Bushwick might be hot enough to be the world’s seventh-coolest neighborhood, have shitty hotels “inspired” by it and get SNL and SantaCon to take a look at it, but that doesn’t mean it’s Park Slope. Bushwick can still be ravaged by WAR, although in this case it’s a graffiti vs. street art civil war that ANIMAL found, as spray paint can holding brother is turning against spray paint holding brother in a defacement battle over authenticity and gentrification. We haven’t enjoyed a Bushwick story like this since the one where Droid907 was interviewed sitting in a ditch and waiting to hop a freight train.
So OK, it’s not a shooting war, unless the people on both sides are making “Pew! Pew!” sounds as spray paint comes out of their cans, and why not do that. Instead, it’s a running battle between the street artists of the Bushwick Collective and one graffiti artist, constantly tagging their murals. According to ANIMAL, the Bushwick Collective is run by Bushwick native Joe Ficalora and was started as a way to fight graffiti, giving walls over to artists who don’t make their art overtly political or done up in a graffiti style.
On the other side of the war is graffiti artist Zexor, who’s also a Bushwick native, thus muddying the waters of who the authentic one is in this fight. Zexor didn’t give a quote to ANIMAL about his work painting smiley faces and his tag over Bushwick Collective murals, but in an Instagram post, he did tie his fight into gentrification, accusing street artists of being agents of it:
these art fags who moved to Bushwick like 6-7 years ago had a direct impact to this movement also the Bushwick colllective doesn’t help either when the director himself is all about gentrification…what was considered literally less then a decade ago the poorest neighborhood in all of nyc is now the highest up incoming neighborhood and most expensive to live in and their trynna change the name on top of all that so don’t tell me about my hood and who has done what you know nothing your the outsider we want out
Ironically, a fight like this will probably just serve to call more attention to Bushwick’s legal AND illegal art, a New York Times photo essay and eventually, a Ken Burns-style documentary.