PUBLISHED BY: Public Art Squad Project
PUBLISHER: Scotto Mycklebust, Artist
MANAGING EDITOR: Katie Cercone
CONTRIBTING WRITERS: Dan Callahan, Linda Digusta, David Hales, Richard Wyndbourne Kline, Richard Leslie, Rob Reed, Suzanne Schultz, Matthew Schultz,
CREATIVE DIRECTOR: Scotto Mycklebust
ART & DESIGN: Joli Latini, Lauren Stec
ART PHOTOGRAPHER: Elisa Garcis de la Huerta
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IN THIS ISSUE:
- The R List
- The Gallery View
- Urban Chic
- Art Attack, The Occupy Museum Movement
- The Hip Hop Feminist Manifesto
- Biennial Clap Back
- The Literary View
- Cinema Review
- Biting The Hand That Feeds
- The Pink Ghetto
- The Invisible Artist
- The Revolt Takes Boston
- Make it Graphic
- Art and Economics
- The OWS Poetry Anthology
- Françoise Gilot
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BY LENA VAZIFDAR
Photos by Elisa Garcia de la Huerta
Break dancers clad in neon Adidas garb that frequent the city's subway stops conjure up imagery from eighties movies and graffiti artists from NYC's burgeoning street art scene. Some would see it as cliché; I see it as quintessentially New York City. Urban Chic is loosely related to city dwellers who live in urban expanses like New York and within its confines, create a style that screams urbanity. Screams Soho, or The Village, or Chelsea's swellling art scene. This urban chic style can be viewed throughout Manhattan's convoluted grid in various forms. The Adidas wearing street-kids are no exception in hoodies and bold jewelry, break dancing throughout underground subway platforms. Their style, though sometimes overdone, is urban in its most original form—created for city dwellers with artists like M.I.A emulating their street culture style. However, with such an indescript terminology like urban chic, does it simply create a series of overdone clichés and meaningless hype?
BLACK IS THE NEW BLACK
A walk through West Chelsea and its once barren streets are livened with gallery openings, art studios and expensive high rises surrounding the High Line, which intersects the city. With hoards of visitors, it brings a fresh modernity to an area that was once strictly warehouses, strip and nightclubs. The area is gentrifying and with it's transformation it has brought a hip, artsy crowd of urbanites swarming gallery openings donned in black Alexander Wang dresses and Phillip Lim leather. For this New York crowd, black has remained the tried and tested formula to style. The look is modern, simple and very New York art scene. With slim, simple lines, layering, lots of neutral blacks and greys, these artsy Manhattanites are the epicenter of this iconic New York look. Though well dressed in its most simple form, there's something that screams loss of individuality in this typically chic look and the prototypical neutral toned art goer becomes just another one of the same. Perhaps the term is just about being urban and being chic, but falls short on originality. Black on black may not necessarily scream individuality but it does scream New York. If anything it's a genre of style that hasn't budged.
A walk through the maze of alleyways that make up the Lower East Side and colorful hipsters clad in vintage lace-up boots, black jeans, Ray Ban Wayfarers and the same leather jackets, are another outline of urban chicness. As they linger on street corners sipping on overpriced lattes, shop the independent boutiques for one of a kind wares, and brunch on $20 French toast at New York's coolest restaurants—the graffiti and dirty streets that were once just simply that, keep the area in check. It's not all just dive bars with affected youth discussing the latest unknown band—the Lower East Side represents a subsection of Manhattan that amalgamates the individuality of New York City combined with the grittiness of its graffitied alleys. Yet similar to their all-black wearing friends, there is a well-known hipster uniform. Ray Bans are necessary, plaid flannel is still the go-to, skinny jeans are a must. Add a few colorful vintage dresses, a 6 pack of PBRs and a bad attitude and you're golden. This running joke is nothing short of old and tired and they catch a lot of slack, from just about everyone. But there is something to be said about their style. Ultimately, the hipster syndrome might just be a bunch of ludicrous hype affecting our nation, but the truth is they actually often, if not begrudgingly so, do look cool and urban.
NOT JUST NYC
New Yorkers portray style that is unparalleled to anywhere I've ever lived but Tokyo's urban chicness is on par to what New Yorker's have to offer, in a way that is quintessentially Japanese. Gorgeous women stroll through Harajuku with perfectly coifed dos and high-fashion duds. Their men are clad in Commes des Garcon and Y3 and sometimes represent a genre of asexuality with their beautiful chiseled faces and long hair. The women are perpetually feminine and soft. Tokyo, with its Japanese edge—the prints sometimes kimono-esque and whimsical—has a feel of modernity and urban chicness that in a way sometimes triumphs over New York. Though many women dress in similar garb and what is thought to be unique and original is often overplayed, there is no denying that their style is fashionable and unique in its own representation of Japan. Though part westernized, there is also a distinctive part of their style that is so essentially Japanese in dress and culture. It doesn't seem to matter that every 20-something girl has the same haircut or the same green army jacket, the difference is they relish in the trend instead of pushing away from it like many Westerners do in their quest for originality. Gritty London represents an urban chic style that is very much it's own. Quintessentially British, East London hipsters wear plimsoles and tight jeans layered with Top Shop baggy jean shirts and smoke hand-rolled cigarettes outside crowded pubs like it's their job. Their aesthetic often mirrors style icons, Alexa Chung 's classy tomboy looks and Amy Winehouse's rocker chic style that is just so … London. Both Tokyo and London epitomize urban chicness in their own ways. Their style represents their own cities, in all of its flawed perfection. They embody their own style that is a far cry from Manhattan's head to toe black and PBR swigging hipsters.