals to produce a film that set the stage for the campaign. In a 7-day production period, their giant team of creatives worked together to create a story that tied together all of the specially curated elements to celebrate their two decades of creativity. The result is literally the biggest production that the studio has worked on.
The film takes viewers on a journey throughout the studio’s philosophy, depicted throughout nine different rooms. Each room focuses on a different value and showcases different acclaimed revisitation of past projects. Before yesterday’s launch, the brand released trailers and teasers that include behind the scenes looks at their process.
“Since the beginning, I wanted to split a giant SC99 logotype in 9 rooms, where each was about some characteristic that defined the studio, so all together is the studio itself,” explained Serial Cut. “In “Renderoom” we talk about the CGI we do, in “Typeblocks” the typography have an important role, in “Digitactile” we show how digital props convert into tactile ones, and so on with the rest of the rooms. In all of them are some well-known projects (that some fans will recognize) but revised, they don’t appear as they were originally. That´s a nice part to look at, there are many details we take into account to make it special and tell the story of the studio in a very free creative and original way. I was the one that wrote the bio of each character, so I include personal details of me or the thing I like or I don’t like. It´s really awesome how the characters come to life when you put them a name and invent their lives.”
Showcasing two decades of work was no easy feat. Serial Cut created a massive compilation piece of the most iconic projects the brand has worked on in the past two decades. The book celebrates their 20 years of work in 544 pages and features the pure creativity the brand has harnessed throughout the years that combines pop culture and surrealism into one. Throughout the year-long campaign, new cover art for the book was unveiled each month that featured one of the nine characters introduced in the SC99 film. The book is available for purchase here.
“The storytelling, as also the concept in an image is the base of everything. Without this, the image can be beautiful, but you probably will forget it sooner than if it also comes with a strong concept. I think many images show a concept behind, we love to blend concepts generating some surrealism or 2 techniques, for instance, tactile and CGI.”
To celebrate the final conclusion of this year-long endeavor, Serial Cut produced an event where their fans, clients, and collaborators could come together to celebrate their years of creativity. The full film was featured on a big screen, followed by a talk about the in-depth process and some behind the scenes moments of the SC99 Book and Film. The event and entire campaign were a huge success, and we can’t wait to see what’s in store for the next 20 years.
Shepard Fairey Murals the Great Bowery Water Tower
Artist Shepard Fairey has created street art over the past three decades that resist cultural norms and expectations. Perhaps his most notable works are the We The People and Obama Hope campaign posters, which were shared across the country millions of times in a variety of ways, making Shepard Fairey a household name throughout the US. It’s his belief that art is a social act that connects people not only with each other but also with ourselves. Shepard believes that art is activism, that serves as a catalyst for action. Shepard was and is still today inspired by the 1980s and 1990s street culture of the Lower East Side, what he refers to as the “unholy trinity of cultures:” graffiti, hip-hop and punk rock, and skateboarding.
In a collaboration with several iconic NYC organizations, artist Shepard Fairey created a mural on the water tower that sits on top of the famous Germania Bank Building, currently the home of Great Bowery’s New York Headquarters. This famous graffiti-covered building has seen decades the Lower East Side’s history and culture, making it the perfect canvas for Shepard Fairey’s work. The mural features local activist and actress Rosario Dawson, a Lower East Side native. The painting illuminates Dawson in an empowering light, showcasing her as the inspiring NYC advocate she is. The mural serves as a symbol of power and equality that highlights both NYC’s creative culture as well as Great Bowery’s work with The Lower East Side Girls Club and their Alphabet City Art School.
A key factor in the success of this project was the incredible fundraising and spotlight put on the LES Girls Club by depicting LES New Yorker and board member Rosario Dawson. This altruism and support of the local community is one detail that convinced the Landmark Preservation Commission to approve the project after they initially rejected the idea. Rosario Dawson was raised on the Lower East Side with her family. She lived in a family of squatters and was sitting on a stoop one day when she was approached by a local talent agent to cast her in the movie, “Kids,” kickstarting her acting career. She’s currently a board member of the Lower East Side Girls Club, serving as an important social justice figure and activist, fighting to improve the lives of the young girls of this club.
On July 17, once the mural was unveiled, Great Bowery hosted “A Conversation with Shepard Fairey,” with the artist and David Hershkovits, founder of Paper Magazine. The two engaged in a discussion about art, activism, NYC’s creative culture, and how it all came together in Shepard Fairey’s illustration of Dawson on Great Bowery’s water tower.
“Art connects people with the better side of nature and makes them hopefully see something in themselves that then they can also see in other people. So it's at least subconsciously a bit of a bridge to all of humanity and I think people are better people when they're capable of making art, being creative, taking chances, expressing themselves, sharing with others. Because why would we do it if we didn't have some impulse to create meaning with other people? Otherwise, people would just do stuff in isolation. I think it's a social act,” explained Shepard. “Rosario Dawson is a recognizable person that it would make a viewer curious. A lot of the work I've been doing focuses on an appealing archetype that maybe is just representing an idea or a subject that is actually literally in there life embodying an idea. It's really important to draw people into a conversation about the subject matter. Using Rosario for that piece was great because we’ve both been outside this building, in this neighborhood, for years. I put illegal street art on the outside of this building. We’re part of the history.”
After thirty years of creating street art, Shepard Fairey remains extremely passionate about his craft. He seeks to look at what’s going on in our society to create what isn’t being said and what needs to be done, with the hope of inspiring action and change.