“I always think about when I was young and the things I had interaction with, whether it was skateboard graphics or magazines, and how art reached me. I’ve been conscious of how my work disseminates and reaches people. It could be a canvas in a museum…or it could be a court, a wall or a t-shirt,” says Kaws. “ I like the idea of public art because it reaches people in a casual way, and when they aren’t necessarily looking for it.”
The New York Made: Stanton Street Courts by Kaws encompass two side-by-side full basketball courts (approximately 116 by 80 feet), as well as four hoops.
“My approach to the courts was very similar to how I would work on canvas. I wanted to create something that was true to my language, but also considerate of this being a court that people are playing on,” he explains. “I wanted to find the sweet spot where it works visually and functionally — how its broken up by the game’s lines and works with my images. It will have an intimate effect on the players that use the court.”
Kaws first moved to Manhattan in 1996, and lived on the corner of Clinton and Stanton Street. His familiarity with the park and its neighborhood is thus extremely personal. “The courts that we painted, I used to pass everyday,” he remembers. “I worked over in Soho, so I’d walk through…when I wasn’t taking Houston, I’d go through that park.”
The New York Made: Stanton Street Courts by Kaws is located at Sara D. Roosevelt Park in Manhattan’s Lower East Side.
all images courtesy of Nike