Chris Stain and Billy Mode: Exploring histories at the Bushwick Collective – Part 2


Note: This article is the second in a three part series that discusses how three artists dealt with the topic of histories within their Bushwick Collective murals. Check out part 1 here.

Long time collaborators and friends Chris Stain and Billy Mode bring a personal history to each mural they create. Through the years, this partnership has lead to a fast, seamless work ethic. From watching the creation of their wall for Open Walls Baltimore in 24 hours to their latest creation at the Bushwick Collective, which took about a week despite weather conditions, the duo always work in a manner that is astounding in imagery and efficiency. When the two artists find time to break from their schedules of school, family, or skateboarding to take on a new project, it is known that it will be nothing less than awe inspiring. On a series of ladders and forklifts, Chris and Billy become like a structured ballet as they weave around each other, never interrupting the other’s flow except to make the odd joke.


While the artists have great personal history, their imagery deals with their hopes for the future. Billy Mode’s text speaks to this message, telling the youth of the neighborhood that the future is theirs to invent. In addition to the this literal embodiment is a figuritive explanation as two children embrace, sharing their love for each other and the future. These girls represent those who will shape the world’s future, the youth of today. Through a combination of metaphors, Billy Mode and Chris Stain hope to give hope to adolescents, whose creations could one day be seen on the walls of Bushwick.


Photos by Rhiannon Platt