On our recent visit to Jersey City this past Friday, Gregory D. Edgell aka the Green Villain gave us a tour of some of Jersey City’s newest murals, including some wonderful ones that he curated. Here’s a sampling of those:

Li Hill

Li Hill street art Jersey City New in Jersey City: Li Hill, Vexta, Kem5, Zimer, Enoe, Jerkface and Mes

Vexta

Vexta street art Jersey City NJ New in Jersey City: Li Hill, Vexta, Kem5, Zimer, Enoe, Jerkface and Mes

Kem5

 New in Jersey City: Li Hill, Vexta, Kem5, Zimer, Enoe, Jerkface and Mes

Zimer

Zimer street art Jersey City New in Jersey City: Li Hill, Vexta, Kem5, Zimer, Enoe, Jerkface and Mes

Enoe

enoe graffiti Jersey city New in Jersey City: Li Hill, Vexta, Kem5, Zimer, Enoe, Jerkface and Mes

Jerkface

Jerkface JC New in Jersey City: Li Hill, Vexta, Kem5, Zimer, Enoe, Jerkface and Mes

Mes PFE

Mespfe street art Jersey City New in Jersey City: Li Hill, Vexta, Kem5, Zimer, Enoe, Jerkface and Mes

All photos by Lois Stavsky, except for Kem5, courtesy of Greg.

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Ramiro Davaro street art Brooklyn Ramiro Davaros Whimsical Characters on Brooklyn Streets and His Manimal Friends at Williamsburgs Cotton Candy Machine

A motley crew of  characters, conceived by Argentine American artist Ramiro Davaro, can be found not only on the streets of Brooklyn, but — for the next few days — his Manimal Friends remains on exhibit at Williamsburg’s Cotton Candy Machine. Here are some more of his characters that have surfaced on the streets:

For Juicy Art Fest

Ramiro Davaro and Tony Washington street art NYC Ramiro Davaros Whimsical Characters on Brooklyn Streets and His Manimal Friends at Williamsburgs Cotton Candy Machine

On Scholes and Waterbury, 2013

ramiro davaro street art characters NYC Ramiro Davaros Whimsical Characters on Brooklyn Streets and His Manimal Friends at Williamsburgs Cotton Candy Machine

Close-up, on Waterbury and Meserole, 2014

Ramiro Davaro street art close up NYC Ramiro Davaros Whimsical Characters on Brooklyn Streets and His Manimal Friends at Williamsburgs Cotton Candy Machine

Outside the Cotton Candy Machine

Ramiro Davar street art Williamsburg Ramiro Davaros Whimsical Characters on Brooklyn Streets and His Manimal Friends at Williamsburgs Cotton Candy Machine

And inside the Cotton Candy Machine – one of many, Pen and Ink, Acrylic Paint on Paper

ramiro Davaro animal characters Ramiro Davaros Whimsical Characters on Brooklyn Streets and His Manimal Friends at Williamsburgs Cotton Candy Machine

Also on sale at the Cotton Candy Machine are signed copies of Ramiro’s colorfully illustrated new book Manimal Friends. Located at 235 South 1st Street (between Roebling and Havemeyer), Cotton Candy Machine is open Tuesday through Sunday from noon to 8pm.

Photos 1, 3, 5 and 6 by Dani Reyes Mozeson; 2 and 4 by Lois Stavsky 

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Erro comic characters close up at Mana Contemporary Jersey Citys Mana Contemporary Presents: Erró: American Comics

“Works of art in public spaces can have a highly beneficial effect upon the environment – beautifying it, sparking debate, and nurturing public interest in visual art,” concluded Reykjavik’s Executive City Council in a recently released report. Among those artists selected to add style and intrigue to apartment building walls of Iceland’s capital is the celebrated Icelandic pop artist Erró. As there has always been somewhat of a crossover between street art and comic art, the choice seems perfect. And here at Mana Contemporary in Jersey City, a short ride from downtown Manhattan, an exhibit of the celebrated artist’s works, presented by Galerie Ernst Hilger, opens tomorrow.

Here is another close-up from Erró‘s bold, comic-inspired work, Excalibur Saga, on display:

Erro comiccharacters at Mana Contemporary Jersey City Jersey Citys Mana Contemporary Presents: Erró: American Comics

And his Official Portrait of Sigmund Freud is one of many psychologically intriguing and provocative works also on exhibit:

Erro the official portrait of sigmune freud at mana contemporary Jersey Citys Mana Contemporary Presents: Erró: American Comics

Mana Contemporary is providing free shuttle service to us New Yorkers to and from tomorrow’s 1pm opening. Buses depart every half hour starting at 12:30pm from Milk Studios at 450 West 15th Street.

Photos of artworks by Lois Stavsky

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5Pointz artists paint 9 11 Commemorative wall 5Pointz Artists Paint 9/11 Commemorative Mural in Crown Heights, BK

For years, the former aerosol art Mecca 5Pointz was the site of a 9/11 commemorative wall that surfaced anew each September 11. This year, thanks to the efforts of Marie Cecile Flageul, the annual mural found a new home — on the corner of Bedford Avenue and Bergen Street in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Fashioned by Meres, See TF, Remiks, Sloke, Spin, Danielle Mastrion and Lexi Bella, the mural pays special tribute to noted hip-hop historian and photographer Joe Conzo for his extraordinary efforts as a NYFD firefighter on Ground Zero. Here are a few more scenes captured yesterday:

Close-up featuring Joe Conzo, painted by See TF

Joe Conzo painted by See TF 5Pointz Artists Paint 9/11 Commemorative Mural in Crown Heights, BK

Joe Conzo with See TF

See TF and Joe Conzo 5Pointz Artists Paint 9/11 Commemorative Mural in Crown Heights, BK

Danielle Mastrion at work

Danielle Mastrion street art NYC 5Pointz Artists Paint 9/11 Commemorative Mural in Crown Heights, BK

And giving Spin a hand here

Danielle and Spin 5Pointz Artists Paint 9/11 Commemorative Mural in Crown Heights, BK

Meres at work

Meres paints street art mural NYC 5Pointz Artists Paint 9/11 Commemorative Mural in Crown Heights, BK

And drawing his iconic lightbulb for Cydney, a local student and his newest fan

Meres graffiti character on paper 5Pointz Artists Paint 9/11 Commemorative Mural in Crown Heights, BK

Photos 1, 3, 5-7 by Lois Stavsky; photos 2 and 4 by City-as-School intern Tyler Dean Flores

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This is the eighth in a series of occasional posts featuring the range of faces that surface in NYC open spaces:

Dasic in Bushwick, Brooklyn

Dasic Fernandez street art NYC  Faces in NYC Public Spaces, Part VIII: Dasic, Don Rimx & Ricardo Cabret, ECB, Jordan Betten, Alice Mizrachi, Chris Soria with Groundswell Youth, FoxxFace and Sexer

Rimx and Ricardo Cabret — in progress for NY Street Gallery – on the patio outside Exit Room NY, in Bushwick, Brooklyn

Rimx and Ricardo Cabret Faces in NYC Public Spaces, Part VIII: Dasic, Don Rimx & Ricardo Cabret, ECB, Jordan Betten, Alice Mizrachi, Chris Soria with Groundswell Youth, FoxxFace and Sexer

Long-running ECB in Bushwick, Brooklyn

ECB Bushwick street art NYC Faces in NYC Public Spaces, Part VIII: Dasic, Don Rimx & Ricardo Cabret, ECB, Jordan Betten, Alice Mizrachi, Chris Soria with Groundswell Youth, FoxxFace and Sexer

Jordan Betten in Midtown Manhattan

Betten street art NYC Faces in NYC Public Spaces, Part VIII: Dasic, Don Rimx & Ricardo Cabret, ECB, Jordan Betten, Alice Mizrachi, Chris Soria with Groundswell Youth, FoxxFace and Sexer

Alice Mizrachi in Bushwick playground

Alice Mizrachi street art Bushwick NYC Faces in NYC Public Spaces, Part VIII: Dasic, Don Rimx & Ricardo Cabret, ECB, Jordan Betten, Alice Mizrachi, Chris Soria with Groundswell Youth, FoxxFace and Sexer

Long-running Chris Soria  – created with Groundswell youth — in Red Hook, Brooklyn

chris soria street art red hook1 Faces in NYC Public Spaces, Part VIII: Dasic, Don Rimx & Ricardo Cabret, ECB, Jordan Betten, Alice Mizrachi, Chris Soria with Groundswell Youth, FoxxFace and Sexer

FoxxFace for the LISA Project in Little Italy, Manhattan

Foxxface street art NYC Faces in NYC Public Spaces, Part VIII: Dasic, Don Rimx & Ricardo Cabret, ECB, Jordan Betten, Alice Mizrachi, Chris Soria with Groundswell Youth, FoxxFace and Sexer

Sexer for the TAG Public Arts Project in the Bronx

Sexer street art portrait Bronx Faces in NYC Public Spaces, Part VIII: Dasic, Don Rimx & Ricardo Cabret, ECB, Jordan Betten, Alice Mizrachi, Chris Soria with Groundswell Youth, FoxxFace and Sexer

Photos: Dasic, Jordan Betten and Chris Soria by Dani Reyes Mozeson; all others by Lois Stavsky

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Lamour Supreme Lamour Supreme and Sheryo & the Yok Go Big for Ink Master Rivals on Broadway in Midtown Manhattan

Promoting the Ink Master Rivals show on Spike TV, two tattooed arms have made their way onto a huge billboard on Broadway between 51st and 52nd Streets. Featured on the right side of the billboard are several eerie, brightly-hued characters fashioned by Lamour Supreme — as pictured above:

Lamour Supreme, close-ups

Lamour Supreme street art character Masnhattan NYC Lamour Supreme and Sheryo & the Yok Go Big for Ink Master Rivals on Broadway in Midtown Manhattan

LA close with blue face Lamour Supreme and Sheryo & the Yok Go Big for Ink Master Rivals on Broadway in Midtown Manhattan

And the left side of the billboard showcases a crew of Sheryo and the Yok‘s delightfully zany characters:

sheryo and the Yok street art NYC Lamour Supreme and Sheryo & the Yok Go Big for Ink Master Rivals on Broadway in Midtown Manhattan

Sheryo and the Yok, close-ups

the yok Manhattan Lamour Supreme and Sheryo & the Yok Go Big for Ink Master Rivals on Broadway in Midtown Manhattan

sheryo yok street art mural Lamour Supreme and Sheryo & the Yok Go Big for Ink Master Rivals on Broadway in Midtown Manhattan

It’s great to see work by some of our favorite artists so prominently displayed!

Photos by Dani Reyes Mozeson

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This is the fifth in a series of occasional posts featuring the range of curious characters that have found a home on NYC streets:

Buff Monster in Little Italy

Buff Monster street art NYC Curious Characters on NYC Streets, Part V: Buff Monster, Cruz, Nepo, Nemo, Pose, stikman, Claw Money and more

Federico Massa aka Cruz in Bushwick

Cruz bushwick street art Curious Characters on NYC Streets, Part V: Buff Monster, Cruz, Nepo, Nemo, Pose, stikman, Claw Money and more

Nepo in Bushwick

Nepo street art bushwick NYC Curious Characters on NYC Streets, Part V: Buff Monster, Cruz, Nepo, Nemo, Pose, stikman, Claw Money and more

Nemo — in from Italy — in Williamsburg

Nemo street art NYC Curious Characters on NYC Streets, Part V: Buff Monster, Cruz, Nepo, Nemo, Pose, stikman, Claw Money and more

Pose in SoHo

Pose street art nyc Curious Characters on NYC Streets, Part V: Buff Monster, Cruz, Nepo, Nemo, Pose, stikman, Claw Money and more

stikman in SoHo

stikman street art nuc Curious Characters on NYC Streets, Part V: Buff Monster, Cruz, Nepo, Nemo, Pose, stikman, Claw Money and more

Unidentified artist in Brooklyn

unidentified street art NYC Curious Characters on NYC Streets, Part V: Buff Monster, Cruz, Nepo, Nemo, Pose, stikman, Claw Money and more

Claw Money in Midtown Manhattan

claw money street art nyc Curious Characters on NYC Streets, Part V: Buff Monster, Cruz, Nepo, Nemo, Pose, stikman, Claw Money and more

Photo of Pose by Lois Stavsky; all others by Dani Reyes Mozeson

 

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With a strong presence on the streets throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens, Joseph Meloy’s distinctive aesthetic has also made its way into a range of galleries and alternative spaces.  Opening this evening at Galerie Protégé at 197 Ninth Avenue in Chelsea is The Playground of the Fantastical!, an intriguing selection of Meloy’s recent works on an array of surfaces. I stopped by the exhibit yesterday and also had the opportunity to speak to Joseph.

Joseph Meloy street art Manhattan nyc Joseph Meloy on Street Art, Vandal Expressionism, The Playground of the Fantastical! and more

You have quite a presence on the streets. What inspired you to get your vision up on public spaces?

As a kid, I was obsessed with Cost and Revs.  Their presence on the streets fascinated me. I used to stay up until two in the morning to watch their public access show. Undoubtedly, they were an inspiration.

When did you first get up and where?

When I was a student at the Bronx High School of Science, I was into drawing squirrels – and I began hanging posters of them all over my school. But 2006 is when I started getting wheat pastes up on the streets. They were largely random digital creations at the time.

What about galleries? The Playground of the Fantastical is your second exhibit at Galerie Protégé.  When did you first begin showing in galleries?

My first exhibit was in a pop-up space back in 2011. Since, I’ve shown in quite a few spaces – from alternative ones to more traditional gallery settings. Among these are — in addition to Galerie Protégé – Le Salon d’ Art,  Succulent Studios, and the Fountain Art Fair.

Joseph Meloy abstract Joseph Meloy on Street Art, Vandal Expressionism, The Playground of the Fantastical! and more

How do you feel about the movement of graffiti and street art into galleries?

It’s a natural and inevitable progression.  What’s happening now is a resurgence of what was going down 30 years ago.

Do you have a formal arts education?

No. I majored in Spanish in college. I’m self-taught.

What inspires you these days?

Introspection. My inspiration is internal.

Joseph Meloy at Galerie Protege Joseph Meloy on Street Art, Vandal Expressionism, The Playground of the Fantastical! and more

Has your aesthetic been influenced by any particular cultures?

No one particular culture. But there are obvious influences from ancient hieroglyphics and palaeographics.

What is your ideal working environment?

Any place with enough room for me to create without having to worry about messing it up.

Are there any particular artists whose aesthetics have inspired or influenced you?

Michael Alan – a friend who is a wonderful artist and inspiration. And I suppose that — like so many others — I’ve been inspired and influenced by Keith Haring and Basquiat.

Joseph Meloy art close up Joseph Meloy on Street Art, Vandal Expressionism, The Playground of the Fantastical! and more

Would you rather work alone or collaborate with other artists?

I like the concept of collaboration, but it’s easier for me to work alone. I’ve successfully collaborated with Michael Alan and Fumero, and I’m looking forward to collaborating with Col, Wallnuts.

We identify you with the term Vandal Expressionism – that you coined. Can you tell us something about that?  When did it originate? What does it mean?

I came up with it in the summer of 2010. It seemed to best represent what I do and who I am. It signifies how I repurposed the visual language of graffiti and street art. And it’s quite universal, as it translates well into other languages.

What about the title of this show – the Playground of the Fantastical?

It was actually coined by the gallery’s director, Robert Dimin, as it reflects both my work and that of the Brazilian artist, Maria Lynch, who is exhibiting alongside me. The title is perfect as it suggests both a childlike innocence and a whimsical sense of adventure.

Meloy street art NYC Joseph Meloy on Street Art, Vandal Expressionism, The Playground of the Fantastical! and more

What do you see as the role of the artist in society?

The artist has many roles – to reflect on society, to inspire…to amuse…and to make people think.

I can certainly see that in your work!

Note: The Playground of the Fantastical opens tonight, Thursday, from 6-8pm at 197 Ninth Avenue and 22nd Street and continues through October 3rd. Tomorrow evening Joseph Meloy will be exhibiting along with City Kitty and others in Downtown Denim at the City Life Gallery in Jersey City.

Interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky; photos 1 and 4 by Dani Reyes Mozeson; 2 and 3 by Lois Stavsky and 5 by Tara Murray.

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Speaking with Sean Lugo

September 3, 2014

Based in Weehawken, New Jersey, Sean Lugo has been sharing his distinct vision and talents with us not only on the streets of nearby Jersey City, but here in NYC, as well. I was delighted to have the opportunity to speak to him.

sean lugo self portrait Speaking with Sean Lugo

When did you first get up? And where?

It was back in 1998; I was 17. I tagged up around my neighborhood in Union City, NJ.

Had you any preferred surfaces back then?

Nope! Any open space was fine.

How did your family feel about what you were doing?

I was living with my sister at the time. She thought I was an idiot!

Sean Lugo artwork Speaking with Sean Lugo

Have you any early graffiti-related memories that stand out?

I remember going to a Mets game with my father and seeing graffiti on the trains and at 5Pointz as we rode by on the 7 line. I was amazed! It was the most graffiti I’d ever seen anywhere. I was about 12 at the time.

What percentage of your day is devoted to art?

Just about all of it! I work as an art handler during the day, and then I spend about five hours each day working on my own art.

Any other interests?

Sports. I love football!

Sean Lugogreenpoint 2 Speaking with Sean Lugo

Any thoughts on the graffiti/ street art divide?

I don’t personally feel the divide. They are both outlets for us to express ourselves.

How do you feel about the movement of graffiti and street art into galleries

I like it! I’d like to see even more gallery owners open their spaces to us. Folks who run galleries need to be more aware of what’s going on in the streets.

How you feel about the role of the Internet in this scene?

I think it’s beautiful.  It’s connected me to so many others.

Sean Lugo street art NYC Speaking with Sean Lugo

Do you have a formal arts education?

No. I’m self-taught.

What’s the riskiest thing you’ve done?

Well, definitely the stupidest was bombing with Werds off the High Line. We climbed up via a truck, and after spending over eight hours up there, we had to jump down to reach the ground.

What inspires you these days?

Concepts. I’m inspired by the masks that people wear as they try to project a false illusion of themselves. Most people are fake. And it is the incongruity between who people appear to be and who they really are that drives my art these days.

sean lugo artist Jersey City Speaking with Sean Lugo

Has your aesthetic been influenced by any particular cultures?

I’m influenced by all cultures – but particularly my own, the Spanish culture.

Do you work with a sketch in your hand, or do you let it flow?

I draw everything out, and I like to choose a spot before I draw.

What is your ideal working environment?

A quiet room with any kind of music in the background.

sean lugo pig street art Speaking with Sean Lugo

Are you generally satisfied with your finished product?

Yes.

How has your work evolved in the past few years?

It’s become more dramatic, and I engage with it more seriously.

How’s that?

I look at life differently than I used to. On August 1, 2011, I was in a car accident in Jersey City. The guy who hit me died, and I almost did. As a result of this trauma, I’ve come to understand just how brief and fragile life is.

And can you tell us something about wheat pastes – your preferred medium?

Yes, I love using wheat pastes because they perfectly mirror life’s temporality.

Sean Lugo street art character Speaking with Sean Lugo

What do you see as the role of the artist in society?

To spur others to become more creative.

And what about how society views the artist? Any thoughts as to how others view you?

Too many folks view art as a business.

Any favorite artists who share their work on the streets?

So many! But to name a few: LNY, Ekundayo, Vinz, NoseGo

What’s ahead?

I want to continue doing art on the streets and interacting more with public space. I’d love to create an entire, interactive scene just using wheatpastes!

Interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky; photos 3, 5 and 6 by Lois Stavsky; others courtesy of Sean Lugo.

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Groundswell public art community NYC  Groundswell Youth Muralists    with Esteban del Valle and Jose de Jesus Rodriguez    Address Mass Incarceration on Brownsville Mural

We were introduced to Esteban del Valle’s remarkable talents a number of years back at 5Pointz. We’ve since seen his deftly crafted artwork in Bushwick, the Lower East Side, Red Hook, Welling Court and recently at the 21st Precinct Art Exhibit.  And in addition to forging his own artwork, Esteban has been sharing his skills and vision with youth this past summer in Brownsville, Brooklyn.  Last week, the mural created by 17 young men in Groundswell’s Summer Leadership Institute, along with Esteban and his assistant artist, Jose de Jesus Rodriguez, was officially unveiled.  Located at 417 Junius Street on the wall of the Food Bazaar Supermaket, it represents the best possible model for public art. At the mural’s dedication ceremony, I had the opportunity to find out from Esteban a bit more about this particular project, P. I. C. T. U. R. E. S Prison Industrial Complex: Tyranny Undermining Rights, Education and Society.

Esteban del valle public mural NYC  Groundswell Youth Muralists    with Esteban del Valle and Jose de Jesus Rodriguez    Address Mass Incarceration on Brownsville Mural

This mural is quite amazing. When did you begin working on it?

We began on July 2nd.

Can you tell us something about the process?

We spent the first two weeks researching the issue, discussing the justice system and designing our representation of it. The final four weeks were devoted to painting the mural.

Groundswell Public Art  Groundswell Youth Muralists    with Esteban del Valle and Jose de Jesus Rodriguez    Address Mass Incarceration on Brownsville Mural

Why this topic?

It’s of particular relevance to this community. We see this mural as a way to raise awareness and provoke discussion about the subject of the prison industrial complex. Some of the youth involved in this all-male Making His’tory mural team have had first-hand experience with the way the justice system functions.

Esteban del valle public mural  Groundswell Youth Muralists    with Esteban del Valle and Jose de Jesus Rodriguez    Address Mass Incarceration on Brownsville Mural

How have the young muralists responded to this project?

The response has been great. We’ve had many intense discussions and we can all walk away with a sense of accomplishment.

What has this experience been like for you, personally?

It was very exciting. And it was great for all of us to see an idea executed into a reality.

Esteban del valle and Groundswell youth street art mural close up  Groundswell Youth Muralists    with Esteban del Valle and Jose de Jesus Rodriguez    Address Mass Incarceration on Brownsville Mural

Have you any personal message?

With these tools (pen and paint brush in hand), you can change your life and your community.

Elijah Barrington, one of the project’s participants, added the following to our conversation:  We sweated every day to get this wall to look the way we wanted it to. I felt focused and happy, and I learned so much. I’m already looking forward to the next project.

Brief interview and photos by Lois Stavsky

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