Your Guide to Is­raeli Street Artists in the U.S.A.

Forward Magazine - - FOREGROUND - By Rachel My­er­son

It would be di icult not to no­tice the (of­ten il­le­gal) art­work that has sprung up on the walls of the Holy Land in the past decade and a half, award­ing Is­rael an in­ter­na­tional rep­u­ta­tion for cre­ative street artists with strong mes­sages. Is­rael, how­ever, is small — and its street artists in­evitably reach a point when they feel they have nowhere to progress within its bor­ders. So, they travel abroad — some­times by in­vi­ta­tion, some­times not, drawn to the prospect of un­known ter­rains and wider au­di­ences. If you aren’t fa­mil­iar with their work al­ready, al­low us to in­tro­duce you to the fol­low­ing — trag­i­cally un­der­rated — col­lec­tion of Is­raeli tal­ent, those who have brought a lit­tle piece of their home­land to the streets of the United States.

Dede

Dede rose to ame more than a decade ago with his now sig­na­ture band-aid mo­tif, earn­ing him the nick­name “Dede Band-Aid.” Fol­low­ing Dede’s mil­i­tary ser­vice, he cre­ated the mo­tif, which he de­scribed to the For­ward as a form of “ther­apy that helped me through some of the hard­est phases of my life. I used to spend long nights draw­ing band-aids all over Tel Aviv, and, with each draw­ing, I felt a sense of relief, as if I was telling ev­ery­body about my prob­lems and they all lis­tened, un­der­stood and sup­ported me.”

Dede uti­lizes a range of tech­niques, in­clud­ing col­lage, free-hand paint­ing and in­stal­la­tion. He tends to draw in­spi­ra­tion from the ur­ban land­scape, per­haps best dis­played by his col­lec­tion of wooden an­i­mals. Like his band-aids, the an­i­mals — al­ways cap­tured flee­ing, pur­sued by an un­seen preda­tor — ap­pear on streets around the globe. In­spired by the plight of Tel Aviv’s home­less, whom he ob­served build­ing tem­po­rary shel­ters from scraps of wood, the an­i­mals tell a story of “search­ing for a safe haven.”

Dede’s band-aids, wooden an­i­mals and more can be spot­ted in down­town Man­hat­tan and in the Bush­wick sec­tion of Brook­lyn, as well as in Mi­ami.

Nitzan Mintz

While many turn to booze or ice cream to heal a bro­ken heart, Nitzan Mintz, who is the long­time part­ner of Dede, found mild van­dal­ism far more ef­fec­tive;

tag­ging her name on her high school’s walls af­ter dark made her “feel alive” fol­low­ing a teenage break-up. Years later, Mintz honed her evolv­ing street work into what would be­come her trade­mark. Sten­cil­ing onto pub­lic walls the po­etry she’d been writ­ing for years proved the an­ti­dote to feel­ing “choked” by her manda­tory mil­i­tary ser­vice.

Mintz uses “the most bor­ing, bu­reau­cratic fonts,” she said, to dis­play her con­trast­ingly pro­found po­etry, which ver­bal­izes the “ir­rec­on­cil­able: the in­abil­ity to re­turn to child­hood, the bro­ken heart, po­lit­i­cal and so­cial hopes turned to ashes, and one-sided re­la­tion­ships with God.”

While the com­mis­sioned mu­rals that have taken Mintz around Europe de­mand a fair amount of plan­ning, the artist con­tin­ues to act on sud­den bursts of in­spi­ra­tion. A quiet cor­ner near the pres­ti­gious street art hub, the Bush­wick Col­lec­tive, in Brook­lyn, in­spired one par­tic­u­lar piece: “I found a wood panel hang­ing on a fence and fell in love with it. There was a strange feel­ing of a postapoc­a­lyp­tic en­vi­ron­ment; a lot of trash on the stairs and the side­walk, and the grass was re­ally tall. I cre­ated this piece on thin pa­per and glued it to the wood panel so it would fit per­fectly and be­come part of the lo­ca­tion,” Mintz said.

Sara Erenthal

Erenthal never thought of her­self as an artist — “al­though I al­ways had a de­sire to ex­press my­self cre­atively” — un­til she ran away from home at age ‰Š to es­cape an ar­ranged mar­riage. Grow­ing up in

SARA ERENTHAL

UP AGAINST THE WALL: Sara Erenthal’s work can be seen in Park Slope and Bush­wick in Brook­lyn.

COUR­TESY OF NITZAN MINTZ

THE MEDIUM ISN’T AL­WAYS THE MES­SAGE: Nitzan Mintz in­ten­tion­ally uses bor­ing fonts for her text-based work.

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