Artist and designer Kim Sillen has been chosen by the Lower East Side B.I.D. to be included in their Urban Art grant application to the D.O.T. to produce her design on the asphalt triangle at the intersection of Division, Ludlow & Canal Streets.
The “Open Call for Asphalt Art” required submitted concepts to be design or pattern-based, as opposed to character-based; designs which can be repeated and installed simply by stencil. Sillen’s proposal, titled “Modern Tapestry,” is a bright cheerful combination of patterns that aim “to lift the spirits of passers-by with color and form.”
She explained that her choice of print designs for the intersection also reflect the “crossroads of cultural influences that the location embodies as our neighborhood brims with change.”
Sillen noted, “Shortly after moving to the Lower East Side in 2007, I learned two facts that struck me, both which involved people teaching on East Broadway: 1.) That the Yeshiva where my grandmother taught for decades was, in fact, just down the road from my new home, and 2.) that Mark Rothko, whose work my dad introduced me to at age 7 in my first grasp at appreciating modern art, taught art just steps away at the Educational Alliance. I never thought I’d put Rothko and my grandmother in the same sentence, but they have both filtered in as influences (to varying degrees) in ‘Modern Tapestry.'”
Natalie Raben at the L.E.S. Business Improvement District said of the decision, “It was a very competitive and difficult process to select our candidate. But our selection committee was impressed by (Kim’s) color palette, the complexity of patterns she used and the brightness of the overall project.” There were 27 submissions, which, Raben said, “Speaks to the excitement around this particular project and location.” Many submissions focused on the cross sections of the different heritages and cultures that continue to overlap in the neighborhood.
The winning submission is part of a grant application that will be submitted to DOT’s Urban Art program; if selected, the B.I.D. plans to implement this installation as part of a larger public art narrative that will be taking place throughout the greater Lower East Side over the coming year. You can see more about Kim Sillen’s project and the others that were submitted here.
Sillen also happens to design The Lo-Down’s monthly magazine, so we are particularly excited about this announcement!