Amidst board games, music and food, artists showcased their work at this year’s Northside Festival in Williamsburg. The hiss of spray paint and strokes of paintbrushes went on for several blocks as artists worked on their own canvases while community members admired in awe. Here is just some of the art:
@UNCUTTART- “Protect Yo Heart Presents What IS LOVE???” With a black bandanna around his face, the artist spray-painted white stencils against a black canvas reading “LOVE IS…” as the crowd moved in and picked up chalk they began writing. “Love is my new hang bag.” “Love is revolution.” “Love is complicated.” While some hesitated, others had a very clear idea of what love was to them.
Maria De Victoria- “Republican Wet Dream.” Two water dispensers standing side by side one another reading “AMERICANS ONLY” and the other “IMMIGRANTS ONLY.” The murmur as people gathered around was, “Wow. That is really powerful.” Victoria left a note stating, “This piece was created in response to the xenophobic rhetoric that has recently come to the foreground of the national conversation. It is an imagining of the agenda that has been pushed by those who claim to be making America great again. I, an immigrant myself, seek to make this aberration perfectly clear.
Community Members- “#MakeYourMark.” Anyone who was passing by the large white canvas could pick up a paintbrush and write whatever was on their mind. Toddlers and parents, couples and friends gathered and drew hearts and suns and left messages like, ‘Don’t worry, be happy,” The white canvas turned into a sea of neon green, orange, black, yellow and blue as the day went on.
@JOHNSVILLE- John Dessereau sat beside the city he created. Against a baby blue back drop and white clouds, stood pink, teal, purple and brown buildings. Under the buildings Dessereau wrote “Live Together.” Though the building were all different sizes, they were all supporting one another.
No artist or title- A brown trophy with “Play like a Champion Today”(Notre Dame Fighting Irish) in gold writing and a helmet in the background with “CTE” written on it. CTE is a brain inquiry common in contact sports, mostly football that can lead to serve depression, aggression, impaired judgment. Though the NFL tried to deny it, they recently acknowledged it was real because of new research. There has been controversy on the ethics of supporting a sport that puts players’ lives at risk.
Whether it was through a painting, drawing or sculpting, the artists at this festival created thought provoking pieces. When people looked at the artists work they stopped talking, stopped looking at their phones and really examined. It was a reminder art can be power.
*Northside Festival is an annual event.