Tag Archives: Shiro

Astoria’s The POP BAR to debut with July 4 bash, hot dog eating contest


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ Photos by Angy Altamirano


Something new is popping in Astoria.

This Fourth of July, The POP BAR, located at 12-21 Astoria Blvd., is making its debut in the western Queens neighborhood during a grand opening “Backyard Bash,” including live music, cold drinks and a hot dog eating contest.

Visitors to the establishment, owned by Astoria resident Jeremy B. Osslund, will be welcomed by a one-of-a-kind colorful façade designed by 5Pointz aerosol artist Shiro.

Inside, more large work from the Japanese artist covers the wall above the door and spreads onto surrounding walls over seating booths. The bar top was done by graffiti artist YESONE, and in front of the bar, another wall is covered in over 700 pages ripped out of “Betty and Veronica” comic books.

“I’ve always sort of had a little bit of obsession with graffiti and 5Pointz and it has a special place in my heart,” Osslund said. “When I reached out to Meres, it was right after 5Pointz got whitewashed and I was like, ‘Let’s have a place where graffiti artists in general can actually come and put their work up.’ And celebrate the entire artistic history of Long Island City and Astoria.”

The POP BAR also features a gallery in the front, which until the end of August will include work by Shiro, YESONE, and Jonathan “Meres One” Cohen, curator and CEO of 5Pointz. All pieces are available for sale, and every two months, the gallery will change to feature different art forms by various artists.

Osslund, originally from Arizona, previously had worked as a consultant helping people open their own hospitality or food establishments. However, he then decided to follow what he was passionate about since a young age and opened his own location in the community he has called home for the past five years.

“There’s a future here, a very bright future,” said Osslund, who hopes opening The POP BAR will only be the beginning to building the neighborhood. “I’m really excited to show people my idea of what a good menu and drinks and a good time is, and hopefully everyone agrees.”

The establishment’s food is what Osslund calls “Pacific surf inspired” and mostly uses ingredients purchased from local vendors. The drink menu includes selections like a “Pimms Cup” that uses mint leaves grown right in the backyard of the bar. Along with indoor seating, the site also features a backyard seating area.

Along with the artwork up front, The POP BAR will also have movies playing on the backyard every day, with no sound, and on weekends will turn the sound up to show movies and an array of ‘90s TV shows.

Keeping up with the emphasis on pop culture, Tuesdays, which will be known as Tequila Tuesday, will offer $5 shots of tequila called “Bill Murrays” and movies with the actor will be show all day.

“POP is a word, it’s a verb, it’s an adjective, it’s everything. What is pop?” Osslund said. “Pop is a feeling you get, it’s the excitement when you are waiting for a bottle of champagne to pop, it’s after it pops and the thrill. Pop can be anything.”

The July 4 Backyard Bash begins at 5 p.m. and will feature music from the local band Another Dead Clown and a hot-dog-eating contest starting at 8:30 p.m. Artists will be present as well.

The POP BAR will be opened from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. on weekdays, and 5 p.m. to 4 a.m. on weekends. For more information visit www.thepopbar.com.

 

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5Pointz artists share their ‘whitewash’ experience through work in LIC exhibit


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos by Orestes Gonzalez

A group of 5Pointz artists have put their emotions and experiences on canvas, reflecting the day they found their graffiti mecca hidden behind white paint.

The artists, including 5Pointz curator and CEO Jonathan “Meres One” Cohen, have come together for an exhibition called “Whitewash” at the Jeffrey Leder Gallery, located at 21-37 45th Rd., just one block away from where 5Pointz once existed.

The show, which begins Saturday, features eight 5Pointz artists, who had major pieces on the building before it was covered in white paint, and two photographers, for a total of 58 pieces.

Each artwork dives deep into the emotions and experiences each individual faced on November 19, when the owners of the property on Jackson Avenue and Davis Street, the Wolkoff family, ordered the building to be painted white overnight.

Gallery owner and 10 year Long Island City resident Jeffrey Leder said that although many people question why he decided to showcase an exhibit featuring aerosol art, he said he wanted the artists to be recognized and to show visitors that their works are considered art.

“It was a sad end to an era here in Long Island City and I think the story needed to be told and the best way to tell the story is to create artwork,” Leder said.

Along with Cohen, the other artists included are Auks, Cortes, Jerms, Just One, Shiro, See TF, Topaz, Zimad and photographers Orestes Gonzalez and Hans Van Rittern.

Marie-Cecile Flageul, curator of the exhibit and 5Pointz spokeswoman, said they had wanted to do a “whitewash” show and keeping it Long Island City was important.

“I think it is extremely impacting for people exiting or coming to the gallery to…see a building that is still standing after four months, so you’re putting it in context,” Flageul said.

The show served as a method of healing and letting go of pain and looking ahead to the future, she said.

Cohen, who dealt with the loss of 5Pointz and his mother all within one month from each other, said although some of his pieces express the anger and frustration he felt when he woke up November 19, the process of creating the pieces for the show was also therapeutic.

“The exhibit to me was a good closure and way to vent, so I found it helped me to relate my feelings to the people that knew of 5Pointz and are devastated by its whitewash,” Cohen said.

He took his signature light bulbs, which normally are yellow and known to be funny, and made them white for the show to depict the “ghoulish” tone of the whitewash.

One of the last pieces he finished for the exhibit was a colorful collaboration between him and artist Shiro, which shows one of the female artist’s iconic characters blowing light bulb bubbles expressing hope and a happy look into the future.

“This is how we communicate best. This is what brings us all together and it did again,” he said. “Over there the walls were what helped tie us together and here are the canvases that are tying us together.”

Each piece in the show is on sale, including wine bottles, donated by Gianna Cerbone-Teoli of Manducatis Rustica, featuring labels designed by Cohen. “Whitewash” will run through June 8.

 

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