Exhibits

In Chicago with Cornbread East Coast Flavor Meets Chicago Flair with Cornbread, Booey, Fritos, Gear One, Nic 707, Boar1, Dtel & more

Earlier this fall, several Old School East Coast writers — including the legendary Cornbread – made their way to Chicago for a one-night exhibit and a day of painting alongside local Chicago artists. We recently spoke to Brian M Convery aka Booey who curated the exhibit that took place on October 15 at Loft Zero Gallery.

How did you guys end up in Chicago? What brought you there?

Skeme had told me about an opportunity to exhibit my artwork in a solo show at Chicago’s Loft Zero Gallery. I decided that I would prefer showing in a group exhibit — that I would curate — as it would be more inclusive.

How did you decide which artists to include?

I was particularly interested in showcasing the work of classic East Coast writers. And so I largely reached out to folks I know who were painting back in the day. It was my way of giving back to the community.

frito gear brian graffiti chicago 720 East Coast Flavor Meets Chicago Flair with Cornbread, Booey, Fritos, Gear One, Nic 707, Boar1, Dtel & more

What were some of the challenges you faced in curating an exhibit of this nature?

The greatest challenge was collecting all of the art I’d wanted to feature before heading out to Chicago. There were some kinks along the way. And then after twenty minutes of waiting in Newark in a rented van to drive five of us out to Chicago, Gear One called to tell me that Nic 707 was no where to be found!  But, eventually, it all came together.

What about the night of the exhibit? Any challenges? 

Having to compete with the Cubs who had a home game the same night!  We had to work on getting the info about our show out on Cubs’ message boards.

boar1 graffiti chicago East Coast Flavor Meets Chicago Flair with Cornbread, Booey, Fritos, Gear One, Nic 707, Boar1, Dtel & more

Any particular highlights of the trip?

Having the opportunity to paint alongside several first-rate Chicago-based artists in Logan Square the following day. The interaction was awesome!

Can you tell us something more about that? How did it happen?

Constantine Ashford, the owner of Loft Zero Gallery, reached out to several local artists and made it happen.

dtel graffiti chicago East Coast Flavor Meets Chicago Flair with Cornbread, Booey, Fritos, Gear One, Nic 707, Boar1, Dtel & more

 What’s next?

I’ve been working on another show — Gold Standard — that will place this Saturday evening — December 10th at Lovecraft Bar NYC, 50 Avenue B. It will feature a range of artists from the legendary Taki 183 to such contemporaries as Tomas Manon and Gem 13.

Gold standard East Coast Flavor Meets Chicago Flair with Cornbread, Booey, Fritos, Gear One, Nic 707, Boar1, Dtel & more

Good luck!

Images

1. Constantine Ashford, Booey and Cornbread

2. Fritos and Gear One at work; also featured on mural are Booey and Nic 707

3. Chicago-based Boar1

4. Chicago-based Dtel

Photo credits: 1 & 2; courtesy Brian M Convery; 3 & 4 Tara Murray

{ 0 comments }

 Francisco de Pájaro aka Art Is Trash on NYC Streets and at Castle Fitzjohns Gallery to November 30

With his delightfully unorthodox approach to both art and the streets, Francisco de Pájaro aka Art Is Trash recently brought his vision to NYC.  What follows is a glimpse into the man and his whimsically provocative work:

The completed piece pictured above — in his solo exhibit MATURA – as seen at Castle Fitzjohns Gallery 

art as trash with book Francisco de Pájaro aka Art Is Trash on NYC Streets and at Castle Fitzjohns Gallery to November 30

With Art Is Trash‘s newly published book to its right

art is trash book Francisco de Pájaro aka Art Is Trash on NYC Streets and at Castle Fitzjohns Gallery to November 30

The artist at work 

 Francisco de Pájaro aka Art Is Trash on NYC Streets and at Castle Fitzjohns Gallery to November 30

art as trash paints Francisco de Pájaro aka Art Is Trash on NYC Streets and at Castle Fitzjohns Gallery to November 30

Segments of MATAÚRA

art as trash gallery exhibit Francisco de Pájaro aka Art Is Trash on NYC Streets and at Castle Fitzjohns Gallery to November 30

art is trash gallery Francisco de Pájaro aka Art Is Trash on NYC Streets and at Castle Fitzjohns Gallery to November 30

Castle Fitzjohns Gallery, exterior

art as trash gallery exterior Francisco de Pájaro aka Art Is Trash on NYC Streets and at Castle Fitzjohns Gallery to November 30

And the artist with noted photographer Donna Feratto

donna ferrato art as trashJPG Francisco de Pájaro aka Art Is Trash on NYC Streets and at Castle Fitzjohns Gallery to November 30

The exhibit remains on view until November 3oth at Castle Fitzjohns Gallery, 95 Orchard Street, on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.

Photo credits: 1, 4 & 5 Audrey Connolly aka Bytegirl; 2, 6 – 8 Karin du Maire and 9 Lois Stavsky

{ 0 comments }

Logan Hicks freddy Grays Day <em>Baltimore Rising</em> at Maryland Institute College of Art with Logan Hicks, Tony Shore, Nether 410 and more

On exhibit through Wednesday at MICA — the Maryland Institute College of Art — is Baltimore Rising, a powerful and poignant exhibition featuring the works of 15 artists who address the issues that led to the uprising following the death of Freddy Gray.  Featured above is a close-up from Logan Hicks’s Freddy Gray’s Day. What follows are a few more images from this timely exhibit:

Logan Hicks, Hot Spot, aerosol on linen

Logan Hicks Hot Spot <em>Baltimore Rising</em> at Maryland Institute College of Art with Logan Hicks, Tony Shore, Nether 410 and more

Tony Shore, Hands Up, Don’t Shoot, acrylic on velvet

tony shore hands up dont shoot <em>Baltimore Rising</em> at Maryland Institute College of Art with Logan Hicks, Tony Shore, Nether 410 and more

Tony Shore, Confrontation, acrylic on velvet

tony shore confrontation <em>Baltimore Rising</em> at Maryland Institute College of Art with Logan Hicks, Tony Shore, Nether 410 and more

Also by Tony Shore, The Vigil, acrylic on velvet

tony shore the vigil <em>Baltimore Rising</em> at Maryland Institute College of Art with Logan Hicks, Tony Shore, Nether 410 and more

Nether 410, Satyagraha, outdoor mural for Baltimore Rising

Nether410 Baltimore Rising <em>Baltimore Rising</em> at Maryland Institute College of Art with Logan Hicks, Tony Shore, Nether 410 and more

Photo credits: 1-5 Lois Stavsky; 6 Tara Murray

{ 0 comments }

Salmos pixote martinez gallery nyc From São Paulo to New York City: SALMOS Brings <em>FRACTURED FAIRY TALES</em> to the Martinez Gallery in Harlem

Born in Brazil in 1982, SALMOS first made his mark in São Paulo’s public spaces and freight trains as ISHI. In 2004, he opened his own tattoo store, and ten years later, he emerged as SALMOS, Sou Artista Livre Mais Ouseda de São Paulo, “the most daring free artist in Sao Paulo.” His current work — both indoors and outdoors — is largely a delightful fusion of graffiti writing and classic comic characters. This past Saturday, SALMOS‘s first NYC solo exhibit, FRACTURED FAIRY TALES  opened at  the Martinez Gallery. While visiting, I had the opportunity to speak to the artist.

salmos art martinez gallery From São Paulo to New York City: SALMOS Brings <em>FRACTURED FAIRY TALES</em> to the Martinez Gallery in Harlem

When did you first hit the streets?

Back in 1996-97. I was 14 at the time.

What motivated you to do so?

I was drawn to the streets. Pixação — in particular — inspired me. And I came up with the idea of integrating comical characters into my writing.

Salmos character artjpg From São Paulo to New York City: SALMOS Brings <em>FRACTURED FAIRY TALES</em> to the Martinez Gallery in Harlem

Can you tell us something about these characters? What is their appeal to you?

They are magical!  They fuse the nostalgia that adults feel with the mystification children experience.

And how do you choose your characters? Why — for example — Garfield?

I love the ones that make me feel like I am a kid again! Garfield enchants me!

salmos garfield graffiti1 From São Paulo to New York City: SALMOS Brings <em>FRACTURED FAIRY TALES</em> to the Martinez Gallery in Harlem

And what brought you here to NYC?

The amazing opportunity to paint here. New York City is where it all started. The history of graffiti is here in NYC.

And we here in NYC love how writers from places like São Paulo are taking it to another level. We’re so glad you made it here! Have a safe trip home!

salmos and martinez From São Paulo to New York City: SALMOS Brings <em>FRACTURED FAIRY TALES</em> to the Martinez Gallery in Harlem

Curated by Octavio ZayaFRACTURED FAIRY TALES can be seen Mon- Sat, 11AM to 5PM, at the Martinez Gallery on 135th Street and Broadway.

Note: Standing to the left of SALMOS is Martinez Gallery‘s noted director, Hugo Martinez.

Photos by Lois Stavsky

{ 0 comments }

Bisco Smith Methods style writing edited 1 Bisco Smith, MANIFEST, at Okay Space in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Back in NYC, in the place he calls “home,” Bisco Smith — the first artist in residency at Okay Space — has been busy!  At work during one of the most tumultuous weeks in the history of our country, the artist proposed that creating his newest body of work, MANIFEST, helped “center” him, as he strives to find “the goodness amidst the chaos.”  This past Friday, MANIFEST was unveiled at Okay Space at 281 North 7th Street.  Here are several images captured shortly before it officially opened to the public:

Bisco Smith adding info to Methods, serigraph on paper, edition of 111

Bisco Smith and style writing Bisco Smith, MANIFEST, at Okay Space in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

 Manifest Moments #9, acrylic & spray paint on canvas

bisco smith style writing on canvas Bisco Smith, MANIFEST, at Okay Space in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Manifest Moments, the series — each, 18 x 18 – acrylic & spray paint on canvas

Bisco Smith works Manifest Moments Bisco Smith, MANIFEST, at Okay Space in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Gratitude for all things past, service for all things present, responsibility for all things future

style writing williamsburg gallery  Bisco Smith, MANIFEST, at Okay Space in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

 And as seen at night from the outside, shortly before it opened

Bisco Smith style writing at OKAY SPACE Bisco Smith, MANIFEST, at Okay Space in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Okay Space is open Monday through Friday, 11-6, and on Saturday 12-5.  For further info, you can contact the space at 929-250-2388.

Photos by Lois Stavsky

{ 0 comments }

Toronto native Waxhead moved to Montreal in 2012, where his singular style has surfaced on a range of surfaces from vintage photographs to huge walls. I discovered his distinct aesthetic this past summer while visiting Station 16 and exploring the streets of Montreal. Waxhead‘s first solo exhibit in Montreal, Waxhead: An Installation opens this Thursday, November 3 at Station 16.  While in Montreal, I had the opportunity to visit Waxhead‘s studio and pose some questions to him.

waxhead street art mural montreal Speaking with Montreal Based Street and Studio Artist Waxhead

When and where did you first get up?

I was 13 when I began tagging along the trackside in Toronto. It was back in 2006.

Who or what inspired you at the time?

I lived right beside the train tracks. I saw graffiti every day. It seemed like the natural thing to do. I didn’t become serious, though, about it until I was 18. That’s when I really got into characters.

How did your family feel about what you were doing back then?

My mom has always been supportive. ‘gotta love Mom!

Have you any thoughts about the graffiti/street art divide? 

I respect the mentality of getting up. But I also appreciate the refined work of street art. I’ve done both.

waxhead characters Speaking with Montreal Based Street and Studio Artist Waxhead

How do you feel about collaborating with other artists?

I love to collaborate. Among the artists I’ve painted with are: Cry0teSbuone and Getso.

What about the movement of street art into galleries?

It’s great when artists can live off their work and have a space to show it.  But they must keep the true sense of it.

Have you, yourself, exhibited your art in a gallery setting?

I’ve exhibited in several group shows — mostly in Canada.

What inspires you these days?

Colors, nature, old photos. I love collecting old photos and reworking them.

Waxhead Spinach Speaking with Montreal Based Street and Studio Artist Waxhead

Are there any particular cultures that have influenced your aesthetics?

I‘ve been inspired by the time I spent in India – particularly the beautiful colors I associate with its culture.

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

I let it flow. If I don’t like it, I can always do it again.

Are you generally satisfied with your work?

No! I’m very critical.

What do you think of the role of the Internet in all of this?

It’s a great tool for me to connect with other artists and with clients.

Do you have a formal arts education?

No! I’m self-taught. My friends were my best teachers.

IMG 0427 Speaking with Montreal Based Street and Studio Artist Waxhead

What percentage of your time is devoted to art? 

All of it. I live my life through my art. I’ve always been drawing.

And is it the main source of your income?

Yes, most of the money I earn is through my artwork.

What is the riskiest thing you’ve done?

I was painting in India – balancing on a wobbly two-story ladder  – when a giant bull was about to rub against it.

That certainly does sound menacing! How would you describe your ideal working environment?

Painting outside with friends. I love meeting and talking to people.

How has your work evolved through the years?

It’s become more refined.

waxhead installation station 16 Speaking with Montreal Based Street and Studio Artist Waxhead

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

As far as the street artist — it is to connect people to one another through what they see on the streets. I especially want to connect to the youth in this city.

What about the photographers in this scene? And the bloggers? How do you feel about them?

We need them! What we do needs to be archived.

I certainly agree with that!

Note: Waxhead: An Installation — a collection of  Waxhead’s hand-embellished vintage photos — opens this Thursday, November 3 at 6pm at Station 16 and continues through November 14.

Interview by Lois Stavsky

Photos: 1, 2 & 4 Lois Stavsky; 3 courtesy Station 16

{ 0 comments }

fin dac at work street art bushwick nyc Skillosophy Celebrates Street Art & Graffiti Outside Livestreams Bushwick Headquarters with: Fin DAC, Rubin, Danielle Mastrion and Lexi Bella, Jerms, Misha T, N Carlos J & more

Several stunning new murals recently surfaced on Morgan Avenue and Stagg Street in Bushwick. While visiting Livestream last week, I spoke to visual artist and curator Bianca Romero about Skillosophy, the movement behind these artworks.

Just what is Skillosophy? And when was it launched?

It’s an exhibition/showcase series that takes place four times a year with a focus on multi-disciplinary artists. It was launched last year by the co-founders of Lyricist Lounge & Defiant Ent and Livestream. For this past quarter, Danny Castro – Lyricist Lounge co-founder — and I decided to feature outdoor murals for the fall exhibition during Bushwick Open Studios, in addition to the art that is on exhibit inside the Livestream headquarters.

Fin Dac paints mural Bushwick NYV Skillosophy Celebrates Street Art & Graffiti Outside Livestreams Bushwick Headquarters with: Fin DAC, Rubin, Danielle Mastrion and Lexi Bella, Jerms, Misha T, N Carlos J & more

What spurred you to add this outdoor element to Skillosophy?

Typically, Skillosophy is indoors, inside the Livestream studio space. But we wanted to take it outside for Bushwick Open Studios. It seemed like a great way to give exposure to the talented muralists and street artists, and it was a great addition to our Block Party to have it done live. We loved the communal and public aspect of it.

Rubin street art bushwick nyc Skillosophy Celebrates Street Art & Graffiti Outside Livestreams Bushwick Headquarters with: Fin DAC, Rubin, Danielle Mastrion and Lexi Bella, Jerms, Misha T, N Carlos J & more

You’ve done a wonderful job of curating it all. The art both inside and outside is wonderfully eclectic and is beautifully presented. Have you a background in art? 

Both my parents are artists. My father, in fact, was a pioneer in graphic design and has taught design at the School of Visual Arts and at the Parsons School of Design. My mother was a fashion designer, and I, myself, am an artist.

Danielle Mastrion Lexi Bella street art NYC Skillosophy Celebrates Street Art & Graffiti Outside Livestreams Bushwick Headquarters with: Fin DAC, Rubin, Danielle Mastrion and Lexi Bella, Jerms, Misha T, N Carlos J & more

And can you tell us a bit about Livestream? When was it first founded and what is its mission?

It was founded in 2007 with the mission to make any every event available live online through video.

Jerms graffiti Bushwick NYC Skillosophy Celebrates Street Art & Graffiti Outside Livestreams Bushwick Headquarters with: Fin DAC, Rubin, Danielle Mastrion and Lexi Bella, Jerms, Misha T, N Carlos J & more

And how has Livestream responded to Skillosophy?

The love it. They’ve thoroughly embraced it. They love the idea of bringing the extraordinary talents of Bushwick into our offices. A walk through our offices — that are covered with work by local artists — is like a walk through the neighborhood!

misha T m dot season street art bushwick nyc Skillosophy Celebrates Street Art & Graffiti Outside Livestreams Bushwick Headquarters with: Fin DAC, Rubin, Danielle Mastrion and Lexi Bella, Jerms, Misha T, N Carlos J & more

Who is Skillosophy‘s audience?

All art lovers! Anyone who loves any aspect of art — music, dance, film or visual art.  The venue has hosted hip-hop shows, film industry mixers and skillshares in addition to art exhibits. We’ve had a very diverse audience…from working class folks to art collectors to party people!

N Carlos J street art Bushwick NYC Skillosophy Celebrates Street Art & Graffiti Outside Livestreams Bushwick Headquarters with: Fin DAC, Rubin, Danielle Mastrion and Lexi Bella, Jerms, Misha T, N Carlos J & more

How can folks best keep up with your events? And how can they arrange a visit to Livestream‘s headquarters for private viewings of the indoor art?

They can follow Skillosophy on Instagram, and they can contact us at skillosophyshow@gmail.com to schedule a private viewing and inquire about pricing and events. And any artist or performer interested in participating in a future Skillosophy exhibition and showcase can contact as at this email, as well.

 Images

1 & 2 Fin DAC at work

3 Rubin at work

4 Danielle Mastrion and Lexi Bella

5 Jerms

6 Misha T 

7 N Carlos J

Photo credits 1-5 & 7 Karin du Maire and 6 Tara Murray; interview with Bianca Romero conducted by Lois Stavsky

{ 0 comments }

El Nino de las pinturas Speaking with Queens Based Photographer and Street Art Aficionado Raphael Gonzalez aka Zurbaran1

For the past several years, Queens-based photographer Raphael Gonzalez aka Zurbaran1 has been creating intriguing, visually dynamic images of street art, often focusing on the artists at work.  Within the past year, his photos have made their way into several shows including his first solo exhibit, The Hand of An Artist. He has also been featured in Yoav Litvin‘s blog, 2createart. I recently had the opportunity to meet up with him.

I love what you are doing! When did you first begin to photograph NYC’s street art and graffiti?

About four years ago.

ECB street art Bushwick NYC Speaking with Queens Based Photographer and Street Art Aficionado Raphael Gonzalez aka Zurbaran1

What inspired you to do so? 

Several years ago, my daughter visited Berlin and returned home incredibly excited about the street art she had seen there. Her enthusiasm, along with the photos that she showed me, inspired me to check out what was happening on the streets of NYC. And I first became serious about it all in October, 2013 when Banksy hit NYC with his month-long day residency Better Out Than In.

Within the few years that you’ve been shooting street art, you seem to have established friendships with many of the street artists you photograph.  Can you tell us something about that?

The very first street artist I met was Alice Mizrachi. I was standing in front of her mural at Welling Court when she noticed me. She was living right there at the time, and — almost at once — came out in her pajamas to speak to me! I was so impressed by her intelligence and craft. I photographed her in front of her mural, and we struck up a friendship right then.  She was the first street artist I photographed and spoke to. Since that day, I’ve become friends with many more.

dasic fernandez street art nyc Speaking with Queens Based Photographer and Street Art Aficionado Raphael Gonzalez aka Zurbaran1

You’ve been photographing many artists as they work. How have they responded to this? Are they open to it?

The response has been great! And when I share the photos I’ve taken with them, they are so appreciative.

That’s great! As street art is so ephemeral by nature, it’s so important to document it. And I’m a huge fan of artful photographers who document the process. I notice that you’ve focused quite a bit on the artists’ hands.

Yes, I like observing their hands in action. And photographing hands gives me a chance to use my long lens which I love doing!

Fanakapan street art portrait nyc Speaking with Queens Based Photographer and Street Art Aficionado Raphael Gonzalez aka Zurbaran1

And you’ve also begun collaborating with some of the street artists whose works you photograph. How do you go about engaging them?

Yes! I love collaborating. The process makes me think a little differently, and the artists have been wonderful.  Among them are FumeroGizTrans1NoirCity Kitty. Some I’ve approached, and others have approached me.

What are some of the challenges that you face in seeing your projects through?

There’s never enough time. And there are so many artists! Going through all the photos that I take and then editing them is a lengthy, time-consuming process.

noir graffiti Speaking with Queens Based Photographer and Street Art Aficionado Raphael Gonzalez aka Zurbaran1

How has the scene changed since you first started photographing street art?

There are fewer walls, and street art has become more commercial. And it seems that in the past few years, street artists have achieved celebrity status. It’s almost like they are the new rock stars!

What’s ahead for you?

I would like to engage in more collaborations…different in nature than the usual ones!

Futura street art nyc Speaking with Queens Based Photographer and Street Art Aficionado Raphael Gonzalez aka Zurbaran1

I look forward to seeing them all, and I will be keeping up with you — in the meantime — via your Instagram!

All photos © Raphael Gonzalez aka Zurbaran1; interivew conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky

Images

1. El Niño de las Pinturas, Brooklyn Is the Future, Brownsville

2. Hendrik Beikirch aka ECB, Bushwick

3. Dasic Fernandez, Welling Court Mural Project

4. Fanakapan, Bushwick Collective

5. Noir, as featured in Raphael Gonzalez‘s solo show at Fatty’s in Astoria, Queens

6. Futura, Bushwick Collective

{ 0 comments }

my dog sighs street art My Dog Sighs on: the Lure of the Streets, Free Art Friday, His Upcoming Exhibit With the London Ibiza Collective in NYC and more

UK-based artist My Dog Sighs hits New York City this week with the London Ibiza Collective. Presented by Imagination in Space, the exhibit opens tomorrow, October 6th, and runs until the 16th at S Artspace Gallery, 345 Broome Street, in Lower Manhattan. What follows is an interview with the widely-acclaimed artist who has come to New York for the first time:

When did you begin hitting the streets? 

I’ve been leaving some sort of mark on the streets for about 15 years now.  I’d tried the gallery route a few years before and I failed.  It was so elitist. I began to realize that what you saw on gallery walls was dictated by curators. Not representative of the artists out there. I tried painting what I thought galleries would like, and that was a disaster. Watered down drivel.

So was it the democratic nature of street art that appealed to you?

Yes!  Having stumbled across some early street art — and then Wooster Collective — I loved the way street art engaged a truly democratic audience. The interaction it offered… It had such aesthetic too, so often working with the beauty of  urban decay. I started taking a piece of my work out with me on the way to catching the train to work on a Friday. I would find a nice quiet spot and leave it there for someone to spot and possibly take home. It was liberating.  I got excited as I walked away from the piece.

My Dog Sighs street art on can My Dog Sighs on: the Lure of the Streets, Free Art Friday, His Upcoming Exhibit With the London Ibiza Collective in NYC and more

What were some of your thoughts at the time?

A million questions ran through my head.  Who would see it?  What would they think?  Would they take it?  Would they feel wrong to take it?  Would they feel it’s right to take it? Would they carry the thought around with them all day? Might it encourage them to do the same? Imagine hundreds of little pieces of art hidden around the city! I started posting images online with the tag line Free Art Friday, and I started to get a good response…not just from the street artists and graffiti writers but also from lots of people who just liked the sentiment of the altruistic act.

And so that was the beginning of the Free Art Friday movement! How were you able to afford to do this?

Yes! Little did I know that it would explode across the globe! Working without funds meant I used what I could find. So scraps of cards, junk and crushed food tins became my canvas.

My Dog Sighs Sculpture Scope My Dog Sighs on: the Lure of the Streets, Free Art Friday, His Upcoming Exhibit With the London Ibiza Collective in NYC and more

Can you tell us something about your name? It is certainly distinct!

When I started working on the street, there were no street artists. There was just the art. There was no celebrity status like there is today. No one was interested in the artist. Just the art. And I loved that. I was never interested in being recognised for producing the work. I just liked the fact it was going to be seen. It was going to force people to question their everyday existence. It was going to confuse them and allow them to just break the monotony of the daily grind. With that in mind, I didn’t really want a ‘name’. It wasn’t necessary. I just wanted something easy to remember and that might add a layer of confusion to the viewer. The phrase My dog sighs had been sitting in my head for decades after seeing it scrawled on a fence in Biro as a kid. I remember looking at it for just a split second, but its melancholy and surreal nature just embedded itself in my brain. I can’t remember things one minute to the next, but I could not forget this phrase.  When I was trying to think of  something to write next to my work, it seemed to make complete sense to use this random phrase.  I never, for a moment, imagined that 15 years later I’d walk into a bar and get referred to as My Dog or Mr Sighs.

my dog sighs street art mural My Dog Sighs on: the Lure of the Streets, Free Art Friday, His Upcoming Exhibit With the London Ibiza Collective in NYC and more

Much of your work focuses on eyes. Can you tell us something about that?

That developed from a can. I’d started painting cans with eyes that were closed, but then I thought I’d try one with eyes open. I nailed the eyes but messed up the nose. Feeling frustrated, I threw the can aside. A week or so later, I walked past a woman in a full burka. Everything was hidden except these beautifully made-up eyes. There was something so alluring and mysterious about seeing just eyes. I was completely captivated. I immediately came home and painted everything black on the cans except for the open eyes. Just like the burka. That can was one of my favorites. I then began to think about the power of seeing so little, and I started to explore the image of a pair of eyes in a narrow aperture. Initially, it was just a window the eyes looked through, but later I began exploring  that letterbox aperture in different formats; tags, drips, paint splashes. And I started to notice how when you look into someone’s eyes, you can see your own silhouette in the reflection. And as I continued to explore this, I began to hide narratives in the reflection. Little hidden stories that may at first be completely overlooked but — once discovered —  could be intriguing! It’s a huge cliche, but the saying The eyes are the window into the soul is often thrown at me. And I suppose I’m exploring that idea. Maybe it’s that I’m not very good at painting noses!

My Dog Sighs art Scope My Dog Sighs on: the Lure of the Streets, Free Art Friday, His Upcoming Exhibit With the London Ibiza Collective in NYC and more

What can we expect to see in your upcoming exhibit — here in NYC?

For this show I went right back to one of the key moments in my life that shaped my interest in art. As a kid at school, art was about viewing traditional English landscapes and endlessly drawing cross sections of fruit and dead house plants in boring art classes. Then one day I saw a Lichtenstein print in a shop window. It blew me away. This bold brash comic book image was something I completely related to. And here it was masquerading as art. Unsettling and infiltrating the art world! Lichtenstein was my gateway into Pop — the shock of the new and the idea that art could be unsettling and naughty and ultimately very powerful. I’ve been exploring the burka stripe behind eyes in different formats and when the opportunity to show in NY came up, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. To pay homage to a hero.

When we were in London last year, we came upon your collab with the Brazilian artist Cranio. We loved it!  Have you collaborated with others? Do any of these collaborations stand out? Would you rather work on your own or collaborate with other artists?

Oh yeah. I love a good colab. It really gets you thinking outside the box. When you rock up to a wall on your own, you have a good idea about what the end result will be. But working with someone else is like cooking. When it works well, the sum of the two parts can be more than the ingredients. Among the artists I’ve collaborated with are: Snub23, Farkfk and Julian Kimmings. But I think my favorite was with Toasters in Bethnal Green last year. I was painting with a true hero, and the whole piece just seemed to work so well. We both had really in-tune ideas about what we wanted to achieve and it all just flowed so well.

cranio and my dog sighs street art My Dog Sighs on: the Lure of the Streets, Free Art Friday, His Upcoming Exhibit With the London Ibiza Collective in NYC and more

For the past several years, your works have also made their way into galleries and art fairs across the globe.  How do you feel about that – the move of street art into galleries? And of your work, in particular, in this setting? 

I always feel like I’m juggling with hot coals a little with this question. Street art is such a pure art form. Maybe not quite as pure as graffiti but up there. It is so democratic. Art by anyone for everyone. It offers so much but asks for so little. And to do it makes my heart soar. But by its nature, it does not pay your rent or feed your kids. For a good while, I had a day job and kept art and money completely separate. But this drastically limited how much time I had to do it. After ten years of putting work out on the street I began to be approached by people to buy my work. Initially this funded the purchasing of new art resources, but eventually I began to see it as an opportunity to paint and create more. A few years ago I found myself in a position where I could paint full time. All day everyday. To get paid for something you adore doing…for something that makes your heart sing is an incredible thing. My work, both for the gallery and the street, has developed and evolved into so much more with all the time I’ve been able to dedicate to it. Showing in galleries across the globe gives me opportunities to paint and leave free art across the globe. In that way it’s the perfect symbiotic relationship.

toaster and my dog signs collab street art My Dog Sighs on: the Lure of the Streets, Free Art Friday, His Upcoming Exhibit With the London Ibiza Collective in NYC and more

Your work exudes a social and political consciousness. Have you any thoughts about the increasing link between corporations and street artists? Have you done any corporate work? Would you consider doing so?

I have a social and political conscience, and I have a family to support. There is always a balance. I have been approached, but — as yet —  haven’t worked on any corporate projects. I can completely understand, though, why artists do choose to work with corporations. They have rent to pay, and I’d never judge anyone for doing so.

How has your work evolved since you first started sharing it with others in public spaces?

For over ten years nothing I painted was ever over a few feet in diameter; it was often only an inch or two. Then ‘muralism’ seemed to arrive in full force and all of a sudden my contemporaries were painting huge walls. And it’s getting bigger and bigger: 16-18 story buildings. And part of what I now do is painting murals around the globe. But that to me is a different form of  street art. Many of today’s mural artists have never run around the streets at night, working at speed, considering placement or finding ways to convey a message in creative shorthand. Look at Anthony Lister. With just few quick paint splashes, a thousand pages of prose appears on a street corner. Sublime! People often comment about how quickly I work. It’s about finding the simplest way to convey the message.  Huge murals  have their place, but we mustn’t forget that there’s also something special about discovering a tiny paste-up or hidden piece that you might stumble across or completely miss if you’re not looking carefully.

imagination in space My Dog Sighs on: the Lure of the Streets, Free Art Friday, His Upcoming Exhibit With the London Ibiza Collective in NYC and more

Absolutely!  What brings you to New York? 

It’s New York! Do I really need to explain? It’s the draw of that energy that NYC exudes. It’s the history of public mark making. It’s the melting pot of creativity. How can I not want part of my creative journey to take place in New York?

What’s ahead?

I’m not a great planner. Once the show is over and the downer of leaving NYC is over, I’ll wake up, go to the studio and find something that I can paint. If I’m lucky, the piece will come to life, and I’ll find a way of sharing it with the world.

Good luck with it all! And welcome to NYC!

Interview by Lois Stavsky

Photo credits 1, 2, 4 & 7 courtesy of the artist; 3 & 5 Lois Stavsky & 6 Tara Murray

{ 0 comments }

Nether410 No Frontiers artwork Baltimore Based Nether 410 Brings his Vision to Chicago    in <em>Lets Talk About It</em> at Galerie F and with Pablo Machioli on the Streets of Pilsen

Earlier this summer, Baltimore-based Nether 410 shared his talents and vision with us up in the Bronx with the TAG Public Arts Project. More recently his particular socially-conscious aesthetic made its way to Galerie F’s current show Let’s Talk About It  and to the streets of Pilsen with Pablo Machioli. Pictured above is No Frontiers. Here are several more images with commentary by Nether:

Rising and Raising of the Super Block, close-up, Ink on paper canvas, 30″x22″

Between 1950 and 1969, Chicago’s housing authority built 11 enormous high rise projects for public housing, which isolated most of the extreme poor in “super-blocks.” Cabrini–Green, Henry Horner and Harold Ickes are some of these housing developments.  As the economy suffered, crime rose. Many of the projects in this arguably failed ‘master-plan’ became derelict and were eventually demolished.  This piece clashes an archival photo of the mayor and developers hovering over an architectural model of a super-block, with an image of the demolition one of their planned developments.

nether410 Rising and Raising of the super block Baltimore Based Nether 410 Brings his Vision to Chicago    in <em>Lets Talk About It</em> at Galerie F and with Pablo Machioli on the Streets of Pilsen

Baptized into the Movement, close-up, Digital print, 11″x17″

A young kid pouring a bottle of water over his face following being tear-gassed in Ferguson.

Nether410 Baptized Into The Movement artwork Baltimore Based Nether 410 Brings his Vision to Chicago    in <em>Lets Talk About It</em> at Galerie F and with Pablo Machioli on the Streets of Pilsen

Candlelight Protest, Digital print, 17″X11″

From a photo I took during the first Freddie Gray candle light vigil protest. Three generations of Baltimoreans witnessing the beauty of the struggle. That evening changed the entire trajectory of the movement.

Nether410 Candlelight Protest graphic art Baltimore Based Nether 410 Brings his Vision to Chicago    in <em>Lets Talk About It</em> at Galerie F and with Pablo Machioli on the Streets of Pilsen

And on the streets of Pilsen with Pablo Machioli:

The Taming of the Bull

As part of a collaboration with Pablo Machioli.  Painted from ground with mini rollers, a statue of Hercules wrestling a Bull in Pilsen, a South Side-neighborhood  being redeveloped. The figure taming the bull is blinded by gold while the bull is being pierced by an arrow — shot through the Robert Taylor Homes — into his throat. Between 1950 and 1969, Chicago’s Housing Authority built 11 enormous high rise projects for public housing, which isolated most of the extreme poor in “super-blocks”. Many of the projects in this failed ‘master-plan’ were almost intentionally underfunded, became derelict, were demolished, and now, of course, the surrounding neighborhoods are being redeveloped for a different population

Nether410 and pablo machioli street art chicago  Baltimore Based Nether 410 Brings his Vision to Chicago    in <em>Lets Talk About It</em> at Galerie F and with Pablo Machioli on the Streets of Pilsen

Close-up

Nether taming the bull close up Baltimore Based Nether 410 Brings his Vision to Chicago    in <em>Lets Talk About It</em> at Galerie F and with Pablo Machioli on the Streets of Pilsen

Let’s Talk About It continues through September 18th at Galerie F. Located at 2381 N Milwaukee Ave, it is open Tuesday through Sunday, 11AM – 6PM

Images of artworks courtesy Galerie F

{ 0 comments }