Scot Borofsky

1957 · United States

Artist biography

This early New York street artist originally came from Brattleboro, VT. After studying sculpture at Brandeis University, he received his BA in Painting from Rhode Island School of Design in 1981. Borofsky then came to New York on a Max Beckmann Memorial Painting Scholarship from the Brooklyn Museum. The artist first exhibited collage constructions made from found materials at early downtown galleries before working directly on outdoor walls. Beginning in late 1982, Scot Borofsky began using spray paint to create large murals exemplifying ideas from different sources of ancient design. Manifested as large figurative symbols and long horizontal patterns they were painted in bright contrasting colors. Some of his iconography reference “New Age” philosophical ideas popularized during the sixties and seventies, such as symbols for cross-cultural spirituality, meditating figures and symbols having to do with shamanism. There were also symbols of mythological creatures and idealistic landscapes. Borofsky’s largest accomplishment took a period of three years to finish. The Pattern Walk (1982-5) in downtown N.Y.C., consisted of 18 designs in a one block sized area, painted on partially collapsed, burnt-out and abandoned buildings, creating the impression of an ancient ruins site within a modern city. The installation straddled the two sides of Avenue C, between East Fourth and East Sixth streets. The Spray painter created his work in the crime filled ghetto neighborhood which culminated at the East River in the public housing projects at Avenue D, a lawless zone, during the eighties. The artist went out alone into the decaying architecture of the East Village heroin war zone at night, working between 3:00 and 5:00 AM. In over 5 years working outdoors and during the execution of more than thirty large illegal murals Borofsky was never caught or arrested. Borofsky’s outdoor work is conceptually site-specific and makes direct references to ancient art from various cultures. His use of spray paint on brick or cement as a medium, and repetition of a specific symbol as a signature and “tag” connects his work with the Graffiti movement, which preceded the development of Street Art.

Scot Borofsky

  • Exhibitions 4
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