Interviews

AD subway design winne High School of Art & Design Hosts First <em>A&D Urban Arts Subway Car Design Competition</em> and Graffiti Art Panel Discussion

This past Thursday evening, the High School of Art & Design hosted a reception, exhibition and panel discussion honoring 20 student winners of its first A&D Subway Car Design Competition.  Soon after the event, I had the opportunity to speak to Art & Design alumnus and Old School graffiti writer George Colon aka AIM, who had invited us to this celebration of our favorite art form.

George Colon Signs High School of Art & Design Hosts First <em>A&D Urban Arts Subway Car Design Competition</em> and Graffiti Art Panel Discussion

Thursday evening’s event was wonderful.  We loved the way it brought so many folks – students, alumni, faculty, parents, artists and us graffiti aficionados — together. Whose idea was it?

Two years ago, I presented the idea of a panel discussion on the theme of graffiti art to the school’s administration. Art & Design seemed like the ideal site to host such a symposium, since so many famed writers are A&D alumni.  The faculty, though, was hesitant at the time to engage in a graffiti-related event. They were afraid, I assume, of negative reprisals.

Art and Design subway car competition1 High School of Art & Design Hosts First <em>A&D Urban Arts Subway Car Design Competition</em> and Graffiti Art Panel Discussion

How, then, did last week’s amazing event happen?  What caused the change? Why was the school suddenly receptive? 

There were several factors. First, there was a change in the administration. The new principal is open to new ideas and programs that he feels are in the students’ interests.  And I connected with A&D alumnus, George Alonso, who was in touch with Klim Kozinevich – the designer of the All City Style Blank NYC Subway Cars. It was George’s idea that a few of us alumni offer the students a workshop in designing subway cars. Alumnus Klim Kozinevich donated the All City Style Blank NYC Subway Cars and everything else followed.

spar one training days book High School of Art & Design Hosts First <em>A&D Urban Arts Subway Car Design Competition</em> and Graffiti Art Panel Discussion

What was your original inspiration behind this? What spurred you to see it through?

I felt that I wanted to give back. It was also an opportunity to educate folks about a global art form that has strong roots in this particular school.

Kenji Art and Design High School of Art & Design Hosts First <em>A&D Urban Arts Subway Car Design Competition</em> and Graffiti Art Panel Discussion

The panel discussion was certainly informative. George Alonso was the perfect moderator, and you, along with Spar One and Kenji Takabayashi, had much to offer.  The audience was totally engaged. Why do you suppose there seems to be so much interest these days in graffiti, particularly from the perspective of veteran writers?

As graffiti is increasingly embraced by professionals and recognized as a legitimate art form, it is more likely to spur the interest of folks who would ordinarily dismiss it.

joe russo tags at A and D High School of Art & Design Hosts First <em>A&D Urban Arts Subway Car Design Competition</em> and Graffiti Art Panel Discussion

Yes! Once an art form becomes the subject of museum retrospectives, it is difficult to relegate it to mere vandalism! What’s ahead for you?

We are planning to continue collaborating with Art & Design. We would like to make the A&D Subway Car Design Competition an annual event, and we’d love to conduct graffiti–inspired design workshops in other educational settings.

That would be great! Good luck! 

Images

1. First-place winner, James Dundon (design — center top)

2. George Colon aka AIM SSB signing books presented to students

3. Trains designed by A&D alumni: Kenji TakabayashiGeorge Colon aka AIM, SexerSpar One and Flint

4. Spar One with black book in hand

5. Kenji Takabayashi

6. Joe Russo

Photo credits: 1, 3 & 4 Tara Murray; 2 Todd Atkinson; 5 & 6 Lois Stavsky; interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky

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giz ghost such graffiti street art Bushwick Collective NYC Bushwick Collective Founder and Curator Joe Ficalora on Community Engagement, Mana Urban Arts, Art Basel, the Bushwick Collective’s Upcoming Block Party and more

We recently had the opportunity to speak to Bushwick Collective‘s founder and curator, the indefatigable Joe Ficalora, as he readies for this year’s 5th Annual Block Party, June 3-5.

As you prepare for this year’s 5th Annual Block Party, can you share with us some of this past year’s highlights?

Last June’s Annual Block Party was certainly a highlight!  The entire community came together as a family. It was a beautiful sight! A special highpoint of this past year was the Bushwick Collective‘s collaboration with Mana Urban Arts. We had the chance to go down to Miami in December during Art Basel. NYC artists, along with local Miami ones and artists from across the globe, painted together, transforming the inside and outside of the RC Cola Factory. It was a particular thrill to have seven-year-old Lola join us and watch her paint with Chor Boogie. We’ve also facilitated murals in Miami and Jersey City in coordination with Mana Urban Arts. And – more recently — during Frieze Art Week, we participated in Art New York on Pier 54 with Sipros in support of the Perry J. Cohen Foundation.

sipros street art bushwick collective nyc Bushwick Collective Founder and Curator Joe Ficalora on Community Engagement, Mana Urban Arts, Art Basel, the Bushwick Collective’s Upcoming Block Party and more

What would you say was your greatest challenge this past year?

My greatest challenge was dealing with all the marketers trying to hunt down walls. Now that this neighborhood is “cool,” they feel that they can take advantage of the public space without giving back.

case maclaim mural art Bushwick Collective NYC Bushwick Collective Founder and Curator Joe Ficalora on Community Engagement, Mana Urban Arts, Art Basel, the Bushwick Collective’s Upcoming Block Party and more

What can we expect at this year’s Block Party?

There will be live painting, food trucks, local vendors, special activities for families with kids and surprise performers.  A pop-up exhibition at 198 Randolph Street will feature artists from the The Parsons School of Design at the New School, the official sponsor of the weekend, along with local artists. The Museum of the City of New York will be projecting images of Bushwick from over 100 years ago and sharing a huge blown-up photo of Bushwick in 1909. All money from the artwork sold at the exhibit — that opens to the public at 7pm on Friday, June 3, and can be viewed on Saturday and Sunday from 10am-5pm – will go directly to the artists. Local artists will also be exhibiting their work independently. Performers opening the weekend include: The BBoy Rebels (NYC Original Subway Dancers), DJ Mister Cee, Loaf Muzik, Monsters of Brooklyn, Thorough, Thirsting Howl lll, Styles P and Jim Jones. And on Saturday — in addition to JADAKISS – DJ Statik Selektah and friends, Lil Waah, Joell Ortiz, Dave EastChris Rivers, son of the legendary Big Pun, and The BBoy Rebels will perform. Keep posted to our website for updates.

oji street art Bushwick Collective NYC Bushwick Collective Founder and Curator Joe Ficalora on Community Engagement, Mana Urban Arts, Art Basel, the Bushwick Collective’s Upcoming Block Party and more

Who are some artists we can look forward to meeting?

Artists from everywhere will be painting. Among them are: D*Face, Case Maclaim, Sipros, Atomik, Don Rimx and Trans1. Local artists include: Giz, Tats Cru, CrashMeres, Topaz, Plasma Slug, Lola the Illustrator and Hops 1.

starfighter street art Bushwick Collective NYC Bushwick Collective Founder and Curator Joe Ficalora on Community Engagement, Mana Urban Arts, Art Basel, the Bushwick Collective’s Upcoming Block Party and more

That sounds great! What’s ahead for the Bushwick Collective?

We will continue to grow as an organization and evolve with time. We look forward to further collaborations with Mana Urban Arts.  We also look forward to establishing new partnerships.

Images

1. Giz, Ghost, Such, RIS Crew

2. Sipros

3. Case Maclaim

4. Oji

5. Starfighter

Photo credits: 1 & 3 City-as-School intern Sol Raxlen; 2, 4 & 5 Lois Stavsky; interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky with Sol Raxlen

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 Bushwick Collective Founder and Curator Joe Ficalora on Community Engagement, Mana Urban Arts, Art Basel, the Bushwick Collective’s Upcoming Block Party and more

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Lady K Fever Paints graffiti NYC <em>Her Story,</em> the First Annual Female Graffiti Series, Launches Uptown with Lady K Fever, Mel1, Rocky 184, Charmin 65, Miss Boombox, Gem13 and Neks

This past Saturday, Her Story, the first annual female graffiti series, was launched at the legendary Inwood wall on Isham Street off 10th Avenue . While visiting, I had the opportunity to speak to the inimitable Lady K Fever.

A Tribe Called Mel graffiti <em>Her Story,</em> the First Annual Female Graffiti Series, Launches Uptown with Lady K Fever, Mel1, Rocky 184, Charmin 65, Miss Boombox, Gem13 and Neks

Can you tell us something about Her Story’s mission?

We women are underrepresented in the graffiti world. The mission of Her Story is to provide us female writers with a supportive environment to tell our stories while sharing our skills with others.

rocky188 graffiti nyc <em>Her Story,</em> the First Annual Female Graffiti Series, Launches Uptown with Lady K Fever, Mel1, Rocky 184, Charmin 65, Miss Boombox, Gem13 and Neks

Whose idea was it? And how did the concept for such a project become a reality?

We’ve been constantly talking  – among ourselves — about the need for more opportunities. We feel that we don’t have anywhere as many opportunities — or access to spaces — as guys have.  And, by chance, several weeks ago, Crane invited us to paint here on Isham and 10th Avenue.

charmin 65 graffiti NYC <em>Her Story,</em> the First Annual Female Graffiti Series, Launches Uptown with Lady K Fever, Mel1, Rocky 184, Charmin 65, Miss Boombox, Gem13 and Neks

How did you decide which artists to include in today’s launch?

We’ve all known each other for awhile, have painted together before and we get along well together. We are looking forward to including additional female writers in future jams.

Bom5 <em>Her Story,</em> the First Annual Female Graffiti Series, Launches Uptown with Lady K Fever, Mel1, Rocky 184, Charmin 65, Miss Boombox, Gem13 and Neks

The vibes here are great! Everyone seems to be having so much fun. What is your impression of this launch?

It’s been excellent! So many people came by to watch us paint, including many legendary old school writers. It’s been busy!

Gem paints graffiti nyc <em>Her Story,</em> the First Annual Female Graffiti Series, Launches Uptown with Lady K Fever, Mel1, Rocky 184, Charmin 65, Miss Boombox, Gem13 and Neks

What’s ahead for Her Story?

With the sponsorship of The Bronx Graffiti Art Gallery and Hush Hip Hop Tours, we will be painting for the next six months in five boroughs in three states. On June 25th you can find us at Tuff City.  Future spots include: Graffiti Universe and Hackensack, New Jersey. We will also be involved in the New York Restoration Project. In collaboration with Bette Midler’s foundation, we will be painting in a garden on July 30th, as part of the series, Ladies of the Bronx, highlighting the elements of hip hop.

neku graffiti inwood nyc <em>Her Story,</em> the First Annual Female Graffiti Series, Launches Uptown with Lady K Fever, Mel1, Rocky 184, Charmin 65, Miss Boombox, Gem13 and Neks

It’s all very exciting! Good luck!

Images

1. Lady K Fever

2. Mel1

3. Rocky 184

4. Charmin 65

5. Miss Boombox with Bom5 dancing to its beat; Gem 13 on right

6. Gem13

7. Neks

Photos and 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 <em>Her Story,</em> the First Annual Female Graffiti Series, Launches Uptown with Lady K Fever, Mel1, Rocky 184, Charmin 65, Miss Boombox, Gem13 and Neks

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rigoberto toress sculpture Daze graffiti At the Bronx Museum with John Ahearn, Rigoberto Torres & Valeri Larko

Among the thoroughly engaging exhibits currently on view at the Bronx Museum of the Arts are two with special appeal to us street art and graffiti aficionados. Spotlight: John Ahearn and Rigoberto Torres showcases a series of sculptures by the two artists, whose works continue to delight us on the streets of the Bronx.  And Bronx Focus: Paintings by Valeri Larko features stunningly realistic renditions of Bronx graffiti, including some of our favorite walls that no longer exist. While visiting the Museum last week, we had the opportunity to speak to Lauren Click, the Director of Community and Public Programs.

Thank you for reaching out to us. Can you tell us something about your role here?

As director of community and public programs, I organize public programs related to Museum exhibits and events. I also work with the Community Advisory Council (CAC) a volunteer group of local residents with the goal of raising awareness of the Museum and organizing programming in response to community needs.

john ahearn and rigoberto torres Bronx Museum 720 edited 1 At the Bronx Museum with John Ahearn, Rigoberto Torres & Valeri Larko

What are some of the successful means that have been used to accomplish this?

I like to introduce folks to new experiences while mixing them with familiar ones. For example, on senior Thursdays we combine tea services with multimedia collaborative activities. We also have a weekly newsletter we send to subscribers informing them of all the events that take place. This is part of our effort to establish a large presence on social media. Our twitter page has over 38,000 followers. And since admission has become free, we have had four times as many visitors than we used to.

Valeri Larco Graffiti Zerega Avenue Bronx 2008jpg At the Bronx Museum with John Ahearn, Rigoberto Torres & Valeri Larko

What are some of the challenges that you face?

The greatest challenge is fighting the stereotype of being located in the Bronx. People are not aware of how rich and varied the cultural opportunities are in this borough.

valeri larko ferris stahl meyer shipping 2013 At the Bronx Museum with John Ahearn, Rigoberto Torres & Valeri Larko

What would you like to see happen here at the Bronx Museum?

I would like to see it continue to evolve and engage increasingly diverse audiences.

valeri larko power ball 1015 At the Bronx Museum with John Ahearn, Rigoberto Torres & Valeri Larko

How can people stay informed as to all that is happening here at the Bronx Museum of the Arts?

They can follow our Calendar of Events on the Museum’s website. They can also keep up with us on Twitter, on Facebook and on Instagram.

Note: This Saturday – May 14, 2:00pm to 3:30pm – Valeri Larko will offer a free guided tour of her exhibit Bronx Focus: Paintings by Valeri Larko. The Museum is located at 1040 Grand Concourse, Bronx and is easily accessible by public transportation.

Images

1 Rigoberto Torres, Daze

2 John Ahearn and Rigoberto Torres

3 Valeri Larko, Zerega Avenue

4 Valeri Larko, Ferris Stahl Meyer Shipping

Valeri Larko, Power Ball

Photo credits: 1 Tara Murray; 2-5 City-as-School intern Sol Raxlen; interview Lois Stavsky, Sol Raxlen and 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 At the Bronx Museum with John Ahearn, Rigoberto Torres & Valeri Larko

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Back in 2012, Chicago-native Shawn Bullen brought his wonderful talents to Bushwick. This past weekend, I had the opportunity to meet up with the gifted artist who has just returned to NYC after spending several years in San Francisco.

Shawn Bullen mural art Speaking with Chicago Native Shawn Bullen in NYC

When and where did you first get up in a public space?

When I was 17, I got hold of some Mean Streak markers and started tagging the mailboxes in my Chicago neighborhood.

What inspired you to get up?

My friends were doing it, and it seemed like a fun thing to do. I didn’t really think about what I was doing, and I certainly didn’t take it seriously. I also wasn’t very good at it!

Do you remember when you first became aware of graffiti?

There was a graffiti wall in New Hyde Park that I used to pass almost every day. But I didn’t quite get it! I thought, “Why would anyone write something that nobody else could read or understand?”

Shawn Bullen Miami Mural art Speaking with Chicago Native Shawn Bullen in NYC

Once you began getting up, did you ever get arrested?

I was arrested twice. The first time, I had climbed on top of a nearby fruit and vegetable stand to write my name. I was caught on camera, and I ended up having to turn myself in. Ironically it led to my first paid gig as the owner of the space offered me $200 to paint his truck.

What was the riskiest thing you ever did back then?

My friend and I would crawl across train tracks lined with live wires through dangerous neighborhoods.

Why did you do that?

To get to rooftop walls that we liked along the Green line.

Shawn Bullen mural Bushwick NYC Speaking with Chicago Native Shawn Bullen in NYC

How did your family react to all this?

My mom was hot happy that I was breaking the law, but she was always confident that what I was doing would lead to something.

Do you have a formal art education?

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t drawing! But, yes, I studied Photography throughout high school. And then I studied Photography and Drawing at Columbia College in Chicago before transferring to NSCAD, the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. But I didn’t graduate. I left after two years.

Why was that?

I noticed that most of the graduates were working in coffee shops. Few had jobs related to art. I had also felt that I had learned enough.

Shawn Bullen mural art SF Speaking with Chicago Native Shawn Bullen in NYC

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

I think the Internet is a beautiful tool that allows us to share our work with others. It is difficult, though, to keep up with social media, and I know that I need to focus more on my Instagram account. I can get lazy!

Are there any particular cultures that have influenced your aesthetic?

Growing up on the South Side of Chicago, I was exposed early on to the hip-hop culture. Undoubtedly, it has influenced my aesthetic. And when I paint, I almost always listen to hip-hop – Kenye West, Jay Z, Drake…

Have you any favorite artists?

So many! To name a few…Kehinde Wiley, Chuck Close, Basquiat, Aryz, the Etam Crew, and – of course – Michelangelo hasn’t been topped yet!

Shawn bullen SF I still have a dream Speaking with Chicago Native Shawn Bullen in NYC

That’s quite a diverse group! Do you prefer working alone or would you rather collaborate with others?

From ages 17-22, 90% of what I painted was with my crew, the IDC Art House, but these days I feel more and more that I like making my own decisions.

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

It depends. I love to freestyle. It is so much fun. But for commissions I often have to present a sketch first.

Are you generally satisfied with your finished piece?

It’s never as good as I’d imagined it to be, but since I can’t spend years on it, I’m generally proud of myself.

shawn bullen paints Speaking with Chicago Native Shawn Bullen in NYC

Have you exhibited in galleries? Any thoughts about street artists and graffiti writers showing in gallery settings?

Yes, I’ve exhibited in several shows, both solo and group. I don’t have a problem with street artists exhibiting in galleries. All artists need as much exposure and financial support as they can get. And I have only respect for artists who have moved onto the fine art world.

What about the corporate world? Any thoughts about that?

I have mixed feelings about it. Clearly not all corporations are evil. And, yes, I’ve worked with corporations. Corporate gigs, in fact, make it possible for me to survive as an artist. And why shouldn’t corporations support artists?

And do you work full-time as an artist?

Yes! From age 18 on, I was either teaching art or doing art.

Shawn Bullen mural Speaking with Chicago Native Shawn Bullen in NYC

What inspires you these days?

I’m interested in exploring people’s ideas as to how we can save the world. I’m intent on uncovering solutions to problems that affect us all.

How has your artwork evolved in the past few years?

I think much more about concepts, and I continue to paint on a larger and larger scale.

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

It’s up to each artist to decide his or her role. I see my role as making life better. I want use my art to make people feel better.  I would love to change someone’s life with my painting!

Shawn Bullen Boom+Boom Speaking with Chicago Native Shawn Bullen in NYC

What’s ahead?

I want to paint! I’d like to create at least one piece of public art in every country in the world. And I’d love NYC to be my home base!

Interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky; photos courtesy of Shawn Bullen, SHAWNBULLEN1@GMAIL.COM

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 Speaking with Chicago Native Shawn Bullen in NYC

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Splendidly curated by Laura James and Eileen WalshBronx Now showcases a wide range of artworks in different media by some of the best artists working in the Bronx. Among these are several whose works also enhance public spaces. While visiting the exhibit on Sunday, I had the opportunity to speak to both curators and pose a few questions to Laura James, the founder of BX200.

John Ahearn Eileen Walsh Laura James Bronx Now  BX200 Exhibit <em>BRONX NOW</em> Brings the Best of the Bronx to Brooklyn: John Ahearn, Tats Cru, Eric Orr, Crash, Andre Trenier, Mrs and More

Just what is BX200? And when was it launched?

BX200 is a directory of 200 artists, all of whom live or work in the Bronx. It was officially launched at the Bronx Museum of the Arts in March 2015.

bio tats cru art bronx now BX200 Exhibit <em>BRONX NOW</em> Brings the Best of the Bronx to Brooklyn: John Ahearn, Tats Cru, Eric Orr, Crash, Andre Trenier, Mrs and More

 What is its mission? And what spurred you to launch it?

Its mission is connect our borough’s best artists to as wide an audience as possible from curators to collectors to other artists. My initial incentive in launching it was to get to know other artists living and working in the Bronx.

eric orr Bronx Now BX200 Exhibit <em>BRONX NOW</em> Brings the Best of the Bronx to Brooklyn: John Ahearn, Tats Cru, Eric Orr, Crash, Andre Trenier, Mrs and More

You and  Eileen Walsh have, obviously, accomplished so much working together. The directory looks great, and this exhibit is wonderful. How did you two initially meet?

Awhile back, Eileen had invited me to participate in an exhibit she was curating elsewhere. Then when she read about BX200, she was eager to partner with me.

John Crash Matos  BX200 Exhibit <em>BRONX NOW</em> Brings the Best of the Bronx to Brooklyn: John Ahearn, Tats Cru, Eric Orr, Crash, Andre Trenier, Mrs and More

The art here is spread across two rooms, and it all looks amazing. How did this great space come your way?

Eileen introduced me to it, and I thought it would be an ideal setting to introduce a selection of Bronx artists to folks who frequent Brooklyn spaces, particularly in Bushwick where so much is happening.

Nicer tats cru hip hop BX200 Exhibit <em>BRONX NOW</em> Brings the Best of the Bronx to Brooklyn: John Ahearn, Tats Cru, Eric Orr, Crash, Andre Trenier, Mrs and More

How did you decide which artists to include in Bronx Now?  Some of the artists are quite young and relatively unknown, and others have established reputations and have exhibited in renowned museums.

We were interested in presenting a snapshot of the Bronx featuring works that we love — in a variety of styles and media — from a wide range of artists.

andre Trenier Bronx Now Prince Portrait BX200 Exhibit <em>BRONX NOW</em> Brings the Best of the Bronx to Brooklyn: John Ahearn, Tats Cru, Eric Orr, Crash, Andre Trenier, Mrs and More

The exhibit opened with a reception Saturday evening How did the opening go?

It was fantastic! About 300 people came and we had Andre Trenier painting live

Mrs art Bronx Now BX200 Exhibit <em>BRONX NOW</em> Brings the Best of the Bronx to Brooklyn: John Ahearn, Tats Cru, Eric Orr, Crash, Andre Trenier, Mrs and More

What are some of the other events we can look forward to this week? 

This Thursday, May 5, there will be a Bronx Now Artist Talk from 6-8pm. Participants will include Tats CruJohn Ahearn, Rebecca Allan, Danny Peralta and Alicia Grullon. And this Saturday there will be a closing reception from 5-8pm with a performance by Paco Cao. From Wednesday through Saturday’s closing, the gallery — located at 119 Ingraham Street — opens at noon. Enter through Terra Firma.

Congratulations on BX200 and this wonderful exhibit! I’m looking forward to more.

Images

1. John Ahearn with curators Laura James and Eileen Walsh

2. Bio, Tats Crew

3. Eric Orr

4. Crash

5. Nicer, Tats Cru

6. Andre Trenier, close-up

7. MRS

Photo credit: 1, 2, 4-7 Lois Stavsky; 3 courtesy Laura James; interview conducted and edited 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 BX200 Exhibit <em>BRONX NOW</em> Brings the Best of the Bronx to Brooklyn: John Ahearn, Tats Cru, Eric Orr, Crash, Andre Trenier, Mrs and More

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sold magazine cover URNewYork <em>SOLD Magazine</em> Issue #2 Launches with Exhibit at Studio Kraut with: BD White, Raphael Gonzalez, City Kitty, CB23, JCorp, JPO, Joseph Meloy, Ramiro Davaro, Choice Royce and more

The second issue of SOLD Magazine – the magazine by artists for artistswas formally launched last night with an Affordable Art Show at Chelsea’s Studio Kraut.  After checking out the art — that had already been installed when I came by — and perusing the magazine, I spoke to SOLD Magazine‘s publishing editor BD White.

Back in January, you, John Paul O’Grodnick and Greg Frederick first launched SOLD Magazine. How has the response to it been? What kind of feedback have you gotten?

The response has been overwhelmingly positive. People were eager to become involved with it. We had a steady stream of encouraging emails, text messages, phone calls and comments. It was the incredibly enthusiastic response to SOLD Magazines first issue that has kept us going!

BD White stencil art <em>SOLD Magazine</em> Issue #2 Launches with Exhibit at Studio Kraut with: BD White, Raphael Gonzalez, City Kitty, CB23, JCorp, JPO, Joseph Meloy, Ramiro Davaro, Choice Royce and more

How did you go about distributing the premiere issue of your magazine?

We distributed over 3,000 copies — 20 at a time — by getting them anywhere and everywhere! We hit art stores, alternative spaces, cafes, bagel and muffin shops…just about any place that was open to receiving our magazine.

This second issue looks fantastic! There are revealing interviews with UR NEW YORK, City Kitty and Appleton, along with a range of intriguing feature articles. You even have a recipe for wheat paste, this issue’s theme! How was the experience of getting SOLD Magazine out different this time around?

It was easier! Most of the kinks had already been worked out. The actual layout took far less time. And because of the buzz that the first issue generated, artists approached us, as they were eager to be featured.

sold magazine installation pg <em>SOLD Magazine</em> Issue #2 Launches with Exhibit at Studio Kraut with: BD White, Raphael Gonzalez, City Kitty, CB23, JCorp, JPO, Joseph Meloy, Ramiro Davaro, Choice Royce and more

Did any unanticipated challenges come your way?

Because everyone who worked with us was so cooperative and accommodating, we were able to easily overcome any potential obstacles.

I like this venue. Even the setting for the artwork is perfect. How did Studio Kraut come your way?

Yes, it is great! The backdrop had already been painted and designed by Dripped On Productions, and Kwue Molly introduced us to this space.

ramiro davaro sold magazine <em>SOLD Magazine</em> Issue #2 Launches with Exhibit at Studio Kraut with: BD White, Raphael Gonzalez, City Kitty, CB23, JCorp, JPO, Joseph Meloy, Ramiro Davaro, Choice Royce and more

What’s ahead for SOLD Magazine?

The next issue will focus on muralists. You are in for a surprise! And keep posted for news of our upcoming podcast In the Spray Room.

How can folks get hold of the magazine if it is not easily accessible to them?

They can subscribe. That is the one way they will be sure not to miss an issue!

choice royce art <em>SOLD Magazine</em> Issue #2 Launches with Exhibit at Studio Kraut with: BD White, Raphael Gonzalez, City Kitty, CB23, JCorp, JPO, Joseph Meloy, Ramiro Davaro, Choice Royce and more

Congratulations! I’m already looking forward to the next issue! I’m heading out now to read this one cover-to-cover!

Pictured above are:

1. Cover of SOLD Magazine  Issue #2 featuring UR NEW YORK, Mike Baca aka 2esae and Ski; photo by John Paul O’Grodnick

2. BD White,

3. Raphael Gonzalez, City Kitty, CB23, JCorp, JPO, BD White and Joseph Meloy

4, Ramiro Davaro

5, Choice Royce

Photos of artworks and interview by Lois Stavsky

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Nepo at Wix Lounge with art Nepo on <em>Fantasia Tropico</em> at Chelseas Wix Lounge, His Recent Projects in Brazil and Dubai and more

With their luscious colors and seductive styles, Nepo‘s murals has been enhancing the streets of NYC since the talented artist arrived here from Puerto Rico over two years ago. Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to catch up with him after he had finished installing his current exhibit, Fantasia Tropico, at Chelsea’s Wix Lounge.

This space is wonderful, and your work looks perfect here! How did this opportunity come your way?

I’ve known Kamilla Sun, the founder of the creative agency ST.ART, for over a year now.  When she told me about Wix Lounge, a really special co-working, event and exhibit space in Chelsea, I loved the idea of exhibiting my recent series of works, Fantasia Tropico, there.

Nepo artwork Nepo on <em>Fantasia Tropico</em> at Chelseas Wix Lounge, His Recent Projects in Brazil and Dubai and more

Can you tell us something about this specific series? 

It references all that I love and miss most from my island, especially my nostalgia for the holidays. This body of works continues to evolve from an exhibit that I was invited to present earlier this year at the University of Wisconsin’s Aylward Gallery. The exhibit here at Wix Lounge, curated by Kamilla Sun, presents several new pieces.

How have the folks here at Wix Lounge responded to your installation?

The reaction has been so positive. People are interested in what I’m doing, and everyone’s been so helpful.

Nepo street art Lower East Side Nepo on <em>Fantasia Tropico</em> at Chelseas Wix Lounge, His Recent Projects in Brazil and Dubai and more

Have you collaborated with ST.ART on any other projects?

Yes! I was commissioned to paint a mural on the Lower East Side last year.

You’ve been doing quite a bit of traveling. What has that been like?

It’s been great! I recently returned from Brazil where I participated in the Street of Styles Festival. It was an amazing experience, and introduced me to some of the best graffiti I’d seen anywhere. I also had the opportunity to paint a huge mural with Son and Spear Torres.

Nepo collab mural brazil Nepo on <em>Fantasia Tropico</em> at Chelseas Wix Lounge, His Recent Projects in Brazil and Dubai and more

And you’ve also been to Dubai. What brought you there? And what was it like?

I was invited to participate in an exhibit during Art Dubai. It was my first time in that part of the world, and I loved experiencing Arab culture and discovering artists from the Middle East.  I, also, got to return home with several commissions! It was a great feeling!

 What’s ahead?

Painting a few murals! And in a few weeks, I will be assisting Rimx with a huge mural that he was commissioned to paint in Newark, New Jersey. I’m planning to visit L.A. in June.  And in the fall, I’m hoping to visit Lebanon and Jordan and further explore Middle Eastern art. I especially love Arabic calligraphy.

That sounds great! Good luck with it all!

nepo at wix lounge Nepo on <em>Fantasia Tropico</em> at Chelseas Wix Lounge, His Recent Projects in Brazil and Dubai and more

There will be an opening reception for Nepo‘s exhibit tonight, Friday, 6:30 – 9:30 PM at at Chelsea’s Wix Lounge, 235 West 23rd Street. The exhibit remains on view through May.

Photo credits: 1 Lois Stavsky 2 & 4 courtesy of Nepo and 3 Tara Murray; interview conducted and edited 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 Nepo on <em>Fantasia Tropico</em> at Chelseas Wix Lounge, His Recent Projects in Brazil and Dubai and more

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Michael Alan 9 Lives Michael Alan on <em>Nine Lives</em> at Tanja Grunert Gallery

Michael Alan‘s wonderfully inventive new works remain on view through Saturday at Chelsea’s Tanja Grunert Gallery, 524 W 19th Street. After visiting his riveting exhibit, Nine Lives, we posed a few questions to the prolific artist.

Can you tell us something about the title of your current exhibit? What is the significance of Nine Lives to you?

The title, Nine Lives, is a play on my health issues and my determination to not focus on them, but to take what I’ve I learned and help others through my art. The works in this exhibit expand beyond my human life.

Michael Alan art work Michael Alan on <em>Nine Lives</em> at Tanja Grunert Gallery

How have recent life events impacted this body of work? 

Everything that happens to me impacts my work. I represent the tradition of creating work based on my life. My work is my life’s visual journal.

Michael alan close up Michael Alan on <em>Nine Lives</em> at Tanja Grunert Gallery

We love your characters. Who or what inspired them? Are they based on people you know? Or are they simply figments of your imagination?

I see them as part of my visual language — from ghosts of my past to art history references, to my friends and my models and now everyone! Draw the world, and do everything you can do! Life is short. Don’t stay limited or become a brand.

Michael Alan vertical Michael Alan on <em>Nine Lives</em> at Tanja Grunert Gallery

There’s quite a mix of styles and media on exhibit in Nine Lives. Have you any favorite piece or pieces? Any favorite medium?

I wish I could choose a favorite. My mind would be more simple — in a sense — if I could. But I’m a complex multitasker, and I love all things equally! I try as hard as I can to edit and make each work better or at least equal to the last. I think every piece should all hold up on its own.

Michael alan new art work Michael Alan on <em>Nine Lives</em> at Tanja Grunert Gallery

How did the opening at Tanja Grunert Gallery go? It is such a lovely space.

The opening attracted over 500 people. Paul Jacobson had a solo show in the bottom-level gallery, and I loved showing with him. We didn’t have much time to promote our exhibits, but so many people came! Thanks to all! Thank you!

Michael alan outside tanja grunet Michael Alan on <em>Nine Lives</em> at Tanja Grunert Gallery

 What’s next?

I couldn’t say what’s to come, because if I did, I wouldn’t have to do it. It would be done! Every day is a gift, even a bad day! So I just count everything as a blessing…even if it’s a negative.

Photo credits: 1 courtesy Michael Alan; 2-5 Tara Murray and 6 Jennifer Lopez, courtesy Michael Alan

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A huge fan of zines and independent publications of all kinds, I was delighted to discover Never Blue, featuring artworks by some of my favorite artists — who make their mark both on and off the streets. Curious about it all, I posed some questions to its curator, Mr. Green aka A Color Green.

Never Blue Zine <em>A Color Green</em> on Mr. Green, Zine Curation, <em>Never Blue</em>, an Imminent Film Release and More

Just who/what is A Color Green? And when was it born?

At the easiest level, A Color Green aka ACG, Mr. Green or Coloure Greene is an independent, NYC-based artist and curator. Mr. Green was born roughly six years ago, about the same time I began to concoct a haphazard entrance into the film industry. And playing off its founder’s last name,  A Color Green was conceived as a film production company title. Today, A Color Green is both an individual artist and his alter ego, as well as a tight-knit production and publishing team – (though always looking to expand into something new!)

Can you tell us something about its logo?

As I began to search for what would be a company “logo,” an immediate connection with the cartoonish face you’ve become familiar with on NYC streets in sticker or tag form was born. Upon realizing the breadth of possibilities or absurdities in this face, ACG expanded into an alter-ego reminiscent of some of my favorite artists or musicians — graffiti legends like Snake 1, contemporaries like Chris RWK and Frank Ape and pop-culture icons like MF Doom, Quasimoto or Big L, Stanley Kubrick, Quentin Dupieux, Roger Ebert and more.

Mr Green Mirror Image <em>A Color Green</em> on Mr. Green, Zine Curation, <em>Never Blue</em>, an Imminent Film Release and More

What spurred you to take Green to the streets?

When I moved back to NYC a few years ago, I didn’t have the resources to pursue my own filmmaking. And inspired by those contemporary artists, I decided to try taking Green to the street, tying in film references. A big inspiration was my intent to develop a curatorial channel to feature these very artists.  And as that “channel” continues to grow, so do the partnerships and connections that have allowed me to branch back into some of my original inspirations in filmmaking and publishing which, of course, leads right back to this interview, Never Blue and some upcoming projects.

Chris RWK keeping theblues away <em>A Color Green</em> on Mr. Green, Zine Curation, <em>Never Blue</em>, an Imminent Film Release and More

Never Blue is Volume 2 of the zines produced by A Color Green. Can you tell us something about Volume 1? Is it still available? What spurred you to produce Never Blue?  What is the concept behind it?

A Color Green Zine was conceived as a trilogy, each installment correlating to a different side of my character, inspiration, aesthetic and — I suppose — humor. As an artist, I’ve always identified with those masterful creators like Picasso or Kubrick who understood the importance of change and redefining one’s self throughout a career. This trilogy is a direct nod to something like Picasso’s Blue Period or Kubrick’s ability to produce Barry Lyndon directly after A Clockwork Orange. The styles are so radically different, but through the change you still catch a similar glimpse of what drew you there in the first piece — whether a feeling, face or something else entirely. 

Our first edition, Black and White was also a limited edition risograph print co-published by Endless Editions  – as the entire trilogy will be — and featured roughly thirty artists, a number of whom are also featured in Never BlueWhile Black and White was meant to adhere to that gritty, DIY style — which I’d strictly adhered to for two years – Never Blue, was meant to be a sad or celebratory, soulful or seductive step away from the simple shades of B&W. If you missed out on the sold-out first edition, you can download a free copy of the A Color Green Zine Vol. 1 Black & White now on BitTorrent.

Ceez <em>A Color Green</em> on Mr. Green, Zine Curation, <em>Never Blue</em>, an Imminent Film Release and More

Works by dozens of artists representing a wide range of styles, sensibilities and cultures are featured in Never Blue? That’s quite impressive. How did you decide which artists to include? How did you reach out to them?

While Never Blue is the second official zine I’ve created with A Color Green, it’s actually our third publication following a small print we released over the summer called the Green Carpet Zine. Like I said, we had always intended to make A Color Green Zine an official trilogy, and receiving the proper submissions took some time — so much so that we took a break and created the entirely random Green Carpet Zine.

What differentiates the Green Carpet Zine from the official ACG trilogy is an emphasis on street art and representing that style in an illustrative or photographic form on the page. There were a number of artists I knew who had to be in it – starting with several highly talented friends including: HausRiot, Kristy Elena, Seth Laupus, Zero Productivity, Leaf8k and JCorp TM who were in the first edition. Next, I needed to reach out to some of my favorite contemporaries like Brolga, CEEZ, Chris RWK, City Kitty, Murrz, Abe Lincoln Jr. and Frank Ape who’d inspired me to get back into street art. And as I often find with that community, everyone was wonderfully supportive. I also opened up submissions to artists via the Con Artist Collective where I received dozens of illustrations that were incredibly difficult to choose from. The remaining slots were announced via social media where another couple of dozen artists responded.

Unfortunately, not all of the artwork could make it in, and that’s where we needed to put on the curatorial hat and figure out which submissions not only fit the theme, but worked together in a layout as well. Emphasizing the different styles is very important to us, and when you flip through the zine, you’ll find we pair similar styles together and contrast different looks. The result is a blend of hand-style, graphic design, illustration, wheat-paste and whatever else.

Abe Lincoln Jr <em>A Color Green</em> on Mr. Green, Zine Curation, <em>Never Blue</em>, an Imminent Film Release and More

What was your greatest challenge in getting this zine out? How did you promote it once it was published?

Time is always the greatest challenge. The balancing act of juggling work, life and responsibility. Every artist who submitted to the zine — whether anonymous or not — has a life outside of their alter-ego, and so do I. We couldn’t dictate a strict delivery for some submissions, because we desperately wanted some artists to partake, and I would have pushed the printing back for some people if need be.  But after receiving over fifty submissions, we knew we had to cut it off and set a release date. That release date, after two years gave ACG and Endless Editions the much needed fire under our asses, and within two months we had two hundred fresh risograph copies and an opening set at Con Artist NYC where another 25 artists donated work to hang on the walls.

Promoting after such a long build up was the easy part and it took place mostly via social media — across 30 somewhat artist pages on different platforms — in addition to a couple of NYC art listings and press releases. Con Artist also has been a major champion of our work and promoted it heavily across their channels.

MURRZ Never Blue <em>A Color Green</em> on Mr. Green, Zine Curation, <em>Never Blue</em>, an Imminent Film Release and More

What’s ahead for A Color Green?

Up next for ACG is a long-awaited rest from zine curation and my official directorial debut in MUTE which will have its hometown world premiere with the BK Horror Club and Brooklyn Horror Fest tomorrow, April 21. The short film features Danish star Albert Bendix as a tongue-chopping madman and is followed in double-feature form by a screening of the modern-classic You’re Next, sponsored by Throne Watches and Narragansett Beer. Tickets can be purchased here. And If you’re yet to check out Never Blue, you can buy a copy at Con Artist while supplies last or head over to Printed Matter, Inc where the zine will go on sale later this month. More on www.acolorgreen.com.

Interview by Lois Stavsky; all images courtesy Mr. Green

Images: 

1. Mr. Green with Never Blue

2. Mr. Green

3. Chris RWK

4. Ceez

5. Abe Lincoln Jr.

6. Murrz

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