Brooklyn is well known for its vibrant art scene. Over the past two weeks, many new murals were unveiled, adding vibrant color, imagery, and self-expression to our neighborhoods, documenting 2020 in the process. (There is also the Papergirl Brooklyn project you should check out and the public art along Atlantic Avenue).
Front & York, a mixed-use development in DUMBO, once had a bland construction fence and now houses a 500-foot-long mural dedicated to essential workers that was unveiled on October 13.
Misha Tyutyunik, a DUMBO-based, Ukrainian born painter, created it specifically for Front & York and wanted to express gratitude for the thousands of essential workers who have kept New York running during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“All workers are essential, which is the title of the piece, and I’m all about seizing the opportunity to highlight those of us often overlooked,” he said. “I’m hoping that the mural brightens up peoples’ days and reminds them that some workers that they often take for granted are equally important.”
The colorful mural includes symbols dedicated to the essential workers who have worked hard since the pandemic. An ambulance, hospital symbol, and hands cutting up a red pepper show the different roles people have played over the last eight months.
The COVID-19 pandemic is just one common theme – gender and racial equality are others.
Industry City in Sunset Park is home to The Collision Project, which utilizes the campus of Industry City for artists to promote their work.
On Oct. 20, Industry City unveiled five new murals and launched a walking tour showing all 14 pieces in the collection. The Solo Socially Distanced Art Tour is a free self-guided tour, highlighting the four mural themes of 2020 unifying the works at Industry City: quarantine, the pandemic, gender, and racial equality.
Josh Cochran is one of the Brooklyn-based artists whose work was revealed earlier this week at Industry City. Cochran grew up in Taiwan and California but now lives in Brooklyn. On a camping trip he took upstate before painting his piece, he took photos of plants that ultimately led him to paint a forest. His mural is called “Cairns in the Forest.”
“I wanted to bring some energy from being in nature to this wall and hope it can inspire people to take a moment and try to find some time for themselves,” Cochran said.
The newest murals coming out of quarantine show how we feel as individuals and as a collective society. Collision Project wanted the artists to showcase how quarantine has affected them and what they have taken away from it, with many of these artists not having space to create large scale pieces since March.
Being a Brooklyn resident, Cochran wanted to paint something that the community could enjoy and is proud of what he has created.
“It’s really important for me as an artist to leave a mark out in the world. Especially in my own borough,” he said. “It’s really the best feeling to make something that the public can interact with.”
Anyone can visit the murals every day of the week while following social distancing guidelines.