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On his first visit to NYC, Barcelona-based Pejac created two mesmerizing artworks reflecting environmental concerns. With his distinctly provocative aesthetic, he graced walls in both Bushwick and Chinatown celebrating the beauty and power of nature amidst the bustling metropolis. The image featured above, entitled Fossil, suggests a frightful future in a gentrifying neighborhood in which the only memory of nature is the fossilized appearance of a tree on a brick wall.

 Pejac at work on Fossil 

The completed piece

In  Pejac‘s second piece, Inner Strength, nature triumphs over the hand of man and all that the neighboring Wall Street represents, as the artist alludes to traditional Chinese imagery.

Inner Strength

Inner Strength, close-up

Fossil is located at 27 Scott Ave. in Bushwick, Brooklyn and Inner Strength — in coordination with The L.I.S.A Project NYC  — is at 2 Henry Street in Chinatown, Manhattan.

Photo credits: 1 Raphael Gonzalez aka zurbaran1  2 & 3 Ben Lau aka just a spectator 4 Pejac and 5 Rey Rosa aka the DRiF of  The L.I.S.A Project NYC

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Dreyk the Pirate — whose street art character captivated me on my recent visit to Athens — has just completed a huge mural commissioned by E.KE.A., the National Blood Donor Center of Greece, for World Blood Donor Day 2018. What follows are several more images of the completed work, along with progress shots, as photographed by Nikos Pekiaridis and Kostas Kallipolitis of Phifactor Photograpy.

The other side of the mural

In the beginning

In progress

With a message to convey

Located in Thrakomakedones, Athens, the mural was sponsored by Kraft Paints Greece.

Photo credits: 1, 2  & 3 Kostas Kalipolitis 3 & 4 Nikos Pekiaridis

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

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Recently released by Schiffer is Tokyo Graffiti, a delightfully intriguing and wonderfully informative survey of  Tokyo’s current street art and graffiti scene documented by London-born photographer David Sharabani aka Lord K2. After reading the book, I posed a few questions to Lord K2:

You’ve documented urban art in several cities and have previously published a book on Santiago’s rich street art scene.  What drew you to Tokyo?

Tokyo’s street art scene has never been documented and published before in a book of this format, and its urban art is relatively overlooked by locals and tourists alike. The walls and streets are so pristine and well-organized — many with an abundance of logos and commercials – that you may get the impression that street art is not needed. But when well-placed and in the right context, it enhances Tokyo’s well-planned and maintained architectural surroundings.

Also, I saw this book as a challenge. I was in Tokyo photographing the Sumo wrestling culture. The majority of my time was spent handling bureaucratic paperwork, and out of frustration and impatience, I decided to hit the streets. Initially, I wasn’t entirely sure there would be enough art out there to justify a book. But the more I dug in, the more hidden gems I discovered. Since Tokyo’s graffiti is not so apparent, I thought it would be a good idea to compile a book of some of the most significant pieces in one format to be viewed easily.

How does Tokyo’s street art and graffiti scene differ from other cities you’ve visited?

Regarding graffiti and art that is often regarded as vandalism, it’s not in the nature of Japanese to vandalize, rebel or speak up. Their economy functions well; there is virtually no street crime, and the education system is excellent. It seems that there is not too much to protest about. Also, conformism is an integral part of the Japanese way. Going against the flow of polite dignified behavior is considered a far more extreme form of misconduct than it is in most other countries.

Another distinct difference between Tokyo and many other cities is that in Tokyo it is a nightmare-of-a-process to obtain permissions, limiting the quantity of “decorative art,” even though the quality is generally high.

There are, though, a fair amount of stickers mounted in the highly populated central neighborhoods of Harajuku, Shibuya and Shinjuku, since these are quick and easy to put up with a minimal chance of being caught. Many of these stickers have been put up by foreigners.

What were some of the challenges you’ve faced in documenting it?

A big challenge was getting the artists to talk. They were happy to be interviewed, but cautious as to what they would reveal. It was hard to extract any juicy or emotive information. Fortunately, I was introduced to Little Pink Pills, who was already well-informed on the scene. She ended up writing the book’s text that accompanies my photos.

The other challenge was sourcing the graffiti. Even though artists would pinpoint locations, this didn’t suffice. I had to scout the streets for hours on end on my bicycle. I was inevitably much fitter for it.

Do any particular images or styles stand out to you? Any that are distinctly Japanese?

The mural that stands out most to me is one that was painted by German artist Case Maclaim. It’s a gigantic mural on the back of a building in Tennozu Isle painted for Pow! Wow! Japan depicting Sumo video game fighter E .Honda. It’s striking to see it in the distant urban scape.

Half the street art in Tokyo is painted by Westerners. They often incorporate images from popular Japanese culture such as Samurai, Geishas, Sumo, as well as comics that portray social issues. Japanese artists do not have a collective style of painting, as each individual/crew has its own distinctive style. Many of them incorporate less commercial elements of Japanese culture. For example, Usugrow blends Japanese calligraphy with pointillism and Los Angeles Cholo culture. Shizentomotel paints Namahage, a traditional Japanese folklore demon. Dragon‘s style is a fusion of graffiti, manga and ukiyo-e. Tamura Yoshiyasu, a manga artist, painter and illustrator, mixes modern manga with traditional Japanese art.

I’m so glad that you and Little Pink Pills made this book happen! Congratulations!

Photos 1 Book cover 2 Fin DAC 3 Unidentified 4 Kami and Sasu aka Hitotzuki 5 Assorted stickers 6 Little Pink Pills 7 Case Maclaim  & 8 Makoto; interview by Lois Stavsky

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

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Best-known for his interactive performance art and visual art that have been featured in a range of galleries, art fairs and museums, Miami-based artist David Rohn has recently taken his vision to the streets. In his new series, Street Peeps, he focuses on raising awareness of the issue of homelessness. While in Miami, I had the opportunity to speak to him:

When did you begin this project– with its focus on wheatpasting images of  yourself in various disguises representing street peeps?

I started three months ago.

Had you ever gotten up on the streets before you began working on this project?

Back in the 90’s, I did a series of boys’ heads based on an image that I had seen. I got them up in Miami – mostly on lampposts – Downtown and on the beach. One even made it into the bathroom of the Perez Art Musem, back when it was the Miami Art Museum. I painted the heads in different colors mixing guache paint with wallpaper paste.

What inspired you to do so back then?

I’d seen graffiti and wheatpastes up in NY, and I wanted to be out there.

What spurred you to hit the streets this time around? 

Between 2008 and 2014, I was represented by a gallery in Miami. After that ended, I wanted a way to share my vision — and concerns — with others. Things had tapered off. Getting up in the public sphere seemed like the most sensible way to accomplish this.

And why this particular project?

I feel very strongly about homelessness. I’ve seen it explode in recent years. It is appalling! And the income disparity is continually increasing. I’ve been interested in these two issues for awhile.

Each of your portraits is another rendition of you as someone who is homeless!

Yes! I’ve been doing portraits of myself since 2008 as part of my performance art.

Who exactly are these characters you are portraying?

They are inspired by homeless folks and street people I see when I’m out on the streets. The ones who are the casualties of gentrification. This city is changing so rapidly.

And what about the characters with the masks? Who are they?

They represents the power structure. The eilite – those who control our economic assets. The developers who can easily evolve into a monsters.

What about your relationship with the homeless?

For awhile, I was bringing them sleeping bags and cots. But these days, I bring loaves of day-old bread and bottles of water. And socks – white socks and gray socks. They choose which ones they want. These items are what they seem to need and want the most.

And how has this project – getting your portraits out there in public space — impacted you?

It’s been very liberating! It’s fun! And I like the idea of short circuiting the gallery system.

What’s ahead?

Creating and getting up more images suggestive of the homelessness crisis.

Interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky with photos by Lois Stavsky.

Special thanks to Andrew Ringler for introducing me to David.

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With a BFA in Photography and Sculpture from the Massachusetts College of Art, multidisciplinary artist Alessandra Mondolfi describes herself as a “Jill of all Trades.”  A recipient of multiple grants and awards, including a Fulbright Grant to Barcelona, Spain, she has exhibited throughout the globe with works ranging from altered photographs to elaborate large scale multimedia installations. These days, Alessandra Mondolfi  perceives herself  primarily as an artist/activist, whose political artworks surface on the streets of Miami and beyond. I recently had the opportunity to speak to her.

When did you begin to direct your creative talents to the political sphere?

It happened right after the 2017 Women’s March. That was a huge turning point. I took to the streets then using art props as tools of protest. I haven’t stopped, and I’m not stopping. I’m a proud member of the middle-age resistance.

What prompted you to do so? To become so active?

The 2016 Presidential election. It’s a gut reaction to our current state of affairs. These times call for drastic action. Having come of age in Venezuela, I saw first-hand attacks on democracy and on people’s basic values as Chavez ran on a populist front — socialist, but populist. No one took him seriously. They thought of him as a joke. They didn’t think he could win. And when he did, he  destroyed his country. The similarities between him and Trump are staggering. My strongest weapon against this kind of  fascism is my creativity.

How has your in involvement in this movement impacted you?

It’s been therapeutic. Creating art is a way for us to release our anxieties and give us a sense of purpose, especially in times like these.

And what about others? How has your work impacted others? What kinds of responses has it elicited?

The props that I’ve used at various protests have been shown around the world in a range of media — in print, online and on television. I feel as though I am creating the visual message of the resistance for the media to transmit. Much of what I’ve created has gone viral.  Getty and AP images have surfaced in newspapers throughout the world, including Turkey, Bulgaria and India.

What’s ahead?

I’m now working on new props for the March 24th, March for Our Lives in Parkland. These will be followed by wheatpastes that I will post wherever I can.

I’m so glad you’re doing this! Thank you!

Photos: 1 & 3 Lois Stavsky; 2, 4 & 5 courtesy the artist; Interview conducted by Lois Stavsky

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Featuring a captivating range of paintings, drawings and pastels, Daze’s solo exhibition, Daily Commute, is a stirring ode to NYC – its diversity, its energy and its legendary graffiti culture. Handsomely curated, it continues through March 17 at P.P.O.W at 535 W 22nd Street in Chelsea. Pictured above is Midtown, rendered with oil, acrylic, spray paint and pumice on canvas. Several more images follow:

Rush Hour Reflection, oil, spray paint, acrylic and pumice on canvas

Eastern Parkway, oil, acrylic, spray paint and pumice on canvas

Masquerade W.H. in Times Square, oil, acrylic and spray paint on canvas

Stolen Moments, oil, acrylic and spray paint on canvas

Generations, oil, acrylic and spray paint on canvas

P.P.O.W is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10am to 6pm.

Photo credits: 1, 3, 5 & 6 Lois Stavsky; 2 & 4 Tara Murray

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We first came upon Alexis Duque‘s tantalizing aesthetic several years ago, when we discovered a meticulously detailed wheatpaste of his on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. We’ve been huge fans ever since. His rich and inventive sensibility is now on view in Paradise Lost— a solo exhibition opening tonight, March 7, and continuing through March 31 — at Paul Calendrillo New York.  Pictured above is Calaveras X, rendered with acrylic on canvas against a background inspired by post-colonial floor tiles of traditional Latin American homes — as seen by the artist on his many visits to his native country, Colombia. Several more masterfully crafted images, all suggestive of a world in which Paradise is lost, follow:

Truck, Acrylic on canvas, 2017, 16″ x 12″

Diana, Acrylic on canvas, 2017, 24″ x 16″

Slum, Acrylic on canvas, 2013, 31.5 x 23.5

And one of several sculptures on exhibit —

Dwelling, Cardboard, modeling paste, ink and acrylic, 2018, 20″ H x 10″ W x 10″ D

Paul Calendrillo New York is located at 547 West 27th St, Suite 600, in Chelsea and is open 11:00am to 6:00pm Tuesday – Saturday with extended hours on Thursdays that offer an opportunity to meet the artist. Tonight’s opening reception takes place from 6:00 to 8:00pm.

Photos of images: 1-4, Lois Stavsky & 5 Tara Murray

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

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Fusing the wild style graffiti style he had mastered while growing up in Denmark with a contemporary fine art sensibility, Mikael B creates sumptuous murals, characterized by bold shapes and mesmerizing colors. He was recently invited to paint the exterior of Art Share L.A., a nonprofit organization that supports Los Angeles-based artists by providing a creative environment for them to live, work, develop, perform and exhibit. Pictured above is one side of the huge 9,300 sq. ft space. Several more images follow:

The artist at work on one segment of the mural

And here on another segment

While taking a moment’s break

The completed project

Photos courtesy of the artist

You can follow the artist on Facebook here and on Instagram here.

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

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Opening Saturday night at Spoke Art NYC is Meet Me At Delancey / Essex, featuring a diverse range of works by over 20 artists living and working in the greater NYC area. Curated by Jennifer RizzoMeet Me At Delancey / Essex is a celebration of community that brings together both emerging and established artists working in a variety of styles and genres, including many who have been active on our streets. The image above, Mars Bar RIP, was fashioned by the wonderfully talented Logan Hicks. Several more follow:

Ian Ferguson aka Hydeon, Busy Train Over the Bridge

Dennis McNett, Thunder Being

Aaron Li-Hill, The Last Flight

Swoon, Subway Windows

Among the other artists — whose works have also surfaced in public spaces — featured in this handsome exhibit are: Olek, Beau Stanton, Buff Monster and Ellis Gallagher. Meet Me At Delancey / Essex, where street, lowbrow, pop surrealism and new contemporary genres meet at Spoke Art NYC, opens with a reception this Saturday from 6-8 pm and continues through March 25th at 210 Rivington Street on the Lower East Side

Photos courtesy Spoke Art NYC

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

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For the past month Brooklyn-based Sara Erenthal has set up base in Tel Aviv. What follows is a brief interview with the intensely committed multi-disciplinary artist:

What brought you to this region? 

It is where I was born, where I had left my religious upbringing and where, six years ago, I had my first art exhibition. And for the past several years, I’d wanted to return to share my art with the ex-Orthodox community and participate in the vibrant, expressive street art culture here.

Can you tell us a bit about the difference between “getting up” here and back home in Brooklyn?

There is more  freedom of expression on the streets here, and because I’m here for a limited amount of time, the experience has been far more intense.

What have been some of the highlights of this trip?

Visiting and painting in Bethlehem, my first time on the “other side,” and having the opportunity to exhibit my artwork here at the Red House Shapira in South Tel Aviv. And the amazing feature article in Haaretz by Tamar Rotem was, also, a highlight.

Can you tell us a bit your exhibit “Re-Cover” here at the Red House Shapira.  How did it happen? 

Shortly after I arrived in Tel Aviv, I visited the Red House Shapira, a unique space — housed in a historic building — known for its commitment to promoting diversity in the arts. There I met Oren Fischer who invited me to showcase an installation of new works created from found materials in the neighborhood.  My intent was to mirror the diversity of the neighborhood in a unified fashion, while giving new life to discarded matter.

What were some of the challenges you faced in making this happen?

The major challenge was the short period of time I had in pulling it all together. Both Tamar Rotem and Max Streetwalker offered me assistance in the logistics of collecting the varied materials and bringing them over to the studio. I am so grateful to them for their help. And, of course, I could not have accomplished this without the studio space that the Red House Shapira provided.

Congratulations! I look forward to seeing your work in similar installations in other cities, including, perhaps, NYC!

Note: “Re-Cover” can still be seen tomorrow, Sunday, from 11:00 to 17:00; Monday 12:00 to 19:00 and Tuesday 10:00 to 19:00 at the Red House Shapira, Israel MiSalant 39 in Shapira, Tel Aviv.

Interview conducted by Lois Stavsky

Photo credits: 1 & 2 Lois Stavsky; 3 Yonatan Ruttenberg and 4-6 Sara Erenthal

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