Interviews

Lulu reich Gallery Director Laura Lulu Reich on 212 Arts: Its Mission, Gumshoes Current Exhibit, Its Upcoming Graffiti Show and more

I recently stopped by 212 ARTS and had the opportunity to speak to Laura “Lulu” Reich who, along with Marc Leader, founded and directs the gallery.

I’ve heard great things about your current exhibit, Gumshoe: Red, White And Black, and I’m so glad I finally had the opportunity to visit this space! How long has 212 ARTS been here?

We’ve been here as 212 ARTS since this past October.

This space here at 240 East 4th Street is so perfect for a gallery. Why did you choose this particular neighborhood? And how were you so lucky to get this space?

I’m an East Village girl and I love everything about this neighborhood — its history, alternative culture and more. Yes, acquiring this space was mere luck! I had found out from the landlord that it was available.

gumshoe art on canvas 212arts nyc Gallery Director Laura Lulu Reich on 212 Arts: Its Mission, Gumshoes Current Exhibit, Its Upcoming Graffiti Show and more

What is the vision behind 212 ARTS

It is to give exposure in a gallery setting to urban artists, particularly those who work on the streets, as well as in their studios. It is also to educate folks about the artists in this scene. There are stories to tell, as in this current exhibit, Gumshoe: Red, White And Black.

Can you tell us something about this current exhibit?

It is Gumshoe‘s first solo exhibit in NYC. We chose to present this exhibit because we love Gumshoe’s work and her distinct female energy! And it seemed like the perfect exhibit for Valentine’s Day.

Gumshoe art on canvas Gallery Director Laura Lulu Reich on 212 Arts: Its Mission, Gumshoes Current Exhibit, Its Upcoming Graffiti Show and more

And what about its title, Red, White and Black?

Most of the pieces in the exhibit are red, white and black. The title is a play, of course, on the colors of the American flag, presenting the darker side of the American dream.

And the gum that always makes it way onto those glorious red Louboutin heels? What is that all about?

As we strive for perfection and sometimes almost reach it, we meet inevitable disaster! The gum is the metaphor for that. We get stuck along the way!

gumshoe installation 212arts Gallery Director Laura Lulu Reich on 212 Arts: Its Mission, Gumshoes Current Exhibit, Its Upcoming Graffiti Show and more

Oh, yes! There is a story to tell! Until when will folks be able to see this exhibit?

We are open Tuesday through Saturday 2:00 pm - 8:00 pm and on Sunday 2:00 pm - 7:00 pm.  You can also make an appointment to see it by contacting me at laura@212arts.com  Gumshoe‘s exhibit closes on Wednesday, February 17th.

What’s next?

Opening on the 18th is an exhibit featuring artworks by NYC graffiti legends. Among those showing are: Crash, Skeme and T-Kid.

Gumshoe paints street art nyc Gallery Director Laura Lulu Reich on 212 Arts: Its Mission, Gumshoes Current Exhibit, Its Upcoming Graffiti Show and more

I’m certainly looking forward to that! Good luck!

Interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky; all photos feature Gumshoe‘s work; photo 4 of Gumshoe‘s installation also features Jily Ballistic and Al Diaz; photo 5 of  Gumshoe at work was captured awhile back on the Lower East Side.

Photo credits:1 & 4 Lois Stavsky; 2 & 5 Dani Reyes Mozeson and 3 Houda Lazrak

Note: Our highly acclaimed Street Art NYC App is now available for Android devices here.

en play badge 2 Gallery Director Laura Lulu Reich on 212 Arts: Its Mission, Gumshoes Current Exhibit, Its Upcoming Graffiti Show and more

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Patrick Verel Graffiti Murals Patrick Verel on <em>Graffiti Murals: Exploring the Impacts of Street Art</em>

In his highly acclaimed book Graffiti Murals: Exploring the Impacts of Street Art, free-lance writer and photographer Patrick Verel presents six case studies, along with dozens of photographs, exploring the role of sanctioned graffiti murals and street art in the urban environment. I recently met up with him and had the opportunity to ask him a few questions:

What spurred your interest in this topic?

I was always into graffiti.  I have a short attention span, and I love being surprised! Cities stimulate me and graffiti is part of that stimulation.

How did this initial interest evolve into a book?

I never thought I’d actually write a book. It developed from the thesis that I wrote when I was enrolled in Fordam University’s Urban Studies Master’s Program.

Wallnuts Crew graffiti mural Gowanus Patrick Verel graffiti murals NYC Patrick Verel on <em>Graffiti Murals: Exploring the Impacts of Street Art</em>

You focus on six cases from the South Bronx to Trenton, New Jersey. How did you connect to all of the folks whom you interviewed?

I sent out lots of emails after poking around the Internet.  And I made some of the connections via my Flickr contacts — like the photographer Luna Park, who hooked me up with Robots Will Kill.

What were some of the obstacles you encountered while doing your research?

Getting people to talk to me and synthesizing all of the information.

Patrick Verel 5Pointz graffiti NYC Patrick Verel on <em>Graffiti Murals: Exploring the Impacts of Street Art</em>

You seem to have accomplished that quite well! What — would you say – was the mission of your book?

To change the way so many people think about graffiti. To introduce them to the positive benefits of graffiti murals in enhancing the urban environment.

Are there any particular factors that assure the success of these interventions?

So much depends upon the owner of the space and his relationship with the artists. That owner must be able to trust the artists to do what they want.  And a successful collaboration demands money, effort and time.

Robots Will Kill Peeta Never ECB graffiti mural art Patrick Verel NYC Patrick Verel on <em>Graffiti Murals: Exploring the Impacts of Street Art</em>

Were there any unexpected outcomes following the publication of the book?

Yes! I received a positive response from City Government, and I connected to Natalie Raben of the Lower East Side BID and the 100 GATES Program.

Have you noticed any changes in the graffiti/street art since you wrote your book?

There seem to be more projects, like the Bushwick Collective and the Welling Court Mural Project, that give artists legal opportunities to paint outdoors.

TerraCycle patrick verel graffiti murals NJ Patrick Verel on <em>Graffiti Murals: Exploring the Impacts of Street Art</em>

Published by Schiffer Publishing, Graffiti Murals: Exploring the Impacts of Street Art, is available online and in most bookstores.

Interview by Lois Stavsky

Photos of murals by Patrick Verel

1. Book cover, Lank completes mural he painted with Delve, Luv1 and Casso in Jersey City

2. Wallnuts mural in Gowanus with Dos, Chester, Muse, Been3 and Werc

3. 5Pointz in LIC with Meres, Zimad and more

4. Robots Will Kill in Bushwick with Chris, Veng, Peeta, Never & ECB

5. Taste, Mek, Evak, Sno Reo & Zoe at TerraCycle in Trenton, NJ

Note: Our highly acclaimed Street Art NYC App is now available here at Google Play for Android devices.

en play badge 2 Patrick Verel on <em>Graffiti Murals: Exploring the Impacts of Street Art</em>

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Jily Ballistic and JPO art 17 Frost <em>SOLD Magazine</em> Launches with Exhibit at 17 Frost: Jily Ballistic with JPO, Chris RWK,  Raquel Echanique, Elle and Ramiro Davaro

SOLD Magazine launched this past Thursday evening with an exhibit — co-curated with Ellis Gallagher — and party at 17 Frost. When I stopped by early in the evening, I had the opportunity to speak to John Paul O’Grodnick, who — along with Greg Frederick and BD White – made it all happen.

 Just what is SOLD Magazine?

SOLD Magazine is a free magazine by artists for artists and art lovers. Among its features are: artists interviewing each other, studio visits, artist and photographer profiles, a travel section and much more.

What motivated you thee to launch it?

A sense that artists need a new platform for exposure. Our mission is to provide that platform.

chris rwk art 17 frost <em>SOLD Magazine</em> Launches with Exhibit at 17 Frost: Jily Ballistic with JPO, Chris RWK,  Raquel Echanique, Elle and Ramiro Davaro

 When did you guys first begin working on SOLD Magazine? And how did you fund it?

We began working on it at the beginning of October, and we funded it via a Kickstarter campaign.

It’s great that your campaign was so successful! What has been your greatest challenge in seeing this through?

Rounding up the artists whom we wanted to participate in our venture.

raquel echanique 17 Frost exhibit <em>SOLD Magazine</em> Launches with Exhibit at 17 Frost: Jily Ballistic with JPO, Chris RWK,  Raquel Echanique, Elle and Ramiro Davaro

 Was it an open call? How did you decide which artists to include?

No! It was artists we’ve known and worked with in the past. Some of them suggested others.

How often do you expect to publish SOLD Magazine?

Once every three months. It is intended as a quarterly.

elle art 17 Frost nyc <em>SOLD Magazine</em> Launches with Exhibit at 17 Frost: Jily Ballistic with JPO, Chris RWK,  Raquel Echanique, Elle and Ramiro Davaro

How will folks be able to get hold of it?

We plan to make it available in galleries and museums throughout the city, as well as in local businesses here in Williamsburg.

I notice that this premier issue focuses on female artists, with your first cover featuring Gilf and Elle. What can we expect in future issues?

Every issue will have a theme. Our next one will focus on collaborations.

Ramiro Davato art at 17 Frost <em>SOLD Magazine</em> Launches with Exhibit at 17 Frost: Jily Ballistic with JPO, Chris RWK,  Raquel Echanique, Elle and Ramiro Davaro

 That sounds great! Congratulations!

Note: The above images of are of works that were on exhibit and for sale at Thursday evening’s SOLD Magazine‘s launch:

1. Jily Ballistic and John Paul O’Grodnick aka JPO

2. Chris RWK

3. Raquel Echanique

4. Elle

5. Ramiro Davaro

Interview by Lois Stavsky and photos by Tara Murray

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el nino de las pinturas art hart house east harlem nyc Kristy McCarthy aka D Gale on HART: the Harlem Art Collective

A collective of artists based primarily in Harlem, HART has become an active force in the uptown arts scene. While visiting its space, I had the opportunity to speak to one of its founders, Kristy McCarthy aka D Gale.

Can you tell us something about HART’s mission?

Our mission is to use art as a tool to engage, educate and empower the members of our Harlem community.  We are especially interested in beautifying abandoned and neglected spaces.

lexi bella danielle mastrion d gale street art east harlem nyc Kristy McCarthy aka D Gale on HART: the Harlem Art Collective

When was the Harlem Art Collective first born?  And was anyone – besides you – involved in its conception?

It officially began last February. Gia Gutierrez and I had talked about starting some sort of Harlem-based artist organization. But as she didn’t have enough free time at that point to devote to launching it, Harold Baines and I organized the first few meetings with about 10 other artists and community members.

How did you get the word out?  And how many artists are currently involved?

We initially got the word out mostly via emails and through our personal networks. About 40 artists currently participate.

D Gale public art east harlem nyc Kristy McCarthy aka D Gale on HART: the Harlem Art Collective

Here at HART’s base, you provide space for local artists to live and free studio space for artists to create. In addition, you rent out two of the bedrooms to folks who are in NYC for short periods of time.  How did you come upon such an amazing 5-bedroom space in the heart of East Harlem?

We found out about it from the building’s landlord. And its size and location made it a perfect match for our needs.

Among your projects is the always-engaging Guerilla Gallery on 116th Street off 2nd Avenue. It has introduced us to many new artists, and it also showcases art by some of our all-time favorite ones. What other projects have you initiated? 

We have partnered with other community organizations — such as the East Harlem Block Nursery, Concrete Safaris and the Manatí Community Garden – to paint murals at block parties and community events. We worked with Urban Innovations to paint and install little free libraries in community gardens around Harlem, and we have hosted free art workshops at the HART house.

Guerrilla gallery street art east harlem nyc Kristy McCarthy aka D Gale on HART: the Harlem Art Collective

How can an artist join your collective?

We hold meetings twice a month. Anyone interested in attending and finding out more about HART can contact us via our Facebook page. We are also going to start a monthly newsletter this spring and, hopefully, add a community calendar to the Guerilla Gallery.

What’s ahead?

We are working on organizing a spring show that will feature artists from the collective and from the neighborhood. We are also working on starting other Guerrilla Galleries on abandoned construction walls around Harlem. And we are planning to paint more murals that directly involve the community. We have, also, recently formed a women’s caucus within the collective to organize projects specifically dedicated to women’s issues and female empowerment.

steve perez zerkoler bio tats cru street art east harlem nyc Kristy McCarthy aka D Gale on HART: the Harlem Art Collective

That sounds great! Good luck with it all. We are looking forward!

Images:

1. El Nino de las Pinturas, inside the Hart House

2. Lexi Bella, Danielle Mastrion and Kristy McCarthy in East Harlem

3. Kristy McCarthy in East Harlem

4. The Guerrilla Gallery in East Harlem, as seen earlier this year

5. Steve Perez, Zerk Oer and Bio,Tats Cru at the Guerrilla Gallery in East Harlem, as seen this past week on massive wall spelling out E-L  B-A-R-R-I-O

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

Interview by Lois Stavsky

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rocko the art of peace Lady K Fever Curates <em>The Art of Peace</em> at Al Iman Community Center with Rocko, BG183, Meres, Chris Riggs, Scratch, Lexi Bella and more

Curated by Lady K Fever and hosted by Aldo Perez, Ihe Art of Peace, an exhibit of mural and graffiti art celebrating peace, opens tonight at the Al Iman Community Center. I had the opportunity to speak to Lady K Fever while visiting the space at 2006 Westchester Avenue earlier this week.

BG 183 the art of piece mural art Lady K Fever Curates <em>The Art of Peace</em> at Al Iman Community Center with Rocko, BG183, Meres, Chris Riggs, Scratch, Lexi Bella and more

Can you tell us something about the concept behind this exhibit?

It is an exploration of the notion of peace from the perspective of artists representing a range of ideologies, nationalities, religious backgrounds and ethnicities. The title is a take on The Art of War by Sun Tzu written in the 6th century B.C.

meres the art of peace graffiti Lady K Fever Curates <em>The Art of Peace</em> at Al Iman Community Center with Rocko, BG183, Meres, Chris Riggs, Scratch, Lexi Bella and more

What inspired it?

It was inspired by Peace December, an organization started five years ago dedicating the month of December to celebrating peace. As Sheikh Musa Drammeh of Peace December contends, trillions of dollars are spent on defense and none are allocated to promoting peace. 

chris riggs graffiti art Lady K Fever Curates <em>The Art of Peace</em> at Al Iman Community Center with Rocko, BG183, Meres, Chris Riggs, Scratch, Lexi Bella and more

As curator, how did you decide which artists to engage in this exhibit? 

When Aldo Perez approached me to curate it, I sought artists from a range of backgrounds and communities. Many, in fact, had already been engaged in community-based projects promoting co-existence.

scratch and lady k fever the art of peace Lady K Fever Curates <em>The Art of Peace</em> at Al Iman Community Center with Rocko, BG183, Meres, Chris Riggs, Scratch, Lexi Bella and more

What were some of the particular challenges you faced in curating this exhibit?

My main concern was that the imagry would not offend the community. I also had to keep the artists’ egos in check, reminding them that The Art of Peace’s principal mission is to promote peace. And I was working with a limited budget.

lexi bella envision peace Lady K Fever Curates <em>The Art of Peace</em> at Al Iman Community Center with Rocko, BG183, Meres, Chris Riggs, Scratch, Lexi Bella and more

The exhibit opens this evening from 6-10pm. How might folks — who can’t make it this evening — see it?

Yes, there will be a reception tonight with DJ Prince Tafari, the artists and special guests — including Assemblyman Jose Rivera. There will also be select artworks for sale. Folks who won’t be able to attend can email artists4peacebx@gmail.com and arrange a time to visit The Art of Peace.

the art of peace Lady K Fever Curates <em>The Art of Peace</em> at Al Iman Community Center with Rocko, BG183, Meres, Chris Riggs, Scratch, Lexi Bella and more

Images:

1.  Rocko 

2. BG183, Tats Cru with Lady K Fever and Aldo Perez posed in front

3. Meres One

4. Chris Riggs

5. Scratch and Lady K Fever

6. Lexi Bella

Interview and photos by Lois Stavsky

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Brooklyn-based Sara Erenthal has shared her distinct drawings, public art, sculptures, and mixed media artworks with us New Yorkers for the past several years in both galleries and on the streets. After viewing her current outdoor installation adjacent to FiveMyles, I had the opportunity speak with her:

sara erenthal fivemyles art installation crown heights nyc Brooklyn Based Sara Erenthal on her Public Artworks, Self Portraits, Ultra Orthodox Jewish Upbringing and more

I love your installation here in Crown Heights adjacent to FiveMyles. When did you first begin to share your talents in public spaces?

About four years ago – soon after I returned to NYC from backpacking in India – I drew 100 small faces with a Sharpie in a range of places from phone booths to subways.  It was quite secretive! And, luckily, I was never arrested. These days I can’t take those risks, and I only paint outside on found objects – like abandoned mattresses, castoff furniture, useless appliances and discarded canvases.

Why the streets?

I’ve always loved street art, and I love sharing with others. When I paint on found objects and leave them on the streets, I give people the chance to pick up a free gift. Art should be accessible to the public, and art galleries can be intimidating.

sara erenthal art on found object Brooklyn Based Sara Erenthal on her Public Artworks, Self Portraits, Ultra Orthodox Jewish Upbringing and more

When did you first begin drawing?

I’ve been drawing all my life, and I’ve always loved art. But growing up in an ultra-Orthodox family, I wasn’t exposed to art outside of a few landscapes and portraits of Hasidic rabbis. I never went to museums or galleries. I do remember, though, seeing art that I loved while I was riding the subways as a child!

When were you first exposed to contemporary art – other than what was “permissible” and what you saw on the subway trains?

I was 17, and I had just broken away from my community. A young Israeli artist at the time introduced me to modern African drawings. That was the beginning!

sara erenthal chassid portrait Brooklyn Based Sara Erenthal on her Public Artworks, Self Portraits, Ultra Orthodox Jewish Upbringing and more

How might your strict religious upbringing have influenced your artwork?

Art was my way of releasing myself from all the constraints that had been imposed upon me.  Through art, I was able to let go of the negativity I’d experienced as a child. Creating art was part of my healing process.

Your artwork has a distinct “outsider” aesthetic. Have you ever studied art in a formal setting?

No.

sara erenthal portrait in room Brooklyn Based Sara Erenthal on her Public Artworks, Self Portraits, Ultra Orthodox Jewish Upbringing and more

You are obviously fond of creating portraits. Who are these people who surface in your drawings?

Many are me – variations of myself at different stages in my life. They’re self-conscious representations of my subconscious. Others are people I encounter in my everyday life or people from my past who remain with me.

Are you generally satisfied with your work?

Yes – but I’m frustrated that I often lack the time, space and materials to do a fraction of what I’d like to do.

sara erenthalself portrait with coffee stains Brooklyn Based Sara Erenthal on her Public Artworks, Self Portraits, Ultra Orthodox Jewish Upbringing and more

Can you elaborate a bit on some of the challenges you face as an artist?

Yes. Working to meet basic expenses consumes far too much energy and time. I would like to be able to create when I’m inspired. Our society needs to do more to support artists. Artists are undervalued. Most people don’t take artists seriously enough. They tend to perceive what we do as frivolous or self-indulgent. Living one’s life as an artist is not a choice; nor is it an indulgence.  And the public needs to understand that.

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

To share beauty and inspire others, while evoking conversation.

sara erenthal portrait on found art Brooklyn Based Sara Erenthal on her Public Artworks, Self Portraits, Ultra Orthodox Jewish Upbringing and more

What’s ahead?

I would like to continue to create, heal and share. I would also love to exhibit more works in public spaces and in galleries. And I would like to gain more recognition as an artist.

Note: Sara’s installation, Made On a Borrowed iPad – curated by gallery director Hanne Tierney for the Interlude Project – will remain on view through December adjacent to FiveMyles, 558 St Johns Place in Crown Heights.

The interview was conducted and edited by Lois StavskyPhotos: 1  Anthony Disparte; 2 – 4 courtesy of Sara Erenthal; 5 & 6 Lois Stavsky

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Last month, West Coast-based Kai Aspire was avidly gracing NYC streets with his earnest artworks. I had the opportunity to meet up with him then and pose a few questions:

kai aspire with flowers Speaking with West Coast Based Kai Aspire in NYC

When and where did you first get up on a public surface?

I was 15 years old, and it was in LA.

What inspired you at the time?

My dad was a heavy smoker, and I was concerned about his health. The first work of art I created was to get his attention, and it did!

Bushwick summer  Speaking with West Coast Based Kai Aspire in NYC

Did you have any preferred surfaces back then?

The electrical boxes in LA were ideal!

Were you ever arrested?

Just as I was leaving a spot in Beverly Hills, a cop pulled a gun on me. He then handcuffed me and lay me on the floor. Six back-up cops came and made me remove everything that I put up. But they didn’t arrest me. They told me – somewhat apologetically — that they liked what I was doing!

How does your family feel about what you are doing?

They love it!  My mom gets a little scared sometimes. But she wants me to be happy, and she knows that what I am doing makes me happy.

kai aspire running  Speaking with West Coast Based Kai Aspire in NYC

What percentage of your time is devoted to your art these days?

Just about all of it!

 Any other passions?

Surfing and soccer.

How do you feel about the movement of graffiti and street art into galleries?

It’s fine, so long as we don’t lose our touch with the streets. But my focus is on bringing the beauty of galleries onto the streets. That is why I pay so much attention to how my works are framed.

kai aspire bombarded Speaking with West Coast Based Kai Aspire in NYC

What about the corporate world? Any feelings about working with it?

I try to avoid it.

Do you prefer working alone or collaborating with others?

It’s easier for me to work by myself, as I have a distinct vision as to how I want to present my artwork.

Have any particular cultures influenced your aesthetic?

My father’s French and growing up, I read French comics. And my mother’s Mexican heritage has most likely influenced the relief-work that I do. I love working with my hands.

kai aspire with tree Speaking with West Coast Based Kai Aspire in NYC

What is the riskiest thing you ever did?

Trying to get my message of reconciliation – love instead of hate — out in Hebron amidst gunshots, while hiding from the police. I was lucky to get out alive.

Yes! Hebron is definitely one of the world’s most conflict-ridden places. You’ve recently begun a world tour. Where else are you headed?

In addition to Hebron, I’ve been to Paris and Tel Aviv. Other stops include: West Palm Beach, Miami, LA, San Francisco, Bogota, New Zealand, Australia, Mexico and Brazil.

That’s quite ambitious! How do you feel about the role of the Internet in this scene?

It’s certainly interesting. It seems to blur the line between marketing and art, as it can give an artist a lot of exposure.

kai aspire trapped Speaking with West Coast Based Kai Aspire in NYC

Have you a formal art education?

I studied for one year at CalArts, the California Institute of the Arts, and then I learned the more practical aspects of art at ENSBA, Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris.

What inspires you these days?

Everyday life.

You obviously have a message you are interested in transmitting. 

Yes. Much of my work is a comment on our misplaced values.

kai aspire  Speaking with West Coast Based Kai Aspire in NYC

How has your work evolved in the past few years?

The process is more complex, and I use less sarcasm in getting my message across.

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

To bring beauty to the world as he or she critiques it in a loving way.

That sounds good! Best of luck with your travels!

Interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky; Photo 2 by Lois Stavsky; all others courtesy of the artist.

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Last month, I had the opportunity to meet up with the young, wonderfully talented Danish artist Andreas Welin while he was painting in Bed-Stuy during his recent visit to NYC.

welin street art bed stuy nyc Speaking with Danish Graffiti Artist and Muralist Andreas Welin

When and where did you first hit the streets?

I was 18 when I first painted on the streets. It was in my native Sønderborg, a small town in Southern Denmark.

What inspired you to hit the streets?

I was inspired by the art and graffiti that I saw on the streets. And L:Ron, a first generation Danish writer and rapper, helped me get into the graffiti scene.

Any early memories that stand out?

When I was 13 years old, I came upon a parking lot filled with all kinds of graffiti styles. I was amazed!

welin paints graffiti nyc Speaking with Danish Graffiti Artist and Muralist Andreas Welin

When you began painting, did you paint on your own? Or were you with a crew?

For four years, I painted with the SBP Sonderbronx Punks graffiti crew.

What about these days? Do you prefer working alone or collaborating with others?

I love collaborating, but I’d rather be commissioned to paint on my own.

Any particularly risky moments?

Bombing is always risky.

welin roskilde festival Denmark Speaking with Danish Graffiti Artist and Muralist Andreas Welin

How does your family feel about what you are doing?

They love it! My mom is a designer and my father was an artist. Both my parents are supportive.

What percentage of your time is devoted to art?

My mind is always on art. But I paint publicly three to four times a week.

Is art the main source of your income?

Yes…the money I earn from commissions.

weilin mek1 jersey jam trenton Speaking with Danish Graffiti Artist and Muralist Andreas Welin

How do you feel about the movement of graffiti and street art into galleries and museums?

I think it’s cool. It motivates us artists to further develop our skills, and it gives us exposure.

Why do you suppose graffiti is more respected as an art form in Europe than here in the U.S.?

I think that the European writers have had many more opportunities to develop their skills and take them to another level. Unlike here, there are legal walls and trains in just about every town.

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

It’s great!  It’s an extra advertisement for me, and what I see often inspires me.

welin street art close up LIC NYC Speaking with Danish Graffiti Artist and Muralist Andreas Welin

Do you have a formal arts education?

I studied Fine Arts for one year.

Are there any particular cultures that have influenced your aesthetic?

I’ve been influenced by the hip-hop culture and by the art I’ve seen while visiting other cities and galleries.

What are some of the other cities you’ve painted in – besides your native town and NYC?

Among the cities I’ve painted in are: Berlin, Lisbon, Toronto, Eindhoven, Roskilde and Copenhagen.

welin street art greenpoint nyc Speaking with Danish Graffiti Artist and Muralist Andreas Welin

Are you generally satisfied with your work?

I’m usually pretty happy with it. I don’t want to be too satisfied!

How has your artwork evolved in the past few years?

It’s evolved quite a bit.  It used to be cartoony. These days my style tends to be more realistic.

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

It is to beautify a space, while giving people something new to think about.

welin street art tuff city nyc Speaking with Danish Graffiti Artist and Muralist Andreas Welin

What’s ahead?

I’m not sure, but I know that I will be painting. And I’d like to return to the NYC and, perhaps, intern with a company like Colossal Media. I want to be able to paint outdoors and support myself as a painter.

Note:  photos 1, 2, 5-7 in NYC; 3 in Denmark and 4 collab with Mek in Trenton, NJ

Photos: 1 & 5 Lois Stavsky; 2 Tara Murray; 3, 4 & 7 courtesy of the artist; interview by Lois Stavsky

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brian lacey  1xRUN Production Manager Brian Lacey in Detroit on 1xRUN, Graffiti, Limited Prints and <em>Tag the Jewels </em>

Based in Detroi’s Eastern Market district, 1xRUN is the world’s leading publisher of fine art editions for original art.  Also host to Detroit’s Inner State Gallery, a world-renowned exhibition space, it works with established and emerging artists throughout the globe. When I stopped by on my recent visit to Detroit, I had the opportunity to speak to 1xRUN Production Manager Brian Lacey.

Can you tell us something about your role as 1xRUN production manager? Just what does your job entail?

I am involved with every step of the printing process. I communicate with the artists, set up files for printing, retouch images, trim prints, create certificates of authenticity and I place orders with vendors.

You are an artist. Is that what attracted you to this particular space? 

Yes, as an artist I was drawn to this space. I have a background in graffiti and a degree from the College for Creative Studies, where I studied illustration and fine arts.

run the jewels detroit  1xRUN Production Manager Brian Lacey in Detroit on 1xRUN, Graffiti, Limited Prints and <em>Tag the Jewels </em>

Has your experience as a graffiti writer impacted you?

Definitely! Graffiti is a great teacher. I learned a lot from it — on so many levels.

1xRUN collaborates with so many extraordinary artists. How do you select them? Is it a team effort?

Yes! It’s definitely a team effort. We have weekly sessions where a group of us meet to make curatorial decisions. Selections are made by the consensus of us all.

see one print 1XRun  1xRUN Production Manager Brian Lacey in Detroit on 1xRUN, Graffiti, Limited Prints and <em>Tag the Jewels </em>

Has your position at 1xRUN presented any personal challenges?

As someone who loves working hands-on, I had to adjust to spending a lot of time in front of a computer. But it’s awesome to be able to look at art all day!

1xRUN is best-known for the first-rate prints it produces. Does it offer anything in addition to prints?

It does offer a number of original works, books and sketches.

binho print 1xrun  1xRUN Production Manager Brian Lacey in Detroit on 1xRUN, Graffiti, Limited Prints and <em>Tag the Jewels </em>

What about the name 1xRUN?

It’s about offering limited editions of outstanding works that run for one time (1X) only.  Too many print releases can devalue an artist’s work.

I can see that. I love these images on exhibit in Tag the Jewels. Can you tell us something about this project?

It is a partnership among Run The Jewels, 1xRUN and Mass Appeal. Graffiti artists from around the world created murals celebrating the one year anniversary of Run The Jewels 2 (RTJ2). On exhibit are 20 photos of these murals spanning six continents.

frop muso print run the jewels 1xrun  1xRUN Production Manager Brian Lacey in Detroit on 1xRUN, Graffiti, Limited Prints and <em>Tag the Jewels </em>

 What a great concept! And what an amazing range of art on display throughout this space! 

Images:

1. Brian Lacey to the right of his artwork, T002

2. Jesse Kassel and Elmer for Tag the Jewels

3. See One for Tag the Jewels

4. Binho for Tag the Jewels

5. Frop and Muso for Tag the Jewels

Interview and photos by Lois Stavsky

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Okudua street art on Lafayette David Sharabani in NYC Lord K2 Turns His Lens on the Streets of NYC with Okuda, Buff Monster, Geobany, GumShoe, Icy and Sot & more

A huge fan of Lord K2’s photography and his outstanding book, Street Art Santiago, I was delighted to discover that Lord K2 has also been photographing NYC’s street art and graffiti.  During his most recent stopover in NYC, I had the opportunity to speak to him.

Why NYC?

Because it is the epicenter of it all.  It is where graffiti was born, and where the best artists from across the globe come to paint.

Buff Monster in Bushwick Brooklyn NYC Lord K2 Turns His Lens on the Streets of NYC with Okuda, Buff Monster, Geobany, GumShoe, Icy and Sot & more

Any distinct standouts?

Os Gemeos immediately comes to mind. But just about every artist who has painted on the famed Bowery wall is extraordinary. And the L.I.S.A Project, too, has brought so many first-rate artists to Manhattan.  My initial focus was just Manhattan because the borough attracts so many outstanding artists.

But you had begun to photograph beyond Manhattan.

Yes. I decided that I did not want to limit myself. And among the sites I’ve photographed outside of Manhattan are the Welling Court Mural Project in Astoria, Queens and the Bushwick Collective in Brooklyn.

David Sharabani At Welling Court Mural Project Lord K2 Turns His Lens on the Streets of NYC with Okuda, Buff Monster, Geobany, GumShoe, Icy and Sot & more

Many of your photos are in black and white. Why is that?

Too much color in a book can oversaturate the senses. And when I capture the artists in action, I find that limiting the image to black and white often creates a more satisfying overall portrait.

Any particular inspirations among the photographers out there?

I was definitely inspired by Martha Cooper’s work. And the late Garry Winogrand’s photos of Manhattan have influenced my approach to street photography.

Geobany Lord K2 Turns His Lens on the Streets of NYC with Okuda, Buff Monster, Geobany, GumShoe, Icy and Sot & more

How have the artists you’ve photographed responded to you?

They’ve all been welcoming and warm.

How long have you been working on this project?

I began two years ago  Taking my time allows me to photograph the new art works that arise which, in turn, allows me to curate from a larger selection.

Gumshoe art photo David Sharabani NYC Lord K2 Turns His Lens on the Streets of NYC with Okuda, Buff Monster, Geobany, GumShoe, Icy and Sot & more

You spent a considerable amount of time in South America. What are some of the most striking differences between the street art scene here in NYC and what you experienced there?

I found that in South America the artists generally paint for the love of it. And making a living out of art is a bigger challenge in South America than it is here. In NYC, financial considerations come more into play, as many of the artists have more opportunities to get the attention of gallerists and collectors.  Also, in South America lines are blurred between what is legal and what is illegal. There’s a general leniency towards unsanctioned art, while here in NYC painting illegally is quite problematic.

Icy and Sot Lord K2 Turns His Lens on the Streets of NYC with Okuda, Buff Monster, Geobany, GumShoe, Icy and Sot & more

Absolutely! And accessing legal walls can be quite challenging! When can we expect to see you back in NYC?

I plan to return in the summer.

That sounds great! The walls are waiting for you!

Interview by Lois Stavsky; all photos Lord K2

Images: 1. Okuda  2. Buff Monster  3. SweetCrimes  4 .Geobany  5. GumShoe & 6. Icy and Sot

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