This Brooklyn Artist Tells Stories Using Bright Colors, Cigarette Butts, and Crack Vials

Many darker aspects of New York City are often overshadowed, under-appreciated, or even hushed into silence. Brooklyn artist Tyrell Winston works to bring the truths of society to light through an unexpected medium: color-coded drug paraphernalia.

Working like an archaeologist, Winston collects and preserves used cigarette butts, crack vials and other pieces of colorful trash to use in his artwork. By choosing to use these personal items, Winston creates a studio that depicts an honest, sometimes uncomfortable reality of New York City’s underbelly culture and its constituants.

This is not condo Brooklyn, artisanal Brooklyn, or fun Brooklyn: earlier this summer it was this same block where 33 people were rushed to the hospital, suspected of overdosing on the synthetic drug K2. This is where Winston creates his color-coded multimedia pieces, which often read like mood boards of sleaze, employing drug paraphernalia, discarded cigarette butts, empty bottles of booze, and broken lighters, to tell stories.

Check out the full article to learn more about Winston’s unique artistic vision and the inspiration he draws from the struggles of his hometown.

Ashley Jankowski

Ashley Jankowski

Contributing Writer

Ashley is a journalism student living in a 5-foot wide bedroom in NYC. In between class, She can be found working out, wandering into bookstores or making To-Do lists.

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