Interviews

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

{ 0 comments }

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

{ 0 comments }

greg auerbach artists for Bernie Sanders <em>The Art of a Political Revolution</em> Continues Through 7:00 PM Today at 312 Bowery with: Greg Auerbach, Brian Blue, Claw Money, Rostarr, Patrick Martinez, Dan Buller and more

Featuring dozens of national and local artists whose work is inspired by the political landscape, the Artists for Bernie Sanders national touring exhibit, The Art of a Political Revolution, continues through 7:00 PM this evening at 312 Bowery. While visiting yesterday, I had the opportunity to speak to its principal curator, Tyler Gibney of HVW8 Gallery.

bryan blue the art of political revolution <em>The Art of a Political Revolution</em> Continues Through 7:00 PM Today at 312 Bowery with: Greg Auerbach, Brian Blue, Claw Money, Rostarr, Patrick Martinez, Dan Buller and more

There is such a wonderful range of socially conscious art on exhibit here.  While some of the artworks directly reference Bernie Sanders, others touch on an array of social, political and economic issues. How did this all happen?

Bernie Sanders has always been a strong supporter of the arts. And soon after he appointed Luis Calderin – with whom I’ve worked in the past — as Director of Arts and Culture, Luis and I started working on launching this exhibit.

How were you able to engage such a diverse group of outstanding artists — many working in different media?

Both Luis and I had worked with many of the same artists when Obama was first running for President.  Several of these artists have also shown in my gallery. And in addition to the artists we both knew, many approached us — eager to participate.

claw money the art of political revolution <em>The Art of a Political Revolution</em> Continues Through 7:00 PM Today at 312 Bowery with: Greg Auerbach, Brian Blue, Claw Money, Rostarr, Patrick Martinez, Dan Buller and more

So many artists — of all ages — are supportive of Bernie. Why do you suppose this is so?

Bernie can be counted on to advocate for funding of the arts in our cities, schools and public spaces. He clearly understands the importance of the arts and has a proven record of supporting the arts. Artists can also easily relate to his values. Bernie takes no corporate donations.

And how might you explain his appeal to so many young people?

Many young people are feeling the need for a political revolution in this country. They graduate school with thousands of dollars in debt.  They witness a gross inequality of income. They see homeless people living on the streets in the richest country in the world. And with Bernie these issues come into the open.

rostarr and patrick martinez the art of political revolution <em>The Art of a Political Revolution</em> Continues Through 7:00 PM Today at 312 Bowery with: Greg Auerbach, Brian Blue, Claw Money, Rostarr, Patrick Martinez, Dan Buller and more

How did the opening of this exhibit here in NYC go?

It was amazing! We knew that Bernie’s wife and son would be here. But we didn’t quite expect him. He’d just been visiting the Vatican hours earlier! And so when he arrived, we were thrilled!

And are you satisfied with the response the exhibit is getting here in NYC!

Absolutely!

Dan Bullerartists for bernie sanders <em>The Art of a Political Revolution</em> Continues Through 7:00 PM Today at 312 Bowery with: Greg Auerbach, Brian Blue, Claw Money, Rostarr, Patrick Martinez, Dan Buller and more

The Art of A Political Revolution  –  produced by Bernie 2016, with support from HVW8 Gallery, Creative Cabal, The GoodLife! & Evolutionary Media Group – is open to the public today from 10:30am – 7pm.

Artist signings: Aaron Draplin from 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM; Jermaine Rogers from 1:00 – 3:00 PM and Claw Money from 3:00 – 5:00 PM

Photos by Lois Stavsky; interview conducted by Lois Stavsky with Houda Lazrak and edited by Lois Stavsky

Images

1. Greg Auerbach

2. Brian Blue

3. Claw Money

4. Rostarr  & Patrick Martinez

5. Dan Buller

{ 0 comments }

While down in Miami, I met up with Bronx native Mastro whose masterful graffiti designs and styles can be found on walls, hats and a range of surfaces throughout NYC, Miami and beyond. 

mastro graffiti the Bronx nyc The Masterful Mastro on Graffiti, the Business of Art, Life on the Road, Social Media and more

Can you recall any early graffiti memories?

My earliest memory is riding the 6 train to Pre-K. Everything around me was bombed. I remember thinking, “What is this magic?” Growing up in the Bronx, I saw classic NYC graffiti everywhere. Seen, Mad and Pjay were among the writers I saw on my day-to-day commute.

When and where did you first hit the streets?

When I was in 5th grade, I started with stupid, little tags – like Shadow and Ace – all along Zerega Avenue. I was also getting up in my school. I thought I was “King!” But I was a toy.

What inspired you to get up?

Graffiti was everywhere. How could I not?

mastro graff miami The Masterful Mastro on Graffiti, the Business of Art, Life on the Road, Social Media and more

When and how did you come up with the name Mastro?

I was in my mid-teens. It was actually part of my name, and none of the aliases made any sense.

Did you paint with a crew back then or were you largely alone?

I generally liked to keep it solo and quiet.

And thse days?

I paint both solo and with others. But I don’t think the crew should define the writer. Rather, the writer should define the crew.

mastro and eskae graffiti miami The Masterful Mastro on Graffiti, the Business of Art, Life on the Road, Social Media and more

Do you have a formal art education?

Yes. I have a BA in Architecture from Pratt.

Did you go on to work as an architect?

After I graduated, I worked as an architect for a while. But at the same time I began customizing hats. And that business took off almost immediately – and was a lot more fun!  I thought, “Why should I work for someone else when I can do better on my own?”

And just how are you doing on your own?

I’m doing great. I never expected my business to go this far. Besides customizing hats, I get paid to do body painting and lettering. And I’m also commissioned to produce graffiti murals and installations.

mastro greenpoint The Masterful Mastro on Graffiti, the Business of Art, Life on the Road, Social Media and more

What would you say is the key to your success?

It’s a matter of my being in the right place at the right time. And that is something I work on doing.

Although you are based in NYC, you seem to spend more time on the road then you do back home.

Yes, I’ve been traveling just about full-time across the U.S. I try to cover as many music/art festivals and fairs that I possibly can. I tend to hang out where there are lots of people all the time.

What are some of the challenges of leading such a nomadic life?

The biggest challenge is having to do my own laundry.

mastro graffiti bronx The Masterful Mastro on Graffiti, the Business of Art, Life on the Road, Social Media and more

As you didn’t forge a career as an architect, would you way that your Pratt education was worthwhile?

Yes! It definitely taught me how to become a better artist. But it did not teach me how to sell my technique.

How does your family feel about what you are doing?

My parents get a kick out of it!

What percentage of your time is devoted to art?

Technically – all of it. I create non-stop both on and off the wall.  My art is my “work.” The only aspect of it that actually feels like work is when I’m moving and lifting materials.

mastro graffiti style miami The Masterful Mastro on Graffiti, the Business of Art, Life on the Road, Social Media and more

What advice would you offer young artists who would like to build a successful art business?

Always have access to your presentation portfolio. Be prepared to share it with anyone at any time. Know how to write a proposal, a contract and a rider sheet. And be ready to easily accept all types of payment from credit cards to PayPal.

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

I don’t like the Internet. I don’t like having to use technology to promote myself. But I can’t deny that it does increase recognition, awareness and sales.

That would seem to be a good thing.

But social media can easily turn you into a techno-slut. Too many people seem to depend on social media to increase their value. It’s your work that should be valued, not your number of “likes” or followers. Back when I first started, we did it for the love of it; now folks do it for the “likes.” And back in the day, you had no idea what a writer in Australia was doing unless you saw it in a magazine. These days, it is just far too easy to borrow and regurgitate styles from half way around the world.

mastro graffiti tracks The Masterful Mastro on Graffiti, the Business of Art, Life on the Road, Social Media and more

Are there any particular cultures – or artists — that have influenced your aesthetic?

Growing up in the Morris Park section of the Bronx, I was influenced, of course, by everything that was happening around me – graffiti, hip-hop, breakdancing. The artist who had the hugest influence on my aesthetic was Wane COD, a master of intricate simplicity.

What are your favorite places to paint?

Abandoned places that are withering away, and those places that have stood the test of time where nature is flourishing

How has your artwork evolved in the past few years?

I’m trying to make it crisper and smoother. I would like all demographics to be able to understand my writing.

mastro bushwick graffiti The Masterful Mastro on Graffiti, the Business of Art, Life on the Road, Social Media and more

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

I’m here to create. I don’t think about it.

What’s ahead?

Building and creating wherever life takes me. Living my life as a “permanent vacation,” earning money doing what I love.

Note: Photos are of artworks seen in NYC and in Miami. Pictured in the third photo are: Mastro, Eskae and Disem – with Mastro and Eskae trading names.

Photo credits: 1-3, 7 & 8  Lois Stavsky; 4 & 5 Tara Murray; and 6 Mastro; interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky

{ 1 comment }

BK Foxx Kingdom Flyer BK Foxx on Her Solo Exhibit <em>Kingdom</em> at Woodward Gallery

BK Foxx — whose works continue to delight us when they surface on our streets — has brought a hugely impressive Kingdom to Woodward Gallery, transforming one of our favorite Lower East Side spaces into an animal sanctuary. After viewing BK’s exhibit last week, I had the opportunity to pose a few questions to her:

bk foxx panther BK Foxx on Her Solo Exhibit <em>Kingdom</em> at Woodward Gallery

What an impressive exhibit!  What inspired you to focus your first solo exhibit on the animal kingdom?

I’ve always loved animals. I grew up surrounded by them, and I’ve always felt a special connection to them. When I first started paintings on walls, I discovered how much I love painting animals. They are an ideal subject. I love working with their colors, shades and textures. And here — at Woodward Gallery – I was given an opportunity to create a wildlife sanctuary with artworks on a range of surfaces.

BK Foxx oil on canvas BK Foxx on Her Solo Exhibit <em>Kingdom</em> at Woodward Gallery

What was your greatest challenge in preparing such an extensive body of work?

For months I didn’t see much daylight. I worked non-stop in my studio! But the biggest challenge was trying to consistently meet my own standards as a painter.

BK Foxx Dry Ice BK Foxx on Her Solo Exhibit <em>Kingdom</em> at Woodward Gallery

Have you any particular favorites among the works here?

My favorites are the family portraits — of the people close to me posing with their pets.

Miller oil on wood BK Foxx on Her Solo Exhibit <em>Kingdom</em> at Woodward Gallery

How has the response been to your exhibit? Are you satisfied with it?

The response has been great. Last month’s opening was wonderful. And I continue to receive positive comments from folks who visit.

BK Foxx Featherweight BK Foxx on Her Solo Exhibit <em>Kingdom</em> at Woodward Gallery

Yes! Being amidst your enchanting kingdom is quite an encompassing experience! What would you like your viewers to walk away with?

We need to think about our values. The world is not just about us. I would like those who visit Kingdom to think about the other living creatures with whom we share our planet. We have a responsibility to protect and care for them.

bk foxx back wall GIF 2 BK Foxx on Her Solo Exhibit <em>Kingdom</em> at Woodward Gallery

Kingdom remains on view through May 7. Located at 133 Eldridge Street, Woodward Gallery is open Sunday: 12:00pm-5:00pm and Tuesday-Saturday: 11:00am-6:00pm.  A portion of all sales from the exhibition, as well as direct donations, benefits the World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) mission to conserve nature. You can also commission the artist to paint your pet by contacting the gallery.

Images:

1. Meow III, Oil on canvas

2. Meow II, Oil on canvas

3. Dry Ice, Acrylic on linen 

4. Miller, Oil on wood

5. Featherweight, Freehand spray acrylic on linen

6. Gif of huge  free-hand, acrylic spray-painted 26 foot mural — from start to finish

Photo credits: 1 & 6 courtesy of Woodward Gallery; 2-5 Dani Reyes Mozeson; 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 here for Android devices.

en play badge 2 BK Foxx on Her Solo Exhibit <em>Kingdom</em> at Woodward Gallery

{ 1 comment }

chor boogie outdoor muraljpg Chor Boogie Brings His Brilliant Visuals to Wynwoods Macaya Gallery

While in Miami this past week, I visited Chor Boogie‘s current exhibit, Heiros Gamos: A Vision of Feminine Power, at Wynwood’s Macaya Gallery. I  also had the opportunity to speak to its curator, Daniel Stanford.

I’ve been mesmerized by Chor Boogie‘s aesthetic since I first saw his vibrant murals on the streets of various cities several years ago. But I don’t often get to see his work in gallery settings. What spurred you to curate an exhibit of Chor Boogie‘s artworks?

Patrick Glémaud, Macaya Gallery‘s director, and I met Chor Boogie during Art Basel 2015.  After viewing several of his artworks, Patrick felt that the Macaya Gallery would be the ideal place to showcase Chor Boogie‘s distinct aesthetic. And I was pleased to have the opportunity to curate an exhibit of his works.

chor boogie immaculate conception art Chor Boogie Brings His Brilliant Visuals to Wynwoods Macaya Gallery

What is it about Chor Boogie’s aesthetic that appeals to you?

I was taken by his level of precision and complexity. His technique is superior.

chor boogie queens Chor Boogie Brings His Brilliant Visuals to Wynwoods Macaya Gallery

And as is evident in his murals that have surfaced in public spaces, Chor Boogie‘s choice of colors is always brilliant.  His works consistently arouse both my senses and my mind. Just what is going on here?

These works — as the title suggests — reference a sacred union. The artworks pose the question, “Sacred or profane?” as they present a vision of feminine power. Aesthetic elements of the Rococo and Baroque periods, along with Madonna iconography, are reinterpreted through the medium of spray paint and contemporary street art styles.

chor boogie and E Bast collab Chor Boogie Brings His Brilliant Visuals to Wynwoods Macaya Gallery

What challenges did you face in curating this exhibit? 

The works currently on display are quite diverse and also very rich. The biggest challenge was presenting a variety of distinct works in a balanced way.

Chor Boogie the color visions of requel Chor Boogie Brings His Brilliant Visuals to Wynwoods Macaya Gallery

You certainly seem to have achieved that! What’s ahead for Macaya Gallery?  

Our next exhibit is a collective show featuring works by Emma DunlaveyFrançois Duerinckx and Mercedes Lasarte.  A select group of Chor Boogie‘s paintings will remain, and a series of his political works will be featured later this year.

Images:

1. Chor Boogie, The King and Eye, on the exterior of Macaya Gallery

2. Chor Boogie, Immaculate Conception

3. Chor Boogie, The Silver Queens, close-up

4. E. Bast in collaboration with Chor Boogie, The Nine Virgins, close-up

5. Chor Boogie in collaboration with Daniel Stanford, The Color Visions of Raquel

Photos: 1 courtesy of Daniel Stanford; 2-4 Lois Stavsky and 5 courtesy of Chor Boogie

Note: To find out about the inspiration behind this body of work, check out Chor Boogie Shines Love Into Macaya Gallery by Alexandra Martinez in last week’s Miami New Times.

{ 0 comments }

tracy168 graffiti classic image The Drip Project at Mount Vernons Mes Hall with: Tracy 168, Plasma Slug, Belowkey, Stu, Snoeman, Kingbee and more

Hosting several renowned bands and musicians, Mount Vernon’s Mes Hall is also home to The Drip Project, an ever-evolving treasure trove of images painted by some of NYC’s best-known graffiti artists and most notorious bombers. Last week, we made our way to Mount Vernon to speak to Drip Project director Harris Lobel.

This is such an amazing space. What a treasure! How did you discover it?

I’ve known it for awhile. Several of my friends — who I grew up with in Riverdale — use it as a music studio.

And when did you begin curating it?

About six months ago.

plasma slug stencil1 The Drip Project at Mount Vernons Mes Hall with: Tracy 168, Plasma Slug, Belowkey, Stu, Snoeman, Kingbee and more

Riverdale — where you grew up — is quite void of graffiti. Do you remember where and when you first noticed it?

Yes! I was eight years old when I discovered a piece by Tracy 168 on 231th Street and Broadway. I fell in love with it at once, and kept on returning to it.

And these days you seem to love it all! Your personal Instagram, @streetart_photography, features quite a range of street art and graffiti. When did you become so engaged with it all?

When Banksy was here in NYC in 2013 for his Better Out Than In residency, I kept up with his new works daily. Then — after he left — I continued hunting and photographing works on the streets. Within a short period of time, I became thoroughly obsessed with graffiti and street art.

plasma slug graffiti The Drip Project at Mount Vernons Mes Hall with: Tracy 168, Plasma Slug, Belowkey, Stu, Snoeman, Kingbee and more

We can certainly relate to that! How did you make contact with all the great writers who have painted here?

I’d met Plasma Slug awhile back, and he introduced me to many of the others. I also got the word out through my Instagram page.

Can you tell us something more about the Drip Project? What is the inspiration behind it? 

It’s basically a collective featuring artists whose styles I love. The inspiration to launch it came from the photography I’ve posted on my Instagram page and the response that it got.

below key.png The Drip Project at Mount Vernons Mes Hall with: Tracy 168, Plasma Slug, Belowkey, Stu, Snoeman, Kingbee and more

What do you see as your role? Where are you going?

I would like to promote the artists whose works I love by exhibiting their work and managing the placement of their works in gallery shows. I am also interested in producing a variety of original goods in different media that reflect their styles.

How does your family feel about this?

They love it! My father is a photographer and has been totally supportive.

stu throw up graffiti The Drip Project at Mount Vernons Mes Hall with: Tracy 168, Plasma Slug, Belowkey, Stu, Snoeman, Kingbee and more

You’ve done an amazing job — so far — in reaching out to so many first-rate artists. What has been your greatest challenge in launching the Drip Project?

Getting folks to come out to Mount Vernon — as many haven’t been here before.  And providing artists with money for paint and transportation is another challenge.

How can artists who are interested in participating in the Drip Project contact you?

The best way would be via my email: Harris.Lobel@live.com.

snoeman graffiti The Drip Project at Mount Vernons Mes Hall with: Tracy 168, Plasma Slug, Belowkey, Stu, Snoeman, Kingbee and more

And what about folks who would like to visit and check out the amazing art?

Yes! They can contact me too — at Harris.Lobel@live.com, and I will arrange to meet them here. There’s a bus from the last stop on the 2 train that stops nearby, and  we are just a short walk from the Metro North.

It all sounds great — and so much fun! Good luck!

king bee graffiti The Drip Project at Mount Vernons Mes Hall with: Tracy 168, Plasma Slug, Belowkey, Stu, Snoeman, Kingbee and more

Images

1. Tracy 168

2. & 3. Plasma Slug

4. Belowkey 

5. Stu

6. Snoeman

7. Kingbee

Photo credits: 1, 2 & 4 Lois Stavsky; 3, 5-7 Tara Murray; interview by Lois Stavsky

Note: This blog will be on vacation through March 30. You can follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

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

en play badge 2 The Drip Project at Mount Vernons Mes Hall with: Tracy 168, Plasma Slug, Belowkey, Stu, Snoeman, Kingbee and more

{ 0 comments }

serve graffiti on train on canvas <em>Ex Vandals</em> Continues at More Points Bx with Serve, Sienide, Cone, Will Power, Kool Kito and more

After visiting the superb Ex Vandals exhibit — featuring over 30 artists — at More Points Bx last week, I had the opportunity to speak to its curator, Sienide.

What prompted you to curate an exhibit featuring the Ex Vandals?

It’s my way of paying homage to the pioneering graffiti crew.  It was one of the first organized crews dedicated exclusively to writing that went on to develop various styles of piecing. I am one of the newer members.

sienide graffiti on canvas <em>Ex Vandals</em> Continues at More Points Bx with Serve, Sienide, Cone, Will Power, Kool Kito and more

What was your greatest challenge in curating such an ambitious exhibit?

Trying to represent the spirit of the Ex Vandals by getting as many writers involved as I possibly could. The Ex Vandals is now international, but the focus here is on local writers.

cone graffiti ex vandal <em>Ex Vandals</em> Continues at More Points Bx with Serve, Sienide, Cone, Will Power, Kool Kito and more

There’s such an incredibly diverse range of artworks here. I was wondering how that happened. Were artists given specific instructions of assignments?

No! I just asked each artist to bring in one work on canvas.

will power canvas <em>Ex Vandals</em> Continues at More Points Bx with Serve, Sienide, Cone, Will Power, Kool Kito and more

How did the opening go?

It was great! It was definitely the most successful show I’ve done! And we sold several pieces — an added bonus to an amazing event!

Kito canvas graffiti <em>Ex Vandals</em> Continues at More Points Bx with Serve, Sienide, Cone, Will Power, Kool Kito and more

How can folks see the exhibit? 

It will be up through the 29th at 527 Faile Street in Hunts Point. An appointment can be arranged to view it by contacting me at sienide@gmail.com.

tags subway map on paper <em>Ex Vandals</em> Continues at More Points Bx with Serve, Sienide, Cone, Will Power, Kool Kito and more

What’s ahead for More Points Bx?

We are booked through November with a new exhibit every month. Among those artists who will be featured are: the TMT graffiti crew and the photographer Joe Conzo. We are also planning a pop-up show featuring new works by BG 183.

Great! We are looking forward!

Special thanks to Eric Orr for hosting us at More Points Bx on short notice!

Images of artworks on exhibit:

1. Serve

2. Sienide

3. Cone

4. Will Power

5. Kool Kito

Photo credits: 1, 2 & 5 Tara Murray; 3, 4 & 6 Lois Stavsky; 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 here for Android devices.

en play badge 2 <em>Ex Vandals</em> Continues at More Points Bx with Serve, Sienide, Cone, Will Power, Kool Kito and more

{ 0 comments }

icy and sot art on dollar bill Joshua B. Geyer on Curating <em>Off the Wall</em> with: Icy & Sot, Erasmo, Case Maclaim, See One, Daze and more

Opening this evening from 6-9pm at World Trade Gallery is Off the Wall, an exhibit featuring artwork by some of our favorite artists. We recently had the opportunity to speak to its curator, Joshua B. Geyer.

What is the concept behind this exhibit?

I wanted to showcase in a gallery setting artworks by a diverse group of high-caliber artists who work in public spaces, as well as in their studios. My current job is just a few blocks away from the Top to Bottom Mural Project on 21st Street. I pass it every day, and I love it. I thought it would be a great idea to feature those artists, as they are among the best anywhere.

erasmo case Joshua B. Geyer on Curating <em>Off the Wall</em> with: Icy & Sot, Erasmo, Case Maclaim, See One, Daze and more

When did you first begin working on Off the Wall?

I first found out about the availability of the space three weeks ago. One of my friends who works in World Trade Gallery offered me the opportunity to curate an exhibit beginning in mid-March.

see one Joshua B. Geyer on Curating <em>Off the Wall</em> with: Icy & Sot, Erasmo, Case Maclaim, See One, Daze and more

What was your greatest challenge in getting this together in such a short timespan?

My greatest challenge was selecting the artists.  There was so much talent to choose from.  Close to 50 outstanding artists have painted in the Top to Bottom Mural Project.  I also wanted to take into consideration the input I was given from the team – James P Quinn and Geoff Kuffner – who implemented the project.

Daze canvas Joshua B. Geyer on Curating <em>Off the Wall</em> with: Icy & Sot, Erasmo, Case Maclaim, See One, Daze and more

Do you feel that you have accomplished your mission?

Yes! The artworks in Off the Wall are representative of the diverse range of outstanding pieces that have surfaced at 43-01 21st Street in LIC since this past September. And this space couldn’t be more ideal!

Off the wall flyer Joshua B. Geyer on Curating <em>Off the Wall</em> with: Icy & Sot, Erasmo, Case Maclaim, See One, Daze and more

We love your flyer. Did you design it?

It was a collaborative venture between See One and me. The photo is mine and the actual design is See One’s.

What’s ahead?

I’d love to build a relationship with World Trade Gallery, and I look forward to curating more exhibits featuring artists whose works are seen on our streets.

Images

1. Icy and Sot, close-up

2. Erasmo and Case Maclaim

3. See One

4. Daze

Photo credits: 1, 3 & 4 Dani Reyes Mozeson; 2 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 here for Android devices.

en play badge 2 Joshua B. Geyer on Curating <em>Off the Wall</em> with: Icy & Sot, Erasmo, Case Maclaim, See One, Daze and more

{ 0 comments }

Hoacs graffiti H Eden Fine Art Hoacs on <em>No Days Off</em>, His First Solo Exhibit, at Eden Fine Art in SoHo

Currently on view at Eden Fine Art in SoHo is No Days Off, an ingenious installation of vibrant images in a range of media by the wonderfully gifted Queens-based graffiti master Hoacs.  While visiting the space this past Friday — while Hoacs was adding the final touches to No Days Off for his Saturday evening opening — I had the opportunity to speak to him.`

This is amazing! What a brilliant installation! How long have you been working on it?

I began several months ago — in mid-December.

Hoacs graffiti exhibit soho nyc Hoacs on <em>No Days Off</em>, His First Solo Exhibit, at Eden Fine Art in SoHo

Integrated within the huge pieces painted on the walls is a range of media here. I love the varied surfaces you’ve painted on. Can you tell us something about that?

Yes! With the exception of several canvases, everything has been painted on pieces of discarded wood that I found. I hand sanded and treated them all before painting on them. Each is distinct.

hoacs graffiti wet paint Hoacs on <em>No Days Off</em>, His First Solo Exhibit, at Eden Fine Art in SoHo

What would you say was your greatest challenge in executing the installation — as everything seems to work so well together?

My chief concern was my choice of colors. It is important to me that the individuals walls — particularly those across from one another — work well together.

hoacs graffiti with cans Hoacs on <em>No Days Off</em>, His First Solo Exhibit, at Eden Fine Art in SoHo

This space and this neighborhood couldn’t be more perfect! How did this wonderful space come your way?

A friend of mine, the jeweler Mr. Flawless – another Queens native — knows the owner of this gallery and introduced us.

Hoacs graffiti on camvas eden fine art Hoacs on <em>No Days Off</em>, His First Solo Exhibit, at Eden Fine Art in SoHo

What would you say is the principal difference between working on the streets and working in an indoor space like this one? 

When I paint outdoors, I am at the mercy of the elements — the cold, the heat, the rain, the winds — and I often stop what I’m doing to speak to folks who drop by. I also tend to paint with others. Here  – I am in my own world!

Hoacs graffiti exhibit No Days Off Hoacs on <em>No Days Off</em>, His First Solo Exhibit, at Eden Fine Art in SoHo

Are you satisfied with the way it is looking?

Yes! I got to do exactly what I wanted to do!

hoacs graffiti close up Hoacs on <em>No Days Off</em>, His First Solo Exhibit, at Eden Fine Art in SoHo

What about the title of the exhibit, No Days Off?

Graffiti is a passion that comes with huge demands! There are “no days off” for a graffiti writer!

Hoacs graffiti dont hate  exhibit Hoacs on <em>No Days Off</em>, His First Solo Exhibit, at Eden Fine Art in SoHo

How can folks see the exhibit?

Eden Fine Art SoHo is s located at 470 Broome Street and is open seven days a week, 9AM to 9PM.

That’s perfect! Congratulations!

Interview by Lois Stavsky

Photo credits: 1-3, 5.-8 Lois Stavsky; 2 & 4 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 here for Android devices.

en play badge 2 Hoacs on <em>No Days Off</em>, His First Solo Exhibit, at Eden Fine Art in SoHo

{ 0 comments }