Stickers

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

Screwtape

Skullphone goes small

Skullphone

One of Kosby‘s many musings

Kosby

Fling’s curious creature

Fling

RAE’s lovable, zany character

RAE

Faust‘s calligraphic handstyle

Faust

Milwaukee-based RealAbstract‘s magnetic sticker

"Real Abstract"

CB 23’s now-iconic character in the rain

"CB 23"

Zato’s much-loved fellow

Zato

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

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 sticker

French artist Franck Duval aka FKDL in Bushwick, Brooklyn

FKDL sticker

The ever-present Crasty

Crasty

See One in downtown Manhattan

See One sticker

Baser sticker collage in Chelsea

Baser sticker collage

 Shepard Fairey aka Obey

Shepard Fairey sticker

SkinTone on Manhattan’s Upper West Side

skintone-street-art-sticker-in-NYC

Reka in downtown Manhattan

Reka sticker

2Esae in Chelsea, Manhattan

2Esae sticker

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

Luv1

Luv1 Sticker Art

Choice Royce

Roycer sticker art

Lady Aiko

Lady Aiko sticker art

WKST

WKST sticker

Shaina

Shaina sticker art

Klops

Klops sticker art

Amongst Thieves

Amongst Thieves sticker

Serp 

Serp sticker art

And from Wednesday evening’s opening party

Con Artist Gallery

Opening Party at Con Artist

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 street art

NYC-based Read

Read sticker

Harlem-born artist and curator Choice Royce

Choice Royce

Chicago-based Don’t Fret

sticker

The ubiquitous KA and MTK 

KA and MTK

Jos 1’s signature style

Jos 1 stickers

Zato’s character in one of his many poses

Zato sticker

 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

First-rate hand stylist(s) Aidge and Serch

Aidge

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

Alice Mizrachi

One of Curly’s playful statements — though usually handwritten

Curly

Brooklyn-based artist RAE

RAE

NYC’s prolific Katsu

Katsu

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

Billi Kid and Street Grapes on sticker

 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

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

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

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

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

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

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 sticker collage

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

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

 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

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

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

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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