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Anderson Zaca: Block Party Summer of Soul (NYC Blog)

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Anderson Zaca’s Block Party Photographs

Photos of Block Parties in NYC

Anderson Zaca, NYC Block PartiesBrazilian photographer Anderson Zaca (34) has spent the last five years capturing some of New York’s most blissful summer moments. Children playing through the water pouring from fire hydrants, adults cooking secret recipe glazed meats on the grill and music streaming through the whole block telling everybody that it’s time to be outside with the community. The block party is one of the few things that marks the summertime in every borough and neighborhood for New Yorkers. The Brazilian artist first encountered a block party when living in Crown Heights, Brooklyn around 2006.

“In Brazil, we don’t have anything like it,” says the artist. “To me it’s very intriguing how people interact with each other.” His curiosity has led to him snapping over 8,000 pictures with his 35mm camera during at least 300 different block parties. Recently, this body of work was exhibited at the 1158Dean gallery in Crown Heights. Gallery owner Gary Fray, who was stumbled upon Zaca’s work in his neighborhood, said: “His photos really capture the grittiness of the New York streets…He’s keeping New York real.”

Zaca finds the block party project to be a quintessential New York event as it clearly shows people of all races, all economic backgrounds, reveling in the summer heat. By going to a different party every weekend, Zaca really draws out the blocks community spirit which without block parties is rarely noticed otherwise. His black and white shots capture the unbridled joy and happiness from parents and children alike, “The block party is that one time when you see that smile from the beginning of the block to the end.”

Zaca now aims to self publish this extensive body of work and to have it become part of New York’s history. Surprisingly, nobody has documented the experience that is the block party. In his final year of the project the artist hopes to raise enough funds to see this work in book form entitled—Block Party: Soul of Summer.” The artist is using Kickstarter, the creative projects funding platform, to get this work printed. With only four days left to meet his goal I do hope the artist finds a way to publish this body of work as New York is certainly in deficit by not documenting one of its most culturally fascinating experiences.

Zaca is one of many artists who come to New York and find themselves stricken with inspiration by the surroundings alone. James Gulliver Hancock, an Australian export, is currently drawing the city block by block. The artist who previously drew “All the Cars in LA” and “All the Rain in London”, is currently wandering around the city sketching some of its most beautiful pieces of architecture. The illustrator, documenting his new pieces on his blog, is like many who come to live in the city– fascinated by it. “When you come here for the for the first time as a non-New Yorker, it’s pretty emotional—being in this place that was so familiar and yet you never thought could exist,” he said. The artist says it takes him just a couple of days to finish a piece, most of which depict the places he visits daily, “That’s how it started—I wanted to do all these buildings that I was in love with, that I’d worked in or lived in.” From cafes in Fort Green, Brooklyn to beautiful apartment buildings just by Central Park. His work is available to buy, from his blog, in print on paper, wood and delightful pillowcases.

Nikkita Flavius-Gottschalk is a Contributor to The Free George.

The Free George is the online magazine and visitors’ guide of Upstate NY, covering things from Albany to Lake Placid, including Saratoga, the Lake George region and the Adirondacks. Check out our new City Blogs section for our extended coverage areas as well.

Short URL: http://thefreegeorge.com/thefreegeorge/?p=14402

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