Graffiti

The streets of Bristol — the home of the annual Upfest, Europe’s largest street art and graffiti festival — brim with energy and intrigue. Pictured above is a huge segment from a collaborative mural by UK-based My Dog Sighs and Snub23. What follows are several more I captured on my recent visit to Bristol, UK.

Bristol-based Jody Artist

Brazilian artist Eduardo Kobra

UK-based The Nomad Clan, close-up

Bristol native Guy Denning in collaboration with Oklahoma native Yatika Fields

Bristol-based 3Dom22

Buenos Aires-based Caro Pepe in collaboration with German artist Age Age

Photos by Lois Stavsky

Note: Hailed in a range of media from WideWalls to the Huffington Post to the New York Times, our Street Art NYC App is now available for Android devices here.

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On my recent trip to London, I came upon some outstanding murals by some of my favorite artists — including many who have shared their talents with us here in NYC. Pictured above is by the London-based pioneer of aerosol X-ray art Shok 1. What follows are a few more walls that particularly intrigued me:

Also by Shok 1

London-based Jim Vision, close-up from huge mural

Banksy’s “collaboration” with Basquiat — just outside the Barbican Centre, the site of Basquiat‘s solo exhibit, “Boom for Real”

Trafik Graphics

The classic London-based stencil artists, the Toasters, in Walthamstow

Photos by Lois Stavsky

Note: Hailed in a range of media from WideWalls to the Huffington Post to the New York Times, our Street Art NYC App is now available for Android devices here.

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The following guest post is by Houda Lazrak

A fantastic topography of fabulously executed artworks by street artists from around the world has found its way onto the rooftop of Mexico City’s Antique Toy Museum, or MUJAM. I stumbled upon this hidden space while visiting the city’s Colonia Doctores neighborhood. Soon afterwards, I had the chance to speak with the man behind the project, Roberto Shimizu, Creative Director of MUJAM.

How and when did you first become interested in street art?

It all started when I was ten years old. My father took my family on a trip to New York City.  And every time we were in NYC, we went to bookstores. My brother and I had an unlimited budget for books. It was the only place my father would let us spend money as children. The first book I ever bought was Subway Art by Martha Cooper and Henry Chalfant. I was just looking for graphic stuff, but it ended up changing my life. I still have it on my desk at the museum today.

How did you become involved in the scene here in Mexico City?

I went to Japan for one and a half years after receiving my degree in Architecture in Mexico City. I moved to Tokyo to work at a high-end architecture firm, but I quickly realized that I didn’t identify with Japanese culture. I came back to Mexico City, and my father asked me to assist him with his business. He had a 5000 square foot warehouse in the Doctores neighborhood with bare walls. He gave me full access to, and it became my playground! I started by doing open calls for street artists through Facebook. I also reached out to music and theatre groups. Many noted Mexican street artists – such as Saner — first started painting here.  Other renowned artists who’ve painted here include: Ripo from Barcelona; Jaz from Argentina; Jeremy Fish from San Francisco; Pixel Pancho from Italy and Roa from Belgium. In 2007, it was dubbed the 5 Pointz of Mexico City.

And can you tell us a bit about what has happened since – in the past decade?

Once the warehouse took off, I realized I wanted to do something bigger. I invited Roa to paint an official mural on the wall of MUJAM. And in 2010, I organized the first big mural show in Mexico City with eight artists painting in different neighborhoods. That we sought permission from building owners, used cranes, and officially invited artists was very new at the time.

What triggered the start of the rooftop project Azotea Mujam. It is fascinating!

The warehouse was prime real estate, and so we had to rent it out. I couldn’t convince the new renters to keep the existing murals. Those walls were part of Mexico City’s street art history, but they wouldn’t hear it. We had to whitewash all the murals. But my intention was, and still is, to keep working with emerging artists. My father had founded MUJAM in 2006 as a showcase for his personal collection of antique toys. Today the museum houses over 40,000 pieces. Above the museum was an empty rooftop, so I decided to start Azotea Mujam and invite artists to paint up there.

Who was the first person to paint there?

Scarlett Bailey was the first artist to paint on the MUJAM rooftop in 2015. A talented Mexican illustrator living in New York City, she was a cartoonist for The New Yorker for many years. On the rooftop she painted icons of New York City’s fashion and media worlds with the Mexico City ‘hood’ as a backdrop. It was the sole work up on the roof for four months.

It seems like the entire rooftop has been painted since! How did it become so popular?

It was through word of mouth! Once the word spread, it became popular pretty quickly. I was fascinated by how much attention it received. I’ve had to whitewash some artworks to make room for others. Azotea Mujam is often the start of a collaboration between the artist and other painting projects, as well — including more prominent wall spaces in Mexico City that I organize.

How do artists react to this very unique context of a toy museum?

They love it! I think artists have a particular fascination with toys. Many famous musicians have also visited, and often when they enter the museum, they become like children. Perhaps, as artists, they are always playing.

How do you select the artists that paint on the rooftop?

I receive emails daily. I ask the artists for their portfolios. Some of them don’t have any, and that’s fine too. Like I said, I am interested in offering opportunities to emerging artists, and I’ve had very nice surprises. I am not focused on getting big names. That was never the intention of the project. What is most important to me is the relationship I develop with the artists and how they can go further from here. Regardless of how big the city projects that I organize are, Azotea Mujam is what’s most rewarding to me.

Do you encourage the artists to focus on toys in terms of the content of their artwork?

I always suggest that the artists spend a couple of days in the museum, sketching the toys they like, as that is the main theme of the rooftop. Sometimes I ask for sketches, sometimes not; it depends on the artist.

There’s a surprising variety of surfaces available for artists to paint on. Did you purposely bring in these different elements?

Yes, I added those myself to the rooftop, so there would be different options of textures and surfaces for artists to experiment on.

What’s your main goal with Azotea Mujam

To create the new generation of Mexican street artists, of both men and women. I see the rooftop as a place where seeds are planted for the future.

The space and the building itself are very interesting. Can you tell us more about its history? How it was acquired? And what have you and your family done with it since acquiring it?

MUJAM’s building was one of the most important buildings for Japanese migrants back in the mid 1900s. Many of them arrived to Mexico City with just a suitcase in hand. My father and grandfather built this building for that Japanese community to have a starting point. After that, my grandfather had the idea of importing Japanese toys; that became his business.  And it, eventually, became the building housing my father’s toy collection.

When I was up on the roof, one of the neighbors was doing laundry. So the roof is still used for practical purposes! How do these folks respond to artists painting here and sharing their work with visitors?

They love it! It was somewhat abandoned before. The artists gave it a new life. I receive many requests to host commercial events there: photo shoots, video shoots, branding events, launches… Perrier even offered to rent out the space. I always turn them down out of respect for our neighbors. I’ve only lent it to very small organizations who are themselves just starting off. I want to keep it pure.

Who are some of the other artists who have painted on the rooftop?

Poni, Paola Delfin, Atentamente una Fresa, Birdy Kids, Alaniz, Los Dos, Alegria del Prado, Gangsby, Daniel Buchsbaum, Spencer Keeton Cunningham, Nabs D, Mr. Lemonade

Have you anyone special on your wish list to paint here? 

I would love to collaborate with Os Gemeos. I like their social and political works.

The rooftop is not open to the public. How do you get people to visit it?

I don’t really try to. I want to keep it like a speakeasy. People will find it if they come into the museum and mention they like street art. We will guide them upstairs and open the door to the rooftop. Just like we did for you!

Can you tell us a bit about this neighborhood – Colonia Doctores?

Back in the 30’s and 40’s – when my grandparents moved here – it was the city’s most flourishing, residential area. With buildings designed by a French urban planner, all of the streets were named for doctors. I consider it the city’s most important district  because the government’s offices are located here. Anyone who wants to register their newborns or report a death must visit Doctores. It is home to: the biggest morgue of the city, the biggest police precinct and the first public hospital, along with the first running water. The first residential zone created by the government, there are three metro lines cutting across it. In the 1980s-90s, people started leaving. But they are coming back now! Doctores is projected to grow in the next ten years, as it is right next to the Roma neighborhood, which is now booming. The cycle of the district is very interesting.

Images

1 Alegria del Prado

2 Senkoe

Scarlett Bailey

Los Dos & Azer

Los Dos

6 Paola Delfin

7 Vale Stencil

Photos and interview by Houda Lazrak

Note: Hailed in a range of media from WideWalls to the Huffington Post to the New York Times, our Street Art NYC App is now available for Android devices here.

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Just in time for Halloween, Roycer and Matt Siren — two NYC legends known for their iconic characters that continue to surface on our streets — have collaborated on a sometimes gory, always captivating, exhibit of playful artworks in a range of media.  Fusing elements of street art, graphic design, fantasy, folk art and fine art,  Ember City presents the artists’ iconic characters inhabiting a riveting post-apocolytic universe. What follows are several images from the exhibit at the inviting new project space, Best World Gallery:

Roycer, Stuff I Can’t Afford, Acrylic on canvas, 2017

Matt Siren, Untitled, Plexi & enamel on wood, 2017

Matt Siren, Terrible Visions, Acrylic Silkscreen on Wood, 2017

Matt Siren, Roycer, and 907 Crew, 9:07, Acrylic and enamel on wood, 2017

Roycer, Float, Krink & acrylic on canvas, 2017

Curated by Natasha Quam and Rebecca Shenk, Ember City remains on view through November 4 at 219 Madison Street on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. The gallery is open Wednesday through Saturday, 1-7pm. To schedule a visit at any other time, email ROYCERXSIREN@GMAIL.COM.

Photo credits: 1, 2, 4 & 5 Lois Stavsky; 3 & 6 Tara Murray

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In 2015 Ironbound founder Gary Bloore started Paint for Pink when his partner, Lisa Byron, was battling breast cancer. After years of fighting the disease, Lisa passed on December 8th, 2016.  Gary Bloore has continued the tradition of Paint for Pink in Lisa’s memory. I recently met up with Gary at Ironbound‘s new site, a huge — once abandoned stadium — at 226 Rome Street in Newark, NJ, the home of this year’s Paint for Pink.

What an amazing site this is! Can you tell us a bit about it?

What was once a 4,500-seat concrete bleacher stadium was shut down and abandoned in 1987.  No one wanted to touch it. There was trash everywhere — broken bottles, litter, rubbish of every type. And then in May, we got permission to clean it up.

That’s quite a feat! How did you manage to do that?

Lots of elbow grease and determination. And visions of events — such as this one — that could take place here. There were about 50 volunteers. It has been a year of expansion for us working in partnership with Ironbound president Mike Steadman, along with the City of Newark. It’s a symbol of rebirth for us. Lisa died in December, and in these past few months we took a dead stadium and put life into it.

What is the particular mission of this event — Paint for Pink

Its mission is to create and spread awareness of breast cancer and other health-related issues. The Rutgers Community Health Center brought a mobile van and gave free exams. Since July, in fact, we have been working with the Rutgers School of Nursing and Newark Tech High School’s Teal Center in establishing the LIT (Learning, Inspiring Teaching) Program with the mission of teaching Newark Tech High School kids how to teach other kids about health issues.

What a great concept! How many artists participated in this year’s Paint for Pink event?

Twenty-eight artists contributed. In addition to the Newark-based artists The Artchitectz, others from out-of-town — such as Dojo and Repo — joined us.

And how was the response?

It was tremendous!  There was tremendous community interest and involvement — and lots of entertainment and great food.

Congratulations! It is all so amazing! And the art is wonderful.

Images

1 Goomba, Rizl and BenK

2 Seoz

3 DOJO

4 Repo

5 Chek, Dojo, Lesk, Repo, Tameartz +

6 Mone & Jick +

7 Torch Fuego and Risky — indoors

Photo credit: 1, 2, 4-7 Lois Stavsky; 3 courtesy Gary Bloore; interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky

Note: Hailed in a range of media from WideWalls to the Huffington Post to the New York Times, our Street Art NYC App is now available for Android devices here.

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Few artists capture the soulful grit of NYC as strikingly as Fernando Romero aka Ski and Mike Baca aka 2Esae, collectively known as UR New York. Their most recent exhibit, A New York Story — a captivating ode to NYC — has graced the walls of Pop International Galleries since early October.  Pictured above is a work of mixed media on canvas simply titled URNY. What follows are several more artworks that will remain on view through mid-week.

Day Dreaming, Mixed media on canvas

Backstreet, Mixed media on wood panel

Don’t Kill My Vibe, Mixed media on canvas

La Bodega, Mixed media on wood panel

Already Read, Mixed media on wood panel

Pop International Galleries is located at 195 Bowery at Spring Street and is open Mon-Sat 10-7 | Sun 11-6 and by appointment. Opening this coming Saturday night at 7pm is a two-man show featuring Sen2 and Reso. To attend the opening reception, RSVP at rsvp@popinternational.com .

Photos of artworks: 1 – 3, 4 & 6 Lois Stavsky; 5 courtesy of Pop International Galleries

Note: Hailed in a range of media from WideWalls to the Huffington Post to the New York Times, our Street Art NYC App is now available for Android devices here.

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This is the sixteenth in a series of occasional posts featuring the diverse range of trucks and vans that strike our streets:

Wane and Queen Andrea

Soten

ZaOne

Hoacs

Iena Cruz

PJ Linden at work for the House of Yes

Photos by Lois Stavsky

Note: Hailed in a range of media from WideWalls to the Huffington Post to the New York Times, our Street Art NYC App is now available for Android devices here.

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Home to such projects as 100 Gates and Market Surplus, the streets and venues of Manhattan’s Lower East Side have introduced us to new talents, while showcasing some of NYC’s most prominent graffiti artists and muralists. Artists are now invited to submit ideas for an entire mural — or a segment of it — to be painted on the western façade of Essex Crossing‘s site at 145 Clinton Street that will be home to 107 market-rate apartments and 104 below-market-rate units. Check the Request for Proposals (RFP) for all the details and requirements. You have until December 15th to submit it.

The image featured above was painted by Gera Luz. Here are several more that have surfaced on the Lower East Side within the past year:

Hanksy

Flood

Buff Monster for Market Surplus

Claw Money

Lexi Bella

Photo credit:  QuallsBenson

Note: Hailed in a range of media from WideWalls to the Huffington Post to the New York Times, our Street Art NYC App is now available for Android devices here.

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A veteran French graffiti writer, designer and illustrator, Jaek el Diablo shared his talents with us in Jersey City earlier this year, painting several walls in coordination with Green Villain, along with independent commissions.  At the time, street and travel photographer Karin du Maire had the opportunity to interview him:

When did you begin doing graffiti?

It’s been about 25 years now since I first started doing graffiti. I began in the early 90’s.

What inspired you at the time?

I was into the skateboard culture back then, and I met many other skaters who were tagging the streets. They exposed me to graffiti, street art, comics and pop culture, in general.

What, would you say, has had the largest impact upon your particular style — both as a graffiti artist and a designer?

Comics! I was always drawing, and the comics I was reading inspired my characters. I think that was the beginning of my story!

How would you define your style? What differentiates it from others?

If I had to define my style, I would describe it as cartoon. I was influenced early on by the Kermits, Disney, Hanna–Barbera… In my work, I try not to reproduce the same thing that I see. I put my own stamp on it! It’s kind of like sampling in hip-hop – a remix of sorts! I see my work as a tribute to some of my favorite characters. It’s always a tribute.

Can you tell us a bit about the difference between French graffiti and the graffiti you’ve seen here while painting in NYC or Jersey City?

I think that back in Europe, we’ve had other influences — such as Mode 2 and the cartoon styles that inspired him. And we have the German graffiti writers whose letters are always evolving. Here in NYC, the writers are very academic; they are Old School academic. Not all  — there is Rime MSK and a few guys who are next level. But most NY writers maintain the classic graffiti style. To me, the two books, Spraycan Art and Subway Art, are the Bible, the base. I love being here and discovering the origin of my religion!

What about the future of graffiti? Where do you see it going?

I see more and more big murals, especially tribute murals, and more illustrators doing street art. I see lots and lots of styles, but there will always be a return to the roots of it all – which is graffiti. I see it  going in a variety of directions. But, I think, in the future there is no museum. It is only in the streets!

Many walls in NYC are now curated. How do you feel about this trend?

On a positive note, the walls are better and better, because the artists are carefully selected. But it’s also a negative thing. Graffiti was meant to be open to all. If you had a can, the wall was free! But, yes, these curated walls help break down the negative stereotypes of graffiti. And that is good for my art! So maybe that is the future!

Photos by Karin du Maire; interview conducted by Karin du Maire  and edited by Lois Stavsky

Note: Hailed in a range of media from WideWalls to the Huffington Post to the New York Times, our Street Art NYC App is now available for Android devices here.

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A global art movement connecting world-wide artists with local artists in Ecuador, Fiesta de Colores brought together 25 international, national and local artists to collaborate with the community of Canoa last year. Six months after the earthquake had destroyed much of the Ecuadorian coast and killed hundreds of people, Fiesta de Colores created an outdoor mural gallery of over 30 large-scale murals, while sharing skills and ideas with the community.

This November the project will be expanded with an additional 30 murals, along with a deepening of the partnership with the local high school. It will also be extended to the Amazonian region of Ecuador, where artists and the community will work together to create public art projects and bio-murals to promote environmental awareness.

Tomorrow, September 28,  you can support the project by joining Fiesta de Colores, the Public Service Artists Guild, and Chemistry Creative for an evening of art, music, food, spirits and camaraderie.  Tickets can be purchased here. If you are unable to attend the fundraiser, but would still like to support these projects, you can donate to its online fundraiser here.

What follows are a few of the many works that will be on exhibit and for sale at tomorrow’s fundraiser:

Gaia

Layqa Nuna Yawar

JT Liss

The event takes place from 7-11PM at Chemistry Creative, 315 Ten Eyck in Williamsburg

Note: The first three photos are from Fiesta de Colores, 2016

1 Don Rimx

2 Damaris Cruz

Don Rimx, Layqa Nuna Yawar and Gera Luz

All images courtesy Kristy McCarthy

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