Strolling down Delancey Street on Manhattan’s Lower East Side looking for hidden away art spaces, I suddenly knew that if I were to move to Manhattan, this would be my neighborhood of choice. Hip stores and bars, a plethora of restaurants and cafes, everyone on the street seemed young and care-free – I would say it is the closest thing to Berlin (more the east-side of Berlin: Prenzlauer berg and Friedrichshain in particular) that I have encountered so far in Manhattan. Then I arrived at Arlene’s Grocery – a really awesome music venue with a chill bar and lounge area and basement where rock and more alternative bands perform for hours every night. I met with Joseph Meloy, the artistic mastermind behind Vandal Expressionism, who is currently exhibiting his artwork at the venue and has also recently been commissioned to paint and draw on the walls leading down to the basement.
Arlene’s Grocery and it’s pretty classic NY-style bar. Make sure to catch some good art, drinks and music next time you are in the Lower East Side.
Having followed Joseph’s artwork online for many months now, it was great to finally meet him in person and learn more about the man behind this post-graffiti movement, Vandal Expression, a term which he coined himself. Markers in hand, we talked for about 45 minutes, as he spontaneously continued drawing on the basement walls -what appeared to be an intricate maze of varied geometric shapes without a particular pattern, but guided by what I can only describe as his own intution. His project creating artwork directly on the walls of Arlene’s Grocery will continue through out the next weeks, so make sure to catch him if you are in the area.
We headed out for a bite to eat (or rather, an entire pizza – each) at a place down the street called Goodfella’s. Not the most traditional NY style pizza, but the delicious crust was definitely a plus!
Written by Julie Anne Miranda-Brobeck