17 June 2012

Kobra Mural in New York's Chelsea

The Brazilian artist, Eduardo Kobra, has long has a fascination for vintage images. His new work, dazzling onlookers in New York’s Chelsea has as its focal point an interpretation of the photograph VJ Day in Times Square by Alfred Eisenstaedt. The new take on a decades old image is just a short walk from where the original kiss took place.

It is startling to say the least and is typical of Kobra’s kaleidoscopic treatment of older images. His aim is to preserve the historical aspect and to evoke a certain cultural memory which evokes certain emotions.Other parts of this significant piece of street art include interpretations of other images from the city's past.

Kobra’s fascination with art started when his mother gave him some colors and paints when he was about nine years old. It was in his late teens that street art and graffiti beckoned the burgeoning Brazilian talent. He had started work at a bank, and was studying at the same time, but he then left everything (against his family’s wishes) to take his own direction.

In his early years he would exchange paintings for food, clothes – even a place to stay. He was certainly not the first nor will he be the last artist to do that in his early days. However, with work like this, it cannot be long before Kobra is a recognizable global brand in the same way as Banksy.

I have to say I find the combination of the old and the new – the mix of the vintage, iconic photography with the undoubtedly hip hop feel to Kobra’s work nothing short of exhilarating. It makes me want to dash to an airport and grab a flight for New York. Unfortunately, one must work for a living so that will have to wait. How about London next, Kobra?

All images by Flickr Photographer Garrett Zeigler