The Artists at Bleecker Street

June 15, 2009 § 25 Comments

The long winding Bleecker Street manages quite an impressive split squat through the heart of  Greenwich Village. And if you walk through it’s length, you can be sure you will experience quite a cross-section of the Village life, without much ado.

My trip last Sunday, was an exception of sorts. An inviting street fair adorned most of Bleecker St., with myriad artists showcasing their creative work. I enjoy street fairs, and when I chanced upon this one, I certainly could not turn away.

When I reached Bleecker street, it was late morning, the clouds hung low, and the mood seemed a bit somber. And then, just after noon, the overcast sky began to give way, and the sun streamed in bringing with it the much awaited and bustling New Yorkers.

Take a seat, and watch this lively kaleidoscope of grassroots artists unfold right here, straight from the Village.

Crafts, jewelry, ceramics, paintings, photographs and myriad wares lined the street in white tents. Groups of friends, families, loners and dog-owners occupied the rest.

I jumped right in. And I invite you to do so too!

(Pssst…click on the artists’ names to check out their websites/ work)

Dolhathai S. and Scott Jordan

Two artists worked together to create these beautiful pieces. Scott’s antique milk bottles with Dolhathai’s art.

NikonD90 VR18-105mm 28mm ISO200 1/320s F/5

Stacy Stewart Smith

A painter who expresses illusions by superimposing abstract emotions over architectural realism.

NikonD90 VR18-105mm 48mm ISO200 1/125s F/4.8

Robert Otter

A much loved Street Photographer who photographed this city in the 1960s and 70s. He passed away in 1986, and his son, Ned Otter, continues to share his father’s beloved legacy with us.

NikonD90 VR18-105mm 25mm ISO200 1/250s F/4

NikonD90 18-105mm 35mm 1/125s F/4.5

Richard Birkett

A hands on, mind boggling craftsman. His machinations of watches, clocks, kaleidoscopes and pictures of an era bygone, intrigued me to no end. (There is no website link available. I do have contact info if you are interested.)

NikonD90 VR18-105mm 38mm ISO200 1/40s F/4.5

NikonD90 VR18-105mm 38mm ISO200 1/25s F/4.5

Joan’s Citybitz

Here is a photographer that takes her impressions of the city and moulds them into jewelry and mosaic mirrors!

NikonD90 VR18-105mm 28mm ISO200 1/160s F/9

NikonD90 VR18-105mm 38mm ISO200 1/100s F/9

Vivi Sun

A sculptor who uses her talents to design jewelry. Her work is exquisite, and evident of her desire for perfection.

NikonD90 18-105mm 28mm ISO200 1/250s F/6.3

NikonD90 18-105mm 48mm ISO200 1/250s F/4.8

Dudley Vacciana

Dudley etches and paints glass with amazing beauty. These vases seemed to hold on to worlds of their own. I was gazing for a long time (Really, almost forgot to shoot). Website link not available, I do have contact info to share.

NikonD90 18-105mm 32mm ISO200 1/100s F/4.5

NikonD90 18-105mm 35mm ISO200 1/100s F/4.5

Stepanka Horalkova

A ceramic artist with a penchant for all things porcelain. Fabulous detail, textures and abstract art.

NikonD90 VR18-105mm 28mm ISO200 1/100s F/6.3

NikonD90 VR18-105mm 105mm ISO200 1/250s F/5.6

Super Electric

This duo was loving the sun amidst crunchy apples and piles of fun Tees to go! Check out the super cool garb, while I take a peek at their sidewalk stash!

NikonD90 VR18-105mm 18mm ISO200 1/320s F/3.5

NikonD90 VR18-105mm 45mm ISO200 1/320s F/4.8

Those were the artists that caught my eye and I am glad they stayed on in my images. (What caught your fancy?)

Most artists I met, lived in Brooklyn (Ah, that place again! A sign that I will be heading there soon!), some came from upstate New York, and a few came all the way from…wherever that is :)

Wait…what about the people and the festivities? Or some candid reflections? Here is a photo series of the different moods of Bleecker Street on this fair Sunday afternoon:

The Moods at Bleecker Street

NikonD90 VR18-105mm 50mm ISO200 1/160s F/5

NikonD90 VR18-105mm 50mm ISO200 1/125s F/5

NikonD90 VR18-105mm 38mm ISO200 1/60s F/7

NikonD90 VR18-105mm 18mm ISO200 1/400s F/7.1

NikonD90 VR18-105mm 62mm ISO200 1/500s F/9

NikonD90 VR18-105mm 18mm ISO200 1/100s F/4

NikonD90 VR18-105mm 75mm ISO200 1/200s F/5.3

NikonD90 VR18-105mm 58mm ISO200 1/60s F/10

And so after dusk, the Artists at Bleecker Street had packed up and left. I promised to stay in touch, and I knew then, that you would enjoy reaching out to them too. Go on then, explore their world.

Yeah, I had a great weekend too. Alright now, let’s hear from you!

*A Note for Artists and supporters of Art on NYC Streets*

Although this was an organized street fair, and not your typical Street Art scene, a conversation with Ned Otter reminded me of the many battles artists have fought to retain their freedom of expression on the streets of NYC. Thanks to the combined efforts of A.R.T.I.S.T. (Artists’ Response to Illegal State Tactics) and many aware New Yorkers, it was in 1996 that artists won their right for freedom of expression: to display and sell their work on NYC streets, without having to acquire a vending license. Or being afraid of getting arrested on behest of shop owners and organized business groups, who were (and still are) intent on proclaiming their proprietary right on this city’s public sidewalks! This battle is really far from over. The BIDs (Business Development Districts) are constantly coming up with ways to limit vending in public areas, threatening to hurt this fragile community that we should cherish and nurture instead.

A current legislative proposal in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, will push all street vendors (including artists), off of most of the commercial 5th Avenue stretch, and on to specific side streets and fixed locations. If you are interested in reading more, check this informative discussion in the comments section of  The Sunset Park Sidewalk Clash, a news post at Indypendent.org. The comments I am referring to, follow the main article. Robert Lederman’s responses, and the discourse that follows with the readers, etches the details of this issue quite vividly.

If you would like to help shape a positive future for Art on the streets of NYC, you can join the A.R.T.I.S.T group by sending a blank email to NYCStreetArtists-subscribe@YahooGroups.com. You will contribute just by lending your support and spreading awareness for the cause. Once you join the group, you will have access to a detailed history and the current goings-on on this issue. If you are interested in sharing or exchanging more information with me on this ongoing fight for the NYC Artists’ First Amendment rights, pls do leave me a note. Thanks.

– The Juicer at work

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§ 25 Responses to The Artists at Bleecker Street

  • Stunning shots, Shipra. The unusual angles and compositions added to the sense of the place and the experience.

  • Loved the photos, especially the ones of Richard Birkett’s work :) Good to see you outside!
    Nat

  • Chuck says:

    Nice photos Shipra.

    Your closeups show all the detail. Great job!

  • Nishank says:

    not fair…u make me want to be in nyc!!!

    the last pic with the elderly gentleman caught in a pensive mood is awesome shipra.

    • The Juicer says:

      I wouldn’t mind being the perpetrator of your move to NYC Nishank! :)
      The last image is my favorite too. I might’ve taken the shot a little more up close, but did not want to startle him. Yeah, it’s a candid shot!

  • Shikha says:

    Shipra! you have taken this to the next level in this post. I really like that you picked up a theme that’s entertaining as well as intriguing. Keep up the good work!

  • martijeffers says:

    This is a great post, Shipra! I felt as if I were there. And, the photography is good, too!! :):)

  • shantanu says:

    Beautiful pictures, bokeh was excellent. you capture mood very well. love to see more…

    • The Juicer says:

      It seems that the farther away the things that are out of sharp focus are, the softer the bokeh. Does that ring true? Thanks for introducing me to that terminology Shantanu! I love the technique but did not know this term (Japanese!)
      Keep the feedback coming!:) More of the Big Apple life will be here for you next week..!

  • surfaraz says:

    simply loving it! I am seriously considering moving to this neighborhood and may be, I can be seen in one these pics soon. Look out for me :-)

    • The Juicer says:

      Surfaraz- I am keeping my eyes peeled and my camera handy :) Better get there soon, or I will be moving on to another neighborhood and you would have to move again! ;)

  • Shipra:
    Your visit and photo request made the day even more exciting. The pictures are not only beautiful but capture the essence of a still peculiar part of New York life. I found a little bit of the entire world at this event and I am glad that you have put this on display for everyone to see.

    • The Juicer says:

      Stacy- Thanks for visiting! And as for putting up this fabulous fair on my blog, I would say this- it’s been a joy! I enjoyed interacting with this sprinkling of creative minds, and sharing the positive vibe.
      Yeah, the flavors of Greenwich Village are still quite unlike the rest of the city. It’s really interesting that you used the word ‘peculiar’ to describe that essence:)
      (I touched upon this topic in my earlier post “The Village Fantasy”)

  • terryodee says:

    Shipra
    I can safely say I have fallen madly and passionately in love with the words and pictures you produce in this blog…your images are just a small glimpse in to the creativity that is your spirit and the images are improving every time I visit this blog of yours. In my humble opinion, your words convey the essence of the events you bring to us with feeling and with the images, we are walking the walk with you. Thank you for doing what you do.
    Terry

    • The Juicer says:

      Terry- thanks. It is great to have you as a reader, to share with you what is close to my heart and head. I will indeed try to keep bettering this blog, after all, we learn and we learn. And so do I.
      I know I cannot go wrong with such heartfelt support backing my work. Keep walking :)

  • steve beland says:

    Shipra,

    You have such a great eye for your subjects, and a wonderful way of weaving in your reflections about the places you visit. Keep up the great work!

    Steve Beland

    • The Juicer says:

      Steve- welcome to Big Apple Juice! :)
      Thanks for the kind comments- always hungry for feedback and appreciate your sharing it here. Will keep bringing back stories to indulge in and will look forward to seeing you here again!

  • Som says:

    Great work lady…..The theme was really good. And a lot of hard work…..looking forward to next post…this time juice was of mixed fruit with lot of colors, liked it slurrrrrrp………:)

  • The pictures are lovely. I love that second photograph best – The Portrait.

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