Graffiti

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

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 SVA invite handball Roger Gastman on <em>Wall Writers: Graffiti in Its Innocence</em> and Its December 9th NYC Premiere  at SVA

Focusing on legendary writers of 1967 – 1972, Wall Writers is a comprehensive, feature-length documentary on graffiti “in its innocence.”  Conceived and directed by Roger Gastman and narrated by legendary filmmaker John Waters, its NYC premiere will take place this Friday evening at SVA Theatre.  A brief interview with Roger Gastman follows:

You’ve authored several key books on graffiti and have been deeply involved in its culture. What spurred your initial interest in graffiti? And how old were you at the time?

I was 13 years old and living right outside of Washington DC. A lot of my friends all had tags, and I needed to have one also. It was all around me. Everyone was doing it, and if you went downtown, you saw it everywhere. Names like COOL “DISCO” DAN covered the streets and the metro walls.

Your current project — Wall Writers – is an extraordinarily comprehensive documentation of the early days of graffiti. What motivated you to undertake this project?

I was working on the History of American Graffiti book with Caleb Neelon and I honestly got sick of everyone BSing the year they started writing. I knew enough about the history to know when I was talking to legit people and not. I figured so many of these people have never told their stories I might as film them. I had no intention of this film. I was just documenting.

ROCKY 184 and STITCH 1. Circa 1972. Photo courtesy of ROCKY 184 Roger Gastman on <em>Wall Writers: Graffiti in Its Innocence</em> and Its December 9th NYC Premiere  at SVA

Can you tell us something about the process? How long did you work on it? What were some of the challenges you encountered?

I worked on the film on and off for 7 years. But it feels like my entire life. On projects like these some of the hardest part is finding photos and footage and other pieces of the puzzle that help you tell your story. The process would usually be to let it take over my life for 2-4 weeks at a time then go back to real life for a few months and dive back in. I could still be digging – but had to call it at some point. I know there is more out there and I hope someone discovers it.

How has the response to Wall Writers been?

So far we have had packed theatres everywhere. It’s been awesome. People have really enjoyed the film. We are even doing a show at the MCA Denver in February where we bring the book and film to life.

BAMA poses in front of his painting Orange Juice at the Razor Gallery. 1973. Photos by Herbert Migdoll. Roger Gastman on <em>Wall Writers: Graffiti in Its Innocence</em> and Its December 9th NYC Premiere  at SVA

Wall Writers is premiering here in NYC at SVA Theatre Friday night. What can we expect? 

Friday is the big NYC premiere. I am very excited to finally show NYC the film. We will have most all of the NYC cast from the film there including TAKI 183, SNAKE 1, MIKE 171, SJK 171 and so many more. Come out and support!

It sounds great! And, yes, we’ve been waiting for it here in NYC!

Note: A pre-signed 350+ page companion book will be available for purchase. Tickets to Friday’s NYC premiere are still available here.

wall writers at SVA Roger Gastman on <em>Wall Writers: Graffiti in Its Innocence</em> and Its December 9th NYC Premiere  at SVA

Interview by Lois Stavsky; featured images include:

2. Rocky 184 and Stitch 1, circa 1972, courtesy Rocky 184

3. BAMA posing in front of his painting “Orange Juice” at the Razor Gallery, 1973, photo by Herbert Migdoll

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CHema Skandal paints Speaking with Graphic Artist and Music Enthusiast CHema Skandal!

On our recent visit to Chicago, we discovered the delightfully playful aesthetic of the hugely talented and prolific graphic artist and music enthusiast CHema Skandal! An interview with the artist follows:

I love your artwork’s playful, spirited – often-irreverent – sensibility. What is your main inspiration? The roots of your aesthetic?

I grew up in Mexico City, and its distinct culture has inspired my aesthetic. I was influenced by everything I saw around me – hand-painted street signs, eye-catching graphic designs, everyday visual communication… Popular culture, in general, – and particularly music – is a constant inspiration. And since coming to Chicago, my work has been influenced by what I see here.

CHemaSkandal street art Speaking with Graphic Artist and Music Enthusiast CHema Skandal!

On visiting Pilsen, we came upon a mural that you painted. When did you first paint on the streets?

Yes, that was precisely the first time I painted on the streets. The first mural I ever did is here in Chicago.

What inspired you to paint a mural in a public space?

That mural in Pilsen was commissioned by a city cultural program. It coincided with me wanting to explore and try a different medium like this. At the same time I met Oscar Arriola  and Brooks Golden (RIP) who brought me into street art and  exposed me to many graffiti and mural artists. Reflecting on it, I had done some wheat pasting before while promoting concerts or sociopolitical topics.

CHema Skandal street art unmasked Speaking with Graphic Artist and Music Enthusiast CHema Skandal!

How does Chicago’s street art and underground art scene differ from Mexico City’s?

A decade ago it was easy to find stickers and wheatpastings within the city. But there have been mural and graffiti artists for longer, and really good ones. Mainly in the outskirts. I don’t have this background so I can not tell you much about this but I think in many ways they are very similar. Mexico City is one of the biggest cities in the world so you can find practically any type of art, being it independent or more affiliated to culture organizations or brands. I feel that the scene here in Chicago is more open. Here I was embraced and welcomed by individuals and galleries alike.

Where else have you shown your work – besides here in Chicago and back in Mexico City?

I’ve shown in different places, from alternative spaces and libraries to galleries and museums. Among the cities I’ve exhibited in are: Toulouse, Lyon, Berlin, Madrid, Barcelona, Addis Ababa, Kingston, Puebla, Oaxaca, Tokyo and here in the U.S.

CHema Skandal exhibit Speaking with Graphic Artist and Music Enthusiast CHema Skandal!

Do you have a formal art education?

Yes. I studied Visual Communication & Illustration at U.N.A.M.’s National School of Art.

How do you feel about the role of social media in all of this?

I was the last one to use it! I think it can be overwhelming, but it has become a helpful platform for us artists to share our work and promote ourselves.

And is your artwork the main source of your income?

Yes, as of right now I am lucky my illustration work is steady. My projects range from publicity — like flyers, magazine illustrations and printed posters —  to commissioned art.

chema skandal mural art with people Speaking with Graphic Artist and Music Enthusiast CHema Skandal!

Can you tell us something about your process?

Almost everything I create is by hand. I work with inks, acrylics and oils. I usually start a project like that and then transfer it to the computer to finish it off. I especially enjoy the painting process. I like the organic texture of what I can produce that way. I’ve also studied traditional printing techniques. Lately I’ve been getting back into block printing, one of the first mediums I learned. I find it interesting how you can reproduce prints and also the history of it.

Any favorite artists? Artists who’ve influenced you?

I like and admire many, mainly for their unique way to represent their visions. Among my favorites are: the late Mexican artist Jose Guadalupe Posada; the American comic artist Charles Burns and the satirical street artist Banksy.. I also like American and Cuban poster makers from the 60’s.

CHema Skandal installation Speaking with Graphic Artist and Music Enthusiast CHema Skandal!

How has your work evolved through the years?

I think as an artist you are always learning from others. I’ve discovered work that inspires me and makes me want to emulate a technique and try it. Most of the time during this experience you find something that fits your work, like with Street Art in my case. I am still exploring it. My work has changed and I hope it keeps evolving.

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

I think an artist is an amplifier of society. Artists should stimulate the feelings and ideas that are hard to digest. This can be very subjective of course but in the end that is where the individual’s sensitivity should focus on. An artist should reflect on the social movements of our time.

CHema Skandal street art characters Speaking with Graphic Artist and Music Enthusiast CHema Skandal!

What’s ahead?

I would like to learn old painting techniques that are not in use anymore. And to find a residency in a far deserted island.

Sounds good!

 All photos courtesy of  the artist; interview by Lois Stavsky with Tara Murray

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

en play badge 2 Speaking with Graphic Artist and Music Enthusiast CHema Skandal!

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An in-depth analysis of graffiti and street art, the Routledge Handbook of Graffiti and Street Art presents a strong sampling of the current scholarship in the field. Edited by University of Baltimore Professor Jeffrey Ian Ross, it is appended by a glossary of graffiti terms and a chronology of graffiti beginning with early cave paintings.

Jeffrey Ian Ross Book Cover Jeffrey Ian Ross on <em>The Routledge Handbook of Graffiti and Street Art</em>

Published earlier this year by Routledge – the world’s leading academic publisher in the Humanities and Social Sciences — it is divided into four sections, offering a range of theories by thirty-seven contributors on the:

  • History, Types, and Writers/Artists of Graffiti and Street Art
  • Theoretical Explanations of Graffiti and Street Art/Causes of Graffiti and Street Art
  • Regional/Municipal Variations/Differences of Graffiti and Street Art, and
  • Effects of Graffiti and Street Art.

With its mix of aesthetic, cultural, sociological and political perspectives across a richly diverse spectrum of topics – from the history of freight train graffiti in North America to the value of street and graffiti in the current art market – it is a fascinating foray into one of the most significant global movements of our time.  Among the many essays of particular interest to those of us immersed in the current scene are: Rafael Schacter‘s thesis of graffiti and street art as “ornamental forms;” Jessica N. Pabon‘s examination of gender in contemporary street art; Jeffrey Ian Ross‘s discussion of London’s contemporary graffiti and street art scene; Mona Abaza‘s analysis of the graffiti and street art that surfaced in post-January 11 Egypt, and Peter Bengtsen‘s discussion of the value of street art removed from the street.

An interview with Professor Jeffrey Ian Ross follows:

What initially spurred your interest in graffiti?

Beginning in childhood and continuing during my high school years, I spent a considerable amount of time creating visual art – graphic design, painting, photography and sculpture. Frustrated and/or disappointed with the quality of instruction in my public high schools, I enrolled in and completed courses at the Ontario College of Art–now Ontario College of Art and Design — in Toronto. Later, I was accepted to the Central Technical School Commercial Art program, as well as the Photographic Arts program at Ryerson College — now University–, but I chose not to attend. In many respects, my study of graffiti and street art, and the content of this book represent a way of coming full circle. The scholarly study of graffiti and street art deals with many subjects close to my personal interest areas, including codes, control, crime, criminal justice, deviance, gentrification, harms, illegalities, identity, state responses, power imbalances, protest, punishment, resistance, subjectivity, subterranean processes and networks, surveillance, urban incivility and vandalism.

jeffrey Ross Baltimore graffiti alley Jeffrey Ian Ross on <em>The Routledge Handbook of Graffiti and Street Art</em>

What inspired you to edit a book of this nature?

In 2012 I decided to teach an undergraduate class on “Graffiti and Street Art” at the University of Baltimore.  Over time, as I started to read the body of work on graffiti and street art, I noticed that it was short on empirical scholarly analysis, was of uneven quality, and was distributed through a diverse number of scholarly venues. What was missing was a reference book that presented and analyzed the important research, theories, and ideas related to the field of graffiti and street art. I was determined to assemble a collection of original, well researched and written pieces created by experts on this subject under one literary roof. This handbook is the result of this effort.

How do you account for the increased interest among academics in graffiti and street art?

Graffiti and street art are pervasive in cities around the world. You cannot ignore it. Because the amount of graffiti and street art has increased since the 1960s and has changed in form and content, it is something to be examined by an interdisciplinary cadre of scholars.

jeffrey ross graffiti street art nyc Jeffrey Ian Ross on <em>The Routledge Handbook of Graffiti and Street Art</em>

How did you decide what topics to include?

Through an intense reading of the scholarship of graffiti and street art, and by consulting with some of my contributors, I was able to disentangle what are/were the most important topics to include in the book.

And how did you decide which academics/scholars/authors to include?

Again through a careful read of the scholarship and by engaging with my contributors with respect to who might be the most appropriate scholar/author to write on a particular topic, I was able to narrow down which academic to invite to write a chapter.

Jeffrey Ross Santiago Chile Jeffrey Ian Ross on <em>The Routledge Handbook of Graffiti and Street Art</em>

Are there any particular theories presented here that particularly surprised or enlightened you?

I am a big fan of subcultural theories of crime, but recognize that there are numerous other theories embedded in other social sciences and the humanities that are relevant here, including different kinds of literature that play into the study of graffiti and street crime, like gentrification, space, etc.

Who is the audience for your book?

The Handbook is easy to read and designed to answer common questions asked by undergraduate and graduate students, as well as by experts on graffiti and street art. This book is also accessible to practitioners — individuals working, or aspiring to work, in the fields of criminal justice, law enforcement, art history, museum studies, tourism studies, urban studies, etc., as well as policy- makers in these fields. In addition, it is of interest to members of the news media covering stories on graffiti and street art. The analysis and writing are accessible to upper-level university students — typically referred to as juniors and seniors at American universities — and graduate students. This volume will also be useful for scholars and libraries, and can easily be utilized in the classroom context. A reference book of this nature will be of interest not only in the previously mentioned scholarly fields, but it will also be specifically relevant to those institutions that have programs in cultural studies, visual arts, tourism, and museum studies. Last but certainly not least, the Handbook will appeal to a wide international audience.

Photos for this post by Jeffrey Ian Ross: 1. Baltimore (Graffiti Alley); 2 NYC & 3. Santiago, Chile; interview by Lois Stavsky

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

en play badge 2 Jeffrey Ian Ross on <em>The Routledge Handbook of Graffiti and Street Art</em>

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beyond graffiti Speaking With Travel and Street Photographer Karin du Maire

Since we first discovered Karin du Maire‘s Instagram account, we’ve been fans of her hugely impressive documentation of street art and graffiti. We recently had the opportunity to sit down with her.

We love your documentation of the current street art and graffiti scene – in NYC and in your travels. When did you first turn your lens to urban culture, particularly street art?  

As a travel photographer, I developed a strong interest in urban culture in 2006 while in Rio de Janeiro photographing Passinho dancers in the city’s favelas. At about that time, I started paying more attention to the background, and I began using abandoned buildings as settings. And back here in NYC, I often combined my visits to MoMA PS1 in Long Island City with 5Pointz, where I particularly loved photographing B-boy battles.

meres gaffiti and hip hop 5Pointz nyc Speaking With Travel and Street Photographer Karin du Maire

Are you formally trained as a photographer?

No, I studied Business, and I earned an MBA degree from the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam. But I’ve taken courses in photography at SVA and I’ve participated in B&H’s Event Space workshops. I also ran a Twitter chat focusing on photography.

When did you first become interested in photography? 

It was a passion of mine in the late 80’s and early 90’s. And then in the late 90’s, I began getting paid assignments as a travel photographer.

You’ve photographed dozens of artists at work. How have they responded to you?

In general, they’ve been very welcoming. They appreciate my photography skills and the exposure that I offer them. I always ask for permission first, and I share my photos with them. Many artists have become my friends, and it is fun to chat and watch them paint.

icy and sot street art welling court nyc Speaking With Travel and Street Photographer Karin du Maire

What are some of the challenges that you face in the work you are now doing?

Keeping up with all that is happening on the streets; wanting to capture an image when the light is wrong or when there are cars in the way, and trying to help artists by arranging walls for them.

What — would you say — is your current mission?

There is an intrinsic reward in what I am doing – documenting creativity and helping artists grow. And coming from a travel photography background, I would like to get sponsored to photograph street art in different places.

Do you have any particularly memorable experiences from your work here in NYC?

Watching Nychos paint at Coney Art Walls – his amazing raw energy as he sketched freehand.

nychos street art coney islandJPG Speaking With Travel and Street Photographer Karin du Maire

Any favorite cities?

Rio de Janeiro and London are among my favorites.

Any proud accomplishments from documenting art on the streets?

My proudest accomplishments generally involve capturing someone in the right place at the right time. It’s the split second that makes the difference! I was so happy, for example, to meet and photograph Sebas Rivas from Córdoba in Argentina while he was sitting aside, off on his own — selling his delightful artwork – amidst all the activity at Art Basel in Miami last year.

sebas rivas art wynwood Speaking With Travel and Street Photographer Karin du Maire

We’ve noticed that you use your iPhone as opposed to a standard camera to capture images.

Yes. I use the iPhone to photograph just about everything that is not an assignment. Most cameras these days are good. What matters is not the camera – but the eye of the photographer… the composition, the light, the moment. In addition, iPhones are less intimidating than huge cameras. And the entire process is shorter, as I have very little editing to do.

What’s ahead for you?

I’m now off to Art Basel in Miami and I am planning to return soon to Cuba, where there is a burgeoning street art scene.

Where do you think street art and graffiti are headed?

Street art will continue to beautify our cities. It will continue to become more mainstream, and there will be more opportunities for artists. I also suspect that there will be more art activism.

ces graffiti nyc Speaking With Travel and Street Photographer Karin du Maire

Thank you! And do keep on doing what you are doing! We love it!

Images

1. Beyond on LIC rooftop

2. Meres mural in background with b-boys at 5Pointz in LIC

3. Icy and Sot in Astoria with the Welling Court Mural Project

4. Nychos at work for Coney Art Walls with Martha Cooper with camera

5. Sebas Rivas in Miami

6. Ces photographing his mural at Broadway Junction

All images © Karin du Maire

Interview conducted by Lois Stavsky with Tara Murray

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 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

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rocky184 and kerz graffiti Riding the NYC Subway Trains With Classic Graffiti Writers: Rocky 184, Kerz, Lava, Taki 183, Easy, Slave FAB 5, Ree, Nic 707 and Quik

Nic 707’s InstaFame Phantom Art movement continues to bring dozens of classic writers back into NYC subway trains. Pictured above is Rocky 184 and Kerz. Here are a few more images recently captured while heading from the North Bronx to Midtown Manhattan:

Kerz

KerzNYC graffiti Art subway NYC Riding the NYC Subway Trains With Classic Graffiti Writers: Rocky 184, Kerz, Lava, Taki 183, Easy, Slave FAB 5, Ree, Nic 707 and Quik

Lava

Lava graffiti subway nyc Riding the NYC Subway Trains With Classic Graffiti Writers: Rocky 184, Kerz, Lava, Taki 183, Easy, Slave FAB 5, Ree, Nic 707 and Quik

Taki 183 & Easy

easy and taki 183 graffiti Riding the NYC Subway Trains With Classic Graffiti Writers: Rocky 184, Kerz, Lava, Taki 183, Easy, Slave FAB 5, Ree, Nic 707 and Quik

Slave, FAB 5

slave fab5 NYC subway graffiti Riding the NYC Subway Trains With Classic Graffiti Writers: Rocky 184, Kerz, Lava, Taki 183, Easy, Slave FAB 5, Ree, Nic 707 and Quik

Ree

Ree subway graffiti nyc edited 1 Riding the NYC Subway Trains With Classic Graffiti Writers: Rocky 184, Kerz, Lava, Taki 183, Easy, Slave FAB 5, Ree, Nic 707 and Quik

Nic 707

nic kilroy Riding the NYC Subway Trains With Classic Graffiti Writers: Rocky 184, Kerz, Lava, Taki 183, Easy, Slave FAB 5, Ree, Nic 707 and Quik

And a recent Nic 707 abstract

nic 707 abstract art Riding the NYC Subway Trains With Classic Graffiti Writers: Rocky 184, Kerz, Lava, Taki 183, Easy, Slave FAB 5, Ree, Nic 707 and Quik

Quik

quik graffiti subway train nyc Riding the NYC Subway Trains With Classic Graffiti Writers: Rocky 184, Kerz, Lava, Taki 183, Easy, Slave FAB 5, Ree, Nic 707 and Quik

Photos by Lois Stavsky

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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

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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

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2 new and dia msk graffiti writers Speaking with the Original MSK    Manhattan Subway Kings    in Inwood

I met up with several members of the East Coast – and original – MSK crew while they were painting up in Inwood earlier this year. Among the writers I spoke to were: Kister, its current president; Dia One, MSK’s president back in the 80’s and its legendary former vice president, 2 New. (Note: pictured above is 2 New to the left of Dia One).

When was MSK first founded? And by whom?

It was founded in 1982 by MADE and WASE, along with a few other writers who attended IS 52 — right here in Inwood.

frankizm MSK action graffiti nyc Speaking with the Original MSK    Manhattan Subway Kings    in Inwood

Which trains was MSK hitting back in the day?

Any one nearby – the 1 train, the A, the AA, the C, the CC, the RR and sometimes the D and B.

How were the original MSK crew members regarded back then?

All of us growing up in the Heights and here in Inwood had enormous respect for them.  Everyone knew them and looked up to them.

dia msk graffiti nyc Speaking with the Original MSK    Manhattan Subway Kings    in Inwood

Can you give us a sense of what it was like hitting the trains back then?

We followed a routine. Five or six of us would gather in a friend’s house.  We’d design an outline. Then we’d rack the paint from a local hardware store. And once we had the paint, we’d pick a yard and sneak in.

And once you got into the yard?

We had to worry about gangs, dogs, cops and stepping on the 3rd rail.  Success was getting out alive and taking a photo.

kron graffiti msk nyc Speaking with the Original MSK    Manhattan Subway Kings    in Inwood

Do any particular memories stand out?

When three young MSK guys went to the 145th Street lay-ups and had their cans taken away by members of Jon One’s crew.  We had to retaliate, and we ended up eventually beating the crap out of two of them. The drama only continued, and eventually Jon One left NYC for Paris.

As the train era ended in the late 80’s, what surfaces were MSK’s second and third generation hitting?

Mostly highways, rooftops and handball courts.  And because we had to be fast, we mostly did bombs and throw-ups. We didn’t have time for pieces – except for occasional ones on handball courts.

msk graffiti mural nyc Speaking with the Original MSK    Manhattan Subway Kings    in Inwood

Here you have members of all three generations of MSK working together – painting on a legal wall.

Yes, we do it because it’s fun. It’s our way of celebrating our culture.

And how does painting on a legal spot like this one differ from working illegally?

On a legal space like this, we can take our time and make as many changes as we want as we work. But when we paint on walls like these, we can’t get the adrenalin rush that comes with working illegally. It’s not the same — nowhere close! And we miss it!

Images

1. Dia One and 2 New against mural by Frankizm

2. Frankizm at work on tribute mural to 2 New

3. Dia One at work at night

4. Kron

5. Dia One  — memorial wall first painted in 1992 and redone, at the family’s request, in 2013 — with Flite, Frankizm, Kister, Cel & Nest

Interview & photos by Lois Stavsky

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