Stickers

Following its hugely successful presence in last week’s Fridge Art Fair, The Sticker Social Club was invited to participate in this weekend’s LIC Arts Open. During the opening reception this past Wednesday, I had the opportunity to speak to Cosbe, an active member of the the club, along with one of its newer members, Fling.

KaiJune Sticker Social Club LIC Arts Open Sticker Social Club at LIC Arts Open this Weekend

Tell us something about the beginnings of the club. When and how did the idea of a sticker club begin?

Cosbe: It began about two years ago.  This Is Awkward and I were looking for a way to involve more people in what we were doing, and we wanted a place where we could all meet up. Also, that was the year that Red Bull sponsored me to exhibit at the Scope Art Fair. And I wanted to have some fun with my friends before heading down to Miami for Art Basel.

Sticker Social Club LIC Arts Open1 Sticker Social Club at LIC Arts Open this Weekend

DB Burkeman, the author of Stickers: Stuck-Up Piece of Crap: From Punk Rock to Contemporary Art, says that one aspect of the club that he loves is that “it’s like a swap club. Not everyone can draw!” And This Is Awkward, who loves “the idea of sharing, trading and creating art that can then go out to a broader public,” suggests that the Social Sticker Club “helps to facilitate our collective need to create.” What is the purpose of the club? Has it any one goal?

Cosbe: No, it doesn’t have any one specific purpose. It’s organic and  always evolving.

 Sticker Social Club at LIC Arts Open this Weekend

Where do club members meet?

Cosbe: That varies. We’ve met at Governors Island, at Katz’s Deli, in Dumbo…

this is awkward sticker social club Sticker Social Club at LIC Arts Open this Weekend

It was originally called the Secret Sticker Club? Why the name change?

Fling: The secret is out!

Fling Sticker Social Club Sticker Social Club at LIC Arts Open this Weekend

How did you find out about it, Fling?

Fling: I first met Cosbe and Wisher 914 when they were painting at Welling Court. We then ran into each other again at Comic Con.

Ryan Roi sticker social club LIC Arts Open Sticker Social Club at LIC Arts Open this Weekend

What keeps you coming back?

Fling: I’ve met so many great people, and I’ve had the opportunity to collaborate with artists such as Cosbe, CB 23, Roycer and Abe Lincoln, Jr.

Abe lincoln jr sticker social club LIC arts open Sticker Social Club at LIC Arts Open this Weekend

About how many members does the club have?

Cosbe: Somewhere between 50-60.

Baser sticker collage Social Sticker Club LIC Studio Arts Open Sticker Social Club at LIC Arts Open this Weekend

What’s ahead? 

Cosbe: More stickers, more shows and more interesting places to meet. We’re also working with Bomit to organize something on a large scale that involves other cities.

Sticker Social Club LIC Arts Open Studios Sticker Social Club at LIC Arts Open this Weekend

You guys have been quite a hit here in Long Island City – both at the Fridge Art Fair and at the launch of the LIC Arts Open.  Your installation is amazing, and you’ve worked so hard. You are also so welcoming.  Everyone is invited to create a sticker, share it and sell it. yungmoonshine, who met up with you guys at this space during the Fridge Art Fair last week, reports that she now has not only “a space and materials to make stickers,” but “also new friends to share materials and make stickers with.”  What has this experience been like for the two of you?

Cosbe: It was more than I had expected. I’m grateful to StreetArtNYC for making it possible.

Fling:  It’s been a great learning experience. I’ve learned so much – how to build walls, curate, install…

You can visit the Social Sticker Club today and tomorrow — from 12-6pm — at 525 46th Avenue off Vernon Boulevard in Long Island City.

LIC Arts Sticker Social Club at LIC Arts Open this Weekend

Photos: 1. Kaijune by Rachel Fawn Alban; 2. SSC at “LIC Arts Open” reception by Rachel Fawn Alban; 3. Wisher 914 by Rachel Fawn Alban; 4. This Is Awkward by Lois Stavsky; 5. Fling by Lois Stavsky 6. Ryan Roi at LIC Arts Open reception by Lois Stavsky; 6. Abe Lincoln, Jr. by Lois Stavsky; 7. Baser collage by Lois Stavsky and 8. SSC at “LIC Arts Open” reception by Lois Stavsky

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Located at 5-25 46th Avenue in Long Island City — just minutes from Manhattan — the Fridge Art Fair has much to offer us street art aficionados. Here’s a sampling:

John Matos aka Crash presented by Dorian Grey Gallery

Crash John Matos graffiti on car Fridge Art Fair in Long Island City with Crash, Cosbe, Deps1, Cody, Youth Waste, Alone One and more

Cosbe

Kosbe Fridge Art Fair NYC Fridge Art Fair in Long Island City with Crash, Cosbe, Deps1, Cody, Youth Waste, Alone One and more

Deps1

deps1 painting Frdge Art Fair Fridge Art Fair in Long Island City with Crash, Cosbe, Deps1, Cody, Youth Waste, Alone One and more

Cody and Youth Waste

Cody and Youth Waste at Fridge NYC Fridge Art Fair in Long Island City with Crash, Cosbe, Deps1, Cody, Youth Waste, Alone One and more

Alone One with the The Sticker Social Club aka the Secret Sticker Club

Alone dfm Fridge Art Fair NYC Fridge Art Fair in Long Island City with Crash, Cosbe, Deps1, Cody, Youth Waste, Alone One and more

The Sticker Social Club aka the Secret Sticker Club  – under the curatorial direction of Cosbe

social sticker club Fridge Art Fair in Long Island City with Crash, Cosbe, Deps1, Cody, Youth Waste, Alone One and more

Conceived by Eric Ginsburg, whose portraits of pets are on display at the fair’s Dorfman Projects booth, the Fridge Art Fair  – now in its second year —  presents an eclectic array of art in all media and styles. It continues through Sunday with live art and performances throughout, as well as pets for adoption today and tomorrow!

Photos by Dani Reyes Mozeson and Lois Stavsky

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This is the fourth in a series of occasional posts showcasing sticker art that surfaces on an array of NYC public surfaces:

Screwtape’s homage to Army of One

screw tape sticker art NYC NYC Sticker Art — Part IV: Screwtape, Skullphone, Kosby, Fling, RAE, Faust, RealAbstract, CB23, Zato and Sticker Nerds 3 Call for Stickers

Skullphone goes small

skull phone sticker NYC Sticker Art — Part IV: Screwtape, Skullphone, Kosby, Fling, RAE, Faust, RealAbstract, CB23, Zato and Sticker Nerds 3 Call for Stickers

One of Kosby‘s many musings

Kosby NYC Sticker Art — Part IV: Screwtape, Skullphone, Kosby, Fling, RAE, Faust, RealAbstract, CB23, Zato and Sticker Nerds 3 Call for Stickers

Fling’s curious creature

Fling street art stciker character NYC NYC Sticker Art — Part IV: Screwtape, Skullphone, Kosby, Fling, RAE, Faust, RealAbstract, CB23, Zato and Sticker Nerds 3 Call for Stickers

RAE’s lovable, zany character

RAE street art sticker NYC NYC Sticker Art — Part IV: Screwtape, Skullphone, Kosby, Fling, RAE, Faust, RealAbstract, CB23, Zato and Sticker Nerds 3 Call for Stickers

Faust‘s calligraphic handstyle

faust NYC Sticker Art — Part IV: Screwtape, Skullphone, Kosby, Fling, RAE, Faust, RealAbstract, CB23, Zato and Sticker Nerds 3 Call for Stickers

Milwaukee-based RealAbstract‘s magnetic sticker

real abstract street art sticker NYC NYC Sticker Art — Part IV: Screwtape, Skullphone, Kosby, Fling, RAE, Faust, RealAbstract, CB23, Zato and Sticker Nerds 3 Call for Stickers

CB 23′s now-iconic character in the rain

CB 23 NYC Sticker Art — Part IV: Screwtape, Skullphone, Kosby, Fling, RAE, Faust, RealAbstract, CB23, Zato and Sticker Nerds 3 Call for Stickers

Zato’s much-loved fellow

Zato street art sticker NYC NYC Sticker Art — Part IV: Screwtape, Skullphone, Kosby, Fling, RAE, Faust, RealAbstract, CB23, Zato and Sticker Nerds 3 Call for Stickers

And for those stickerheads who’d like to participate in the upcoming Sticker Nerds 3, organized by the inimitable Skam Sticker, the deadline to get your slaps in is this Friday, March, 14th.  Send them to Sticker Nerds 3, Post Office Box 13492, Portland, Oregon 97213.

sticker nerds 3 NYC Sticker Art — Part IV: Screwtape, Skullphone, Kosby, Fling, RAE, Faust, RealAbstract, CB23, Zato and Sticker Nerds 3 Call for Stickers

Photos of NYC sticker art by Lenny Collado, Dani Reyes Mozeson and Lois Stavsky

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This is the third in a series of posts showcasing NYC’s stylish stickers that surface on an array of public surfaces:

UK artist, Paul Insect 

Paul Insect NYC’s Stylish Sticker Art — Part III: Paul Insect, FKDL, Crasty, See One, Baser, Obey, SkinTone, Reka and 2Esae

French artist Franck Duval aka FKDL in Bushwick, Brooklyn

FKDL sticker in NYC NYC’s Stylish Sticker Art — Part III: Paul Insect, FKDL, Crasty, See One, Baser, Obey, SkinTone, Reka and 2Esae

The ever-present Crasty

crasty sticker art in NYC NYC’s Stylish Sticker Art — Part III: Paul Insect, FKDL, Crasty, See One, Baser, Obey, SkinTone, Reka and 2Esae

See One in downtown Manhattan

see one sticker art in NYC NYC’s Stylish Sticker Art — Part III: Paul Insect, FKDL, Crasty, See One, Baser, Obey, SkinTone, Reka and 2Esae

Baser sticker collage in Chelsea

Baser sticker collage in NYC NYC’s Stylish Sticker Art — Part III: Paul Insect, FKDL, Crasty, See One, Baser, Obey, SkinTone, Reka and 2Esae

 Shepard Fairey aka Obey

obey sticker art NYC’s Stylish Sticker Art — Part III: Paul Insect, FKDL, Crasty, See One, Baser, Obey, SkinTone, Reka and 2Esae

SkinTone on Manhattan’s Upper West Side

skintone street art sticker in NYC NYC’s Stylish Sticker Art — Part III: Paul Insect, FKDL, Crasty, See One, Baser, Obey, SkinTone, Reka and 2Esae

Reka in downtown Manhattan

Reka sticker art in NYC NYC’s Stylish Sticker Art — Part III: Paul Insect, FKDL, Crasty, See One, Baser, Obey, SkinTone, Reka and 2Esae

2Esae in Chelsea, Manhattan

2Esae sticker in NYC NYC’s Stylish Sticker Art — Part III: Paul Insect, FKDL, Crasty, See One, Baser, Obey, SkinTone, Reka and 2Esae

Photos by Lenny Collado, Dani Mozeson and Lois Stavsky

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Featuring a wondrous array of sticker art from first-rate handstyles to images of alluring women, SLAP: Adhesives and Egos, a DIY Sticker Exhibition opened this past Wednesday evening at Con Artist Gallery on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Here are some images from the exhibit that continues through April 3 at 119 Ludlow Street.

Lady Millard

Lady Millard sticker. copy Con Artist Gallery Celebrates Sticker Art in SLAP: Adhesives and Egos, a DIY Sticker Exhibition

Luv1

Luv1 Con Artist Gallery Celebrates Sticker Art in SLAP: Adhesives and Egos, a DIY Sticker Exhibition

Choice Royce

Choice Royce sticker Con Artist Gallery Celebrates Sticker Art in SLAP: Adhesives and Egos, a DIY Sticker Exhibition

Lady Aiko

Lady Aiko sticker at Con Art copy Con Artist Gallery Celebrates Sticker Art in SLAP: Adhesives and Egos, a DIY Sticker Exhibition

WKST

WKST Con Artist Gallery Celebrates Sticker Art in SLAP: Adhesives and Egos, a DIY Sticker Exhibition

Shaina

Shaina Con Artist Gallery Celebrates Sticker Art in SLAP: Adhesives and Egos, a DIY Sticker Exhibition

Klops

Klops Con Artist Gallery Celebrates Sticker Art in SLAP: Adhesives and Egos, a DIY Sticker Exhibition

Amongst Thieves

Amongst Thieves sticker Con Artist Gallery Celebrates Sticker Art in SLAP: Adhesives and Egos, a DIY Sticker Exhibition

Serp 

Serp Con Artist Gallery Celebrates Sticker Art in SLAP: Adhesives and Egos, a DIY Sticker Exhibition

And from Wednesday evening’s opening party

con artist sticker exhibitin NYC Con Artist Gallery Celebrates Sticker Art in SLAP: Adhesives and Egos, a DIY Sticker Exhibition

DJ at Con Artist Con Artist Gallery Celebrates Sticker Art in SLAP: Adhesives and Egos, a DIY Sticker Exhibition

Check us out on Facebook next week for more sticker images from the exhibit.

Photos by Dani Mozeson & Lois Stavsky 

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This is the second in a series of posts showcasing NYC’s stylish stickers that surface on an array of public surfaces:

Tokyo native Lady Aiko

Aiko sticker art in NYC NYC’s Stylish Sticker Art — Part II: Aiko, Read, Choice Royce, Dont Fret, KA, MTK, Jos 1 and Zato

NYC-based Read

Read sticker art in NYC NYC’s Stylish Sticker Art — Part II: Aiko, Read, Choice Royce, Dont Fret, KA, MTK, Jos 1 and Zato

Harlem-born artist and curator Choice Royce

Royce NYC’s Stylish Sticker Art — Part II: Aiko, Read, Choice Royce, Dont Fret, KA, MTK, Jos 1 and Zato

Chicago-based Don’t Fret

New York City sticker art NYC’s Stylish Sticker Art — Part II: Aiko, Read, Choice Royce, Dont Fret, KA, MTK, Jos 1 and Zato

The ubiquitous KA and MTK 

KA NYC’s Stylish Sticker Art — Part II: Aiko, Read, Choice Royce, Dont Fret, KA, MTK, Jos 1 and Zato

Jos 1′s signature style

jos 1 sticker art in NYC NYC’s Stylish Sticker Art — Part II: Aiko, Read, Choice Royce, Dont Fret, KA, MTK, Jos 1 and Zato

Zato’s character in one of his many poses

Zato street art sticker in NYC NYC’s Stylish Sticker Art — Part II: Aiko, Read, Choice Royce, Dont Fret, KA, MTK, Jos 1 and Zato

 Photos by Lenny Collado, Dani Mozeson & Lois Stavsky

 

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Boasting first-rate hand styles, cunning commentary and intriguing characters, the stickers that surface on NYC streets are among the best anywhere. Here is a brief sampling:

Australian born painter and installation artist Anthony Lister

Anthony Lister street art on sticker in NYC NYCs Stylish Sticker Art    Part l: Anthony Lister, Alice Mizrachi, Curly, RAE, Katsu, Billi Kid, Street Grapes & more

First-rate hand stylist(s) Aidge and Serch

Aidge graffiti handstyle on NYC sticker NYCs Stylish Sticker Art    Part l: Anthony Lister, Alice Mizrachi, Curly, RAE, Katsu, Billi Kid, Street Grapes & more

Queens-based artist, curator and educator Alice Mizrachi aka AM

Alice Mizrachi sticker art in NYC 4b NYCs Stylish Sticker Art    Part l: Anthony Lister, Alice Mizrachi, Curly, RAE, Katsu, Billi Kid, Street Grapes & more

One of Curly’s playful statements — though usually handwritten

Curly sticker in NYC NYCs Stylish Sticker Art    Part l: Anthony Lister, Alice Mizrachi, Curly, RAE, Katsu, Billi Kid, Street Grapes & more

Brooklyn-based artist RAE

Rae sticker art in NYC NYCs Stylish Sticker Art    Part l: Anthony Lister, Alice Mizrachi, Curly, RAE, Katsu, Billi Kid, Street Grapes & more

NYC’s prolific Katsu

Katsu sticker in NYC NYCs Stylish Sticker Art    Part l: Anthony Lister, Alice Mizrachi, Curly, RAE, Katsu, Billi Kid, Street Grapes & more

The legendary NYC-based artist Billi Kid in collaboration with the Russian-born graphic designer and illustrator Street Grapes

street grapes and Billy the kid sticker art in NYC NYCs Stylish Sticker Art    Part l: Anthony Lister, Alice Mizrachi, Curly, RAE, Katsu, Billi Kid, Street Grapes & more

 Photos by Lenny Collado, Dani Mozeson, Tara Murray and Lois Stavsky

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Speaking with Kosby

January 31, 2013

Kosby in Brooklyn NYC studio Speaking with Kosby

We’ve been huge fans of Kosby since his stickers and paste-ups began gracing NYC’s public spaces a number of years back. Since, his artwork has surfaced in galleries and is currently on view at the Woodward Gallery Project Space.

When did you first become interested in art?

I have been drawing since I was a kid.  I was lucky that my mom loved what I was doing and bought me comic books to encourage me. My mom also taught me to accept people for who they are. I think that shows in my art.

When and where did you first start hitting the streets?

I started in Chicago between 1993 and 1994, and I began bombing buses. Then I met DREL and he introduced me to street bombing.

How did you guys meet?

He sat on a bench – next to me in church — and I was drawing a graffiti character on a piece of paper.  He was intrigued and we kicked it off. He went as Drel of KMD, BTC and MOM Crew. He also got me to do my first fill-in. He said if I did it at a specific spot on Fullerton Avenue – a particularly busy and dangerous one — I would be set, established as a graffiti writer. And I did it.

Kosby red bull artwork winner Speaking with Kosby

How did your family react to the whole graff thing?

I’m sort of the black sheep of my family.  Ironically, though, graffiti saved my life. Logan Square — where I grew up — was gang-infested, and graffiti was a pass. When gang bangers stopped us, we explained what we were up to and they mostly left us alone.

Respect to the writers! Are you trying to get a specific message across with your work?

No specific message, but I like to be brutally honest. When I was younger, I was often isolated and shy because my family moved around a lot. Today, I’m more open. And that’s difficult for graffiti writers, as we usually play the whole smoke and mirrors game. But I like to be honest about who I am. I struggle with that in my art.

From where do you get your ideas?

My head. I have worked with plenty of people like Sure RIP, Overconsumer and Wisher914. Sure inspired me and prodded me to get better. And I’ve always liked what Cost and Revs were doing. Their poetic messages seem spontaneous and off the head. I ran away from home when I was younger to California and that’s when I was exposed to Mike Giant, Twist, Reminisce and Revok.

Kosbe street art in Bushwick NYC Speaking with Kosby

Have you collaborated with any artists?

I’ve done work lately with Cekis, Zato and Crasty. And I have a ton of homies I would like to collaborate with.

Tell us something about your process.

I care less about how something looks and care more about the act of doing it. I did a tribute piece for Nekst RIP recently on a rooftop.I was thinking about how he would never get a chance to paint again, I didn’t like how the piece was turning out, but it was just about doing it. I like having fun and I hope that translates through the work.

What materials do you like to work with?

Anything…spit. ink. markers, vintage paper, cloth.  The other day I tagged with Montana refill paint, mistaking it for an acrylic paint marker.

Have you any favorite artists?

I am a fan of Abstract Expressionism. Some of my favorite artists include: Robert Rauschenberg, Chuck Close, Espo, EKG, Michael Allen Alien, Dee Doc, Anthony Lister, L’amour Supreme, Suck Lord and Rammellzee.

Kosby street art at Woodward Gallery Project Space Speaking with Kosby

Have you ever been arrested?

Yes. I was often bailed out of jail by mom. She always worried about me when I stayed out past my curfew. Even though my disposable cameras – that I stole to shoot my work — were confiscated at the time of my arrest, I always got them back in time to get a flick of my mom bailing me out. ‘sorry, Mom.

What are some of your other interests?

I love photography, spending time with my friends and girlfriend and exploring the city.

How has your work evolved?

I’ve never been a good judge of my work. I am actually dangerous with it because I can’t tell when a particular piece of work is done. I keep drawing on it and drawing on it. I’m more interested in people’s reactions to it. I believe I’ve gotten looser and more chill. I don’t like the trendy. I have been careful not to lose that looseness to my work. It’s really a balance I’m looking for.

What do you think about the graffiti and street art divide?

I don’t think there is a divide. It’s a culture within a culture. I’ve seen street artists going over graffiti not knowing what they were doing. If you’d like to learn the proper etiquette, call me at 1 (800) GRAFFPRO.

Kosby portrait in studio Speaking with Kosby

What do you think about the Internet in all of this?

It’s good. It’s such a part of our mass culture.

Do you see any danger in Internet oversaturation?

Sure. There should be a “Get off the Internet Day.”  I often put messages like this on my stickers, like “Don’t Use Your Cell Phone Day.” I usually use the Internet in the morning when I check out www.theworldsbestever.com. I’ll be checking out StreetArtNYC.org from now on too. But that’s it.

How do you feel about your work being shown in galleries?

I love to share my art; it makes me happy. I like to stand next to people at galleries as they check out my art. I like getting their honest response to it.

When you’re not getting up on the streets, where do you tend to work?

It’s changed over the years. My mom gave me my first studio. For a while, my kitchen served as my work space, and I had collectors call me wanting to see my work. I said, “Of course, just come to my kitchen.” I’d say I’m in a better space now.

Kosby studio artwork Speaking with Kosby

Who do you follow these days?

I’m looking at Lois Stavsky, as well as Martha Cooper, Angelo from Doyle Auction House, Royce Bannon, Brooklyn Street Art, Alex Emmert, SuckLord, who’s a major mentor, and Simeon from Art Hustle.

What do you see yourself doing in the next five years?

Chilling with my family and friends, enjoying a nice glass of wine, while we laugh with some purple kicking it back with my boy, Lenny.

‘sounds cool!

I want to say thank you to StreetArtNYC for being so supportive of NYC artists and to Lois for being so positive. And don’t forget, guys, to check out the StreetArtNYC app!

Interview by Lenny Collado; photos by Dani Mozeson and Lois Stavsky

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Speaking with Baser

December 31, 2012

Baser’s masterful handstyle can be seen on sundry stickers on a range of public surfaces throughout Manhattan. We recently had the opportunity to pose some questions to him. 

Baser graffiti sticker collage in NYC Speaking with Baser

When was Baser born?

I started writing Base in 1986 in Pittsburgh. It mutated to Baser in 1999 when I began using stickers as my primary means of getting up. By then I was living in Brooklyn where I had originally been exposed to graff and where it had seeped into my brain.

Why did you choose that name?

The letter combination. I know that its connotation is drug-related. But that had nothing to do with it. Many people have suggested I change it, but I’m stubborn. Besides, after the Godfather dropped a signature in my black-book to that name, I felt it was official. So that’s it!

Any formal art training?

No. Just the desire to rock my name with style. But for all the kids out there: Go to school, master your craft and get paid!

Baser graffiti on Manhattan sticker Speaking with Baser

What made you go postal?

I’d been getting up with labels since ’99. Not postals or name-badges. But my supply of free labels dried up about the same time a number of books came out on the subject. And except for a few clipped tags, Baser was nowhere to be found. Burn! It became evident at that point that I needed to broaden the palette. So I started using a variety of labels, developed my style and put in the work. This way, book or not, the streets would know and I’d be certain I put in my best effort.

What made you want to share your style?

I didn’t necessarily want to ‘share’ my style. Maybe more like competing for style. I’d put stickers up to entertain myself while walking the city. I certainly liked comparing various hand-styles and wanted to see how I fit in. The quality of style a few years back drove me to take stickers seriously. So I could look at my work and be proud.

Any favorite writers?

There are so many amazing writers today. And with the specialty paints and caps, it’s even easier to produce quality work. But personally, I would go back to the cats I grew up admiring and the pioneers before them. Dudes like RTW Crew, Dondi, TFP Crew, Seen (UA), T-Kid, Phase 2, Billy 167 and Fuzz. The list goes on.     

Baser graffiti on sticker in Chelsea NYC Speaking with Baser

 What about handstyles? Are there any handstyles you admire?

I’ve always been a fan of many hands coming out of New York City. But to be specific, Zephyr, Revolt, Haze and Trike were the first to do it. Brooklyn and Manhattan styles, for me, unquestionably kill it. Later on the stickers of Sure and Faust, Twist and others of the late ‘90s and early 2000s lit a fire in me to skill up.  I might add, though, that it’s a pleasure to see anyone from anywhere who’s doing it well.

How has your style evolved?

It’s constantly evolving because I always strive to do better. Well, I hope it’s gotten better and more pleasing to the eye. Balance, composition and flow are three ingredients I try to ingrain in the muscle memory. The less my hand needs direction the more room there is for improvisation. Then more of my soul pours out and people feel it. Anyway, that’s the theory and, hopefully, the evolution is evident.

Any past collabs?

Not really. I stick to myself mostly. I did some work with Sabeth718 on the zine Stuck #1. I, also, worked on the zine Bad Things Come in Two’s with Feecees from Miami, produced by TrustNoOne. And I did a few personal ones with Chris RWK and Paecher from Colorado. That’s it. I like to keep it limited because the reality is I’m out there alone. It keeps it simple. Besides, I got more fingers on one hand than I have friends.

Baser graffiti paste ups in Chelsea NYC Speaking with Baser

Do you work with anyone these days?

Currently I’m doing some work with KA and MTK76. We’ve been hitting the same spots for years, and we hold a mutual respect for each other’s work. It just made sense to hook up. They’re definitely two cool and talented people. As for anyone else, it remains to be seen.

Have you any thoughts about the current graffiti and street art scene?

I miss everything about the pre-Giuliani New York, especially the graff scene. I’m not too hip to all these street artists. They do what they do, and some of it is really cool. But for me it’s always been about writing, and these days, limited to stickers. So I’m not sure I can judge the current scene. As long as they don’t go over me!  Like Mare 139 said, “We may have lost the trains but we’ve gained the world.”

How do you feel about people peeling off your stickers?

I hope they last on the streets, no doubt. But I give away so many to the city that it balances out the fact that I sell sticker packs. I’ve always said, “If you don’t want to prop the dough on a pack from me, then start peelin’ and stealin’.” I don’t get mad; I just go in with more. Ha!

Baser graffiti on postal sticker2 Speaking with Baser

What’s your most memorable graffiti moment?

I could hit you with a few clean train chase stories. But the most memorable was back in 1989. A couple of so-called friends came in from out of town. I took them on a flick mission to different spots around the city. I knew Vulcan worked at the old Forbidden Planet near Union Square. So we decided to go down there and see if he would drop a tag in our books.      

Did he?

When we got there, we went downstairs and there were these two cats there — one dude at the register and a dude with a Kangol hat. No Vulcan. It turned out he was off that day. But the guy with the Kangol was looking for him too.

“You don’t write, do you?”  he asked us.

“Yes!” I replied, nodding toward my book.

He quickly glanced through it and handed it back, telling us he was Phase 2.

Wow! The Godfather!

He asked if we knew who he was. No doubt because of our age, we looked ignorant. But of course I did. I had subscribed to the 1980′s zine IGT he did with Schmidlap. Also I was an early collector of books on graff, so I had seen a photo or two of him and definitely his work.

“If you have time, we’ll head over to Union Square and I’ll do something in your books,” he said.

We headed over.

And what began as seemingly random lines all over the page turned out to be a masterpiece. I hadn’t seen anything like it. He did one for each of us, but mine seemed more complex. All the while, he schooled us on the history of writing and the birth of Hip Hop. It was a great oral history lesson. I will never forget that day and will always be grateful to him.

Have you exhibited your work?

Yes! Everywhere from 8th Street stir up to 80th Street! As far as galleries go, I had a few stickers exhibited at NYU’s Bronfman Center. I also recently donated a collage for the Sandy Relief Auction at Trumbull Studios. There might still be some of my work displayed at the Bomit Pop Up shop in California. But that’s it.

Henry Chalfant Viewing Baser graffiti Speaking with Baser

How did you start selling your work?

Early on I’d give them away or trade. But that didn’t work out too well. So as interest went up, I put a price on sticker packs and some of the larger pieces. I’m not making a living at it, nor is it why I do it in the first place. But I’m not one to turn away cash. Who is?

What do you see as the future of stickers on the streets?

Not sure. It’s looking pretty dim. There’s only a few of us left doing quality work. I miss the news boxes with their collages of first-rate handstyles that were all over the city a few years back. I was recently looking at some flicks from just a couple years back, and styles were great. Part of the reason I started doing collages on the boxes is because they were too vacant or sporting just a few stickers that were plain garbage. I guess we’ll see.

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

The Internet, with its entire social media, opened up a worldwide stage for us. It’s part of the game now. But nothing beats actually walking the streets or riding the trains and experiencing graff as it was meant to be seen. I still get that rush when I turn the corner and Bam! there’s a dope tag, fill-in or piece.

What’s ahead?

I don’t know. What are the choices?

Interviewed by Lenny Collado; photos by Dani Mozeson, Lois Stavsky and courtesy of the artist. Final image features noted photographer Henry Chalfant – checking out Baser’s stickers on exhibit at NYU’s Bronfman Center

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