Williamsburg is colourful, to say the least. Very few of the buildings, walls or sidewalks in this area are bare. They are a flush with graffiti and street art that in London would be painted over before anyone had a chance to see it. This flux of creativity is due to the many artists that wish to get their work seen, and have taken to the streets in order to do so. I do not feel as though the colours on the walls are just etchings of young kids trying to “stick it to the man.” It is one of the reasons I am quickly falling in love with the neighbourhood and its constant flow of creativity that is literally everywhere you look.
One setback to this creative community is that it can be very hard to live off the salary of a struggling artist, so many find themselves working many jobs with long hours and evening shifts. This lifestyle has made way for a new mental disorder labelled Shift-Work Disorder, in which someone suffers chronic insomnia as the mental and physical states are thrown out of balance. It seems strange to think that many of us back home have been living with the disorder but just thought of it as the student way of life; working hard yet playing harder. As the hype continues around the new disorder that is taking over Williamsburg and most of Brooklyn, the Skewville brothers felt inspired and thought it time to visualise the symptoms.
The Skewville brothers are a New York City street art twin duo, who have been working on many different forms of street art for the past 15 years. Their work began when they realised the change from graffiti into street art and started to throw wooden pictures of trainers (sneakers) over telephone wires, documenting it as they went along. They opened up their own gallery, so they did not have to worry over the art politics that showed these brightly decorated trainers in Seattle, New York, Mexico, London, Amsterdam and many more. These images started off a chain reaction, and Skewville became well known for their work. They have been featured in many magazines, worked with Fred Segal in Los Angeles and also been in the background of many a Hollywood film, taking the street art world places Banksy never wanted to go.
Being inspired by Shift-Work Disorder the street art tag team took their work in a different direction (from graffiti to art with a cubist element), trying to portray it in different mediums; using 2D and 3D, the lifestyle that comes with it. This collection of work aims to look at the hectic lives we live and match them to visual representations. The work is bold, using mainly red and black which denotes intensity. They are in no way calming, in no way light and especially in no way sleep-provoking, just like the artistic lifestyle they parallel.
Shift Work Disorder is being displayed in Factory Fresh (1053 Flushing Ave bet Morgan and Knickerbocker, off the L train Morgan Stop) until June 20th.