Tag Archives: New York City

New York City: Romanticism vs. Reality

when you think of New York City, you imagine the “stereotypical” view of it. The endless sky-scraper draped avenues, the gritty underworld of the subway, the glamour of the all the designer’s fashion houses and the bright lights of Broadway. These are all aspects of the city that are heightened in film & art alike to give the Big Apple it’s romanticized view. Now, when you’re thrust into the hustle and flow of the streets, you can taste a sharp tongue of reality with each step you take, but can this hit of “reality” merge into the likes of the romantic vision of New York? And as Oscar Wilde has famously quoted, can life really imitate art?

I’ve been living in New York City for two months, moving here for school in early August. Like many other young people who make the move to the city, it was a dream of mine since childhood; I was just itching to get a feel for city life, with the romanticized picture of NYC painted through my mind’s eye. Upon arriving, I was shell-shocked of the initial immersive quality of the city. Walking about and discovering my surrounds was a revitalizing experience for me, and taught me a lot of my capabilities as an artist. Yet, there was a sense of loss & of unfulfillment of my expectations of what New York is so regularly portrayed as.


Would I make it? Am I cut out for this? Am I even a New Yorker?”

Being in school and also being confronted with many people who were hustling in the same realm as me made me feel like I hit a point of “reality”. Like: “Alright, THIS is what New York REALLY is! A gritty, tough, cut-throat town that can chew you up and spit you out if it wanted to!!” I felt overwhelmed of my surroundings and within two weeks was worrying frantically about assignments, making deadlines, expenses and overall fear of not “making the cut”. Yet, I never lost my sense of wonderment and romanticism of what New York is about. I rejected what the city was trying to make me out to be.

And it came to a point where I realized, the “reality” of a situation and it’s romanticized viewpoint can merge as one if you allow it to.

It may seem difficult, but you’re more than capable of living out your fantasies. It may been labeled as way to expensive to even consider, or out of reach for what you want out of life, but you can make it happen if you want it. New York has that quality to me. I am able to coexist in my fantasy of what New York is and with the challenges it’s actuality gives me.  Even with all of NYC’s history, the moment you walk down those crackled sidewalks the city is your blank canvas, and you choose the colors and the brushes and the tones and the shading you want to create that portrait you need to be yourself in a place that can be very polarizing. You just have to be able to blend the lines of who you are and what everything else is too. The city isn’t what molds me, I make myself into all I am, and that is something seen through the artist and the canvas.

And so it seems, life can imitate art, in the sense that you can thrive in your fantasies if you remain true to your souls desires.


Falling Out Of Love With New York City: The Truth About Our Messy Breakup

I just want to start out by saying that New York City and I have been in love for the majority of my life.

We have shared laughs, long nights of tears, drunken escapades, a mutual distaste for tourists and arrogant assholes from Staten Island alike, and we have both been there for each other during the darkest of times. In what some would call a fantasy world, the city and I have been in love for a very long time. But, like any relationship, bumps in the road come along and sometimes the bumps are strong enough to break a union apart. Such is the case for NYC and me.

When a relationship begins, everything is shiny and new. From the lights that are bright enough to make your eyes tear up, to the noises that are loud enough to accelerate your adrenaline, everything is so much more. When New York City and I fell in love, everything was absolutely breathtaking to me; even the pigeon shit on my windowsill seemed to sparkle like diamonds. However, as time began moving faster and my mind began to open, I realized that the love that I once shared with the “city of dreams” was a façade – a long-winded romance gone awry. Bills began to stack, my budget scaled the size of my apartment down to a measly 400 square feet, and my big dreams were quickly deteriorated by the dreams of everyone around me. What kind of fool thinks that they can become the next J.K. Rowling in a city where fifty thousand others want to obtain the same goal?

Year after year, I always found myself contemplating the worth that I held in my relationship with New York City. Do I matter here? As the love faded, so did my aspirations and hopes. I found myself working dead-end jobs just to pay rent for an apartment that I was never in. That was my first qualm with NYC – our first big fight: the fact that no matter how hard I tried, or how many times I applied, no job seemed to want me. Could it be that my work isn’t good enough? No. My work is just fine, friends assured me. But, compared to the work of thousands of others my age with a degree from Yale or Harvard, my work became overshadowed. The fight about this raged on into the morning hours for weeks on end. Eventually, New York City and I decided to take a break – we took a year apart and I moved half way across the country to clear my mind.


“Like any breakup, you lose things during the separation period.”


When you leave something or someone that you love for an extended amount of time, the saying “distance makes the heart grow fonder” becomes a valued thought. Every day that passed just confirmed that my love reigned strong for my city, and going back was something that I needed to do in order to feel whole again. I packed my bags, hopped on a flight, and landed right back into the arms of my one true love. I thought that time apart is what we needed to find common ground – maybe the distance helped in patching up old wounds…

The smell of my city is something that I have always found comfort in; kind of like laying down on freshly washed bed sheets. Stepping out of Grand Central and taking a deep breath in was assurance that my relationship still held a glimmer of hope as the comfort washed over me. Although my budget had grown, the city had grown as well – landing me in yet another 400 square foot block of space in Chinatown. It’s okay, old habits die hard. The love affair that once consumed me whole was back in full swing and, despite the time we spent apart, nothing had changed.

New York City and I have been tolerating each other in a loveless relationship ever since my return over a year ago. The nights that were once filled with joyful memories have turned dark and lonely, the drunken escapades have turned to drinking wine alone on my couch, and the rush of energy from the lights and noise have turned to a bitter taste in my mouth. The city took my heart, toyed with it, and then gave it back to me in pieces. As I think back to our blissful beginning, I need to remind myself that relationships come and go. No matter what lies ahead, you can always thank the past for where you are now.

Even though our relationship is destined to end soon, New York will always remain my first love. Like any breakup, you lose things during the separation period. Things that I’ll never get back, like massive debt and flashes of my youth, will keep me up at night for a while, but will give me hope that I will one day fall in love with another city that won’t charge $4 for a can of tuna fish.

Retro Skull-Duggery–Visual Propaganda for the Untamed Eye

Retro Skull-Duggery is many things: Independent, a guerrilla, a self employed urban pulp iconographer, street artist, but one thing is for certain, the UK based artist is creating Neo-Pop art so good it’d make Warhol blush. 

Continue reading Retro Skull-Duggery–Visual Propaganda for the Untamed Eye

Street Brilliance: Blek Le Rat, The Godfather of Street Art

After a visit to New York City in 1971, Blek le Rat became influenced by early graffiti works. Back in Paris, Blek decided to bring his brand of street works to his hometown. Much like his name, he spread his work like rats spread the plague. Part Graffiti, part Richard Hamilton styled works, Blek is credited with being the inventor of the life-sized stencils.

Continue reading Street Brilliance: Blek Le Rat, The Godfather of Street Art

Hello Brooklyn, Nemo Achida Adores You

New York City holds a special place for artists. No matter the medium, intrinsically there is something that pushes most creative minds to get their asses to New York if they ever plan to get serious about their career. If you’re an artist, I know you’ve heard that internal chant constantly reminding you ‘You’ve got to have your New York years, You’ve got to have your New York years.’ I’ve heard that voice since I was young. I’ve ignored it, loathed it, talked back, and now I’m finally listening. Which is why Nemo Achida‘s latest EP, Goodbye Brooklyn found it’s way to my inbox in the nick of time.

Continue reading Hello Brooklyn, Nemo Achida Adores You

Fat Paychecks Juxtaposed With Deferred Dreams

"The Bridge," Digital Collage, 2010, by Kendrick Daye

It seems as if the girls in New York wear the deadliest heels, have the sexiest jobs, get the most sickening of blow outs and their paycheck: FAT. It seems as if the men in New York are always hustling, and by hustling I don’t mean having a event or two here and there, I mean hustling as in every weekend, round the clock type of ordeal. They’re always at the hottest and hippest parties, meeting the most successful and glamorous people and…it’s scary. How does the designer in Ohio, the party promoter is Delaware, and the publicist in Michigan take it when they come to the realization one day that New York is the Magnum of all condoms, the Indian Remi of all weaves, the footlong of all subways, the Nike of all sneakers, the caviar of all eggs, the Ferrari of all sports cars, the Tower of Babel of all skyscrapers, the Harvard of all universities. I think you may get where I’m going here, New York is where it’s at. Continue reading Fat Paychecks Juxtaposed With Deferred Dreams

Space Invaders Conquer Paris & The Rest Of The World

In a mere 10 years Invader has been everywhere. For nearly a decade the artist has pasted characters from and inspired by the 8-bit old school game Space Invaders in cities across the world. No city is safe from the street artist’s world “invasion.” Most major cities such as Paris, Amsterdam, Los Angeles, New York and a bevy of others have seen their walls and urban life plastered by Invader’s characters. Take a closer look at some of our favorite pieces by Space Invaders from around the world below.

If you have a great photo of “Art is Everywhere” email it to info@an-mag.com with the subject message “ART IS EVERYWHERE.”

[nggallery id=329]

Elbow-Toe’s Latest Six Foot Collage In NYC

Take a look at this pretty dope dope piece of street art by NYC street artist Elbow-Toe. The six foot piece entitled Move It On Over is a hand colored collage enlarged on photocopier pasted on a wall in New York City.

If you have a great photo of “Art is Everywhere” email it to info@an-mag.com with the subject message “ART IS EVERYWHERE.”

We’ll Always Have NY: Work By Lou Patrou

New York City based artist Lou Patrou has created a body of work that speaks to the city he calls home. It’s vibrant, full of life and robust characters. Some of pieces–complete with dancing stick figures and African inspired patterns and prints–remind me of pop art legend Keith Haring–one of my favorite artists. Check out some of our favorite pieces from Lou below.

[nggallery id=291]