Underhill Walls: street art project in Brooklyn

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Curators build collaborative facility in Prospect Heights

Text by Cristina Ochoa

Translation by Briana Prieto F. in collaboration with Paula Villanueva

Photos by Briana Prieto F.

Brooklyn is considered the “Mecca” of street art, undoubtedly, the American neighborhood has emerged multiple artists who today are considered pillars of the urban style that is currently booming. That is why the curators Frankie Velez and Jeff Beler decided to make an installation in which different artists participate and change the murals every six months.

Underhill Walls is an artistic initiative created by the curators of urban art that seek to “beautify” the streets of the city, Velez and Beler. After having previously collaborated they decided to promote this project that seeks to be kind of a collective installation: artists will be changing the artwork every six months giving it a greater dynamism to the project.

At ALL CITY CANVAS we had the opportunity to interview the curators of this project.
“Jeff and I started working together two years ago when we curated a project on those walls, it was called What’s Your Sign Mural Project. In this new proposal we work with some of the most talented artists in New York and New Jersey”, says Frankie Velez, who since 2007 has been considered as one of the most outstanding independent curators.

During Underhill Walls, “we will change the murals every six months, and the artists who have collaborated may also do something in August at a party that we will be hosting for this project. Artists will have the opportunity to make a new mural prior to the first change that will be in October”, explains Jeff Beler about the proposal that has been positively assimilated by the people of Brooklyn.

– They have worked with Sacsix, Hektad, Angre Red and many others. Is there any particular artist with whom you would like to collaborate?

– Frankie: I would love to work with Kobra. The colors he uses are very vibrant and full of life. Also, with OsGemeos, who are also from Brazil; I really like their aesthetic hip hopera, old school.

– Jeff: I would like to work with BK Foxx because of his murals that have to do with portraiture and a realistic style.

For both Frankie and Jeff the world of urban art is gaining momentum and importance not only in communities where interventions and murals are performed, but in closed spaces such as museums and galleries too; but as they mentioned, there will always be people who prefer to see the works in the streets.

A couple of years ago, I noticed in Wynwood, Miami and around the world a very clean urban art that was becoming artistic murals. There is still a constant battle for street art to have its place: you can currently see it in galleries around the world but there will always be people who think they do not deserve that place. -Frankie Velez

It was unacceptable to re-name it “graffiti”, as it was at the beginning. It has evolved into murals and murals, though it began with old school writing. -Jeff Beler

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