a recent Bushwick mural by . . German artist HENRIK BEIKIRCH aka ECB
‘Oulad Bouzid III’, 2015
spray paint & emulsion paint on a wall, Bushwick. NYC, USA

PHOTO: via instagram . . posted by @toris64

this mural is striking for many reasons, including its specific locale, large scale, dynamic composition, and the hyper, yet fluid & rhythmic . . realism. one has to say, it is exceptionally expressive for a monochrome, or limited color palette project. it shines from within, its point of view is on the low-down, deeply felt, against the grain – a point of no return. very much like an old format photograph, in fact.

it is also striking, because it is the portrait of an old man, a common man, not a rapper, not a dead poet. not a cartoon character. not a cypher, not even a ‘militant’ citizen of the streets. it is the deeply felt portrait of an old man of the real streets, the real streets . . of Morocco. I guess that makes it: realism. it’s a kind of grim realism, in truth, or maybe ‘gritty’ is the better word. it’s not stylized, it’s not comic. ECB calls this series ‘Trades’ and its subjects are the old school skilled artisans who are often overlooked, but are the gears that keep things running. Oulad Bouzid III is a street barber. it’s a global project.

but beyond that, there’s something utterly fascinating in this mural, and it goes beyond words – which is just how it should be. it marries art & graphics and realism – with . . a somber cast, something along the lines of . . . the things that are getting lost.
the tribal transformation – of society . . . as a whole.
the elders.

as well, technically – the underlying graphic design sensibility, which anchors the mighty skillful painting technique – is not just way ahead of the curve – it is PROFOUND. Silent. Moving.
you can also see this ,in the minimalist design of the artist’s website, to the way he writes his name on the wall, above the piece – in a kind of computer-driven block letter ‘scroll’.

to get a feel for the bigger picture, check out: HENDRIK BEIKIRCH

SO . . .
if you haven’t noticed, STREET ART, STREET MURALS, GRAFFITI, GRAFF, WRITERS, STICKERS, slaps, decals, stencils, one-off ink/sharpie work, legos, and other 3-d bits & pieces !! – whatever !! are having a big resurgence. part of this is the wider acceptance, and more legal venues. here in NYC, old hoods, like Bushwick, still in the throes of gentrification seem to be wide open for the taking. but if a tree falls in the forest, is there a sound ?
turns out Instagram feeds are really well suited to the documenting – taking pix of this highly mobile & shifting scene. infinite armies of seekers – on the march, capturing the vitality & throwing it back at ya & out there, locally & globally.
globally, street art is an art of ‘direction’.
a statement of will, an expression, a theater for change, freedom of speech, and a desire for . . empowerment.
some people travel . . to to put their marks & missions on the world we live in, others travel to capture the action. it’s a wide open movable feast, that feels almost . . medieval in nature.