Interviews

BXFoxx JMZ Walls Bushwick street art nyc Speaking with <em>JMZ Walls</em> Founder and Curator Alberto Mejia

“Helping to make the JMZ lines more colorful one wall, one gate, one space at a time,” JMZ Walls continues to bring a diverse range of first-rate street art and graffiti — by both local and global artists — to South Bushwick. I recently had the opportunity to speak to its founder, Alberto Mejia.

When was JMZ Walls first launched?

In the fall of 2014.

What spurred you to initiate it?

I’d been living in Bushwick – off the JMZ lines – for 20 years. In the past several years, I saw positive changes in in other parts of Bushwick that I didn’t see happening here.

Thia govaldi and 17 matrix jmz walls bushwick nyc Speaking with <em>JMZ Walls</em> Founder and Curator Alberto Mejia

And many of these changes are directly related to the art that had begun surfacing on the streets.

Yes! My vision was to bring street artists, graffiti writers and muralists to my end of Bushwick. And I didn’t think that these genres should be kept separate from one another.  Why shouldn’t graffiti writers share space with street artists and muralists?

I agree! And the visual impact of JMZ Walls has been great. How did you go about getting walls for artists?

I know many of the building owners. At first I started asking for gates, and soon the owners were offering walls to me.

for jmz walls bushwick street art nyc Speaking with <em>JMZ Walls</em> Founder and Curator Alberto Mejia

Who were some of the first artists to paint for JMZ Walls?

The first piece was by a German graffiti writer, Byond.  He was followed by Queen Andrea, Claw Money and Dasic Fernandez.  I was inspired by Queen Andrea, in fact, to dedicate an entire block — Lawton Street — to female artists!

How do you decide which artists to include?

I’m interested in giving opportunities to local graffiti artists who haven’t had all that many occasions to paint in legal spots. And I love hosting talented artists from abroad who are seeking a space to paint.  I also like giving opportunities to artists who don’t generally paint in public spaces.

kes jmz walls graffiti bushwick Speaking with <em>JMZ Walls</em> Founder and Curator Alberto Mejia

Yes! I was introduced to several artists – including BK Foxx – through JMZ Walls. How has the local community responded to JMZ Walls?

Families have been very appreciative, and the kids love the art. I often hear them saying, “That’s cool!” when they pass by.

Yup! You have certainly enlivened this end of Bushwick! It’s worth a ride on the J, M or Z line out here just to see these walls you’ve curated! I’ve done it often! What – would you say – has been your greatest challenge?

My greatest challenge has been financing it. Supplies and paints are expensive, and artists’ budgets are often limited. You can find out here how you can help support us through our recently launched GoFundMe Campaign.

spraycam street art jmz walls Speaking with <em>JMZ Walls</em> Founder and Curator Alberto Mejia

Thank you for all that you’ve done for the community and for all of us street art and graffiti aficionados. We look forward to what’s ahead for JMZ Walls.  And good luck with your GoFundMe Campaign.

Images

1. BK Foxx

2. Brazilian artists Thiago Valdi & l7m

3. Rio de Janeiro-based  Marcelo Ment

4. Kesta 

5. Montreal-based Philippe Mastrocola aka Spraycam

Photo credits: 1 & 2 Tara Murray; 3-5 Lois Stavsky; interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky

Note: Hailed in a range of media from Wide Walls 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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raphael gonzalez and Giz <em>Hip Hop Utopia: Culture + Community</em> at Jerseys Citys Dineen Hull Gallery Through February 21

While visiting Hip-Hop Utopia: Culture + Community at Hudson County Community College‘s Dineen Hull Gallery this past Friday, I had the opportunity to speak to Michelle Vitale aka woolpunk who — along with Fred Fleisher — curated the wonderfully eclectic exhibit.

What a fabulous tribute to hip-hop this is! What would you say is the exhibit’s mission?

Its mission is to celebrate the culture of hip-hop. Its four elements –  MCing, Graffiti, DJing and Breakdancing — have had a huge, positive impact on today’s society. This exhibit is our way of paying tribute to these elements and to the community that has nurtured them.

Dipset graffiti <em>Hip Hop Utopia: Culture + Community</em> at Jerseys Citys Dineen Hull Gallery Through February 21

Did anyone or anything —  in particular — inspire it?

The notion of curating an exhibit on hip-hop was first suggested by Hudson County Community College Vice President Dr. Pando.  It seemed like a great concept, as I love the communal aspect of hip-hop. Among the many inspirations was music industry veteran Tony Drootin who serves on the board of  Hip Hop Public Health.

Yishai Minkin Biggie <em>Hip Hop Utopia: Culture + Community</em> at Jerseys Citys Dineen Hull Gallery Through February 21

Just what is Hip Hop Public Health? I see it is represented in this exhibit.

Based in NYC, Hip Hop Public Health uses music as a message to improve health literacy and encourage positive behaviors among school children.  Its founder and president, Dr. Olajide Williams, MDMS serves as Chief of Staff of Neurology at Columbia University Medical Center.  Among the artists involved in Hip Hop Public Health are: Doug E. FreshEasy A.D Harris and Jordan Sparks.

Karlos Carcamo sculpture mic <em>Hip Hop Utopia: Culture + Community</em> at Jerseys Citys Dineen Hull Gallery Through February 21

Can you tell us something about some of your other partners? There are some great T-shirts on display here!

Among our partners is Chilltown Collective, an apparel and lifestyle brand based here in Jersey City. It was co-founded in 2015 by Lovelisa Dizon as a platform for “passionate creatives.”

chilltown collective <em>Hip Hop Utopia: Culture + Community</em> at Jerseys Citys Dineen Hull Gallery Through February 21

And there are quite a few bikes in the gallery!

Yes! We’ve partnered with both Grove Street Bicycles and Animal BikesGrove Street Bicycles is a nearby full-service shop that sells all kinds of bikes, accessories, clothing and shoes and handles all kinds of bicycle repairs. And Animal Bikes, owned by Ralph Sinisi, supplies bike parts for BMX street riding and also sells gear.

Fred Samboy and more art <em>Hip Hop Utopia: Culture + Community</em> at Jerseys Citys Dineen Hull Gallery Through February 21

What are some of the challenges you faced in curating an exhibit as multi-faceted as this one?

Once we knew what direction we wanted to go with the theme of Hip-Hop, everything came together easily. Our Karma has been great! We are showcasing works of noted established artists together with talented younger ones, several who are Hudson County Community College alumni. We have local DJ’s participating, as well as spoken-word artists.  We’ve planned a range of events open to the community.

Cultural Affairs Hip Hop Flyer Spring 2017 <em>Hip Hop Utopia: Culture + Community</em> at Jerseys Citys Dineen Hull Gallery Through February 21

How has the response to the exhibit been?

We’ve been open just a few days, and the response has already been great.  We’ve been featured in the Jersey Journal and listed as one of the top 10 current attractions in Jersey City.

Freddy Samboy Hip Hop Utopia <em>Hip Hop Utopia: Culture + Community</em> at Jerseys Citys Dineen Hull Gallery Through February 21

How can folks see the exhibit?

Our opening reception takes place Tuesday evening, January 31, from 6-8pm. The exhibit continues through Tuesday, February 21 at 71 Sip Avenue 6th Floor. Gallery hours are: Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Admission is free and those who attend have a chance to win a graffiti-tagged, fat-tire bicycle donated by Grove Street Bicycles.

Michelle Vitale <em>Hip Hop Utopia: Culture + Community</em> at Jerseys Citys Dineen Hull Gallery Through February 21

Congratulations! It’s looking great!

Images

1.  Raphael Gonzalez, The Art of the Throw Up! Giz

2.  Alex Melo, Diplomatic Immunity

3.  Yishai Minkin, Biggie

4.  Karlos Carcamo, One, Two Three… 

5.  Mr Mustart with Chilltown Collective, I free myself…

6. Freddy Samboy, two works suspended from ceiling; Grove Street BicyclesDonated Fat Tire Bikes and Videos courtesy  Grove Street BicyclesAnimal & Hip Hop Public Health

7.  Raphael Gonzalez, Danielle

8. Freddy Samboy, Breaking Free

9. Jeremy Coleman Smith, DJ Shrine with Michelle Vitale aka wool punk seated

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>Hip Hop Utopia: Culture + Community</em> at Jerseys Citys Dineen Hull Gallery Through February 21

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Dasic Fernandez and Rubin415 street art Yoav Litvin on <em>2Create: Art Collaborations in New York City</em>

Penned by photographer, writer, neuroscientist and street art aficionado, Yoav Litvin, 2Create: Art Collaborations in New York City is a distinctly elegant ode to the art of collaboration. Recently released by Schiffer Publishing, it was formally launched last month at the Bronx Museum of the Arts alongside a collaborative photography exhibit, 2gether: Portraits of Duos in Harlem and the South Bronx by Litvin and Tau Battice. A textual and visual documentation of the creative and collaborative process among nine pairs of artists, 2Create also presents first-hand accounts of each one’s early life and work.

Dasic Fernandez and Rubin415 paint Yoav Litvin on <em>2Create: Art Collaborations in New York City</em>

Featuring such duos from NYC-based Al Diaz and Jilly Ballistic to the Iranian brothers Icy and Sot, 2Create: Art Collaborations in New York City showcases a broad range of styles, sensibilities and processes. It also introduces us to the specific locale — from Manhattan’s Union Square Subway Station to a Greenpoint, Brooklyn rooftop — of each of the collaborative works featured. With its astute insights and superb design, it stands out among the dozens of street art-related books published last year.

bunnyM and Square paint street art Yoav Litvin on <em>2Create: Art Collaborations in New York City</em>

bunnyM and Square street art Yoav Litvin on <em>2Create: Art Collaborations in New York City</em>

After reading the book, I posed a few questions to Yoav:

Your first book, the highly acclaimed Outdoor Gallery: New York City, focused largely on individual artists. Why did you decide to focus on duos in this book? 

In contrast to other art forms, such as music or dance, the visual arts involve a more solitary practice. Painters are famous for being hermits: closing themselves off from the world in their studios where they paint their masterpieces. At least, that’s the popular narrative. I feel that because the visual arts are easily commodified and objectified, they have evolved in such a way.  While I was working on Outdoor Gallery, which focuses on 46 individual artists, I noticed several duos of street and graffiti artists who produced incredible works, and I was fascinated by their practices. In 2Create I seek to investigate the art and practice of collaboration in different mediums — collage work, screen printing, stenciling, graffiti and mural making. My goal with 2Create is twofold: to present the behind-the-scenes processes of these artists and to investigate the secrets of collaboration, with the ultimate aim of encouraging others to create together. Just like any skill, collaboration needs to be practiced!

Dain and Stikki Peaches Yoav Litvin on <em>2Create: Art Collaborations in New York City</em>

How did you decide which duos to feature in 2Create?

My process with 2Create was mostly democratic. I was looking to present a diversity of styles, messages, mediums and locales. I am cognizant and weary of the politics involved in the arts and attempted to focus on artists that I felt were doing radical, innovative work and were constantly challenging themselves. Throughout my research on collaborations, I discovered there were two major categories that lie on a continuum — from complementary collaborations – individual works presented side by side – to integrative, a single piece that seamlessly integrates the work of two artists. I chose nine duos that present the full spectrum.

Icy and Sot Yoav Litvin on <em>2Create: Art Collaborations in New York City</em>

Icy and Sot paint Yoav Litvin on <em>2Create: Art Collaborations in New York City</em>

What insights did you, yourself, gain into the collaborative process, particularly among visual artists?

Collaboration is a skill that should be practiced by any visual artist as part of his/her development. Collaboration is an exciting and stimulating process that can produce immense growth if approached correctly, but can be very challenging at times. An artist needs to respect and trust his or her collaborator and be willing to be adaptable and open to critique. The collaborative process can open new doors for an artist  – in techniques, messages, ideas and human connections that can be useful moving forward.

ASVP 2Create Yoav Litvin on <em>2Create: Art Collaborations in New York City</em>

The book, itself, is masterfully designed. Can you tell us something about that? 

For the design I worked with the designer Dan Michman, who is also an excellent childhood friend. It was important for me that every aspect of this project be collaborative. Dan is the best designer I know, plus I like him a lot and knew from experience that we’d collaborate well. Our process was incredible. Dan took my materials — images and texts — along with my notions on the artistic process and on collaboration, and created a stunning design “language” for the book. It was a truly integrative collaborative process. I could not be happier with the way it turned out. Plus, the cover design is simply stunning. Lastly, Schiffer Publishing did a great job in the book’s production.

2Create cover Yoav Litvin on <em>2Create: Art Collaborations in New York City</em>

How has the response been to 2Create?  Is there any particular readership you’d like to reach?

The response has been overwhelmingly positive. In addition to appealing to the street art and graffiti fan crowd, my hope is that 2Create will integrate as a text book for art schools, colleges and universities. I believe the behind-the-scenes process shots, the revealing interviews and the insight into the art of collaboration make it a unique resource for artists in general, and visual artists in particular. But 2Create is more than a book on art. It is a document that presents the collaborative duo as the basic unit of a collective humanity in which empathy and collaboration trump disregard and domination. In an era of the cult of celebrity, war and climate change, collective action is not only beneficial, it is necessary. 2Create expresses these radical notions and I hope it will serve to inspire activists fighting for the greater good.

For more listen to Yoav speak on Counterpunch Radio here.

Images

1 & 2 Rubin and Dasic 

3 & 4 Bunny M and Square 

5  Stikki Peaches and Dain

6 & 7 Icy & Sot

ASVP

All images © Yoav Litvin

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.

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sara erenthal art on piano Sara Erenthal Gives New Life to Discarded Objects on Park Slope Streets

A self-taught, multi-disciplinary artist, Sara Erenthal has a strong presence on the streets of Park Slope, Brooklyn. We recently spoke.

You’ve established quite a presence here on the streets of Park Slope. What keeps you coming back?

There is a lack of public art in Park Slope, and there seems to be a hunger for it. Folks here have been so receptive to what I am doing. They seem excited to have something interesting and different to look at.  Park Slope is where I am living these days, and so it’s easy for me to get around either by foot or by bike.

sara erenthal street art nyc Sara Erenthal Gives New Life to Discarded Objects on Park Slope Streets

With the exceptions of the walls you are commissioned to paint, your canvas is almost always some type of discarded object. Why is that?

Since folks take many of my works home with them, I feel that I am saving trash from ending up in landfills. Also – what I am doing is not illegal. I cannot take the legal risks of doing unsanctioned artworks that could land me with a fine, time in jail or both.

sara erenthal upcycled art nyc Sara Erenthal Gives New Life to Discarded Objects on Park Slope Streets

You almost always seem to be drawing faces. Can you tell us something about them?

They are variations of myself – subconscious portraits. Growing up in a cloistered ultra-Orthodox world, I was limited to just one hairstyle. The changes in the hairstyles represent the changes in myself.

sara erenthal mural art Sara Erenthal Gives New Life to Discarded Objects on Park Slope Streets

I’ve noticed folks stop and often photograph you while you are drawing.  Do any particular interactions with passersby stand out?

Yes! Recently a woman ran after me as I was rushing out of my house — in my pajamas — to the local health food store to buy some ginger. I was sick at the time. She asked me if she could bring her father – a huge fan since he had seen my work on a mattress — to meet me. He showed up almost instantly for his daughter to snap a photo of the two of us  – with me decked in my pajamas!

sara erenthal public art work park slope nyc Brooklyn Sara Erenthal Gives New Life to Discarded Objects on Park Slope Streets

In addition to your work on found objects, you’ve also painted on a range of sanctioned surfaces this past year. Any particular challenges? Any favorites?

Painting on a shuttered gate was definitely a challenge as I generally paint on flat surfaces. Among my favorites is the artwork that I painted at D’Vine Taste.

sara erenthal street art Park Slope Sara Erenthal Gives New Life to Discarded Objects on Park Slope Streets

Yes! I love the stark simplicity of the white on black. It’s beautiful! And what about the piano? How did that become your canvas?

A local pre-school threw it out last spring with a sign “Free piano.” Six months later it was still there. I asked then for permission to paint it. And I love that it is still there! I feel as though I gave it a new life.

sara erenthal make art from your heart NYC Sara Erenthal Gives New Life to Discarded Objects on Park Slope Streets

You did! What’s ahead? 

I am now preparing for a solo show to open at FiveMyles Gallery at 558 St Johns Place on March 9 from 6-9pm. And later in the spring, I will be exhibiting my work at Google’s New York site in Chelsea. An outdoor mural in Gowanus is also on the horizon.

I’m looking forward to it all! Good luck!

Photo credits: 1-5 & 7 Lois Stavsky; 6 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.

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toxicomano mural art gama mexico city A Visit to GAMA, a Creative Urban Arts Space, in Mexico City

While in Mexico City several weeks ago, I had the chance to visit GAMA, a distinctly impressive artists’ space and gallery in Colonia Hipódromo, and speak to its founder, Daniel Martinez and his partner, Kas Chudleigh.

This is such a wonderful space with so much positive energy. Can you tell us a bit about GAMA? There are quite a few people here. Who are you?

We are a group of artists that seek to nurture each other and others by collaborating, offering workshops, showcasing our work and providing opportunities for creatives.

root rises art graphic art mama mexico city A Visit to GAMA, a Creative Urban Arts Space, in Mexico City

How long have you been in this particular space? It is ideal.

We’ve been here on the ground floor of Comitán 10, Hipódromo since June 30th.

How would you describe GAMA‘s mission?

With a particular focus on street art and urban art, we work with a diverse group of graphic designers, illustrators, photographers and muralists. We perceive the GAMA space as an education and resource center that offers a wide range of events, talks and exhibits, along with opportunities to collaborate with brands.

Yolka graphic design A Visit to GAMA, a Creative Urban Arts Space, in Mexico City

Can you give us some examples of the workshops offered here?

Upcoming workshops include: watercolor painting with Diego Andrad; working with 3-D in the gif format with Chacalall, and designing illustrations with Yolka Mx.

You’ve also curated outdoor murals. I visited the one painted by Werc and Gera Luz earlier today. When did you first become interested in street art? 

In 2005 — over 10 years ago — I started creating stickers and wheatpastes. I also began following online what was happening throughout the globe, and then I spent time in Berlin and Barcelona, where I saw so much amazing art on public spaces.

Werc and gera luz street art mexico city A Visit to GAMA, a Creative Urban Arts Space, in Mexico City

What would you say is your greatest challenge at this point?

The major one is attaining the support we need to maintain the space.

What’s ahead? Any particular projects — besides all the wonderful things happening here?

We’d like to produce a series of documentaries about some of the artists we work with. We are especially interested in the creative process. What motivates and inspires artists? We’re also interested in establishing alliances with different cultural projects in Mexico and connecting to more emerging artists.

gleo colombian artist gama A Visit to GAMA, a Creative Urban Arts Space, in Mexico City

It all sounds great! How can folks contact you if they would like to visit or become involved?

They can contact us at contacto@gamacrea.com. They can also follow us on Instagram and on Facebook.

Images

1. Toxicómano

2. Root Rises

3. Yolka Mx

4. Werc and Gera Luz

5. Gleo

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 A Visit to GAMA, a Creative Urban Arts Space, in Mexico City

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Viajero mixed media 2016 A Visit to <em>Home, Memory, and Future</em> at Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institutes (CCCADI) New East Harlem Home

While visiting CCCADI’s inaugural exhibit in its new East Harlem home, I had the opportunity to speak to one of its curators, Regina Bultron-Bengoa

Just what is CCCADI?

The Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute is a multi-disciplinary arts center that showcases and promotes the distinct contributions of African Diaspora cultures.

How would you define its mission?

Through arts, education and activism it strives to advance change by uniting the various cultures of the African Diaspora, while promoting their value.

Viajero installation close up A Visit to <em>Home, Memory, and Future</em> at Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institutes (CCCADI) New East Harlem Home

When was it originally established?

Dr. Marta Moreno Vega founded it in 1966 as a center where African and Native cultures of Caribbean and Latin American countries could be recognized and honored. Its first home was on East 87th Street and its last home was in a brownstone in Hell’s Kitchen.

Can you tell us something about its present locale here in this landmark space on East 125 Street in East Harlem?

A few years back, several shuttered landmark firehouses were offered to cultural institutions. With city and state support, nine million dollars were raised to renovate this particular historic one for CCCADI, and on September 16, 2004, we broke ground.

Scherezade Garcia Sea of Wonder 2016 A Visit to <em>Home, Memory, and Future</em> at Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institutes (CCCADI) New East Harlem Home

Who is its audience?

We have a wide audience from students and educators to arts professionals to families. We offer a huge range of free or low-cost exhibits, workshops and activities.

Your inaugural exhibit, Home, Memory, and Future is quite impressive. It is divided into three distinct parts.

Yes. Part I: Harlem: East and West features the works of three acclaimed photographers who have been documenting Harlem since the 70’s. Part II: Harlem and Home in the Global Context showcases artworks that suggest how cultural traditions are used to establish “home” in distant places. And Part III: Mi Quirido Barrio (My Beloved Community) – focusing on the social history of El Barrio — takes place outdoors and in cyberspace, using augmented reality. Among its themes are: migration, nostalgia for the past. gentrification and looking to the future.

che memorial wall east harlem nyc A Visit to <em>Home, Memory, and Future</em> at Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institutes (CCCADI) New East Harlem Home

Can you tell us some more about the outdoor element of the exhibit?

Yes. It features locations of importance within the social history of El Barrio. Among these are memorial walls painted on the streets – whose history is documented on a free mobile app, Blippar. Through augmented reality, the app allows us to bring the past to life.

That is quite amazing! How has the response been to CCCADI‘s new home and inaugural exhibit?

The response has been great. There were long lines for the fall opening, and folks who see it love the art and identify with it.

Chino Chan Memorial Mural El Barrio NYC A Visit to <em>Home, Memory, and Future</em> at Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institutes (CCCADI) New East Harlem Home

How can folks contact CCCADI if they would like to visit or become involved?

They can email: info@cccadi.org

Images 

1 & 2 Adrian “Viajero” Roman, Mixed media, 2016

3  Scherezade Garcia, Sea of Wonder, Mixed media, 2016

4 & 5 Oliver Rios & Luis Martinez, Memorial Walls, as seen on the Blippar app while on site

Photo credits: 1-3 Lois Stavsky; 4-5 Courtesy CCCADI

Interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky

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Jenaro stencil street art Mexico City Speaking with <em>Street Art Chilango</em> Founders: Jenaro de Rosenzweig & Alejandro Revilla

While in Mexico City last month, I had the opportunity to meet up with Jenaro de Rosenzweig and Alejandro Revilla, founders of the hugely popular Street Art Chilango.

Just what is Street Art Chilango?

It is a company dedicated to promoting street art. Three divisions have evolved: 1. Social networking on Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat; 2. Private and group tours that focus on street art in the city’s center and 3. Securing mural commissions for artists, many of whom are our friends, in both public and private spaces.

When was Street Art Chilango launched?

We launched it on March 7, 2013.

jenaro visual craft stencil art Mexico City Speaking with <em>Street Art Chilango</em> Founders: Jenaro de Rosenzweig & Alejandro Revilla

How did you and Alex meet? And how did you end up collaborating?

We met in Barcelona several years ago, and discovered — almost at once — that we shared a love for street art.  I then went on my own to Berlin where I hung out with street artists and often ended up starting to paint at 3am in the morning! When I returned to Mexico, my ex- girlfriend suggested that I learn about the street art here in my own city. And so after taking photos, I decided to start a Facebook fan page and Alex — who had returned earlier to Mexico City —  installed an API to search for the hashtag #streetartchilango on Instagram. That’s how it all began!

And what about the tours? What spurred you to start offering tours?

Since so few people seemed to know about the amazing street art here in Mexico City, sharing it with others seemed like the logical next step. And once we began offering tours, we then set up our office here in the center of town.

street art chilango crew mexico city Speaking with <em>Street Art Chilango</em> Founders: Jenaro de Rosenzweig & Alejandro Revilla

What about commissions? When and how did that start?

In October of that year, we were approached by a book publishing company, and so our first joint project was launched.

And since that first year? Who have some of your clients been?

We’ve done murals and live painting for restaurants, hotels, businesses and a range of companies from Starbucks to Facebook.

street art chilango Mexico City Speaking with <em>Street Art Chilango</em> Founders: Jenaro de Rosenzweig & Alejandro Revilla

What would you say are some of your challenges?

Continually striving to be the best we can be despite distractions and staying true to the spirit of street art when dealing with commercial enterprises.

You two have worked together now for over three years. What would you say is the key to your successful collaboration?

We are both passionate about street art, but our experiences and backgrounds are different. I studied Electrical Engineering and Finance, and Alex has a strong background in Social Media. And so we bring different strengths to Street Art Chilango.

i o u street art mexico city Speaking with <em>Street Art Chilango</em> Founders: Jenaro de Rosenzweig & Alejandro Revilla

How can folks best contact you?

They can drop us an email at contacto@streetartchilango.com

Images 

1. Jenaro‘s famed colorful dog

2. One of Jenaro‘s signature Star Wars works

3. & 4. Commissioned murals painted by Street Art Chilango artists

5. A rotating outdoor canvas curated by Street Art Chilango, this one painted by IOU

Photos and interview by Lois Stavsky

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sticker collage fridge dc  iwillnot on the <em>DC Street Sticker EXPO 3.0</em> at the FridgeDC

Currently on view at the FridgeDC is DC Street Sticker EXPO 3.0, an extraordinary ode to street art stickers. Curated by iwillnot and hosted and sponsored by the Fridge Gallery, it features over 100,000 striking stickers. They’re all here: handsome handstyles, curious characters, political posits and social statements. While in DC, I had the opportunity to speak to iwillnot.

When did you first become involved in the sticker art culture? And what attracted you to it?

It was about ten years ago. I liked the way I could easily transport stickers in my pockets and get them up quickly on the streets.

And what was it about the streets that appealed to you?

Getting my name and message across in a public space.

trump sticker art fridge dc  iwillnot on the <em>DC Street Sticker EXPO 3.0</em> at the FridgeDC

This is the third sticker art exhibit that you’ve curated at the FridgeDC. What inspired you to bring it indoors?

My son was born five years ago. I no longer had the time to hit the streets. Nor could I take the legal risks. DC’s laws are harsh. One can get fined $1,000.00 and be sentenced to 3o days in jail just for getting a slap up.

Gee… And with Trump here, the penalties could get even harsher.  How does this current exhibit differ from the previous two that you curated?

This is the first one that covers the entire gallery. There’s been more involvement, and — with a six-week run — it will be the longest-running sticker expo that I’ve curated.

trump and more sticker art  iwillnot on the <em>DC Street Sticker EXPO 3.0</em> at the FridgeDC

What were some of the challenges involved in curating such a huge exhibit?

It’s quite costly. Getting something like this together is expensive. And it demands endless hours of work, including time spent training volunteers.

How were you able to collect so many stickers? There are tens of thousands here!

When I first started posting my stickers online, Skam reached out to me to trade stickers. I’ve been trading with artists all over the world ever since. Every participant in the expo gets a return pack from me. It takes months to get them mailed out… but a trade is a trade.  After years of trading with artists I have hundreds of thousands of stickers.

Dont Trump Women and more sticker art  iwillnot on the <em>DC Street Sticker EXPO 3.0</em> at the FridgeDC

And how do you keep track of them?

I document each and every entry. I tag each one and acknowledge receiving it.

That must be some task!

It’s a year-round lifestyle.

political sticker art and more  iwillnot on the <em>DC Street Sticker EXPO 3.0</em> at the FridgeDC

How has the response been to this show? The opening was packed with folks of all ages!

The reaction has been great. People seem to have discovered an untapped passion for this art form. All year round, I’m asked about the “next sticker expo.”

How can folks see the exhibit?

It continues through New Years Eve at the FridgeDC, 516 1/2 8th Street SE, and is open Thursday-Saturday 1–8pm & Sunday 1-5pm.

DC sticker expo  iwillnot on the <em>DC Street Sticker EXPO 3.0</em> at the FridgeDC

Great! I’m already looking forward to next year’s!

Note: Among the many artists featured in the above close-ups are: SkamBeas, Klozr, Jamie XV, Ed Geiniwillnot Hugh BrismanSarah JamisonSladge & Konjak, 2front, Psyco, Nikolay Milushevda_weiss, 702er, P Lust, Zas, Chris RWK, nite owl, Feln One,…(more to come!)

Photo credits: 1 Tara Murray; 2 – 6 Lois Stavsky; interview by Lois Stavsky

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nether street art baltimore edited 1 Richard Best aka Xxist on Baltimores SectionI Project

While visiting Baltimore, we met up with Richard Best aka Xxist over at the Creative Labs – a DIY incubator for artists and creative entrepreneurs housed in a huge warehouse designed from up-cycled materials. There we had the opportunity to find out a bit about the city’s SectionI Project that he had founded.

Can you tell us something about the SectionI Project? Just what is it?

It is a non-profit dedicated to utilizing urban art to enrich our lives.  Among its missions is to provide artists with opportunities to produce and promote vibrant, progressive and creative forms of urban art, while serving and enriching their communities. 

How do you go about accomplishing this?

To do this, we seek vacant, underutilized and derelict sites and we work on transforming them into vibrant venues and cultural centers.  Among the key projects we are working on is the development of a huge urban art park in the heart of Baltimore, between Station North Arts and Entertainment District. This Section1 Urban Art Park will not only provide nearby communities with a much-needed recreational park, but also serve as a cultural center for the entire city of Baltimore.

nether street art mural baltimore Richard Best aka Xxist on Baltimores SectionI Project

When and how did this project first begin?

It began in September 2012, while I was enrolled in Design Leadership – a dual masters program between Johns Hopkins Carey Business School and Maryland Institute College of Art. Upon graduation, I was provided with $10,000 in seed funding from Maryland Institute College of Art’s LAB Award. This seed funding was utilized to establish Section1 Inc.

This huge space we are visiting now — the Creative Labs – is a wonderful showcase for urban art — both outdoors and indoors — and provides space for artists to work, as well.

Yes. There are a range of work spaces, including those for woodworking and photography. One of our missions is to provide artists with studio space. Space of this kind is essential in meeting the growing needs of today’s multidisciplinary artists. Upon completion, the Labs will feature a wide variety of resources including a green screen, cyclorama, fab-lab, art gallery, design studios, conference room, paint booth, dark room, washout booth, art storage and over 5,000 sq. ft. of communal space.

Corban lundborg mural art baltimore Richard Best aka Xxist on Baltimores SectionI Project

That’s quite impressive! How do you get the word out on what you have to offer artists?

It’s largely organic. Artists speak to one another and let each other know. We also advertise on Craigslist.

What you’ve done here is quite amazing. What are some of your biggest challenges?

One of our greatest challenges has been identifying the property owners of potential spaces. It is often quite difficult to track down who owns a space.

pablo machioli Alfredo Segatori street art Richard Best aka Xxist on Baltimores SectionI Project

And what about funding all of this? How do you do it?

We are always looking to expand our team by engaging talented volunteers.

On the grounds here there is work not only by local artists such as Nether and Pablo Machioli, but by international artists, as well.

Yes! And through a partnership with Urban Walls Brazil, several Brazilian artists — including Mateu Velasco and Mateus Bailon – have painted here.

mateu velasco street art Richard Best aka Xxist on Baltimores SectionI Project

How can folks contact you? To obtain more information? To visit? To become engaged in Baltimore’s SectionI Project?

They can reach me at Richard@section-1.org. They can also check us out on Instagram and visit our site online.

It’s looking great! Good luck with it all!

bailon streetl art baltimore Richard Best aka Xxist on Baltimores SectionI Project

Note: The Creative Labs is located at 1786 Union Ave in Baltimore, MD.

Images

1. & 2. Baltimore-based Nether, close-up from huge mural on the grounds of the Creative Labs

3. South Africa-based Corban Lundborg painted inside the Creative Labs

4. Baltimore-based Pablo Machioli and Buenos Aires-based Alfredo Segatori, close-up from mural on the grounds of the Creative Labs

5. Brazilian artist Mateu Velasco on the grounds of the Creative Labs

6. Brazilian artist Mateus Bailon on the grounds of the Creative Labs

Photo credits: 1-4 & 6 Lois Stavsky; 5 Tara Murray; interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky with Tara Murray

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rae bk new years eve  New RAE BK Exhibit, <em>All Systems Go</em>, to Launch New Years Eve with DJ Kool Herc at 99 Bowery

NYC’s prolific RAE BK will join forces with the legendary DJ Kool Herc at 99 Bowery on New Year’s Eve for an unprecented event. A brief interview with RAE BK about his new exhibit  and its New Years Eve launch follows:

This sure seems like a fun way to spend New Years Eve! What spurred you to do this? 

After everything that has gone on with this Presidential Election in the US, I decided the best way to bring in a 2017 is with a bang.  I hope it’s a way to at least turn the page for an evening for those who attend. The name of the exhibition is All Systems Go and it centers around the comparison of discarded objects and human beings.

What kinds of works can we expect to see? On the streets we’ve spotted everything from your stickers to your huge installations?

There will be about 40 pieces ranging from ‘found object’ sculptures to large scale canvases to paintings on paper.  These are works I have made over the course of eight months.  And what better way to say goodbye to 2016 than to have a living legend, the Father of Hip-Hop, DJ Kool Herc, to bring some bass and get people moving later on?

rae couple  New RAE BK Exhibit, <em>All Systems Go</em>, to Launch New Years Eve with DJ Kool Herc at 99 Bowery

Can you tell us something about the found objects that you have been working with? Where did you find them?

A lot of the parts I have collected and used to make the work have come from an area in Willets Point. Queens, NYC.   It’s about a 10- block section full of “chop shops,” huge pot holes and some really weathered people. The feeling is third-world for sure. For someone looking at it from the outside — like me — it’s like the land of the forgotten.  Mechanics look like they’ve put in a week’s straight worth of doing car repairs. Others are selling drugs and looking to turn tricks. The work I have created is as much a reflection of the materials as it is of the environment.  A lot of rusted metals, worn fabrics and scraps of plastics… Think “pop-artifacts.”

What was it like to work with these objects?

While working in my studio, I kept seeing the worn and weary faces of the people I encountered in the weathered parts. I adopted the philosphy of making the best of the materials you are given.  And these materials came from the people of Willets Point. People there do what they have to do to make a living. Whatever it takes. The interesting thing is that for all the rusted, decayed, crushed pieces I found, I also found stuff that had a nice gold or silver shine or burst of color that created a cool high-end, low-end quality to the finished pieces.

RAE Red Hook Receyled edited 1  New RAE BK Exhibit, <em>All Systems Go</em>, to Launch New Years Eve with DJ Kool Herc at 99 Bowery

How can one attend All Systems Go on New Years Eve?

Opening night will be a ticketed event with open bar and music spun on vinyl by DJ Kool Herc.  I will be giving away a small original piece of work just before midnight too. You can get tickets here.

And if we can’t make it to the New Years Eve opening, will we still be able to see your show?

Yes! The show will run for at least another week after that. Check my Instagram for updates.

Interview by Lois Stavsky; photos 2 & 4 from NYC streets, Tara Murray

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  New RAE BK Exhibit, <em>All Systems Go</em>, to Launch New Years Eve with DJ Kool Herc at 99 Bowery

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