Work in Progress: Coney Art Walls 2016

ICY & SOT, The Last Supper
Summer 2016 is here, and our favorite Brooklyn Summer hangout has become another hot spot for public art, highlighting some of StellaBella's favorite street artists!

Coney Art Walls (curated by Jeffrey Deitch and Joseph Sitt), out at Coney Island, USA kicks off its sophomore celebration with 21 new artists, with 10 preserved from 2015.  I was fortunate to catch 3 early glimpses of some amazing work in progress from some real street art veterans. In addition, I was honored to meet the veteran street art photographer herself - Martha Cooper.  Let's get started...

Before the doors officially opened to the public, the only people allowed in were with the artist or press. But through the metal bars, I was able to catch the amazing stencil duo ICY & SOT putting this piece together with such precision:  "The Last Supper".

I went back the following week with the hunch Tristan Eaton might be the next to get up at the shore, and I was right!  There he was on his birthday, getting started on the projection outline laid down the night before.  I tried to get inside, but again...I'm not with a newspaper or magazine.

Just then I turned around, and getting out of his car to catch a glimpse as well - Bay Ridge's very own: Michael McLeer, AKA KAVES!

I quickly introduced myself as a fan, street art photographer & fellow Bay Ridge resident.  Kaves told me to hang on & he'd see what he could do about getting me in for some exclusive shots of Tristan Eaton at work. And he delivered! After shooting a picture of these 2 titans of the graffiti/street art world, I thanked Kaves profusely & made the most of my opportunity.

The next 3 photos of Tristan were from the last series on my Nikon D40.  The very next day, I started working with my new model, the Nikon D7200.  I had many miles on that camera, it was fun to use it for the last time on such a cool experience!  This piece, "The Monster Within & The Fools That Follow" is a tongue-in-cheek tribute to the Kardashian Klan, depicting Kim and her youngest sister, Kylie.

I tucked myself out of the way & watched him perfect the gray highlighted areas of the piece, before laying any color down.  He labored on it for hours, and was meticulous.  Each spray had to be smooth & clear with no clogs - so he'd spray out to the side for so long!  These moments were my favorite shots from the afternoon.

Martha Cooper shooting Tristan Eaton

A week later, I brought one of my yoga teachers' out to Coney Island for some poses in front of the walls.  Another project I started working on... well, I had to stop in the middle of the shoot when I noticed Martha Cooper in the vicinity.  I introduced myself, and told her what an inspiration she has been, learning about her career with her camera.  I was quick, because I had a feeling she was there for a reason.  Around the corner came Tristan Eaton, ready to put his signature on his finished piece.  After they got set up, I ran over to catch the moment: a real street art collaboration!

I caught the Black & White shot of Big Ronnie in front of ICY & SOT, but I thought for the next 2 completed pics, I'd share some new models for StellaBella!  Below is one of my wonderful Bikram Yoga Teachers, David Levy-Horton.  I recently shot his professional head-shots/poses & he agreed to pose with street art!  He was such a good sport, more to come from the day.... 

Ok, now we are in what I call BONUS territory.  My dear friend Lisa was visiting in the middle of the week, and I suggested an afternoon at the shore.  While we were there, I showed her around the Coney Art Walls, before a classy dinner at Nathan's of course.  Once again, Martha Cooper was there & we both got some great shots of D-Face putting up their piece!

D-Face Shadows

For this completed photo, I took another Bikram Yoga teacher out for a photo shoot.  Ms. Lynne Bailey was so excited about our shoot, she asked if she could bring beautiful bike along for her poses.  How could I object?  This custom 2015 Harley Davidson made the shoot with this beautiful yogi even more fun, and drew a lot of attention!  She did some great poses that day, but with this throw-back piece - that smile seated on her ride was all I needed.

As I continue meeting the artist's that create these public masterpieces, I am drawn to their individual styles of process.  I think there are moments that happen where you can understand the motivation and process without saying a word.  And in addition, I enjoyed stepping outside of my project and incorporating yoga poses and street art.  I will be sharing more regarding this project soon!

Big Ronnie & I continue our photography journey, but when I have opportunities like these, it's a different approach completely.  I sit, observe, and shoot for as long as I can.  Once the piece has been completed, then its time for BRASA magic.  OR inspiring yoga teachers?  OR you?

Until then, keep your head up & see all of the beauty around you!

La vita è bella,

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