Street Artists

A multidisciplinary artist and stage designer based in Quito, Ecuador, Irving Ramó recently shared his talents with us on his recent visit — sponsored by Somos Fuana — to New York City  To the delight of us street art aficionados, he painted alongside Colombian artists Guache and Praxis on a wall curated by Spread Art NYC.  While he was here, I had the opportunity to speak to him.

What brought you to NYC?

I traveled from Ecuador for an exhibit featuring my recent work — an investigation into my ancestor’s writings.

What spurred your interest into conducting that kind of research?

Curiosity! I’m obsessed with ancient civilizations that have disappeared.

And while you were here in NYC, I was introduced to you through your mural art! When did you first start painting on public spaces?

I started in Quito about five years ago.

And where else have you done public art?

I’ve also painted in Spain and here in the US in Miami and now in NYC.

Do you work with a sketch-in-hand when you paint on a public surface? Or do you just let it flow?

I often use a photo as a reference, and I have a rough sketch with me.

Are you generally satisfied with your finished piece?

I usually feel happy!

Do you prefer working alone or collaborating with other artists?

I can adapt to any kind of situation. I’m happy to have a chance to collaborate with others.

You are amazingly versatile. Do you have a formal art education?

I studied graphic and industrial design. But I am mostly self-taught.

How has your aesthetic evolved through the years?

It changes every day – depending on what I need to express at the time.

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

It’s to give visual expression to ideas. To show people that ideas can be real.

Images:

1 In Bushwick, Brooklyn with Spread Art NYC, 2017

2 Exhibit at Martillo in Barcelona, Spain, 2016

3 Gargar Festival in the of village of Penelles, Spain, 2016

4 With La Suerte and Apitatan in Quito, 2017

5 Close-up from collaborative wall with La Suerte and Apitatan in Quito, 2017

Photos: 1 Karin du Maire, 2-5 courtesy of the artist; interview 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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Opening this coming Saturday, September 23, at Los Angeles’ Corey Helford Gallery is D*Face’s only U.S. solo show this year. The legendary UK-based artist — who has recently shared his talents with us New Yorkers in Downtown Manhattan with the Lisa Project NYC, at Coney Art Walls and at the Bushwick Collective — set out to resurrect romance in the contemporary era. Aptly titled Happy Never Ending, D*Face creates a family of dysfunctional characters, as he takes on such issues as illusive intimacy and conspicuous consumerism.

Regarding his new works, D*Face states: “For me this work is about the tragedy of losing someone you love. Not just in the physical sense of death but also in the metaphorical way that romance has become such an artificial thing in recent years. Courtship used to be a craft, something careful and considered; marriage was an everlasting bond of trust and commitment. Today, though, romance is comparable to a shop bought commodity – instantly attainable at the touch of a button or swipe of a screen. In a constant search for someone or something better, people treat others as if they were mere objects – infinitely attainable and instantly disposable.”

He continues: “With this new series of work I wanted to re-kindle the lost romance of a bygone era, back when, even in death, the memory of a loved one could last an eternity and a marriage went beyond just a symbolic gesture. For the show I want to construct a mini chapel where we can actually hold a real ceremony and a graveyard in which I want people to leave momentos to the people they have lost. If romance is truly dead, then I want to resurrect it for the modern age.”

By rethinking, editing and subverting imagery — such as currency, advertising and comic books — drawn from decades of materialistic consumption, D*Face transforms these now iconic motifs, figures and genres in order to gain new insight into today’s values.

Happy Never Ending‘s opening reception will be held this Saturday from 7-11pm in Gallery 1 at Corey Helford Gallery. The exhibit remains on view and is open to the public through October 21st.

Photo credit: Spraying Bricks, in-process shots from D*Face’s studio 

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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While combing the streets of San Francisco, I was struck by the dozens of intriguing surreal images that grace the city’s visual landscape. Pictured above is the work of the anonymous street painter known simply as BiP. I captured it on my last day in San Francisco, as it was near completion. What follows are several more images — marked by a surreal sensibility — that gripped me:

San Francisco-based Austrian artist Nychos

Also by Nychos

Bay Area-artists: Mars 1 with Damon Soule, NoMe Edonna, David Choong Lee & Oliver Vernon; segment of large mural as seen at dusk

San Francisco-based Lango Oliveira

New Delhi-based Seattle native Jonathan Matas, close-up

San Francisco-based Hyde1 with his distinct Aztec aesthetic

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 past Saturday, September 9th, Boston’s new urban playground, Underground at Ink Block, officially opened to the pubic. Earlier in the week, eleven acclaimed artists — both local and national —  converged on this distinct space, located under the highway between the city’s South Boston and South End neighborhoods. By week’s end, 100,000 square feet of walls were transformed into a visual wonderland. The mural pictured above was painted by Miami-based Hoxxoh. What follows are several more images of artworks — some captured in progress — that have made their way onto Underground at Ink Block.

Marka 27, Don Rimx & Problak

The legendary NYC-based Cey Adams at work

Los Angeles-based Vyal Reyes aka Vyal One

Boston-based Percy Forting-Wright 

Boston-based Sneha Shrestha aka Imagine

Los Angeles-based Pen Taylor aka Upendo

Curated by Street Theory GalleryThe Underground Mural Project is powered by Reebok in partnership with National Development.

Photos: Above the Sky, ATS Photography

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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A series of distinctly stunning murals surfaced last month in Brooklyn and Manhattan. They are the works of Brazilian artist Raul Zito, created — with the support of  AnnexB — on his first visit to NYC. Raul refers to his artwork as “expanded photography,” in reference to the experimental printing techniques he uses to produce hybrid murals of photographic collage and painting. Based on his research of various forms of resistance, largely in Latin America, Raul’s stirring artwork combines the realism of black and white photography with the organic aesthetic of painting. Pictured above is the artist at work in Bushwick in collaboration with Spread Art NYC.

Completed mural at Harman Walls in Bushwick 

At Sure We Can recycling center in Bushwick 

With the Centre-fuge Public Art Project on the Lower East Side

In Bushwick with Brooklyn Brush based on the documentary “Martírio” by Vincent Carelli, Ernesto De Carvalho and Tatiana Almeida

After visiting NYC, Raul went off to Arizona, where he painted for The Painted Desert Project at the Navajo Nation territory 

And this weekend — beginning tomorrow evening — you can check out Raul Zito‘s work at the Spread Art NYC Annual Art Show, 16 Dodsworth Street in Bushwick, Brooklyn

Photo credits: 1 Annex B; 2 & 4 Lois Stavsky; Paul Fris, & 3, 6 & 7 Raul Zito

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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While visiting San Francisco earlier this summer, I discovered Max Ehrman‘s aka Eon75 mesmerizing public artworks. Eager to find out more about the talented artist, I posed a few questions to him:

Where and when did you first paint on a public space?

The first wall that I painted was a legal wall of fame in Gainesville, Florida. I was in my early 20’s.

What inspired you at the time?

I was inspired by a memorial wall that Daim and Seemso had painted on that spot. It was amazing! I had never seen anything like it before — in terms of design, color, layout and balance.

What keeps you doing it? Painting in public spaces — in addition to your studio work? You are quite prolific!

Passion! It is something I love doing.

You’ve traveled quite a bit. Have you any favorite cities or specific sites where you like to paint? 

Anywhere that I can paint and sit on a beach is top on my list. So Barcelona, Puerto Rico, Naples, Florida and Thailand for sure.

What is your favorite medium when you work outdoors? 

Spraypaint — definitely!

What about your name? Eon 75?

A friend in Europe gave it to me. Extermination.of.reality — and 75 is the year I was born.

Have any particular artists or cultures inspired your aesthetic?

Mostly Mother Nature and the cosmos.

Do you prefer working alone — or collaborating with others? 

I love working with other artists…some of my favorite people to paint with are San Francisco-based Ian Ross and Ratur from France.

Have you a formal art education?

No, I went to school for architecture. When It comes to art, I’m self taught.

How has your work evolved through the years — since you first started painting back in Gainesville, Florida?

I would say it’s gotten more complex, and I love working in lots of diverse mediums which leads to changes in styles.

What’s ahead?

More traveling and painting. I’d like to paint more characters and get into sculpture.

Good luck! And it would be great to see your work here in NYC!

Images

1  Treasure Island Music Festival in San Francisco

2 Collaboration with Vance DNA in Bangkok, Thailand, close-up

3 Cooks Valley Campground in Piercy, California

4 Abandoned train in California

5 Collaboration with Ian Ross in San Francisco, close-up

6 Collaboration with Ratur on San Francisco rooftop

All photos courtesy the artist

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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To the delight of us graffiti lovers, First Street Green Park has been showcasing artwork by a range of first rate, often legendary, graffiti writers and muralists. The image featured above was painted by Andre Trenier  and Zaone. What follows are several more murals that surfaced at last month’s Summer Classics Block Party hosted by DJNY Art:

Albertus Joseph and Jaylo YNN, tribute to the late Sean Price

Jeff Henriquez at work on tribute mural to the late Guru of Gang Starr

Wore IBM does Rakim

Graff masters T Kid and Doves at work

T Kid‘s completed piece

Completed Doves piece

And on Friday — September 8th — DJNY Art will be hosting “Welcome To The Lab,” a Pop Up event for Nike and Sneaker Lab at Van Der Plas Gallery, 156 Orchard Street on the LES.

Photos: 1, 2, 4, 6 & 7 Lois Stavsky; 3 & 5 courtesy Kate Storch

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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Beginning August 10th and continuing through the 20th, over 40 artists participated in Sacramento’s Wide Open Walls mural festival bringing stylish intrigue to the Sacramento area.  Pictured above is Russian artist Lora Zombie, along with two young fans, in front of her mural. What follows are several more images captured by NYC-based street and travel photographer Karin du Maire, who had been documenting the festival from the beginning:

Sacramento-based Molly Devlin and SV Williams, close-up from work in progress

Sacramento-based Micah Crandall-Bear, alongside his mural

Santa Cruz-based Jeremiah Kille, in progress

Australian artists Adnate and Jessica Crema aka Last Night Collective at work

Hong Kong-based Caratoes at work

Sacramento-based Bryan Valenzuela at work, close-up of huge mural

Organized by festival founder David Sobon and Branded Arts, the Wide Open Walls mural festival has evolved into one of the largest of its kind in the United States.

Photos by Karin du Maire

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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While visiting the Bay Area earlier this summer, I met up with photojournalist, Juxtapoz Magazine contributor and fellow graffiti/street art enthusiast Iqvinder Singh. I was delighted to have the opportunity to interview him:

What is your first street art/graffiti-related memory?

My earliest memory goes back to the late 70’s/early 80’s in Northern India. I grew up in Rajisthan and Punjab, where it was normal there for people to express their opinions and feelings on the walls. Print and broadcasted media were still considered a luxury for the rich, and the city walls reflected the voices of the unheard. I would see people painting the walls during the daytime without any fear of the police or shop owners. The messages were written in Hindi, English, Punjabi, Gujrati, Urdu and other local dialects. It was something expected and normal in my surroundings. It was odd to see blank walls with no messages. Smaller villages were less political, but they too decorated their walls, though with cultural and religious symbolism. Geometric patterns inspired by the muhgals, swastikas, flowers of life and Hindu dieties were very common. Some farmers even branded their cows with similar symbols. Colorful walls made the cities and villages livelier and more welcoming.

What was your initial impression of the streets here?

When my mom and I moved to Oakland in 1982, I was introduced to different types of markings and monikers in the San Francisco Bay Area. Suburbia meant clean walls, and any kind of wall markings were only found in the “bad areas” of the city. At an early age, I learned to appreciate the intricate hand styles of the local graffiti artists and witnessed what was to come in the 90’s and into the new century.

Did any particular artists stand out? Inspire you?

Among my earliest inspirations were East Bay graffiti artists: Plato, Fresh Kid, Echo and Rocs. In the early 90s, I met the late Mike Francisco a.k.a. Dream at the College of Alameda. He was one of my greatest inspirations, not only from a graffiti perspective, but also because of his views and stance on social/civil rights issues. He was very vocal about police brutality and other injustices that plagued our communities. Many of us aspired to reach Mike’s style status. I also admired Dizny from the TPC crew. Dizny was from Berkeley and painted beautiful murals touching on local and global topics. Where Dream had mastered the letter form, Dizny told stories with characters and broke down complex politics for an average kid from Oakland. San Francisco also blessed us with inspiring artists like: Twist, Margaret Kilgallen, Dug 1, KR, Revyon, Caryone and UB40.

You’ve been documenting the Bay Area graffiti and street are scene for awhile now.

Yes! So many different styles came out of the San Francisco Bay Area, and I thought it was important to keep a record of it all. In 1997, I started a zine called Suitable 4 Framin’ which focused on underrepresented artists. I don’t think there were any other graffiti publications in Northern California at that time. I printed about 1000 copies of each issue and sold them at cost or traded them for other zines and magazines.  I want to capture it all. The piece on the wall, the artist painting it, and whatever else is brewing the neighborhood. I try to post stuff that others may have missed or capture it from a different angle. I try to catch the artists in action, and I try to understand their influences and histories. Bay Area has churned out so many great artists, and those same artists influenced hundreds of others. From the 80’s to today, it’s been an amazing experience to live through so much good art. Graffiti is definitely here to stay, and I hope to tell the story from my perspective.

With easy access to social media, there are so many people documenting the graff/street art scene in the Bay Area these days. It’s always interesting to meet the photographers behind their Flickr or Instagram pages. They all started at different stages, and they all have a certain focus. Some are focused strictly on selected crews, hand styles, freights, throw-ups, burners, trucks… Some are good photographers but don’t know the artists or the history, and others are seasoned veterans.

You’ve photographed thousands of images. Do any particular pieces of graffiti and street art in the Bay Area stand out?  

There are many. Whenever I see a piece by Lango, it’s always a treat. He is doing some next level painting with spraypaints. Stuff by Nychos and Aryz is always on a grand scale and their pieces always run for a while.

How has the Bay Area scene changed since you first became involved with it?

When I was active, your alias was very sacred. The goal was to be everywhere without anyone knowing who you were. Nowadays, graffiti/street artists hand you their business cards, links to their website, flyers and more. That mystery element is gone expect for the selected few. Graffiti/street art in general is a lot more acceptable. I remember when I did one of my first legal graffiti pieces in North Oakland in the late 80’s; it was a big thing at the time. Nowadays, most of the big productions are sponsored, and they are popping up everywhere, so people don’t get that excited. In the 80’s into 90’s, it was all about lettering, and there were many unique styles. Now, kids bring in characters, vegetables, clouds, animals, and other monikers as their tags. Work by guys like Ras Terms, Plantrees, and Broke speaks volume without any lettering. I personally prefer lettering, but I can still appreciate different trends. Paints are better, and there are even classes in graffiti.  It’s, also, definitely more commercialized. And with the advent of Internet, artists have a lot more resources now. Artists use graff to sell merchandise or as a stepping stone for other business endeavors. Graffiti for the sake of graffiti is gone. There’s nothing wrong with earning money from something you love, but don’t exploit the art form.

Besides your documentation of graffiti, you’ve also photographed life in many ethnic communities across the country.  

Yes, for some of my previous corporate gigs, I had the opportunity to travel over the country. I started documenting immigrant communities in my travels. I photographed Indians, Japanese, Mexicans, Chinese, Hmongs, and many others. It was a cultural experience to discover their roots and learn about their struggles to achieve that American experience. And, yet, I was most intrigued by the Chinese.

Your solo exhibit, Everything’s Fine in Chinatown, was  recently on view at the historic Throckmorton Theatre Gallery in Mill Valley. Have you any impressions of the graffiti you’ve encountered in the Chinatowns that you’ve visited? And what spurs your intense interest in Chinatowns?

Graffiti was one of the main reasons I used to go to Chinatowns. Chinatowns had some of the best trucks. I think the businesses learned that there was no point in painting over this stuff, as it wasn’t hurting their business. I’m intrigued by how the Chinese, particularly the ones living and working in Chinatowns, hold on to their cultural identity like no other ethnic group. Regardless of what goes in the world, there never seems to be any politics in Chinatown. It’s always business as usual. There’s a blend of old, new and hints of the future in Chinatown. It’s a mashup of everything you want in one place: restaurants, art galleries, temples/churches, schools… My goal with these photographs is to not only capture life as it exists today but also to document the changes that are brewing in the background.

Images

1 Iqvinder Singh at the “Out of Order” art show, Bay Area 

2 Political poster in India

Barry McGee aka Twist

Barry McGee aka Twist at Oakland Art Museum

Baer

6 Nychos  

7 Ras Terms & Leaf Leaver

8  from Iqvinder Singh‘s solo exhibit “Everything’s Fine in Chinatown”

All photos courtesy Iqvinder Singh

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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Oakland’s streets teem with impressive murals and inventive graffiti. Pictured above was fashioned by the Austrian artist Nychos, who is now based in the Bay Area. What follows are several more I captured on my visit to the West Coast earlier this summer:

Ryno and Wegotem

Oakland-based GATS

Oakland-based New Mexico native Irot

Oakland-based Vogue TDK,  Fuming Guerilla Productions mural dedicated to the 36 individuals who lost their lives in the the devastating Ghostship  warehouse fire

Oakland-based Ras Terms and DeadEyes , close-up

Oakland-based Chicago native Jack Chappel

Special thanks to Iqvinder Singh for introducing me to the streets of Oakland.

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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