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Art Inspires: Beyond the Streets

by Jenna Patel |



“Art inspires beauty, beauty inspires art” are words we live by at Graffiti Collective. But sometimes, it’s easy to get lost in the day to day and forget to look for your inspiration. So last week, the GC team ditched the office to check out the Beyond the Streets in Brooklyn, NYC for some much needed inspo.

We headed over to Williamsburg (shoutout to a semi-functional L) to the beautiful exhibit where we were immediately immersed in a celebration of graffiti, street art, hip-hop music, and more. Even the elevator was dope.



The exhibit, curated by graffiti historian Roger Gastman, showcases the game-changers, legends, and upcoming artists that have been a part of the street art culture revolution.  

As soon as you walk in, you’re greeted by a piece from The Mural Kings - a group of NYC-based professional muralists formed in the 80’s, whose work in aerosol has transformed graffiti & street art into a beautifying art form. The huge piece pays homage to NYC. 



As you continue, you’re taken on a journey to the beginnings of graffiti (today, there’s still a debate whether NYC or Philadelphia started the movement) and how people started tagging their names & phrases as a form of expression on a huge scale. They used the streets as a public gallery to comment on politics, protests, and more. But, this new art form was faced with backlash and viewed as vandalism. 

As you wind through the exhibit, you see graffiti and street art take on their own life. Pioneer artists like Cornbread made their mark all over the city. New styles emerged from all around NYC - so specific that you could tell if someone was from Brooklyn or Manhattan by the amount of “bubble” in their letters. 



Eventually this new form of art came into play with concert posters, party flyers and music. With the birth of block parties came Buddy Esquire’s (the king of the Hip Hop flyer”) cut & paste flyers inspired by graffiti style & spontaneity. 




Beyond the Streets even dedicates rooms to The Beastie Boys and their take on music & style inspired by the streets and the urban lifestyle.



The exhibit flows from the pioneers in graffiti and street art to some of today’s artists. From Shepard Fairey’s recent work based on equality & inclusion to the Guerilla Girl’s thought provoking activist art, the exhibit fully showcased how the roots of graffiti and street art inspire today’s artists to keep innovating and commenting on society.

My personal fave was a “Dream Concerts” installation by Swedish born artist Andre Saraiva - posters that feature fictional line-ups that need to become a reality. 



We also spent (an embarrassing amount of) time in the graffiti style “bodega” in the middle of the exhibition. It featured hundreds of old school vinyls, record players, vintage posters & clothes all inspired by the urban street culture.



Beyond the Streets expertly showcased & educated on the history of graffiti, street art, and the urban culture & style that is inspiring artists more and more everyday. Three hours later, we still hadn’t finished walking the whole exhibit. Guess we’ll have to head back…


Make sure to check it out at!



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