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14 Muralists Rep NYC Street Art at Governors Ball

Chance the Rapper, Childish Gambino, and Lorde were the stars of the show, but a small army of artists brought New York City to Randall's Island.

by Beckett Mufson
Jun 8 2017, 2:49pm

Photo by Matthew A. Eller (@ellerlawfirm)

In the midst of show-stopping Governors Ball moments like Childish Gambino announcing the end of Childish Gambino, Kendrick Lamar almost appearing at Schoolboy Q's set, and Chance the Rapper performing irresistible ear-worm "May I Have This Dance" with Francis and the Lights, over the weekend a squadron of artists emblazoned Randall's Island with New York City street style.

Since 2014, the Randall's Island mega-festival has eschewed flashy light art in favor of muralists. Given the week before the festival to complete two 8' x 20' murals each, NYC staples like Damien Mitchell, Hanksy, Persue, Magda Love, and BK Foxx brought NYC flair to the island. Seven towers, each decked out with four canvases, rose from the ground to meet festival-goers from around the world. Curated by Lola Sherwood and organized by Che Anderson, the muralists paid tribute to Ol' Dirty Bastard and Sharon Jones, NYC's skyline, pigeons, rats, and one artist's love of tacos. The 28 murals represent a variety of styles and street art philosophies propagated in New York.

Photo: Matthew A. Eller (@ellerlawfirm)

For her Life Through Taco-Colored Glasses (above), the Brooklyn-based BK Foxx tells Creators, "My beautiful model Margot laid in a bed of meat and cheese and shells for this photo shoot, her devotion to handheld Mexican food is off the charts." Foxx is also behind a mural that urged visitors to stay woke. "As Childish Gambino said, 'Be alive, be aware, use your brain, think hard, but in lights!'" She sprayed both murals freehand, sans projectors and stencils.

Aussie immigrant and current New York resident Damien Mitchell is responsible for the homages to Ol' Dirty Bastard and Sharon Jones. "I decided to pay homage to two musicians whose work I both like, and that connects to NYC," he says. "I reached out to both Wu-Tang and the Dap-Kings and have offered to donate the murals once taken down."

Courtesy Governors Ball

The pseudonymous, Chinatown-based artist Hanksy painted big blocks of bright colors that were rarely seen free of selfie-takers. "I've been playing around with both a new style and direction as of late," he says. "While I usually don't do a lot of festival gigs, it was a great experience. Good camaraderie and wonderfully catered. God bless meal tickets."

The majority of the artists are New York-based, but Sherwood tells Creators, "I have always tried to include both local and international artists; it makes sense to me to bring art that reflects the diversity of styles and artists from New York at the moment. Whether the artists call NYC home or are just passing through, they all feel inspired by the energy of the city and it reflects in the work."

Check out snapshots of the resulting murals at the festival below.

Matthew A. Eller (@ellerlawfirm)

Courtesy Governors Ball

Courtesy Governors Ball

Courtesy Governors Ball

Courtesy Governors Ball

Courtesy Governors Ball

Courtesy Governors Ball

Matthew A. Eller (@ellerlawfirm)

Matthew A. Eller (@ellerlawfirm)

The full list of muralists at Governors Ball includes Askew One, Baron Von Fancy, BK Foxx, Damien Mitchell, DMOTE, Greg Mike, Hanksy, Magda Love, Moral Turgeman, Persue, Stae2, Steffi Lynn, Straker, and Tom Bob. Learn more about them on the official website.

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