The Bushwick Collective: Here’s To You, Art Darling

After a fruitful ukay-ukay expedition in a Brooklyn neighborhood, there was one more place to see before heading back to our hotel: the Bushwick Collective. Teeming with gigantic murals, creative spaces, food trucks, artisanal coffee shops, quirky bars, and thrift stores, the Bushwick district has become the present-day center of Brooklyn’s art scene. While the area has a huge cluster of artist studios and galleries, its vibrant industrial landscape is the main draw for artists and art lovers.

Since there is no shortage of art in the ‘hood, it was easy to kick off our stroll. After all, Bushwick is considered an open-air or outdoor gallery but unlike how we’d typically navigate a museum or gallery, the sight-seeing began once we got off Jefferson Station as we were instantly swarmed with graffiti and murals. Expectedly, Bushwick is a sight to behold. With depictions of wildlife personified in comedic forms, including Neo-expressionist themes, and massive caricatures, the Bushwick street art brings about a wide range of artists with varying talents and backgrounds. Some of the biggest names whose work either is or has been displayed at the Bushwick collective include legendary names in the street art world from Blek le Rat, Banksy, Shepard Fairey, to Adam Fu, Monks Art, and Daisy Freedman, among others. While gazing at the street art however, we found it hard to recognize the artists and this is because fresh, new murals are added annually or previous ones are replaced.

To fully experience the artsy Bushwick world, we were told that it would take about 2-3 hours on foot to see most of the murals in the area—and there are walls that aren’t officially part of the Bushwick Collective tucked away in Moore Street, White Street, Bogart Street, and so on. But at some point, our knees were starting to give out, hence, the much-needed pause for a few cold beers. By the time we were done, the sun started to dip as we watched its fading light shower the streets with spectacular shades of gold. Amazingly, Bushwick seemed to appear even more spirited at night, and we couldn’t help but wonder if the art on the walls came alive in the dark. Ah, perhaps we were drunk with all the glorious art we’d seen that day or had one too many or maybe it was simply time to raise another toast to the timeless Brooklyn street art darling that is Bushwick.