Recently I flew to New York for a shooting in Brooklyn. I found something very unique that caught my eyes during the days I spent in the streets of Brooklyn.

I wonder if you ever have the same thoughts like I have sometimes. But for me, 24 hours a day never enough. I am always occupied and I have a never-ending to-do list. Every time when I have this thought that I’m running out of time, I always like try to do the opposite - slow down and see what is happening around me. When you free yourself from the prison of time, relax your irritated mind and live at the moment, you would see the beauty around you.




During my shootings in Brooklyn, we visited the infamous Bushwick Collective. It is one of the biggest urban art exhibitions in New York City. There are more than 50 stunning murals in the area, making it an extraordinary open-air gallery. The founder Joe Ficalora determined to revive the neighbourhood after his father was brutally murdered outside the subway. As he gathered the graffiti artists from all around the world, he transformed his neighbourhood into a vibrant tourist destination. Bushwick Collective is not only Joe Ficalora’s personal fight with his own past, but also a perfect beautification of the neighbourhood that satisfies thousands of street art aficionados.

The more I dug into it, the more I found it fascinating.

I figured that the word “Graffiti “originates from the Italian word “Graffito”, which means little scratch. These little scratches sure have come a long way! Another random fact I’ve found is about the graffiti tagging. You might notice that the tags are usually short, combining a nickname with a number where the digits are often based on the street the tagger lives on, such as Tracy168 and Julio204. This creates an unique tagging convention in the streets of New York.




Bubble lettering (CREDIT:The Regular Guy NYC)



Bubble lettering (CREDIT:The Regular Guy NYC)


Nowadays, graffiti comes in all shapes and forms. Spray paint and marker pen have become the most commonly used graffiti materials. Yet the most interesting thing is - the very first graffiti in New York was found in the subway trains instead of on the walls of the buildings. It started from bubble lettering and wildstyle, and have gradually developed into all kinds of different styles. And as we can see, the graffiti art has crawled all over the New York throughout the decades and claimed the city its own.



Indeed, graffiti was seen and treated as vandalism in the early days of graffiti history, mainly because it was linked with crime and the police had to put it down. But you know how it is, the more it is forbidden, the more tempting it is to people. By the late 1980’s, with the influence from Europe, it slowly began to be recognised as street art and gain its popularity. Nowadays graffiti is one of the most representative arts of New York and as an integral part of the modern art.



As human beings, we tend to be attracted by aesthetic things. If there is something worth slowing down for in these busy times, it would certainly be beauty itself. It is like the way I enjoyed graffiti in Brooklyn. They just caught my attention when I walked down the street. Graffiti are not just some doodles on the wall. It can be a message from the generation. It can be a voice that haven’t been heard. I have become fond of graffiti because New York City has shed a new light for me. Graffiti are not just dead murals. In fact, they talk to me, they show me the different voices in the world that we living in.

If you are planning to go to New York, the Bushwick Collective is definitely somewhere you should visit!

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