In the next few days, you might encounter a piece of paper taped to a wall with the inscription “Take me, free piece of art inside” somewhere around Bushwick. Well, you should take it. Inside is artwork by Alex Trema, a French street artist who is in town for a few days.
When booking his trip to New York, he realized that he could not fly back to Paris without leaving some of his art behind and decided to hang 24 pieces around the five boroughs for people to take in subways, on factory walls, and in other unusual places. Once people find them, they will be asked to take a picture with the piece and send it to his email address or post it on his Facebook page. Behind the project is this idea of “creating a link,” as Alex Trema describes it. He wants people to be “curious” about them.
Each piece is an original stencil drawing on cardboard signed by the artist, inspired by the French singer Serge Gainsbourg and his song “New York, USA.” Trema explains, “When he wrote this song, Gainsbourg only knew New York through pictures. It was the same for me.” 24 pieces for 24 hours, an echo of the city that never sleeps.
Back in Paris, he has been working on projects around Serge Gainsbourg and Jay-Z. “I did not want to come to New York and do a Jay-Z piece!” he laughs. Right now, he is focusing on stencil art, experimenting with colors, shapes and materials. “I’m starting from the scratch,” he recognizes. And it includes learning to draw quickly at dusk, trying not to get caught, since France’s legislation is tougher on street art.
Most his pieces will be dropped off in Brooklyn, since he has a strong attraction to this borough. “I see it as arty and underground,” he says, “a place with real people.” Walking around Bushwick, he recognizes some drawings from world-famous street artists, like the one from Alice Pasquini at Scott Ave and Troutman St. As he wanders, he is surprised to see more drawings than lettering. He is very curious about every piece of street art he sees, always examining the technique, and finds the area to be everything he was looking for. As he prepares to leave Bushwick, he turns around to say, “I love this neighborhood!”