Public Art Projects

Located just steps away from Israel’s controversial “Separation Wall,”  Banksy‘s Walled Off Hotel claims to offer the “worst view of any hotel in the world.”  That may well be, as the mammoth wall, even when covered with art, remains ugly and a sore reminder of the imbalance of power in the region.  But the hotel’s interior is a visual delight. Splendidly curated, it is also a fascinating foray into the roots of this 100-year, seemingly endless, conflict.

What follows  are several images captured from the hotel’s meticulously maintained lobby — or piano bar :

A variation of Banksy‘s iconic flower thrower

Banksy‘s take on the Biblical verse, “The lion shall lie down with the lamb”

A statue warding off tear gas

The following documentation of the struggle is among the exhibits on view off the lobby

And alongside the hotel, a friendly Wall-Mart, where graffiti supplies, stencils and a motley array of items can be purchased:

Curious as to what local residents think about it all, I spoke to 30-year old Naji, who grew up in a nearby refugee camp. He had the following to say: When Banksy first came here over ten years ago, I welcomed him  Some people here didn’t. They felt any attempt to “beautify” the wall trivializes its impact on our lives. Tourists come and go, but we have to look at it forever. But I, myself, feel grateful to Banksy, because he has brought attention to our cause. When people visit the wall to photograph it, they see how high it is, and they can get a sense of what our lives are like living under martial law. And my advice to the artists who come to paint here is: Get to know us first. You need to connect to us, as we feel disconnected from you. As far as The Walled Off Hotel, I’m of two minds. On one hand, it doesn’t represent my culture. But I like that it attracts visitors from all over the world and and that Banksy continues to employ many Palestinians.

The museum and art gallery are open to non-residents every day from 11am – 7:30pm.

Note: The second floor of The Walled Off Hotel is home to a gorgeous exhibit, curated by Dr.Housni Alkhateeb Shehada. of works in a range of media and styles fashioned by contemporary  Palestinian artists.

Photos by Lois Stavsky

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The faces featured above were fashioned byMadrid-based Okuda. Here are several more recently captured in Madrid:

Barcelona-based Uri Martinez aka Uriginal

NYC-based Puerto Rican artist Sen2

Argentine artist Barbara Siebenlist

Madrid-based Keru de Kolorz

Photo credits: 1, 3-5 Lois Stavsky; 2 Sara C Mozeson

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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Maya Gelfman & Roie Avidan have been working in public spaces, museums and galleries for more than a decade. Maya’s works have been featured in international art books in Germany and France, and in 2015 Paper Magazine named Maya among the top ten street artists in Israel. Roie has produced documentaries and music videos and published photographs in dozens of newspapers and magazines, print and online. Their collaborative worldwide public-art project Mind the Heart! is entering its tenth year. This past fall, their project brought them to New York City, where I had a chance to meet up with the inspiring, talented couple.

Can you tell us a bit about your backgrounds?

Maya: I’ve always been doing art. I graduated from the Shenkar College of Engineering and Design in 2006. My main mediums are installation, painting and street art.

Roie: I am self-taught. I’ve been engaged with visual art for the past 14 years, and nine years ago, I began doing art on the streets. Our work is collaborative, as I generally choose the materials, the concept and the location.

What about your current project Mind the Heart!? What is its mission?

Its principal aim is to promote mindfulness – to ourselves, to our surroundings and to the moment. Many of us – especially those of us who live in the same place for a long time — no longer see the beauty and tend to ignore the ugliness. Too often we become disconnected from one another and miss out on the present.

A little red heart has been surfacing in cities you’ve visited. What does it represent?

This tangled red heart – crooked and messy with dripping ends — is the core of our project. We began by using it on the streets of Tel Aviv to mark the beauty in decay and neglect, the order in chaos, the magic in the ordinary, the soul in things. We’ve since handed out thousands of red yarn hearts along with a simple mission: to go and put it out there, to mark your own spots of significance and share them with the world.

Why did you both choose to use the streets as your principal gallery?

We had both shown in galleries, and we wanted to exhibit in a different way. In 2009, we printed hundreds of posters and placed them on the streets. Within 12 hours, everything was gone. We immediately fell in love with the connection we made with those who viewed our art. We love that street art is completely free.

You are now visiting cities throughout the US. Which cities have you previously visited to share your artwork and to engage people in your project?

We’ve visited various cities throughout Israel. Among the 40 cities we’ve collaborated in are: Florence, London, Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam and Bangkok. We were also invited to orphanages in Kenya and Uganda.

What is the riskiest thing you’ve ever done in the course of executing your project? And why were you willing to take that risk?

Standing on a wobbly 15 foot ladder at a hotel in Florence. The ladder could have fallen at any moment. There was no sense of security. Why did we do it? We just didn’t think about it. It was something that we had to do…something that we needed to do at this time and place.

Are there any particular cultures that have influenced your aesthetic, particularly this project?

The culture of the American Beat Generation; the notion of “the open road,” and its sense of freedom; Japanese motifs; texts inspired by Taoism; major Russian literature; rock & roll; Kurt Cobain and Leonard Cohen.

What inspires you these days?

Anything and everything!

Have you ever been arrested for your public work?

When we are caught in the act, it becomes a conversation.

What is the attitude of your families and friends towards what you are doing?

They are supportive.

What percentage of your time is devoted to art?

100%

In addition to your tangled red heart, what other media do you use in Mind the Heart!

We use yarn, shoe-box lids, duct-tape and foam.

Are you generally satisfied with your finished product?

The vast majority of the time.

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

To evoke an emotion…to make someone feel something…to invite people to reflect…to make them mindful.

And how can folks become involved in your project?

They can contact us with ideas for places, people, collaborations, events, murals, and any creative or serendipitous idea they may have.

Locations of  featured images:

1 Bushwick, Brooklyn

2 East Village, Manhattan

3 & 4 Decatur, Georgia

5 Tel Aviv, Israel

6 Jekyll Island, Georgia

7 Easton, Pennsylvania 

Interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky.

Photo credits: 1 Lois Stavsky; 2-7 courtesy Maya Gelfman & Roie Avidan.

Note: You can follow the Mind the Heart! project here and on its Instagram account here; you can, also, support the project here.

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My latest adventures with Nic 707‘s famed InstaFame Phantom Art project had me riding the 1 train from the Bronx to the Financial District with several NYC graffiti veterans, along with some newer talents. Pictured above is an image of Salvador Dali fashioned by veteran writer Gear One. Several more images captured on this ride follow:

The legendary Taki 183 in collaboration with Nic 707

Brazilian artist Micheline Gil and Nic 707

Canadian artist Stavro and the renowned Easy

Legendary writers Al Diaz and Taki 183

Bronx graffiti veteran Tony 164

Photos 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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Among the most intriguing walls in Manhattan’s Chelsea are those on 28th Street between 7th and 8th Avenues. Fashioned by members of the FIT community, they can be viewed 24/7. The alligator pictured above was painted by FIT Illustration Professor Dan Shefelman and the mysterious character to its right by Victor A. Saint-Hilaire. Here are several more images captured this past week on that block:

 Charles George Esperanza and Victor A. Saint-Hilaire

Aesopslucy

Yuchen Zhao, close-up

Avocadot and Victoria White

Sandrine KT StLouis aka Lady Brown

Photos 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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This is the twelfth in a series of occasional posts featuring the art that has surfaced on NYC shutter and gatess:

The legendary Greg Lamarche aka SP.ONE up in East Harlem with the 100 Gates Project

Brooklyn-based multidisciplinary artist Omer Gal in Bushwick

Brooklyn-based muralist Danielle Mastrion in Hamilton Heights

Brooklyn-based Matthew Stavro on the Bowery

Queens-based Free5 at Welling Court Mural Project

Photos 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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The streets in the vicinity of North 10th off Spring Garden Street in Philly are home to an intriguing array of street art. Pictured above is the work of Glossblack, a Philadelphia-based artist with roots in graffiti. What follows are several more images — all by Philly-based artists — that I captured on my recent wanderings around one of my favorite cities.

Charles Burwell, close-up

NDA

Lauren West, close-up

Nero

Joe Boruchow, four of several works on Buttonwood Street, alongside Nero

Photos 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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Representing a diverse range of styles and sensibilities, several new murals have surfaced at First Street Green Art Park on the corner of Houston & 2nd Avenue.  The image pictured above was painted by Bangkok native Gongkan. What follows are several more:

NYC-based Sean Slaney and Angry Red

NYC-based Ryan Consbruck aka Special Robot Dog

Queens-based Brittany

Alexandra Evans (L) and Poem One (R)

Will Power at work on LOVE YOUR SELFie

Photos 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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Pictured above is a huge mural, Arctic Scream, painted by Bristol-based artist Andrew Burns Colwill. What follows are several more images captured on my recent trip to Bristol, the home of the annual Upfest, Europe’s largest street art and graffiti festival.

London-based Irony

Sheffield-based Rocket01

London-based JXC

London-based Xenz and Will Barras, large segment of huge mural

Bristol-based Cheo

Photos 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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Launched in 2015 by SVA graduates Justin Aversano and Travis Rix, the non-profit SaveArtSpace has already transformed 66 advertising spaces into sites for public art in New York City, Miami, Los Angeles, Louisville and now Golden, Colorado.

Located at 650 West 46th Street in Hells Kitchen, the billboard featured above was designed by Brooklyn-based illustrator Feifei Ruan.  And, along with original artworks by local artist Sadie Starnes and NYC-based Israeli visual artist Meytar Moran, it can, also, be seen in Street Smart, an exhibition currently on view at the SVA Chelsea Gallery — with a special reception next Thursday, November 30th, 6-8pm.

Beginning December 4th SaveArtSpace will be bringing more public art to New York City, showcasing artists on advertising spaces throughout the area. Works by the selected artists will also be exhibited at The Living Gallery Outpost, with an opening reception on December 13, 2017. What follows is a sampling of what you can expect to see there:

 Brandon Sines — known to us street art aficionados as Frank Ape, Social Media Isn’t Always Social

Brooklyn native Angela Alba, Pink Pool

Brooklyn-based Felipe Posada, ‘Can’t Wear My Mask…

And if you are interested in submitting your art for future Save Art Space projects, check this link out.

All images courtesy SaveArtSpace

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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