Juan Carlos Pinto On Community Art & Living In Flatbush

Neighbor Matt MacLean directed us to this awesome video by Brooklyn Independent Television about local artist and neighborhood beautifier Juan Carlos Pinto, who’s responsible (along with the Brooklyn Recycle Project) for well-known area installations like the enormous pixelated portraits at the corner of Cortelyou and Marlborough Roads, the Brooklyn mosaic next to John’s Bakery, and the Newkirk Plaza tunnel mural.

“I live on Cortelyou Road, in Brooklyn,” Juan Carlos tells BRIC, not buying into the neighborhood name game. “I believe it’s Flatbush. You know, the new developments, they want to call it SoCo, NoCo, North of Cortelyou, that’s… I live in Flatbush.”

Juan Carlos tells BRIC about his life in the neighborhood, his beginnings in MetroCard portraits, his passion for recycling (he says at one point that the only thing he buys is glue), and his take on public art and collaboration over cash.

“When you start organizing something, everybody says, ‘How much is it gonna cost me?'” Juan Carlos says after leaving Leon’s Fantasy Cut on Newkirk Plaza with a bag of ceramic pieces donated by neighbors. He puts emphasis on the community giving up private clutter (and on a business temporarily lending space)–not simply monetary contributions–for public enjoyment.

Thanks to Matt for the link, and thanks to Juan Carlos for bringing neighbors together and making SoCo Flatbush a more beautiful place to live!

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