The lovely and talented Cake recently installed three large portraits in the East Village. After hooking Know Hope up with a wall around the block, this is the second mural this year organized by the MaNY Project‘s seemingly tireless Keith Schweitzer for Fourth Arts Block‘s outdoor visual art program.
Tag Archives: cake
As Luna mentioned in her post earlier today, we had a great time at Albany’s Living Walls festival this past weekend. Not only was it an opportunity to catch up with friends and to make the acquaintance of artists and other photographers from near and far, but we were also fortunate enough to meet and interact with many members of the communities that will be living with these walls for some time to come. Some were so enthusiastic that they hopped right into my pictures to model for me! And since no two shots are ever quite the same, here are my highlights from the weekend (See Luna’s here):
The Street Spot took to the road this past weekend to check out Albany’s inaugural Living Walls festival in person. Samson Contompasis of the Marketplace Gallery worked tirelessly for the better part of a year to bring world-class street artists to his hometown and to convince the New York State capital that his vision for urban renewal was one worth pursuing. Just as we pulled up to the How & Nosm wall above, a woman with a small band of children emerged from the community center across the road. Upon seeing us staring up at the mural, she started beaming widely, gushing about how much she loved it, and telling us what a miracle it was. This was but one of many positive encounters we had with the people of Albany – if their reactions are any indication, then I’d say Living Walls was a huge success. Below are some of my favorite images from the weekend – stay tuned for Becki’s impressions.
We haven’t seen a lot of work on the street from the Brooklyn based artist Cake lately, but when she gets up, she sure does make it count! A few new pieces of hers recently popped up in Red Hook, which I must say has been in desperate need of some artistic beautification. All are hand painted, with one being a smaller, more intimate piece that has been more typical of her work on the street. The other two are no less delicate and esoteric, but definitely show that she is pushing at boundaries with the size of her pieces.
For those on the west coast who can’t see her work here in person, Cake is one of the featured artists in ‘Street Art Saved My Life’ presented by Brooklyn Street Art and Thinkspace at C.A.V.E. Gallery in Venice, CA. She’ll also be participating in Living Walls: Albany, a city wide art & urban education conference from September 16-18th.
“The show at Brewers Mansion was a chance for me to display part of a series of drawings I completed back in September and October down in Miami, where I did a four week stay at The Fountainhead Residency. Besides having the gift of making work free from distraction for a real nice chunk of time, I also befriended the Mikesells, the family who created and run the residency – they are, in a word, amazing.
These drawings are portraits of my family and somehow, of myself. I get to work things out by drawing, unraveling intricate relationship structures to better understand them. And then, before I even know it, they wind back up and I move on for a bit.”
Just a friendly reminder to our readers that Luna and I will be participating in the exhibition “Death Warmed Over” tonight at Fresthetic in Williamsburg. Hope to see you there!
“Death Warmed Over”
Paintings by Chris RWK, Veng, and Cake
Photography by Luna Park & Becki Fuller
Friday, June 25th, 2010
560 Grand Street
Brooklyn NY, 11211
(between Lorimer St & Union Ave)
Trains: L,G, M & J
Featuring new work and collaborations between
Chris RWK * Veng * Cake
Luna Park * Becki Fuller
Opening Friday, June 25th
560 Grand Street
Brooklyn, NY 11211
This weekend, NYC street artist and painter extraordinaire Cake will be a featured artist in the show “Convergence” at The Marketplace Gallery in Albany. Cake will have a 15 foot installation inside as well as an outdoor pasting spot. The show opens on Friday at 5:30pm and will run until 10:30 on Sunday night. That’s three days only, so make sure to gas up your car, buy your Amtrak ticket, or hop on a bus to come out and support our girl (as well as a recently reopened and much beloved gallery!).
On a recent rainy weekend near the end of October, I took the train up to Connecticut to visit the artist Cake in her studio. Although she only started putting her work on the street about two years ago, Cake is no stranger to the street art world. Through her circle of friends at Pratt Institute in the early 2000s, she had a front-row seat to the burgeoning street art scene then taking shape in Brooklyn. At the time, she was working on completing her degree in painting and very much focused on her studio art. With this in mind, I was curious to learn more about her artistic development and what motivated her to take her work out of the studio and onto the streets.
Encouraged to pick up a brush by her grandmother, a noted Chinese landscape artist in her own right, Cake immersed herself in a world of art from an early age on. Taught to paint using watercolors, she now paints exclusively with acrylics. Before embarking upon her course of studies at Pratt, she began experimenting in painting abstracts. She continued producing abstract paintings at the same time as building a body of more figurative work.
One could even say she was building bodies both figuratively and literally, as anatomical elements began appearing as a motif that bridged both areas of work. From a structural standpoint, she used skeletal outlines to differentiate between foregrounds and backgrounds in her abstracts. She admitted to relishing a certain “creepiness” associated with skulls and skeletons that, especially when incorporated into her portraits of babies and children, radiated vulnerability on the cusp of impending violence. The heart also features prominently within Cake’s work and represents her attempt to put a “medicinal spin on an emotion.” Through her art, she aims to therapeutically transform raw and loaded emotions into functional and neutral symbols; for Cake, the heart is a symbol far removed from stereotypical notions of romance. I sense an incredible hidden strength in Cake’s work – her delicately drawn female forms, with open hearts, visible bones and arms akimbo, belie their apparent helplessness and exude a toughness that I find very appealing.
Befitting of someone who pours her heart into her art, Cake eschews the mass production methods of some of her contemporaries. Her pieces are all hand drawn and colored – in a word, each is an original. Given the incredible amount of work she invests in each piece, I asked what had changed since her days at Pratt and why had she decided to start getting up. For Cake, it was the realization that the street is not only more authentic than the gallery, but also where she feels most at home. Beginning with hand-embellished stickers, she quickly moved on to wheatpasting first small, then increasingly larger pieces as her confidence and comfort level rose. Like many street artists, she was soon completely hooked, enjoying the sensation of paint and paste on her hands and reveling in the adrenaline rush following the successful installation of a piece. Finding it liberating to let her work go, she made a conscious choice to start putting up more work and to stop worrying about what happened to it. Her work has clearly found resonance amongst her peers, as she’s already completed a number of successful collaborations (notably with Veng of Robots Will Kill, Feral, and Passenger Pigeon) – with no doubt more to come.
Cake was recently one of three artists, alongside Chris Stain and Cern, tapped by Art in General to provide murals for the arts organization’s fundraising gala. She is participating in Brooklynite Gallery’s upcoming group show, Go Get Your Shinebox, as well as in Anno Domini’s annual invitational group exhibit and art sale, Fresh Produce. You can see more of her work on her Flickr.
Last Saturday, the non-profit arts organization Art in General was host to Underground Up, a fall benefit party in an old firehouse on Lafayette Street. Artists Cake, Chris Stain and Cern were invited to create site-specific murals, the catch being they only had a few hours Saturday afternoon before the party to put up their work. It’s a good thing they know a thing or two about painting under pressure…
Cake was kind enough to invite me into the space on Monday, shortly before the pieces were painted over. [Heads up: I'll have a full interview and studio visit with Cake coming soon!]