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A Roof With a View: Looking at Art Up Above

Posted: 07/25/2012 7:57 am

Climbing up on a roof during the sultry city summer can be liberating, and it turns out to be a prime place for painting too. Away from the cacophony of the sweaty streets, the breeze up here is a little cooler and stronger and aside from the occasional potted tomato plant or sun-tanning waitress, you are on your own. You may not own any personal real estate, but right now this is all yours, this sweeping urban vista of grand, glossy, grimy, gawdy, and gutted.

For years graffiti writers and street artists have sought these undiscovered spots as a kind of refuge, an urban backyard for hanging out and going big, often collaboratively. You could say that rooftop spots even have a certain lore, a place to tell stories about and revel in. In a hard-knock nasty city that sometimes seems to swallow people whole, on a rooftop with a view you can do a huge piece and feel like you are holding it all down. Not to mention the bragging rights you can claim for hitting a high profile location that grabs eyeballs and raises the stakes. As for the city dweller, the work, as ever, is subjectively reviled, ignored, or celebrated. No one can truthfully deny its affect on the character of the cityscape.

Here are some choice roof shots by photographer Jaime Rojo across New York, LA, Chicago, and Boston to give you a birds eye view of some art from on high.

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Rime, Dceve, and Toper in Chinatown, Manhattan. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Rime, Dceve, and Toper in Chinatown, Manhattan. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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ROA on the water tower and Chris Stain and Billy Mode on the wall. Williamsburg, Brooklyn. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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News in DUMBO, Brooklyn. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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JR in Hunts Point, The Bronx as part of Inside Out - A Global Art Project. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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JR in Hunts Point, The Bronx as part of Inside Out - A Global Art Project. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Bare, Hert, Gable, Deth Kult, TVEE in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Rodeo, ILS, Bare, Hert, Gable, Deth Kult, TVEE in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Swoon. The Central Street Roof in Cambridge, MA. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Anarkia Boladona in Hunts Point, The Bronx. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Sweet Toof in Bushwick, Brooklyn. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Deeker, Armer, Lister and Judith Supine in Bushwick, Brooklyn. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Various & Gould in Bushwick, Brooklyn. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Shepard Fairey in Los Angeles, Arts Disctric for LA Freewalls Project. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Jaz and Cern in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Ludo in Chicago with Pawn Works Gallery. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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At Large, Nekst, Rusk in Williamsburg, Brookklyn. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Take No Action, Hellbent, Sweet Toof in Willimsburg, Brooklyn. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Swampy in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Tats Cru in Hunts Point, The Bronx. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Staino in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Jef Aerosol in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Gaia in Chicago with Pawn Works Gallery. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Love Me, Screw Sacer in China Town, Manhattan. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Veng, Royce Bannon, Werds in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Staino, Sefu and RTF at the High Line Park in Manhattan. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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I Spy in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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WK Interact in The Lower East Side, Manhattan. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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This article was also posted on Brooklyn Street Art.

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