Do you remember the first time you saw something painted, drawn, or pasted onto an outside wall, or perhaps a utility pole or street sign, and recognized that you were seeing street art? I’m trying to do that right now and I’m struggling. I feel as though I’ve simply always been aware of it, starting with urban graffiti and growing from there. I photographed it obsessively for years and even dabbled in creating some of my own for a time.
My favorite pieces of street art are those that somehow work with their surroundings. Some artists are exceptionally clever and creative about this and Spanish artist Pejac has been one of my favorites for years. While it’s not the only sort of street art he creates, Pejac excels at using a combination of stencils and trompe-l’œil painting to enhance walls, doors, windows, and even streets by incorporating dreamlike imagery without masking the surfaces themselves.
Most recently Pejac traveled to New York, his first visit to the city, where he created two wonderful tree-themed pieces.
The first is Fossil, which Pejac created in Brooklyn’s Bushwick neighborhood. This haunting optical illusion of a tree made out of the brick wall – a memory of the natural world after all flora and fauna have vanished – appears as though it was created by removing actual bricks. In reality Pejac created the tree using a brick-sized stencil to apply different degrees of shadow to different bricks.
“Taking a sturdy structure and familiar urban element as a base, Fossil is proposing a hypothetical fatal future in which the only memory of nature is the fossilized appearance of a tree on a brick wall.”
For his second NYC piece, Pejac paid a visit to Manhattan, specifically Chinatown, where he created Inner Strength. This piece was entirely hand-painted and depicts a cherry blossom branch growing out between panels of a storefront security gate.
The branch sheds pink petals on the breeze and is surrounded by swallows in flight, their darting forms casting shadows on the adjacent wall and the next door over. This time, instead of nature vanished, nature has found a way to survive.
“Opposing the first work, Inner Strength is an empowering piece portraying another hypothetical future in which nature breaks the barriers imposed by the hand of man, recovering the lost ground along the way.”
Visit Pejac’s website or follow him on Instagram or Facebook to follow his upcoming travels, find out when he releases limited edition prints, and check out more of his marvelous artwork, including this magical piece, entitled Hilandera (Spinner), created in Salamanca, Spain in 2010: