Street Artists

Currently on exhibit at Chelsea’s ArtNowNY is “Push It,” an exuberant show featuring works by over 20 female artists working in a remarkable range of expressive modes.  Fresh new talents are showcased alongside legendary artists — many with roots in graffiti and street art. Here’s a sampling of works by six artists who consistently share their visions with us in public spaces:

Swoon

swoon art now Push It at Chelseas ArtNowNY through April 26    with Swoon, Elle, Lady Pink, Lady Aiko, Alice Mizrachi, Vexta, Maya Hayuk and more

Elle

elle canvas street art now Push It at Chelseas ArtNowNY through April 26    with Swoon, Elle, Lady Pink, Lady Aiko, Alice Mizrachi, Vexta, Maya Hayuk and more

Lady Pink

Lady Pink ArtNow Push It at Chelseas ArtNowNY through April 26    with Swoon, Elle, Lady Pink, Lady Aiko, Alice Mizrachi, Vexta, Maya Hayuk and more

Lady Aiko

Aiko canvas artnow nyc Push It at Chelseas ArtNowNY through April 26    with Swoon, Elle, Lady Pink, Lady Aiko, Alice Mizrachi, Vexta, Maya Hayuk and more

Alice Mizrachi

alice mizrachi art now nyc copy Push It at Chelseas ArtNowNY through April 26    with Swoon, Elle, Lady Pink, Lady Aiko, Alice Mizrachi, Vexta, Maya Hayuk and more

Vexta, close-up

vexta close up art now nyc Push It at Chelseas ArtNowNY through April 26    with Swoon, Elle, Lady Pink, Lady Aiko, Alice Mizrachi, Vexta, Maya Hayuk and more

Maya Hayuk

maya hayuk art now nyc2 Push It at Chelseas ArtNowNY through April 26    with Swoon, Elle, Lady Pink, Lady Aiko, Alice Mizrachi, Vexta, Maya Hayuk and more

Curated by Melissa McCaig-Welles, the exhibit continues through April 26 at ArtNowNY, 548 West 28th Street in Chelsea’s gallery district.

Images of artwork by Dani Reyes Mozeson, Lois Stavsky and City-as-School intern Dea Sumrall

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The following guest post is by Yoav Litvin, a writer, photographer and author of the recently released Outdoor Gallery – New York City book on contemporary NYC graffiti/street art.

Newmerica at Exit Room The Ñewmerican Dream: Yoav Litvin Talks to Ñewmerica

Ñewmerica is a collective of artists, which includes LNY, Icy and Sot, Mata Ruda, NDA and Sonni. Each well-known to street art enthusiasts in New York City and worldwide, they joined forces in “The Birth of a Nation,” currently on display at Exit Room in Bushwick. After a fantastic opening chocked full of performances, raffles and other fun surprises, I returned to Exit Room to re-examine the art.  The first piece one encounters is an installation piece constructed by the group —  “La Inmortal Deli,” a bodega stocked with hand-embellished bottles and cigarette boxes. Outside the bodega are pieces by each of the artists in the main hall of Exit Room.

Newmerica bodega The Ñewmerican Dream: Yoav Litvin Talks to Ñewmerica

It is very refreshing, Ñewmerica, to see a group of talented artists — each in their own right — form a collective. What are you trying to achieve with Ñewmerica?

Ñewmerica is a friendship and a platform for independence. When artists start out, they are free to create a body of work as they see fit, but then as the gallery system takes over, the work gets dissected and profiled to fit curatorial restraints or group show themes that tell their own stories. This can take away from an artist’s ability to present and represent his or her work. Ñewmerica is a collective push to take that complete artistic expression back by making the work we want to see exactly the way we want to see it. Ñewmerica is freedom.

Newmerica Bodega at Exit Room The Ñewmerican Dream: Yoav Litvin Talks to Ñewmerica

Is there a collective experience for foreign artists trying to make it in NYC? Can you tell us something about the name, Ñewmerica?

None of us are native to NYC – our shared playground. NYC is the perfect stage for anybody to talk about anything resembling national identity, immigrant identity, or issues of gentrification and generational perspectives. Our individual work speaks about these issues already, and it gets amplified when we work together. At the same time this is just our reality. Even if we don’t make identity an issue we see it coming up in every day life. Analyzing identity is a way of discussing the reality of New York.

Bodega foreclosure at Exir Room The Ñewmerican Dream: Yoav Litvin Talks to Ñewmerica

What’s wrong with America and what are you trying to change?

We are not necessarily trying to change anything, but just better ourselves through collaboration, sharing, and friendship. That’s the only way we can create a better commons and consequently better communities, neighborhoods, cities and nations. Know thyself before you wreck thyself and thy town.

Icy and Sot NDA The Ñewmerican Dream: Yoav Litvin Talks to Ñewmerica

The bodega – why did you choose a bodega as the collaborative point for the collective, and not some other nexus? Why did you choose to make art on alcohol bottles and cigarettes boxes?

The bodega is a contested battleground. Much like the subway, it unifies a city because all social strata melt into it. Commerce and necessity make the bodega a contemporary secular place of worship where we all get our alcohol, coffee, cigarettes and purchase dreams on lottery tickets. It is this quintessential NYC icon — that has played an important role forming our culture — that is slowly getting lost. The bodega icon has been the focus of a lot of scrutiny, a specific example for this is the Street Market installation by Barry McGee, Todd James and Stephen Powers at Deitch Projects back in 2000 — something we all looked at and talked about at the beginning of this production and in a way are paraphrasing as part of this longer dialogue in time.

Mata Ruda Icy and sot The Ñewmerican Dream: Yoav Litvin Talks to Ñewmerica

Is there significance to the name, “La Inmortal Deli?”

“La Inmortal Deli” is our nod to this history and our wish for this type of questioning to continue while simultaneously dealing with contemporary issues. Contrary to its name, “La Inmortal Deli” has an expiration date; it has been foreclosed and will soon be replaced by a Bank of America. So where will our culture go? What will replace the bodega in this new city we are building? What can we do about it?

Newmerica art at Exit Room The Ñewmerican Dream: Yoav Litvin Talks to Ñewmerica

Please tell us some of Ñewmerica‘s plans for the future.

Ñewmerica has lots of fun and secret events planned for the future months – check back with us to find out @nwmrca and on our Facebook page.

Sonni LNY art Exit Room The Ñewmerican Dream: Yoav Litvin Talks to Ñewmerica

____________________________________

 “The Ñewmerican Dream is our biggest success to date,” commented Exit Room founder Dariel MTZ and co-founder Daniela Croci aka Zoe. “This group of artists represents the perfect balance between a grittier street art style and fine art, highlighting diversity in style, ethnic influences and a critical, yet progressive, new vision for American society.”

“The Birth of a Nation” continues through April 19 at 270 Meserole Street.  Gallery hours are Wednesday – Sunday: 5 – 8pm

All photos by Yoav Litvin; photos 1-4. Bodega installation; 5. NDA and Icy & Sot; 6. Mata Ruda and Icy & Sot; 7. Ñewmerica — all members, and 8. LNY and Sonni

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meres 5pointz white wash canvas W H I T E W A S H: A Requiem to 5Pointz at the Jeffrey Leder Gallery with Meres, Cortes, Zimad, See TF, Shiro and more through June 8

On November 19, 2013, 5 Pointz, the world’s aerosol art Mecca, was whitewashed overnight.  Its heartless destruction profoundly saddened not only the artists who called it home and those who traveled there from across the globe, but all of us who loved the creativity and camaraderie that 5Pointz represented. Currently on exhibit at the Jeffrey Leder Gallery, just a short walk from the site of the “art murder,” is W H I T E W A S H.  Curated by Marie Cecile-Flageul, it features the works of nine aerosol artists and two photographers.  Here’s a small sampling of what is on exhibit:

Another by Meres One

Meres graffiti whitewash 5Pointz W H I T E W A S H: A Requiem to 5Pointz at the Jeffrey Leder Gallery with Meres, Cortes, Zimad, See TF, Shiro and more through June 8

Christian Cortes

chris cortes whitewash 5Pointz graffiti W H I T E W A S H: A Requiem to 5Pointz at the Jeffrey Leder Gallery with Meres, Cortes, Zimad, See TF, Shiro and more through June 8

Zimad

Zimad painting 5pointz whitewash W H I T E W A S H: A Requiem to 5Pointz at the Jeffrey Leder Gallery with Meres, Cortes, Zimad, See TF, Shiro and more through June 8

See TF, close-up 

See tf close up whitewash 5pointz W H I T E W A S H: A Requiem to 5Pointz at the Jeffrey Leder Gallery with Meres, Cortes, Zimad, See TF, Shiro and more through June 8

Shiro

shiro 5pointz whitewash W H I T E W A S H: A Requiem to 5Pointz at the Jeffrey Leder Gallery with Meres, Cortes, Zimad, See TF, Shiro and more through June 8

Also on exhibit in W H I T E W A S H are works by AuksHans Von Rittern, Jerms, Just One, Orestes Gonzalez, Poem and Topaz.   The exhibition continues through June 8 at the Jeffrey Leder Gallery. Located at 2137 45th Road in Long Island City, the gallery is open Friday – Sunday 12-6pm and by appointment, 917 767 1734.

Photos of artworks by Lois Stavsky and City-as-School intern, Dea Sumrall

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army of one Jef Campion aka Army of One at Castle Fitzjohns Gallery

Most of us street art aficionados identify Jef Campion aka Army of One with his appropriation of Diane Arbus’s compelling image, “Child with Toy Hand Grenade in Central Park.” But currently on exhibit at Castle Fitzjohns Gallery at 98 Orchard Street is a series of works never viewed before — from poetry to sculptures fashioned on salvaged wood — that provide a poignantly intimate look into the talents and torments of this distinctly complex and sensitive artist.

We visited the gallery the day after the exhibit opened and had the opportunity to speak to its owner, Vincent Harrison.

Where and when did you first meet Jef?

I discovered Jef at Art Basel in Miami in 2012. He was standing in front of his van, covered with red paint from a project he’d been working on.

army of one Jef Campion memorial exhibition Jef Campion aka Army of One at Castle Fitzjohns Gallery

What was your first impression of him?

He was a very intense guy, but also one of the nicest you’d ever meet. I was impressed by his sincerity and passion — in addition to his artistic and technical skills. He had a strong sense of justice that he carried throughout his work both as an artist and as a firefighter. In fact, he never intended to exhibit his work in galleries or make money from his art. Whatever money he made he donated to causes and charities such as the Ronald McDonald House. He just wanted to make a difference.

army of one memorial exhibit Jef Campion aka Army of One at Castle Fitzjohns Gallery

Why do you suppose Jef took his art to the streets?

Jef studied at CalTech and SVA and was making fine art long before he hit the streets. But after 9/11, he became intent on reaching as many people as possible. And the streets were the perfect vehicle for him to do this.

Have you any thoughts on Jef’s appropriation of Diane Arbus’s iconic Grenade Boy?

He always felt a strong connection to Diane Arbus, someone who also led a tragic life. Her iconic image was the ideal way for Jef to highlight the plight of children affected by war and the loss of innocence within American society.

Army of one jef campion words1 Jef Campion aka Army of One at Castle Fitzjohns Gallery

There seems to be so much pain and angst in Jef’s work.

He had his demons. He struggled with issues related to his childhood, his relationships with women and his abuse of drugs and alcohol.  Though spiritual, he rejected organized religion and the Catholicism that was imposed on him as a child. He felt that religion had been used to promote prejudice. But the biggest battle he faced was with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). He was a first responder following the 9/11 attack and stayed at Ground Zero for 40 consecutive days. He was left struggling with traumatic, painful memories.

Army of One Jef Campion Colored White Jef Campion aka Army of One at Castle Fitzjohns Gallery

Can you tell us something about this particular exhibit?

We wanted to commemorate Jef Campion’s life as an artist and individual who gave so much back to his community.  Brooke Lynn McGowan, who was in touch with Jef’s former girlfriend, curated it. None of the work on exhibit is for sale, but some museums have expressed interest in the work.

Army of one writing Jef Campion aka Army of One at Castle Fitzjohns Gallery

How did the opening go?

It was a wonderful tribute to Jef. His close friends, along with street artists, firemen, members of the police department and representatives of charities, attended and shared their memories. He will be missed.

The exhibit continues through Thursday at 98 Orchard Street on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.

Interview with Vincent Harrison by Emily Thaler; photos of Jef’s work by Dani  Reyes Mozeson, Lois Stavsky and Dea Sumrall

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Small World 1 Small World Street Art Continues through 4.6 on Manhattans Lower East Side with: Joe Iurato, Elbow Toe, Cake, Hellbent, Jaye Moon & more

Intrigued by the small artworks that surface unexpectedly thoughout New York City, Amy Young has curated a delightful exhibit featuring small works by over a dozen artists.  Here’s a sampling:

Another cut-out by Joe Iurato

Joe Iurato cut out small world Small World Street Art Continues through 4.6 on Manhattans Lower East Side with: Joe Iurato, Elbow Toe, Cake, Hellbent, Jaye Moon & more

Elbow-Toe, close-up

elbow toe close 2 Small World Street Art Continues through 4.6 on Manhattans Lower East Side with: Joe Iurato, Elbow Toe, Cake, Hellbent, Jaye Moon & more

Cake

Cake art Small World Small World Street Art Continues through 4.6 on Manhattans Lower East Side with: Joe Iurato, Elbow Toe, Cake, Hellbent, Jaye Moon & more

Hellbent

Hellbent collage small world Small World Street Art Continues through 4.6 on Manhattans Lower East Side with: Joe Iurato, Elbow Toe, Cake, Hellbent, Jaye Moon & more

Jaye Moon

jaye moon lego art Small World Street Art Continues through 4.6 on Manhattans Lower East Side with: Joe Iurato, Elbow Toe, Cake, Hellbent, Jaye Moon & more

Other featured artists include: Jilly Ballistic, C215, Clown Soldier, Enzo and Nio, Gilf!, Jay Shells, Shin Shin and Wing.  A closing party will take place tomorrow, April 4, from 5-9pm. The works will remain on exhibit through Sunday at R. Jampol Projects, 191 Henry Street between Clinton and Jefferson on the Lower East Side.

Photos: 1. courtesy of  the gallery; 2. 3. & 5.  Sara Mozeson; 4 & 6, City-as-School intern Dea Sumrall

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Dain collage with clock DAIN on His Women, Beauty and His New Exhibit Opening Tomorrow, Thursday, April 3, at Dumbos Folioleaf

Whether seen on gritty city streets or in formal gallery settings, DAIN’s masterfully conceived artworks always intrigue. And those in his upcoming exhibit at Dumbo’s Folioleaf are among his most dazzling to date. While previewing a few of his new collaged portraits at the Folioleaf gallery space at 111 Front Street, we had the chance to ask him a few questions:

What is it about these particular women’s faces that you find so alluring?

I’m drawn to their eyes. The way they stare at us. And like the women in the old Hollywood movies that I love, these women are naturally beautiful.

Dain collage DAIN on His Women, Beauty and His New Exhibit Opening Tomorrow, Thursday, April 3, at Dumbos Folioleaf

We are wondering why so many of these women’s faces are attached to men’s bodies. What is the significance of this? Is there a message here?

There is beauty beyond the physical. Everything doesn’t have to hang out. Women need to leave something to the imagination.

dain found object collage DAIN on His Women, Beauty and His New Exhibit Opening Tomorrow, Thursday, April 3, at Dumbos Folioleaf

This is quite an impressive body of work. Your distinct aesthetic continues to evolve. Have you any thoughts on this?

I hope it’s getting better. I actually think this is my best work so far.  I’m just starting to scratch the surface.

Dain collage with tags DAIN on His Women, Beauty and His New Exhibit Opening Tomorrow, Thursday, April 3, at Dumbos Folioleaf

How long did it take you to prepare for this exhibit?

I began working on it in my head many months ago. The final pieces came together in the last few weeks.

Dain art collage DAIN on His Women, Beauty and His New Exhibit Opening Tomorrow, Thursday, April 3, at Dumbos Folioleaf

 Are you satisfied with the results?

So far, yes! If I am not satisfied with a piece, you will not see it in this show.

The public opening of DAIN’s new work will take place tomorrow, Thursday, April 3, 6-9pm, at Folioleaf, 111 Front Street, #226,  in Dumbo. The exhibit continues through Saturday, May 17.

Questions for DAIN by City-as-School intern Anna Louka; photos of DAIN’s works by Lois Stavsky and City-as-School intern Dea Sumrall.

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Rebel Natalia Rak NYC Art Battles Speaking to Polands Natalia Rak in New York City

We discovered the wonderfully talented Natalia Rak a number of months back at NYC Art Battles at 5 Bryant Park, where she was painting alongside Chor Boogie, Max Bode and Don Rimx. We instantly fell in love with her vibrant, realistic aesthetic.

When and where did you first get up in a public space?

The first time was four years ago in the small city of Turek, Poland. I only had a few cans of paint, and the walls were small. Some artists start with letters, and some begin with characters. I started with female faces. I just painted one-sided faces. I struggled with the lines!

What inspired you to start painting on walls?

My boyfriend, Bezt, inspired me. I was watching him while he was working with his Etam group in an abandoned place, and he persuaded me to try. It was a frustrating lesson in humility!

The Legend of Giants Natalia Rak street art Speaking to Polands Natalia Rak in New York City

How does your family feel about what you are doing?

My parents do worry when I paint way up high, but they are supportive. They display all my canvases on their walls, even when they don’t understand them. They are proud of my successes, but they are also concerned about my living “the life of an artist.” Their image of the artist is of this struggling person who spends all his money on art supplies, and then when he’s not painting, drinks or uses drugs. And they have a point! There is little money for art in Poland.

Have you any thoughts about the street art / graffiti divide?

Coming from a small town in Poland, I didn’t grow up with graffiti. And I didn’t think much of it. But now that I’m painting on walls, I’ve come to appreciate it. It’s quite different, though, from street art.  Street artists get invited to paint legal murals, while graffiti artists generally work independently. And with graffiti, quantity is as important – if not more so – than quality. Street art is more acceptable.

Natalia Rak street art let there be light  Speaking to Polands Natalia Rak in New York City

How do you feel about the movement of graffiti and street art into galleries?

It’s great. Street art is on the streets, of course, but the artists can also bring their styles and energy to canvases and other media to make their artwork available to people who would love to own it. Galleries are also a way for artists to gain recognition. In Poland there’s hardly any art market. It’s difficult to sell anything here. I’ve had more success selling art outside of my country.

Do you prefer working alone or with others?

I prefer working alone with music. Painting collaboratively seems difficult to me, but I want to have that experience.

Pathfinder Natalia Rak urban art Speaking to Polands Natalia Rak in New York City

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

The Internet invites me to see other cultures. I particularly like Asian cultures. I also enjoy seeing the impact my art has on others – people I don’t even know. I recently saw a photo of a man in Mexico with one of my images tattooed onto his arm. That made me feel so good! Fans push me to create. It’s good to hear opinions about my art too. I have, or try to have, conversations with other artists online.

Are there any particular cultures that influence your aesthetics?

Not a culture but period of art. When I paint, I think of the Secesja, or the Secession period, in Barcelona. The buildings look like plants or nature. When I first started studying the history of art, I was inspired by Jacek Malczewski. Later when I became familiar with Fauvism, I became interested in the combination of colors. Recently, I’ve become interested in Norman Rockwell’s paintings, the way he showed emotion in different situational scenes.

Natalia Rak street art Speaking to Polands Natalia Rak in New York City

Do you have a formal arts education?

Yes, I have a degree in Fine Arts from the University of Lodz. I also studied illustration, comic art, package design and silk screening.

Have you any other any other passions or interests?

Playing computer games. I like playing Battlefield 3. I plan to get Battlefield 4 and League of Legends. My black guitar is still waiting for me in my room. I also like cooking in my free time for friends and trying new dishes.

Do you work with a sketch in your hand?

I work with photos using Photoshop. I enjoy realistic works. I have many ideas in my head. And computers make it easier for me to change colors and composition. Normally, I don’t have a sketch.

NATALIA RAK street art Speaking to Polands Natalia Rak in New York City

Are you generally satisfied with your work?

Hard to say.  When I look at a finished piece, I often find some detail that — I feel — can be changed. But I might be out of energy or already thinking about my next wall. And I always think about how I can do better! I can say, though, that I’m more satisfied now than I was a few years ago. I can see my progress.

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

I really like it when a photographer focuses on the work. I don’t like having my face shown in photographs. And I think it’s great that the images are out there and that so many young people are getting into this modern art movement.

What’s ahead?

I’ve been very busy these past few months working on my first solo exhibit, Through the Looking Glass. I’m excited and nervous at the same time. It opens Friday, April 11, at Pretty Portal in Dusseldorf, Germany. I finished six new canvases and I’ve prepared three prints. I hope everyone can find something that they like. I am also planning to paint three walls in the months ahead – but we shall see!

Natalia Rak Through the Looking Glass Speaking to Polands Natalia Rak in New York City

Good luck! It sounds great and we hope you make it back to New York City soon.

Interview conducted by Lenny Collado and edited by Lois Stavsky; all images courtesy of the artist. 

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Just a few minutes from downtown Manhattan, Jersey City’s Freshly Baked Gallery showcases prints and original artworks by an outstanding array of both local and global artists. This Saturday, its most ambitious venture yet, “Spring Theory,” will open from 3 – 8 pm. This is a small sampling of the featured artwork:

 Milan native El Gato Chimney

El Gato Untitled 3 Jersey Citys Freshly Baked Gallery Presents Spring Theory with El Gato Chimney,  Ekundayo, Sebas Velasco, Veng and more

Honolulu native Ekundayo

Ekundayo Till the wheels fall off1 Jersey Citys Freshly Baked Gallery Presents Spring Theory with El Gato Chimney,  Ekundayo, Sebas Velasco, Veng and more

Spain’s Sebas Velasco

Sebastian Velasco Froilán Jersey Citys Freshly Baked Gallery Presents Spring Theory with El Gato Chimney,  Ekundayo, Sebas Velasco, Veng and more

NYC’s Herb Veng Smith

Herb Veng Smith Killdeer Jersey Citys Freshly Baked Gallery Presents Spring Theory with El Gato Chimney,  Ekundayo, Sebas Velasco, Veng and more

Other artists represented in this exhibit include: Ashes 57, Dulk, Enoe, Emilio FlorentineUri, Peter Taylor and Jose Mertz. And between 3:30 – and 5:30 you can expect wild floral body painting by Emilio Florentine.  Located at 383 Monmouth Street, on the corner of 2nd, Freshly Baked Gallery is a short walk from the Grove Street Path.

springtheoryinsta Jersey Citys Freshly Baked Gallery Presents Spring Theory with El Gato Chimney,  Ekundayo, Sebas Velasco, Veng and more

All images courtesy of the gallery.

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Belin and King Bee street art in Bronx Speaking with Spains Belin in NYC

We’ve been huge fans of the Spanish artist Belin since we came upon his collaborative venture with Kingbee up in the Bronx awhile back. More recently, Belin was back in NYC painting in midtown Manhattan. That’s where we caught up with him.

When and where did you start getting up?

I started bombing the southern part of Linares, a small town in Andalusia, Spain in 1995. I was 15 at the time. I first went by the name Slam.

Who or what inspired you at the time?

I was always drawing. But then I discovered a black and white magazine produced at the time called Explicit Graff. It changed my whole mentality. I just wanted to get up in my city!

Belin street art in NYC Speaking with Spains Belin in NYC

What was your first graffiti crew?

My first crew was LR—Linares Rompe. There were about three or four of us.

Do you have any particularly memorable graffiti memories from back then?

Yes. I remember getting a call from Lechu, a graffiti writer from Ubeda, Spain. Someone had told him I did graffiti. We talked, and he then rode on his motorcycle to Linares to paint with me. That was the first of many trips that he took! There was also Frejo, who tagged “Rasta.” He was from my same hood. He introduced me to rap and basketball. That was around 1997.

Belin street art Luisiana Speaking with Spains Belin in NYC

What did your family and friends think about what you were doing?

My family thought nothing of it. And the preppie kids I hung out with in my neighborhood took no interest in what I was doing. My friend was Frejo.

How much time of your time is devoted to art these days?

I work on my art all the time. If I’m not doing it, I’m thinking about it.

Belin Mücke32 street art Germany Speaking with Spains Belin in NYC

What are your thoughts about the graffiti/street art divide?

Graffiti is freehand spray-painted letters. It is a form of street art, but street art is not graffiti. Street artists, like Banksy, often have a political or social agenda. Graffiti is primarily one’s name.

How do you feel about the movement of graffiti and street art going into galleries?

It works for me. It’s art either way. The artist needs to eat, too. Gallerists make money for the artists, as well as for themselves. They know how to talk and sell art. And it’s a lot about knowing how to talk. Unfortunately there are weak artists who sell because someone knows how to talk them up, while others, who are quite good, can’t even get into galleries.

Belin street art mural close up NYC Speaking with Spains Belin in NYC

What inspires you these days?

The urban environment inspires me. New York inspires me.  There is a lot of energy here. And people are always awake.

How do you feel about collaborations?

It depends. I like to work with other writers on murals. But when I’m in the studio, I like to work alone.

Are there any particular cultures that have influenced your aesthetic?

No. Everything influences me. I watch documentaries.  I listen to music. I read the news. I observe people on the streets. It all comes together in my work. My daily life is my inspiration.

Belin street art Boton Rouge Louisiana EEUU Speaking with Spains Belin in NYC

Do you have a formal arts education?

No. I failed school. I liked painting and hanging with my friends more. And I was quite athletic. I played a lot of basketball and even got my black belt in karate. I think that’s why I enjoy graffiti so much. It’s about physical movement and creation and beauty. It’s like dancing.

Do you work with a sketch in hand?

I never used to. My work was mostly freestyle. But these days, I like to plan my work in advance.

Belin street art Mexico Speaking with Spains Belin in NYC

And you generally satisfied with your work?

Yes!

Have you any thoughts on the role of the Internet in all this?

I feel good about it. It helps my art reach people and it’s a great resource.

How do you feel about the bloggers and photographers of this whole movement?

They are important. They help the artists get places.

Interview conducted by Lenny Collado and edited by Lois Stavsky. Photo credits 1.  Lois Stavsky;  2. & 5.  Dani Reyes Mozeson; all others courtesy of the artist

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Lady Aiko Lady Aikos Playful Bunny Party at Red Hooks Gallery Brooklyn with Closing Party Next Saturday, March 29

With a range of stencil artwork on different media — from a skateboard deck to cupboard doors — along with a a playfully seductive mural, Lady Aiko has transformed Red Hook’s Gallery Brooklyn into a magical bunny party. This is a sampling of what can be seen at 351 Van Brundt Avenue through next Saturday.

Kiss

Lady Aiko stencil art kiss Lady Aikos Playful Bunny Party at Red Hooks Gallery Brooklyn with Closing Party Next Saturday, March 29

It’s Over

Lady Aiko bunny party Its Over stencil art Lady Aikos Playful Bunny Party at Red Hooks Gallery Brooklyn with Closing Party Next Saturday, March 29

Serious Romance, close-up

Lady Aiko stencil art Serious Romance Lady Aikos Playful Bunny Party at Red Hooks Gallery Brooklyn with Closing Party Next Saturday, March 29

Linda

Lady Aiko stencil art Linda Lady Aikos Playful Bunny Party at Red Hooks Gallery Brooklyn with Closing Party Next Saturday, March 29

And close-up from huge mural

Lady Aiko Gallery brooklyn Mural Lady Aikos Playful Bunny Party at Red Hooks Gallery Brooklyn with Closing Party Next Saturday, March 29

The exhibit is open Thursday through Saturday, 12-7 and Sunday 12-5. The closing party takes place next Saturday evening, March 29, from 6-10 pm.

Photos of artwork by Lois Stavsky and City-as-School intern Annie Loucka 

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