Last weekend we brought your attention to RETNA’s mural on Bowery and Houston, but in the week that has past most of the city’s artistic focus has been off the streets and into the various fairs participating in Armory Arts Week. But that’s not the case for British street artist D*Face who took to SoHo and Brooklyn this week to construct three large-scale murals. Though not totally isolated from the week’s festivities — D*Face’s work is being shown by the Corey Helford Gallery at the SCOPE New York Art Show — the artist explained why he relishes the opportunity to paint in the open and engage with a broad audience, beyond just those that might choose to go to an art fair.
“I always love painting in public because you get to have that interaction with people around you, and that to me is why I started doing work in the streets anyway,” D*Face told Runnin’ Scared in a phone interview on Thursday.
The murals explore personal feelings of “love and loss.” In SoHo at Lafayette Street, a man with a skeletal face grasps a woman. “He obviously loves her more than she loves him,” D*Face said. At Broadway and Bedford Avenue in Brooklyn, a woman — the style of whom reminds us of the work of Roy Lichtenstein — drapes herself over a packing crate.
“It’s about someone packing up their belongings to leave,” he said. “It’s about missing that person.”
The Bedford woman holds one of D*Face’s stickers, a part of his work which he said he puts in the streets wherever he goes.
High visibility was key in choosing locations, D*Face explained. For D*Face the interaction with the public is part of the joy of working in public space, and is something he found to be much more common in New York than in London.
“People in London are much quieter so they just kind of look and don’t say anything and then go away,” he said.
In New York, however, people have been engaging with the paintings, stopping to take photos and to talk about the work.
People have asked D*Face what his pieces purport to advertise.
“They are like ‘so, what’s the advert for?’ and it’s like, ‘it’s not an advert, it’s just an art piece it’s just to bring you joy,'” he explained. “And they’re like ‘wow that’s awesome you should do more of these.'”
The two murals described above will be on view for a month. A third, at 158 Roebling, displaying a Grim Reaper-like figure, is permanent.