Street Artists

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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Cairo-based artist Mohamed Radwan aka Sober recently completed a mural dedicated to female empowerment at Sahel’s Sea Hub compound on Egypt’s north coast. A brief interview with the artist follows:

When did you first paint in the public sphere? And what motivated you to do so?

During the Egyptian revolution and particularly starting 2012, I was motivated by opposition to the political status quo.  I started painting on the streets as a form of political expression of this opposition and solidarity with certain revolutionary figures and ideals.

Why did you choose to create a mural on the theme of “Women Empowerment?”

I believe that graffiti must serve a social purpose or advance a cause. For this particular mural — because of its location and high visibility — I felt that it was important to choose a topic that wouldn’t be divisive and would, also, get the huge exposure it deserves. In my mind, there was no topic more in need of  attention in the Egyptian community, in particular –and globally, as well — as women’s rights and  empowerment.

And why did you decide to feature Wonder Woman so prominently in your mural?

Because Wonder Woman has evolved into a symbol of women empowerment globally. She even had a brief run as a United Nations honorary ambassador. And with the release of the Wonder Woman movie this summer, she has achieved iconic status.

What were some of the challenges faced in creating this particular mural?

The first challenge was the size of it. The wall is 70m long and 5m high. I had never worked on such a large scale before. And that was a huge challenge to me. The second challenge was the very limited time for implementation. We had seven days to complete the mural — which meant spraying 10 meters a day. This, coupled with the hardships of the coastal weather in Egypt — which is extremely hot in the morning and very windy and humid at night — made it very hard for us artists to work continuously for seven days. And not only that, but the humidity and wind were also affecting the stencils on site. Thankfully, I was blessed with a crew of highly professional and highly committed artists and volunteers, who were intent on making this happen.

Have any objections arisen among the religiously and politically conservative elements in Egypt to your subject matter or portrayal of women in an outdoor setting?

Not at all. Women are commonly portrayed in public settings in Egypt — in commercials, billboards and such. It’s nudity that normally causes objections, and I don’t have that in this mural.

How has the local media responded to your mural?

So far the mural was well-received by both formal and social media. But we are seeking more exposure for the mural and contacting numerous media outlets.

All photos courtesy the artist; interview by Lois Stavsky

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From August 9 – 13th, Under Pressure held the 22nd edition of its annual graffiti festival in Montreal. The largest and longest-running event of its kind in North America, it is a celebration of hip-hop, graffiti and street art culture. The image pictured above was painted by the famed French graffiti crew and family 123 Klan. Several more images that we captured on site follow:

Montreal-based Adida Fallen Angel artworks on door and to its left

Canadian artists Scribe, Francois Leandre and Corey Bulpitt collaboration 

Montreal based MissMe

Montreal-based Monk.E at work on collaborative wall with Ankhone and Fonki

France-native, Montreal-based Sbuone at work

 Tattooist J Mats at work on collaborative wall

Rien, Borrris, Arnold, Naimo & Will Lyf3 203 Crew collaborative mural

Photo credits: 1, 5 & 8 Tara Murray; 2-4, 6 & 7 Lois Stavsky

Note: Hailed in a range of media from WideWalls to the Huffington Post to the New York Times, our Street Art NYC App is now available for Android devices here.

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The Wide Open Walls mural festival continues in Sacramento adding a widely diverse range of stunning murals to the city’s downtown and beyond. Pictured above is Sacramento-based Franceska Gamez at work. What follows are several more images captured by street art and travel photographer Karin du Maire:

Local artists Franceska Gamez and Shaun Burner at work

Venice, California-based Christina Angelina does Lady Gaga

Local artist John Horton, close-up

Italian artist Jorit Agoch at work

U.K.-based Phlegm at work

And local artist Raphael Delgado on exhibit at Beatnik Studios

Organized by festival founder David Sobon and Branded Arts, the Wide Open Walls mural festival continues in Downtown Sacramento through August 20th.

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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Celebrating the diversity of street art and its power to transform neighborhoods, the Wide Open Walls mural festival is now underway in Sacramento, California. Continuing through August 20th, it is bringing over 40 local, national and international artists to Downtown Sacramento and beyond. Pictured above is Spanish artist Okuda. What follows are several more images captured on site by street art and travel photographer Karin du Maire:

Madrid-based Okuda, close up

Paris-based Ludo

NYC-based How & Nosm at work

Nevada City-based Miles Toland with his mural

And on view at Beatnik Studios in coordination with the festival:

Sacramento-based Shaun Burner

And local artist Bryan Valenzuela

Organized by festival founder David Sobon and Branded ArtsWide Open Walls is one of the capital’s key attractions.

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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A strikingly beautiful mural has surfaced across the street from the Jersey City Municipal Court. Spearheaded by the Jersey City Mural Arts Program, it is the work of the incomparable duo, Werc and Gera Luz. Contemplating the theme of justice, it features Maat, the Egyptian Goddess of Justice. Pictured above are the two artists at work. What follows are additional photos — all captured on site by street and travel photographer Karin du Maire.

Gera Luz, posing beneath Maat — the Egyptian Goddess of Justice — whom she remarkably resembles!

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An admirer with a gift for Gera Luz

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Close-up featuring the weighing of the heart with a feather — that determined the fate of the departed soul

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Werc and Gera Luz pose in front of their completed mural

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Special thanks to Karin du Maire for capturing and sharing these images.

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I first came upon WC Bevan‘s mesmerizing aesthetic at an exhibit — curated by Jason Mamarella aka d.w. krsna — that I attended back in 2013 at 17 Frost. I was delighted to rediscover it on the streets of Detroit during my recent trip, where I, also, had a chance to visit the artist’s studio and speak to him.

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

I was about 15 or 16 and living in Ohio. I had gotten my driver’s license, and in between delivering pizzas, I’d find walls under train bridges.

What ignited your interest back then in graffiti?

A punk named Gabe Razor gave me his half-filled black book. He wrote, but never disclosed who he was.

Had you any favorite surfaces to hit up back then?

Besides the walls under the train bridges, I liked abandoned spaces – of any kind — and the quarries.

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These days — when you are out on the streets — would you rather work legally or illegally?

Both. 

Were you ever arrested?

Once in Memphis. I just had to repaint the wall and pose for a photo.

What’s the riskiest thing you’ve ever done while painting in the streets?

In Memphis, I painted a big, googly eyeball 26 stories above the ground while hanging off a bar.

Why did you?

It was fun! Why not? 

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Would you rather paint alone or collaborate with others?

I like collaborating with rich people who commission me to paint their walls!

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

I don’t feel it much here in Detroit. We’ve all been through so much together.

What percentage of your time is devoted to art these days?

About 90%.

How does your family feel about what you are doing 

They love it. They’re cool! My father is a folk musician.

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What are some of your other interests?

I record music as a hobby, and I bike.

How do you feel about the engagement of the corporate world with graffiti writers and street artists?

It depends on the nature and mission of the company or corporation. It’s okay as long as the artist is aware of the company’s agenda and can work with it.

What is the main source of your income?

Working on commissioned murals and selling my work privately. 

Have you shown your work in galleries?

Yes. I’ve been in lots of shows – both group exhibits and solo shows. When I was based in NYC, I showed at 17 Frost.

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Do you work with a sketch in hand or do you let it flow?

A loose sketch.

Are you generally satisfied with your finished work?

Yes. And, if not, I’ll fix it. So far, I’ve only painted over one piece.

Do you have a formal art education?

I attended the Memphis College of Art for almost two years.

Was it worth it?

It wasn’t the way I wanted to do it, but I did get a lot of art supplies out of it!

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Are there any particular cultures or movements that have influenced your aesthetic?

I’ve been influenced by South American art, the Renaissance and architectural designs.

How has your work evolved through the years?

With the space and time I’ve had since moving to Detroit, it has evolved quite a bit.  It’s tighter and bigger.

What inspires you these days?

Pure vision and free association.

Do any particular artists inspire you?

JJ Cromer, Martin Ramirez, Louise Nevelson, Kenny Sharf, R Crumb, Motohiro Hayakawa, Minnie Evans

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

If a graffiti artist paints something and it doesn’t appear on Instagram, did it really happen?  My advice to graffiti artists is: Don’t show your face or location. But the Internet does make it easier for us to sell T-shirts!

What’s ahead?

Murals in the Market, a trip to Cuba and more painting!

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

To provide meaning, encourage reflection, and offer people the possibility of seeing things differently.

Photo credits: 1, 5 & 6 courtesy of the artist; 2-4 & 7 Lois Stavsky; interview conducted by Lois Stavsky with Tara Murray

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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Four new murals — all fashioned by South American artists — have found a home on Harman Street off Knickerbocker Avenue in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Curated by Spread Art NYC, each is distinctly intriguing. The wall segment pictured above features Colombian artists Guache and Praxis and Ecuadorian artist Irving Ramó. Several more photos captured at this space follow:

Guache at work

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Praxis gets some assistance

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A close-up from Irving Ramó‘s completed mural

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And the most recent addition to the wall — painted by  by Brazilian artist Raul Zito

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Photo credits: 1-3  Karin du Maire; 4 & 5 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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Senkoe-street-art-mural-Festival-Inspire-Canada

The third edition of Festival Inspire — held earlier this month in Moncton, New Brunswick — has brought 13 wondrous new murals to the Canadian city’s urban landscape. Greater Moncton is now home to 31 strikingly beautiful murals by international and local artists. The artwork pictured above was painted by Mexican artist Senkoe. What follows are several recent murals:

UK-based Wasp Elder

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Portuguese artist Bordalo II

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Toronto-based Jerry Rugg aka Birdo

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Athens-based WD

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French artist Etien

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Mexican artist Eva Bracamontes

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All photos courtesy Festival Inspire: 1 -6 Louis Philippe Chiasson; 7 Edward deo Dingle

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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Portal, a thoroughly enticing exhibit of new artworks in a range of media by the legendary Brooklyn-based artist Plasma Slug, continues through tomorrow at ArtHelix, 289 Meserole Street in Bushwick. When I stopped by yesterday, I had the chance to pose a few questions to the artist.

This is so impressive! Can you tell us a bit about the title of this — your third solo exhibit?

Yes! The exhibit is a portal — an entrance — to another world. Viewers will step into something that will take them out of their routine and they will, hopefully, leave with their minds expanded.

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These are all new works. About how many are in this exhibit? And how long have you been working on this particular body of work?

There are over 40 new pieces, and I’ve been preparing for this exhibit for the past four months.

How do the works on exhibit here differ from your previous ones?

I did not use spray paint to create these new pieces; after much soul-searching, I decided to paint with a brush.

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And why is that?

It was a way for me to “cross over,” — to gain more respect as an artist. The tools we artists use are important as to how we are perceived.

Any other differences between these new works and your previous ones?

This is the first time I’m showing three-dimensional work.

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What prompted you to do that?

My son was flipping out over a 3-D chalk board he was using, and I liked the effect.

Everything here is so engaging, and your prices are so reasonable.  How can folks see the exhibit if they missed the opening or if they wish to see it again? I could spend hours here!

We’re open today and tomorrow, Sunday from 12-6.

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 Congratulations! It’s quite amazing!

Photos by Lois Stavsky; interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky

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