“It’s the one with the Mr. Brainwash mural.”
An arresting view for any passerby, the mural, completed this week, spans the length of the entire building, displaying an artistic view of the neighborhood’s history with a bold reminder that “Life is Beautiful.”
Internationally renowned street artist Thierry Guetta, known as Mr. Brainwash, designed the massive piece of art using his signature tagline and collage style.
But despite the themes that make this piece a distinct Brainwash work of art, David Sigman, executive vice president of building developer LCOR, felt it was important that the mural reflect the neighborhood of Williamsburg.
“We made the wall available and said, ‘Tell us what you’re thinking about,’” Sigman said of the collaboration with Guetta. “He came back with a couple of pieces that were very similar to work that he’s already done, but if we have a complaint about street art today, it’s that it isn’t specific to the place. It can be on any wall.”
That was when Sigman started doing some research into the neighborhood. The building, located at 250 North 10th St., is right off of Roebling Street.
Sigman said a quick poll of the residents showed that many had no idea who the Roeblings were.
It turns out that John Augustus Roebling was the designer of the Brooklyn Bridge, and his son Charles Roebling worked on completing its construction.
Then, to make the mural even more local, Sigman did some additional research into the designer of the Williamsburg Bridge, Henry Hornbostel.
Sigman provided Guetta with old pictures of the men, which were then included into the final product — a mesh of the past and present, and an homage to the history of the vibrant neighborhood of Williamsburg.
While Mr. Brainwash designed the piece, it was a group of three local Brooklyn artists who took the electronically transmitted piece, blew it up, stenciled it onto the building and then painted it.
The entire drawing and painting process took just over two weeks, according to Chris Seriale, a collector of Mr. Brainwash’s work, manager of the installation and member of New World Group, the firm that handled the residential marketing at 250N10.
It was Seriale who introduced the developers of the building to Mr. Brainwash, knowing his work — and the artist — personally.
“I’m a collector,” Seriale said, “so I’ve been following Mr. Brainwash’s career since he started. I’ve met him a lot of times throughout the collecting process.”
Seriale called Brainwash “one of the top three most influential street artists in the world today,” and said that the mural is the first permanent piece of his in New York. He has work featured around the world, with most of his U.S. artwork in Los Angeles.
At press time, Mr. Brainwash had not come to see the finished mural, but Seriale said he had sent Mr. Brainwash pictures throughout the process.
“He’s seen the images of it and he loves it,” Seriale said. “He’s freaking out about it.”