If you’re wandering around New York City you might come across these stickers that read “Are you addicted to street art? You’re not alone. There is help! 24/7 Street Art Addiction Hotline,” followed by a phone number. I’m sure it’s just a clever street art campaign, but if your Instagram feed is anything like mine, you might wonder if this is a real thing. Because right now, there’s a LOT of street art, thanks to world-famous street artist Eduardo Kobra.
Kobra and New York City
For several months now, Kobra has been adding color to the New York City landscape with his giant murals. Most of them are portraits punched up with vibrant hues, and his subjects run the gamut from entertainers to humanitarians to physicians. But this isn’t the first time Kobra has left his mark in New York City. In 2012 he recreated “The Kiss” by Alfred Eisenstaedt in a giant space at 10th Ave and 25th Street, in full view from the High Line. [Captured on August 14, 1945, the iconic photograph portrays a US Navy sailor grabbing and kissing a stranger on Victory over Japan Day in Times Square.] Kobra frequently chooses a subject with ties to the city he is painting in.
But this time, he’s back with 16 (and counting!) new murals. Here’s a map of where you can find all of them:
[Update: Kobra confirmed 18 murals in total, which are all on the map!]
Making a statement
Like many of his contemporaries, Kobra is a street artist who uses his murals as a platform for his political and social views. He joins the ranks of other renowned artists like Banksy and JR, who refuse to shy away from discussing important current events. He attributes this to the anti-establishment legacy of hip hop culture he grew up with. So far in his current New York City residency, there’s a C3PO mural that sits along the West Side Highway with a sign reading “Stop Wars”. The play on words is familiar, Yoda is holding a similar sign in Miami’s Wynwood Walls.
There’s also a tall mural of Einstein in Midtown East, which mirrors one he did in his home of Sao Paulo in 2015. The artist wanted to weigh in on a heated debate about adding bicycle lanes to the city to relieve congestion, and he did so with a mural of the famous physicist on a bicycle. [Einstein is rumored to have hatched many of his theories while cycling.]
Some murals are less of a statement and more of an homage. Kobra, who is self-taught, has not only referenced famous street artists like Banksy and Basquiat as inspiration, but also more traditional artists like Gustav Klimt and Jackson Pollock. A portrait of New York City pop artist Roy Lichtenstein is one of the new pieces in his 2018 New York City residency, and it masterfully merges Lichtenstein’s signature style with his own. A portrait in Brooklyn is the amalgamation of Frida Kahlo and her husband, Diego Rivera. Meanwhile, on Rivington Street, Kobra immortalizes five members of the 27 Club–all artists who died at the age of 27. A Mount Rushmore of artists featuring Andy Warhol, Frida Kahlo, Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat is his latest work-in-progress in Chelsea.
A rebel with a cause
Some of Kobra’s 2018 New York City murals also acknowledge a few important dates. His side-by-side portrait of a child and adult Michael Jackson celebrates what would have been the deceased entertainer’s 60th birthday. A mural of a kneeling New York Firefighter celebrated “The Braves of 9/11” on an anniversary of the tragedy. And one of Mother Teresa and Gandhi was completed in time to celebrate World Humanitarian Day.
Kobra set a Guinness World Record when he completed the Etnias mural for the Rio Olympics; it was the largest mural to be painted by one person at the time. [He later surpassed his own record.] His Ellis Island mural–which addresses the hot topic of immigration–will be part of The Biggest Mural In NYC. The project graces the walls of City-As-School and will feature work by multiple artists.
It’s unknown how many additional murals the artist has planned for New York City, but we’re happy to be the benefactors of his unique candy-colored portraits. Keep checking back, we will continue to update the map if any additional works pop up!
Pair it with:
If you were to translate Kobra’s work into food, you couldn’t find a more perfect embodiment than in a brigadeiro. The traditional Brazilian dessert manages to be sweet, yet powerful. Made primarily with condensed milk and butter, brigadeiros offer a deep, satisfying creaminess that pairs perfectly with coffee or as a sweet treat on its own. At the Brigadeiro Bakery in SoHo, you’ll find a range of flavors from Nutella to Pecan Pie to Pistachio. Any purchase of coffee comes with a free brigadeiro of your choice, but since the truffle-like desserts are on the delicate side, you can definitely justify ordering more. Lots, lots more.
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