Posted on August 10, 2009
There's nothing unusual about graffiti in Manhattan...unless you're talking about Os Gemeos. Say “urban graffiti” and most people are likely (not unreasonably) to think of giant initials scrawled on the subway or chalk drawings on the street. But Os Gemeos, otherwise known as Brazilian twin brothers Otavio and Gustavo Pandolfo, have brought a whole new definition to urban scrawl with their first public artwork in New York City. (Os Gemeos is Portuguese for twins.) Located on the northwest corner of Houston Street and the Bowery, their mural clocks in at 51feet long and 17 feet high. The fantastical work includes New York subways and Brazilian favelas (shantytowns); humans, fish, dogs and waterfalls. Plus whales, a peacock, a rope bridge and a boat, in what could be deemed a story, perhaps, of escape, done in deeply saturated colors. Look carefully and perhaps you’ll be able to pick out a narrative. The brothers’ work has been done everywhere from the Netherlands to their native South America, and includes influences from Sao Paulo’s social and political happenings to Brazilian folklore; they started painting graffiti in 1987. Their style also owes a debt to both hip hop and the pixacao (a style of graffiti native to Brazil, known for angular lines) movement. Os Gemeos had their first solo show in this country in San Francisco in 2003.