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Speaking with Scratch

March 5, 2015

An impassioned graffiti artist, Stockholm native Scratch is the only female to have painted at the legendary Graffiti Hall of Fame for four consecutive years.  Last year, together with her writing partner, Lady K Fever, she founded The Bronx Graffiti Art Gallery an outdoor public art space featuring several internationally acclaimed graffiti artists. Scratch‘s public works can be seen in the Bronx, East Harlem and in Upper Manhattan.

scratch 720 nyc Speaking with Scratch

When and where did you first get up?

I was 14 when I first painted in my native city of Stockholm.  But I was a toy back then!

What were the circumstances?

The Swedish town I was living in at the time had become concerned about its “graffiti problem.” And so the government decided to establish a “graffiti school,” where we would be taught to paint in legal venues. I just wanted a space and free paint.

What was that experience like?

There were no formal classes, so we were free to learn from each other. And of course just about everyone who attended improved their skills and continued to painting illegally! I was the only girl who showed up.

Were there any artists who inspired you back then?

Yes! There was Brain – who taught at the  “graffiti school.” He was a major inspiration. And others who inspired me were Circle, Ward, Ziggy & Dizzy and Zappo.

scratch graffiti graffiti universe Bronx NYC Speaking with Scratch

Did you do anything risky back then?  

One Christmas morning – when all the shutters were down – I went out and bombed just about every store on my town’s main street.

That does sound risky! Why were you willing to take that kind of risk?

I was only 14; I didn’t really think about the consequences of my actions.

You moved to NYC in 1998 to work as a graphic designer. When did you begin painting graffiti here? And what got you back into it?

I hadn’t painted for many years. And then one day, as I was riding the 7 train into Flushing, I passed 5Pointz.  I couldn’t believe my eyes! A few days later, I went back to check it out, and that was it! I was hooked again. That was back in 2008.

What was it like for you at 5Pointz?

It was great. Meres is an amazing teacher, and just about all the writers I met there were kind and helpful.

scratch tats cru train small Speaking with Scratch

Any thoughts on the graffiti/ street art divide?

Graffiti and street art are very different. There may be some crossover, but they will remain distinct art forms. Graffiti is still identified with vandalism, and street artists get far more respect and recognition than do graffiti writers. But graffiti – to me – is stronger. It is more honest and direct.

How do you feel about the movement of graffiti into galleries? Have you shown your work in galleries?

Graffiti wasn’t intended to be painted on a canvas. Sometimes it works; other times it doesn’t. But I have no problem with it. Yes, I’ve shown in a number of galleries.

What about the corporate world? Any thoughts about that?

I’m used to it. My background is in advertising.

Do you prefer working alone or collaborating with others?

I often work alone, but I’ve collaborated with Lady K Fever, and I assisted Kingbee and Vase at the Graffiti Hall of Fame.  I like both! I look forward to collaborating more with other artists.

scratch graffiti train Speaking with Scratch

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

I feel positive about it. I get to see artworks I would never, otherwise, get to see

Do you have a formal arts education?

No, my background is in advertising and marketing. I studied at Pace University.

What inspires you these days?

Fantasy. I’m a huge fan of Lord of the Rings.

Are there any particular cultures you feel influenced your aesthetic?

I’d have to say the early graffiti writers in Sweden. But there they are referred to as graffiti painters – not writers!

scratch graffiti hall of fame Speaking with Scratch

Do you work with a sketch in your hand or do you let it flow?

Yes. I always have some kind of sketch with me when I paint.

Are you generally satisfied with your work?

No! I always want to change it.

How has your work evolved in the past few years?

It’s gotten better. It’s more detailed.

Pop up show Speaking with Scratch

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

To share his or her story with others.

What’s ahead for you?

More walls and huge productions. And also more opportunities to show my work.

Note: You can meet Scratch, along with other members of the The Bronx Graffiti Art Gallery, tomorrow from 6 – 8pm at the spray can art show at Scrap Yard at 300 West Broadway between Grand and Canal Streets.

Interview by Lois Stavsky; photos 1, 3 & 4 courtesy of Scratch 2. Lois Stavsky, and 5, Dani Reyes Mozeson

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For the past several wintry months, fiber artist Naomi RAG has been beautifying East Harlem with her splendid yarn bombing. Yesterday, I spoke briefly to Naomi.

Naomi Rag yarn bombing NYC Fiber Artist Naomi RAG Yarnbombs East Harlem

 When did you first begin to grace public streets with your talents?

The first time I yarnbombed was four years ago back in Cambridge, England.

 What inspired you to do so at the time?

Via social media, I had heard about International Yarnbombing Day, and I loved the idea of bringing color and beauty to our urban landscape.

Naomi RAG yarn bomb east harlem street art nyc Fiber Artist Naomi RAG Yarnbombs East Harlem

naomi RAG street art yarn bomb east harlem New Years Eve Pointsettia nyc Fiber Artist Naomi RAG Yarnbombs East Harlem

Where else have you yarnbombed?

Liverpool’s Crosby District — where I was staying for a bit — and here in East Harlem, where I’ve lived for the past year.

 What is your impression of your new neighborhood?

I just love it! I especially love its diversity. It is quite similar to the London Borough of Hackney.

Naomi RAG east harlem tree yarn bombing Fiber Artist Naomi RAG Yarnbombs East Harlem

Naomi RAG east harlem installation nyc street art  Fiber Artist Naomi RAG Yarnbombs East Harlem

How have folks here responded to your pieces here in East Harlem?

All the feedback has been positive. And it’s the positive reactions that motivate me to keep at it.

What’s ahead?

My goal is to create one new piece a month to share here in the public sphere.

That sounds great!  We are looking forward! 

Photos 1-3, Lois Stavsky; 4 & 5, Dani Reyes Mozeson

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EKG closing party EKG♥NYC Closing Event Tonight at Skewville in Long Island City

Since the February 13th opening of EKG♥NYC, NYC-based writer EKG has been busy at work on his installation for the closing reception. We stopped by earlier this week and had the opportunity to ask the artist a few questions:

Your orange pulse has become an integral part of our city’s visual landscape. What does it represent?

It’s chemical communication...an expression of connectedness and collaboration. It’s a sign of energy vibrating on everything everywhere. I see it as the heartbeat of our city.

EKG Smells artwork EKG♥NYC Closing Event Tonight at Skewville in Long Island City

Why orange?

I like its intensity and the way it integrates into the cityscape.

This installation is astounding! The walls are covered with cryptic orange diagrams. A cloudy haze emanating from a heavy metal concert fog machine fills the air, and your iconic symbol is everywhere — on and amidst milk crates, ladders, spray cans, cages and more. What is going on here?

It’s an abstract sillouette of New York’s cityscape. All of the elements represent the connections among all things. The smoke and the electronic music heighten the intensity of it all.

EKG Installation EKG♥NYC Closing Event Tonight at Skewville in Long Island City

Your official opening was on February 13th, the day before Valentine’s Day. Can you tell us something about that? And how did that go?

It was originally intended as an All Hallows’ Valentine’ Eve celebration of misfit love, mutant science and aesthetic rebellion. The turnout was great and the entire experience was awesome!

EKG painting EKG♥NYC Closing Event Tonight at Skewville in Long Island City

I love your shop here. Your symbol is everywhere from t-shirts and zines to prints and paintings — and everything is so affordable!

Yes. It’s a homage to Keith Haring’s legendary pop shop, but as if it was created by Tim Burton, Marilyn Manson, Walter White and Stephen Hawking!

What can folks expect tonight?

I’ve continued to build up my installation, and the closing ceremony will once again feature the Doomdronecore performance by the avant-garde electronic artist, Jefferson Wells.

musician EKG♥NYC Closing Event Tonight at Skewville in Long Island City

Good luck! It is certain to be amazing!

Note: Tonight’s closing event begins at 6 pm at 35-18 37th Street in Long Island City.

Photos: First image features photo by Katherine Lorimer aka Luna Park; 2-5 by Lois Stavsky; image 2 is a collaboration with Smells.

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Pablo Power A Circle Unbroken Pablo Powers Solo Exhibit, <em>A Circle Unbroken: Tributes in Pattern</em>, at Tribecas No Romance Galleries through Today

A Circle Unbroken: Tributes in Pattern, Pablo Power’s solo exhibit at No Romance Galleries, is a splendid poetic homage to life’s cycles and patterns. Reflecting Power’s vast experience with both graffiti and the streets, the multi-media images presented here fuse a dreamlike beauty with a rich rawness. Here is a sampling:

Success and Reformation, Acrylic, mixed media and image transfer on wood panel, close-up

Pablo Power Success and reaffirmation Pablo Powers Solo Exhibit, <em>A Circle Unbroken: Tributes in Pattern</em>, at Tribecas No Romance Galleries through Today

Ouroboros As Metro MoverAcrylic, mixed media and image transfer on wood panel

Pablo Power Ouroboros as Metro Mover Pablo Powers Solo Exhibit, <em>A Circle Unbroken: Tributes in Pattern</em>, at Tribecas No Romance Galleries through Today

Close-up

Pablo Power close up Ouroboros Pablo Powers Solo Exhibit, <em>A Circle Unbroken: Tributes in Pattern</em>, at Tribecas No Romance Galleries through Today

Gay Science and Joyous Wisdom, Acrylic, mixed media and image transfer on wood panel

Pablo Power Gay Science and Joyous Wisdom Pablo Powers Solo Exhibit, <em>A Circle Unbroken: Tributes in Pattern</em>, at Tribecas No Romance Galleries through Today

Half Cycle in Light, Acrylic, mixed media and image transfer on plexi glass

Pablo Power half cycle in light Pablo Powers Solo Exhibit, <em>A Circle Unbroken: Tributes in Pattern</em>, at Tribecas No Romance Galleries through Today

Pablo Power Light Pablo Powers Solo Exhibit, <em>A Circle Unbroken: Tributes in Pattern</em>, at Tribecas No Romance Galleries through Today

The exhibit continues until tomorrow, Thursday, February 26 at 355 Broadway in Tribeca.

Photos 1, 4, 5, 7  & 8 City-as-School intern Zachariah Messaoud; 2, 3 & 6, Lois Stavsky

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centre fuge street art nyc Centre fuge Public Art Project Cycle 16 to Continue in the East Village with: Moody Mutz, Joshua David McKenney, Marthalicia, Michael DeNicola, Lexi Bella, Foxx Faces, BK, Raquel Echanique and more

The Centre-fuge Public Art Project continues its mission to transform the Department of Transportation trailer on First Street and First Avenue into a vibrant open-air gallery. These past few wintry weeks, its 16th cycle has brought an infectious energy to an otherwise cold and stark site. Here are a few close-ups:

Moody at work in mid-December — at the beginning of the current cycle

Moody paints centre fuge public art project nyc1 Centre fuge Public Art Project Cycle 16 to Continue in the East Village with: Moody Mutz, Joshua David McKenney, Marthalicia, Michael DeNicola, Lexi Bella, Foxx Faces, BK, Raquel Echanique and more

Joshua David McKenney at work

joshua david centre fuge street art nyc Centre fuge Public Art Project Cycle 16 to Continue in the East Village with: Moody Mutz, Joshua David McKenney, Marthalicia, Michael DeNicola, Lexi Bella, Foxx Faces, BK, Raquel Echanique and more

And to the right of Pidgin Doll – Marthalicia MatarritaMichael DeNicola, Basil and Lexi Bella

Centre fuge public art projectSest2 and more.nyc  Centre fuge Public Art Project Cycle 16 to Continue in the East Village with: Moody Mutz, Joshua David McKenney, Marthalicia, Michael DeNicola, Lexi Bella, Foxx Faces, BK, Raquel Echanique and more

Foxx FacesRaquel Echanique and Marthalicia Matarrita

Centre fuge public art project cycle 16 NYC 2 Centre fuge Public Art Project Cycle 16 to Continue in the East Village with: Moody Mutz, Joshua David McKenney, Marthalicia, Michael DeNicola, Lexi Bella, Foxx Faces, BK, Raquel Echanique and more

Vernon O’Meally, Lelex and Fade, AA Mobb

centre fuge Vernon OMeally Lelex AA Mobb street art Centre fuge Public Art Project Cycle 16 to Continue in the East Village with: Moody Mutz, Joshua David McKenney, Marthalicia, Michael DeNicola, Lexi Bella, Foxx Faces, BK, Raquel Echanique and more

ArbiterMiss Zukie, Foxx Faces, BK and Sest2

zuki BKfoxx BK Sest centre fuge Centre fuge Public Art Project Cycle 16 to Continue in the East Village with: Moody Mutz, Joshua David McKenney, Marthalicia, Michael DeNicola, Lexi Bella, Foxx Faces, BK, Raquel Echanique and more

Pebbles Russell, who co-founded the Centre-fuge Public Art Project in 2012, reports that Cycle 16 will remain in effect for a few more weeks. If you would like to participate in future cycles of this project, send a sketch, along with reference images to other works, to centrefuge@gmail.com.

Final photo by Lois Stavsky; all others by Dani Reyes Mozeson

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Rafael sliks street art Jose De Diego Middle School as Outdoor Museum: Rafael Sliks, Reka, Bikismo, MTO, Paola Delfin, Martin Whatson, Madsteez, Axel Void, Don Rimx, Diana Contreras, the Hox & more

While in Miami this past week, I had the opportunity to visit the grounds of the Jose De Diego Middle School. On the edge of Wynwood, its students are among the city’s most economically disadvantaged.  Over 600 youngsters, who had been deprived of an arts education due to insufficient funding, now attend a school that is also a wondrous outdoor museum. Curious about it all, I spoke to Don Rimx, one of the many artists who had participated in the school’s amazing transformation.

Reka street art wynwood Jose De Diego Middle School as Outdoor Museum: Rafael Sliks, Reka, Bikismo, MTO, Paola Delfin, Martin Whatson, Madsteez, Axel Void, Don Rimx, Diana Contreras, the Hox & more

How did you become involved in this extraordinary project?

Soon after I moved to Miami, I met Robert Skran of WynwoodMap.com, a site that documents the public art that surfaces in Wynwood. A few months later, he invited me to participate in this particular project, the RAW Project, in partnership with the Wynwood Arts District Association.

Bikismo street art Wynwood Jose De Diego Middle School as Outdoor Museum: Rafael Sliks, Reka, Bikismo, MTO, Paola Delfin, Martin Whatson, Madsteez, Axel Void, Don Rimx, Diana Contreras, the Hox & more

What was the goal of this project? Did it have a particular mission?

One goal, of course, was to transform a drab, blank concrete canvas into a vibrant outdoor gallery. It was also conceived as a means to raise funds to enable the school to restore its arts program that had been lost to budget cuts.

MTO Paola Delfin street art wynwoood Jose De Diego Middle School as Outdoor Museum: Rafael Sliks, Reka, Bikismo, MTO, Paola Delfin, Martin Whatson, Madsteez, Axel Void, Don Rimx, Diana Contreras, the Hox & more

When did the actual painting begin?

We began in November and most of the murals were completed by early December.

martin whatson street art wynwood Jose De Diego Middle School as Outdoor Museum: Rafael Sliks, Reka, Bikismo, MTO, Paola Delfin, Martin Whatson, Madsteez, Axel Void, Don Rimx, Diana Contreras, the Hox & more

How did the students respond to the entire process?

They loved it. They were fascinated. They loved watching us paint, and they kept on asking us questions.

mad steez axel void street art wynwood Jose De Diego Middle School as Outdoor Museum: Rafael Sliks, Reka, Bikismo, MTO, Paola Delfin, Martin Whatson, Madsteez, Axel Void, Don Rimx, Diana Contreras, the Hox & more

What kinds of questions did they ask you? 

Questions like: Why are you painting this? Where did your idea come from? How do you do this? How long will it take you to finish it? Why are you painting sticks?

Don Rimx street art wynwood Jose De Diego Middle School as Outdoor Museum: Rafael Sliks, Reka, Bikismo, MTO, Paola Delfin, Martin Whatson, Madsteez, Axel Void, Don Rimx, Diana Contreras, the Hox & more

Back in December when Art Basel was in town, the school’s makeover attracted so many street art aficionados and art lovers. What’s happening these days?

The entire community loves the murals. The art on these walls have brought us all closer together. When I pass by, I often see teachers taking students on tours of the murals. The kids are always interested in learning something new about them and about the artists. And because so many of the artists traveled to their school from across the globe, there is so much to learn!

diana contreras street art wynwood Jose De Diego Middle School as Outdoor Museum: Rafael Sliks, Reka, Bikismo, MTO, Paola Delfin, Martin Whatson, Madsteez, Axel Void, Don Rimx, Diana Contreras, the Hox & more

This really is fabulous! It would be wonderful if the Jose De Diego Middle School could serve as a model to other schools — on all grade levels — everywhere!

Hox Jose De Diego Middle School street art Miami Jose De Diego Middle School as Outdoor Museum: Rafael Sliks, Reka, Bikismo, MTO, Paola Delfin, Martin Whatson, Madsteez, Axel Void, Don Rimx, Diana Contreras, the Hox & more

The murals pictured above are just a small sampling of what can be seen on the walls of the Jose De Diego Middle School:

1. Brazilian artist Rafael Sliks

2. Australian born, Berlin-based Reka

3. Puerto Rican artist Bikismo

4. French artist MTO (left) and Mexican artist Paola Delfín

5. Norwegian stencil artist Martin Whatson

6. West Coast-based Madsteez (left) and Miami-based Axel Void

7. Puerto Rican artist Don Rimx currently based in Miami  – with son, Kye, standing on bottom right. (I’d asked him to take me to his favorite mural!)

8. Miami-based Peruvian artist Diana Contreras

9. Miami-based the Hox

Photos and post by Lois Stavsky

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Currently on exhibit at the Clemente Soto Velez Cultural and Educational Center on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, Hang It or Skate It features over 20 inventive artworks, each incorporating at least one skateboard.  Here are a few:

Chris Soria, Harold Hunter

chris soria hang it or skate it <em>Hang It or Skate It</em> at the Clemente with: Chris Soria, Savior ElMundo & N Carlos Jay, Danielle Mastrion, Ben Angotti, Esteban del Valle & more

Savior ElMundo and N Carlos Jay, Legends Never Die

Savior ElMundo N Carlos J artwork <em>Hang It or Skate It</em> at the Clemente with: Chris Soria, Savior ElMundo & N Carlos Jay, Danielle Mastrion, Ben Angotti, Esteban del Valle & more

Danielle Mastrion, Brooklyn Banks

danielle mastrion hang <em>Hang It or Skate It</em> at the Clemente with: Chris Soria, Savior ElMundo & N Carlos Jay, Danielle Mastrion, Ben Angotti, Esteban del Valle & more

Ben Angotti, Hamya

Ben Angotti artwork on kateboard <em>Hang It or Skate It</em> at the Clemente with: Chris Soria, Savior ElMundo & N Carlos Jay, Danielle Mastrion, Ben Angotti, Esteban del Valle & more

Esteban del Valle, The Curator, Collector and Artist

Esteban del valle <em>Hang It or Skate It</em> at the Clemente with: Chris Soria, Savior ElMundo & N Carlos Jay, Danielle Mastrion, Ben Angotti, Esteban del Valle & more

Curated by Savior ElMundo, Terry Nelson and Frankie Velez and presented by Hip Hop USA, the exhibit continues through February 27 at the Abrazo Interno Gallery on 107 Suffolk Street.

Photos by Lois Stavsky

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A new series of painting and drawings by the wonderfully talented multi-media artist Michael Alan will be on view at the Klemens Gasser & Tanja Grunert Gallery for two days later this month.  The second day of the exhibit, February 25, will feature a Living Installation. Curious about it all, I posed a few questions to Michael.

Michael Alan artwork Klemens Gasser & Tanja Grunert to Present Michael Alans <em>Immortal Equations</em>: An Exhibit, Living Installation & Theatrical Happening

Can you tell us something about the title Immortal Equations? What does it mean?

For me, great artwork conveys a taste of planning mixed with spontaneity. The great masters made sure your eyes moved all around the picture plane. They sure didn’t want their heads cut off. When I work, whether on a flat surface or on people, I think in terms of something that will live past NOW and, also, has an algorithmic pop to it – whether through color and line or just balance.

The Klemens Gasser & Tanja Grunert Gallery describes Immortal Equations as a Living Installation, a solo exhibition and a theatrical happening. What can attendees expect to happen? 

I’ve been going through myriads of health issues, so I just wanted to do a 2-day special show. On Feb 24th, day one, there will be an exhibit of some new works. I will be there. It’s a basic opening, but my crowd varies from high-end collectors to my boys I grew up with. It’s a real NY show! And I’m planning to return for a month-long exhibit somewhat later on.

cloud city11 Klemens Gasser & Tanja Grunert to Present Michael Alans <em>Immortal Equations</em>: An Exhibit, Living Installation & Theatrical Happening

What about the second day?

On the 25th starting at 6pm, the drawings come to life. I will do my staple event, a Living Installation, with nine others, and six hours of live music by me and Tim “Love” Lee. There will also be six hours of non-stop live-action over-the-top recreation of the human body. 

What would you like your participants to walk away with? What is the mission of this event?

Creative inspiration, happiness, and many thoughts. We live to shut off, especially in a time of high technology. I try to slow time down and let people watch a Human Fish Tank. It’s for the people. I do this for community and for people to come and participate: to make drawings, write and be turned into living paintings.

Michael Alan Klemens Gasser & Tanja Grunert to Present Michael Alans <em>Immortal Equations</em>: An Exhibit, Living Installation & Theatrical Happening

Can you tell us something about this specific venue? The curator?  Who else – besides – you will be featured?

The venue is Klemens Gasser & Tanja Grunert Gallery at 33 Orchard Street off Hester on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Mitra Khorasheh is curating the show. The performers and participants include: David Modelo, Stacey Dawn, Selina Lee, Genevieve Sophie Snow, Kimtacular, Wren, Laura WeylAlyssa D’Anna and photographer Kristen Collins, along with live music by me and Tim “Love” Lee.

How can folks gain admission?

The first night’s exhibit is free and open to the public.  The second night – the Living Installation – is by admission only. For tickets, please visit www.michaelalanart.com under Installation.

Michael Alan Living Installation Klemens Gasser & Tanja Grunert to Present Michael Alans <em>Immortal Equations</em>: An Exhibit, Living Installation & Theatrical Happening

 Interview by Lois Stavsky; photos 1-3 courtesy of the artist; final photo by Kristen Collins

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Woodward Gallery‘s first exhibit of 2015 presents a wonderfully diverse selection of works in a range of media by 20 contemporary artists. Among those artists featured are several with special appeal to us street art aficionados, as their artworks have also surfaced in public spaces. Here’s a sampling:

Moody, Mixed media on album cover, 2015

Moody Mutz at Woodward Gallery  <em>20in15</em> Continues through February at Woodward Gallery with Moody, Darkcloud, Kenji Nakayama, Cycle, stikman, Richard Hambleton & more

Darkcloud, The End Times, Spray paint, enamel and resin on foam core, 2014

Darkcloud The End Times  <em>20in15</em> Continues through February at Woodward Gallery with Moody, Darkcloud, Kenji Nakayama, Cycle, stikman, Richard Hambleton & more

 Darkcloud, close-up

darkclouds close up woodward gallery  <em>20in15</em> Continues through February at Woodward Gallery with Moody, Darkcloud, Kenji Nakayama, Cycle, stikman, Richard Hambleton & more

Kenji Nakayama, Naked Lunch, Acrylic on wood, close-up, 2012

Kenji close up woodward  <em>20in15</em> Continues through February at Woodward Gallery with Moody, Darkcloud, Kenji Nakayama, Cycle, stikman, Richard Hambleton & more

Cycle, Rex vs Rex, Acrylic on canvas, 2013

cycle at woodward gallery  <em>20in15</em> Continues through February at Woodward Gallery with Moody, Darkcloud, Kenji Nakayama, Cycle, stikman, Richard Hambleton & more

stikman, Threaded, Acrylic on plexiglass, 2014

stikman  <em>20in15</em> Continues through February at Woodward Gallery with Moody, Darkcloud, Kenji Nakayama, Cycle, stikman, Richard Hambleton & more

Richard Hambleton, (L) Malibu Seascape, 1986 and (R) Dancing Shadowman, Acrylic on paper, 1983

Richard Hambleton  <em>20in15</em> Continues through February at Woodward Gallery with Moody, Darkcloud, Kenji Nakayama, Cycle, stikman, Richard Hambleton & more

Woodward Gallery is located at 133 Eldridge Street on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. It is open Tuesday – Saturday 11-6pm and Sunday from 12-5pm.

Photos credits: 1 & 3 City-as-School intern Zachariah Messaoud; 2, 5 & 7 courtesy Woodward Gallery; 4 Lois Stavsky & 6 Dani Reyes Mozeson

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ladyk fever installation longwood gallery nyc Lady K Fever Solo Exhibit, <em>Dubbed</em>, to Open Tomorrow, Wednesday, February 4th, at BCAs Longwood Art Gallery

Bronx-based Canadian artist Lady K Fever has been gracing the walls of her borough and beyond with her distinctly expressive aesthetic for over a decade. When I met up with her last week, she was feverishly at work on her inventive installation for her upcoming exhibit, Dubbed, at the Bronx Council of the ArtsLongwood Art Gallery.

lady k fever installs longwood gallery bronx Lady K Fever Solo Exhibit, <em>Dubbed</em>, to Open Tomorrow, Wednesday, February 4th, at BCAs Longwood Art Gallery

lady k fever installation in progress1 Lady K Fever Solo Exhibit, <em>Dubbed</em>, to Open Tomorrow, Wednesday, February 4th, at BCAs Longwood Art Gallery

This is all quite amazing! There is so much going on here, and I love it all. What is the concept behind this? What is going on?

I am playing with the language of graffiti. It’s a mix of sketches, drawings, pieces, tags, stickers, wheatpastes, paintings on Plexiglas and cardboard, found objects, transparencies, selfies, subway tiles, razor wire and all that I associate with graffiti. It is quite conceptual. The razor wire represents — among other things — a prison yard and the risks we graffiti writers take. The new drawings made for this exhibit have all been done in conversation with myself or a friend or a family member, exploring direct transmission through the self and hand.

Lady K Fever Longwood gallery close up art Lady K Fever Solo Exhibit, <em>Dubbed</em>, to Open Tomorrow, Wednesday, February 4th, at BCAs Longwood Art Gallery

When did the concept for this exhibit first come to you? How did it originate?

It began five years ago when I had a solo exhibit at Masterworks Museum in Bermuda. I became interested in playing with lines and mixing elements. It took me back to my reggae roots. The title of this exhibit Dubbed is a reference to the technical term for copying sound or other media from one tape to another. My installation explores how rhythm and emotion can translate into painted vibration and word.

ladyk fever graffiti on tile Lady K Fever Solo Exhibit, <em>Dubbed</em>, to Open Tomorrow, Wednesday, February 4th, at BCAs Longwood Art Gallery

When did you begin the actual work for this exhibit?

I began working on it about two months ago. But I’ve been thinking about it for the past two years.

lady k detail longwood Lady K Fever Solo Exhibit, <em>Dubbed</em>, to Open Tomorrow, Wednesday, February 4th, at BCAs Longwood Art Gallery

What would you like your viewers to walk away with?

I want them to understand that there is more to graffiti than what one generally assumes. It is a rich, highly sophisticated aesthetic that involves a deliberate process.

lady k fever art exhinit longwood gallery bronx nyc close up  Lady K Fever Solo Exhibit, <em>Dubbed</em>, to Open Tomorrow, Wednesday, February 4th, at BCAs Longwood Art Gallery

Why did you choose the the Longwood Art Gallery as your venue?

Since I participated in a group exhibit at Longwood Art Gallery in 2011, I’ve always wanted to have a solo show here. It is the ideal space, as it nurtures and celebrates experimentation.

Note: An opening reception will be held tomorrow, Wednesday, from 5-9 at the Longwood Art Gallery at Hostos, 450 Grand Concourse at 149th Street in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx. Curator Laura Napier will also be in attendance.

Interview and photos by Lois Stavsky

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