I have been getting more and more into art, especially modern art. Whether it is in a museum, like the Modern Art Museum in Fort Worth, or just on the street, I am really inspired by the creativity and bright colors. I know there is a lot of amazing street art in New York City, but I haven’t really taken the time to explore it, so I was excited to take the Brooklyn Graffiti and Street Art Tour with Brooklyn Unplugged.
Logistics of the Brooklyn Graffiti and Street Art Tour
This Brooklyn street art tour meets in front of ‘Wyckoff-Starr’ coffee shop located at 20 Wyckoff Avenue in Bushwick Brooklyn. It is a short walk from the Jefferson L train station. The tour runs daily at 3 pm and lasts about 2 hours. You will be walking about a mile and the tour ends at right by the Morgan Avenue L Train station. The Bushwick walking tour costs $32 per person or it is included as part of the New York Pass, Smart Destinations Explorer Pass and NY Sightseeing Pass. Brooklyn Unplugged also has several other tours in Brooklyn and Queens. Check out the expert tips below for a special discount code!
Jeff would be our tour guide for our Bushwick Graffiti and Street Art Tour. He told us that he is not an artist but he is a Brooklyn native. He really knew his stuff but was very patient with others on the tour that didn’t know much about street art. I loved hearing the inside scoop. I really learned a lot from him.
Street Art vs. Graffiti
We started with a discussion about the difference between street art and graffiti. The words are not interchangeable. Graffiti is just comprised of letters and names, called tags, while street art is more advanced. Street art is done for the general public while graffiti is done for other graffiti artists. Personally, I am not a fan of graffiti, I much prefer street art.
On the Bushwick Street Art tour, I really hated seeing graffiti on top of the street art. I just think it is so disrespectful and damages the hard work of the street artist. It hit me hardest when we saw a beautiful portrait where someone had written over the mouth. Unfortunately, there were other examples of graffiti on murals as well.
The Bushwick Collective
The tour centered around the Bushwick Collective Street Art (although we did see works that were not part of the Collective as well). Joseph Ficalora is the curator, he got permission from building owners and has chosen the artists. He wanted the artwork to be therapeutic and beautify the community, so the art was not supposed to be political. The murals are replaced about every twelve months, so you will see layers on some murals. No artists are paid for their contribution to the Bushwick Collective.
Highlights of the Brooklyn Graffiti and Street Art Tour
I saw a lot of street artwork that I really liked during our Brooklyn Graffiti and Street Art Tour. The creativity of street artists always impresses me. I also love paintings with bold colors that are visually appealing. Probably my favorite mural was one by Dasic Fernandez from Chile. I also really enjoyed Lexi Bella’s work. I just love how she painted eyes.
If there is meaning in the art, that is a bonus to me. While political pieces technically weren’t allowed as part of the Bushwick Collective, it seems like some exceptions were made to that rule. Another artist known as Pay to Pray was not allowed to participate in the Collective because his works were too political. He did have some works in the area that we saw as part of the tour.
Street art is not just murals though. We saw some other interesting 3-D pieces on our tour. We saw sculptures and 3-D artwork made of wire/yarn. I had never really thought of this as street art, but as Jeff explained the classification of street art has a lot to do with the artist’s intention. The Bushwick graffiti that we saw made me question the artist’s intention, especially if it was on top of a mural.
In summary, I was really impressed by the Brooklyn Graffiti and Street Art tour. The quality and quantity of Bushwick murals that we saw was amazing, and I learned so much about the artists. Check out the video above to see more of the art. You will see some of the best murals in NYC.
Have you seen any of the murals that are part of the Bushwick Collective? What is your favorite piece of street art? Have you ever gone on a graffiti or street art tour? I would love to hear about it in the comments.
Expert Tips for the Brooklyn Graffiti and Street Art Tour:
- Dress appropriately for the weather and wear comfortable shoes.
- Book online and use the code TravelingTexan to get 20% off your tour price.
Disclosure: We were guests of Brooklyn Unplugged for the Graffiti and Street Art Tour. We will not receive any commission for future tour bookings. As always, opinions are my own.
We are happy to co-host the Weekly Postcard Linkup. Everyone is invited to join us and share their travel blog posts here beginning at 12 p.m. (PST) / 8 p.m. (GMT) Friday, May 26th. If you would like a reminder email when the linkup opens, you can sign up to get one here.
For those of you that have not done a linkup before, please check out our frequently asked questions about the Weekly Postcard. Feel free to reach out to us if you have other questions. You can also check out last week’s posts here. Happy Travels!