Portrait of an Artist
Artist Pasqualina Azzarello’s canvases are evolving urban landscapes
“As an artist working within the fertile overlap of urban development and public art, I paint the temporary walls surrounding construction sites. The street is my studio, a block-long wooden fence is my canvas, and an odd assortment of paint, conversation, and happenstance are my supplies. Here, at the intersection of the neighborhood that is and the one about to be, connections are made and stories are revealed.
My mural at the Gowanus Canal is at the juncture of two long-established neighborhoods, one residential and one industrial. While working on site I spoke at length to a wide range of folks, including developers, construction workers, residents, and passersby, all of whom were generous, kind, and eager to share their personal stories and knowledge of local history. Through these conversations and further research I learned about the area’s cultural, social, and environmental history. As a result, the mural became a collaboration of sorts, integrating the canal’s modernist, industrial landscape and ghosts on horses from the Revolutionary War, trotting through the marshlands of yore.
Whether painted around the site of what is now Brooklyn’s tallest residential tower or alongside the controversial demolition of an old stone chapel in the East Village being replaced by a 26-story NYU dormitory, my murals serve to create a dynamic platform for meaningful public dialogue. During a neighborhood’s flux and redefinition, public art can often demonstrate what’s possible when people work together thoughtfully to explore their ever-changing urban environment.”
Azzarello’s Gowanus Canal project is on view through summer 2009.