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Bird eyes view: Art Walk features a glass half-full of owls

Whimsical jungle: Greenpoint artist Bethany Robertson transformed the Owl’s Head storefront in Bay Ridge into a sprawling woodscape for this year’s Bay Ridge Storefront Art Walk.
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Explore an artsy, urban jungle!

A local illustrator has transformed the windows of a Bay Ridge wine bar into a whimsical jungle scene, as the final stop on the nabe’s annual Storefront Art Walk on May 13. The artist behind the transparent fresco fronting the Owl’s Head vino venue said that she wanted to infuse the Bay Ridge streetscape into her work.

“When you look through the window, the street sort of becomes part of the painting,” said Greenpoint artist Bethany Robertson. “That’s my way of incorporating the neighborhood — everything around it becomes a part of the art.”

The Tennessee native also blended elements of her signature paper flora sculptures with her cutesy illustration style to create a 10-foot mural filled with the bar’s namesake. Owl heads and eyes poke out from behind a fantastical, almost-geometric landscape painted on the window in white chalk. The design is a departure for Robertson, who had to adapt her style to fit the space, which became a makeshift studio for her while she experimented with different approaches, she said.

“I love how the architecture of different spaces changes the same piece,” said Robertson. “I reflected on the bar and explored all these jumping-off points with the owner. I really wanted to challenge myself with a different material and way of working.”

Robertson originally planned to install one of her lush paper sculptures, but opted to intersect her style with the neighborhood in the store’s window. The result is a testament to the way that art can grow in unexpected places, said Robertson.

“Art can literally happen anywhere,” she said. “I think people think of art as concentrated in Manhattan galleries, but the art walk is a great opportunity to show that art can move.”

Robertson is one of 15 artists presenting their works in storefronts along Fifth Avenue, in a 14-block stretch between 68th and 83rd streets, with the art on display from May 13 until June 11. The Storefront Art Walk opens with a meet-and-greet stroll on May 13, where local art lovers can check out the wondrous windows and chat with the creators, who will stay near their artwork during the walk.

The set-up aims to connect art-starved locals with sculptors, painters, and photographers including comic-art inspired illustrator Erin Doge, displaying her work at Quench Wines & Spirits; razor wire sculptor Eirini Linardaki, at the Bay Ridge Animal Hospital, and feminist beadworker Quimetta Perle at Sinzl Wireless.

Bay Ridge Storefront Art Walk (Fifth Avenue between 68th and 83rd streets in Bay Ridge, www.bayridgesaw.org). May 13. 11 am–1 pm. Free. After-party at the Owl’s Head [479 74th St. between Fifth Avenue and in Bay Ridge, (718) 680-2436, www.theowlshead.com]. May 13, 1–4 pm. Free.

Reach reporter Caroline Spivack at cspivack@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2523. Follow her on Twitter @carolinespivack.
Posted 12:00 am, May 11, 2017
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Reasonable discourse

samir kabir from downtown says:
Who cares? Children are being slaughtered in Syria. Thank you for decorating a wine bar.
May 12, 4:54 am

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