Billy the Artist (BTA) is an internationally renowned artist who has lived in the East Village for 30 years & is a long time gem spa customer. He got his big break painting 60 feet of ceiling murals for the Broadway musical RENT. Since then he has done work for some of the largest global brands such as @Swatch @Viacom @Lamborghini @TheRockNRollHallofFameMuseum @NewBalanceShoes @Sony, @SmartCar @Suzuki @Hyundai @Toyota @MTV, @Puma @Microsoft @Vans shoes, @Nescafe. His mural projects include Woodstock 99, Art Basel Miami, The Rio Casino Las Vegas & London productions of the musical RENT. His paintings have have been featured at the Forbes Gallery & other galleries around the world. Billy has been published in @RollingStone @VanityFair @Vogue @Elle @EntertainmentWeekly @TheNewYorkTimes. He has appeared on MTV, NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX, TLC.
ABOUT THIS ARTWORK:
This Gem Spa inspired artwork by @billytheartist is part of a project he has been working on recently called “East Village Closed” in which he takes photos of what the neighborhood has looked like these past 4 months & the people who live here and then draws on the photograph to tell the story of what he has personally experienced as an artist during the quarantine to what’s happening today. From riots to boarded up businesses to the spirit of the people of the East Village, this art represents these unprecedented times. According to Billy, Of all those places, one of Billy’s most favorite & iconic stores was Gem Spa. Not only because we made the best eggcreams in the world but also the history of the place and in his opinion it was the gateway to the East Village. He lives 2 blocks from there & whenever he saw the Gem Spa sign he felt an ease & comfort of being home.
He took this photo a few weeks ago and if you look at the detail of the final piece you can see people crying out missing such a landmark store and having a big piece of the East Village being taken away. It's also a celebration of the impact Gem Spa had on him and all of New York.