Brooklyn

Michael alan ink An Artist and His Studio: With Michael Alan in Bushwick

Ranging from the mischievous to the mystical, Michael Alan‘s ever-evolving body of artwork always entices.  We recently had the opportunity to visit the prodigious artist’s studio and find out a bit about it and its role in his life.

What a great space in such an ideal building! How long have you been here?

I’ve been in this building for two years. I first began sharing a studio here with Nick Greenwald, an illustrator. That was soon after I had lost my previous space to a flood at my home in Staten Island. And when Ashley Azelinskie – who oversees this building — saw his much work I was doing, she provided me with this studio.

Your studio has such a warm vibe. It is so welcoming.

Yes! I have tried to duplicate the aesthetics of my home. I want to work in a place that is relaxed and motivating.

Michael alan varied figures An Artist and His Studio: With Michael Alan in Bushwick

How did you decide what to transport here to keep you company?

I chose to bring over the artwork, books, magazines and toy sculptures that matter the most to me.

Yes! I’ve noticed baseball cards — that you’ve refashioned — that must have been with you since your childhood. And your black books date back years! What about the logistics of moving everything here and setting it up?

I had put an ad on my Instagram – “Help me move, and we can draw,” — and 40 people showed up.  Then once I was here, Michael Kronenberg, a formerly homeless friend of mine — who’d been released from Bellevue after trying to harm himself — helped me curate the space. The studio is a place — for not just me — to create positivity. I wanted him to have a space he could work with me on, and not end up in a bad space again. He had landed in Bellevue after losing hope in art and ever attaining success. He is a talented artist, and I wanted to encourage him not to let others take him down. And my friend, Janna, helped me turn it into a home. It took about two to three weeks.

michael alan works in studio An Artist and His Studio: With Michael Alan in Bushwick

What role does this studio play in your life?

It is my life. My sanctuary. A constant show for myself. I’d always been hesitant to look at my stuff. But now I do. I even put a book together here.

Can you tell us something about what has gone down here — in addition to what you paint, draw and endlessly create?

We host weekly performances and drawing groups that have attracted folks ranging in age from 18 – 70. People of all styles and skill levels are welcome. The next one will be held this coming Saturday evening, March 25th beginning at 8pm. Tickets and more information are available here.   Musicians have performed here, including Ramsey Jones of the Wu Tang Clan. Alan Ket has been here filming a documentary in which I am one of the featured artists. And I give tours to college kids and collectors here.

Michael alan ink and more An Artist and His Studio: With Michael Alan in Bushwick

How do you feel about this neighborhood — Bushwick?

These days I spend most of my life here. I like this building, and I like the people in it. But Bushwick is not my neighborhood. I find the gentrification here distasteful. The friends I grew up with couldn’t afford to live here. But I’m happy to have a studio here, as so many studios in NYC are infested with drugs, roaches and rats, along with people you don’t want to be around. I’ve been in studios where things were stolen from me and where my mother got robbed.

It’s great that you have this now. What’s ahead for you — in addition to everything that is happening in this space? 

I’m preparing for a solo show in a new, huge gallery, Space 42, in Jacksonville, Florida. It will open on Friday, April 28th at 7pm.

Michael alan face An Artist and His Studio: With Michael Alan in Bushwick

 Good luck!  It all sounds great!

Photos of images: 1-3 Lois Stavsky; 4 Tara Murray & 5 Michael Alan

Hailed in a range of media from Wide Walls 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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Ben Angotti Biggie Spread Art NYC Presents <em>20 Big Years</em>    an Artistic Tribute to Biggie Smalls    at the Bishop Gallery through Tomorrow

Continuing through tomorrow, Sunday, at the Bishop Gallery is 20 Big Years, an artistic tribute to the late Biggie Smalls. Presented by Spread Art NYC, it features works in a range of styles by over a dozen of our favorite local artists. Pictured above is a portrait of Biggie painted by Ben Angotti. Here are several more images from the exhibit:

Danielle De Jesus, Untitled

Danielle dejesus biggie Spread Art NYC Presents <em>20 Big Years</em>    an Artistic Tribute to Biggie Smalls    at the Bishop Gallery through Tomorrow

Danielle Mastrion, Crook from the Brook

danielle mastrion biggie Spread Art NYC Presents <em>20 Big Years</em>    an Artistic Tribute to Biggie Smalls    at the Bishop Gallery through Tomorrow

OGMillie, Biggie Smalls

OGMillie king of NY Spread Art NYC Presents <em>20 Big Years</em>    an Artistic Tribute to Biggie Smalls    at the Bishop Gallery through Tomorrow

Fumero, Grafsfract Biggie

fumero painting Biggie Spread Art NYC Presents <em>20 Big Years</em>    an Artistic Tribute to Biggie Smalls    at the Bishop Gallery through Tomorrow

A particular highlight of the exhibit is the collaborative piece by Rocko and Zimer, who had painted the now-iconic Biggie tribute mural on Bedford and Quincy. You can check that one out out — along with over 20 other tribute pieces — through tomorrow at the Bishop Gallery, 916 Bedford Avenue in Bed-Stuy.

rocko and zimer street art NYC Spread Art NYC Presents <em>20 Big Years</em>    an Artistic Tribute to Biggie Smalls    at the Bishop Gallery through Tomorrow

Photo credits: 1-5 from 20 Big Years, Tara Murray; 6 Lois Stavsky

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UBcover <em>unbag</em> Co founder Andy Wentz on the Collectives First Arts Publication

A Brooklyn-based artist collective with a mission, unbag is planning to release its first arts publication this spring. I recently posed a few questions to unbag co-founder, artist and writer Andy Wentz.

Just what is unbag?  When and how did it all begin?

unbag is an arts organization that runs an ongoing critique group, curates shows with partner galleries, and is now producing its first publication. We started out as a small group of friends who wanted to do group studio visits about two years ago. It was always about supporting the folks within our small community. And this ethos of supporting artists that are underrepresented and share similar values to ours has continued to inspire us to expand the organization.

What is the significance of its title? It’s rather bizarre!

We needed a channel to organize members of our little critique groups, so early on we created a Facebook group to host events and announcements. Our idea to create the Facebook group came before we even saw a need to come up with a name for the group. So we just put it as Un-Named Brooklyn Artist Group and for some reason the acronym unbag stuck. I think it made sense to us as a name because it is a clunky synonym to ‘unpack’ which is what we were doing during the critique group. We’ve since dropped the long form title and are just unbag now.

manuel arturo abreu against the supremacy of thought 7 <em>unbag</em> Co founder Andy Wentz on the Collectives First Arts Publication

What prompted you to launch this particular project — a digital and print publication?

My friend, Aaron Cooper, and I were organizing the unbag critique group and leading some panel discussions at an experimental space called Sleep Center in Chinatown.  We started meeting a ton of artists from all over the world through these events, and that’s when we started to get the idea to have a project space of our own. But we weren’t interested in a brick and mortar gallery, and we thought that an interesting alternative would be to host artist projects online and in print. We realized early on that what we were doing wasn’t going to be a journal or a magazine in the traditional sense —  but rather something more malleable that would conform to the types of projects that our contributors are interested in sharing.

Who is your audience? Are their any particular groups you are targeting?

We are definitely targeting people in the art world, but folks who don’t take it too seriously. We’re not aspiring to be the next Art in America or anything like that. We hope to reach people who are interested in art, culture and political practice from artists who don’t necessarily already have a platform to share their work. We also hope that our readers are people who would become future contributors and join in the unbag community.

Ars Jupiter Page A 7 x 9 alt <em>unbag</em> Co founder Andy Wentz on the Collectives First Arts Publication

How did you decide what to feature in Issue #1?

We started with an open call for projects that use trickery as a strategy in their artistic production. We were definitely thinking of artists like Sophie Calle and Jill Magid when we came up with the idea for the theme. These artists are subversive and obsessive, and their motivations are not always clear to the viewer. Along with the open call, we also reached out to some artists and writers who, we thought, could contribute great projects because they already had a more subversive practice. We ended up getting about a hundred submissions and finally narrowed it down to thirteen projects that we thought fit the theme and worked well together as a group.

When will your premier issue be officially released?

The project will officially be released in May, and we will be hosting a launch event at Quimby’s in Williamsburg. Stay tuned for an official date for that event.

Loney Abrams <em>unbag</em> Co founder Andy Wentz on the Collectives First Arts Publication

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced in producing this first issue?

We’ve had to completely build everything from the ground up for this. So that means marketing, design, printing, fundraising, and more. All of these aspects have been a challenge. But we’re banking on the first issue being the most difficult to produce, and that in the future — with all these structures in place — it will be more about just finding the right contributors to feature. So we’re looking forward to the next issue for those reasons.

Note: The unbag Kickstarter continues through this Sunday, March 12.

Interview by Lois Stavsky & all photos of images courtesy Andy Wentz

Images

1. Haleigh Nickerson

2. Manuel Arturo Abreu

3. Peter Rostovsky

4. Loney Abrams & Johnny Stanish 

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

en play badge 2 <em>unbag</em> Co founder Andy Wentz on the Collectives First Arts Publication

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BXFoxx JMZ Walls Bushwick street art nyc Speaking with <em>JMZ Walls</em> Founder and Curator Alberto Mejia

“Helping to make the JMZ lines more colorful one wall, one gate, one space at a time,” JMZ Walls continues to bring a diverse range of first-rate street art and graffiti — by both local and global artists — to South Bushwick. I recently had the opportunity to speak to its founder, Alberto Mejia.

When was JMZ Walls first launched?

In the fall of 2014.

What spurred you to initiate it?

I’d been living in Bushwick – off the JMZ lines – for 20 years. In the past several years, I saw positive changes in in other parts of Bushwick that I didn’t see happening here.

Thia govaldi and 17 matrix jmz walls bushwick nyc Speaking with <em>JMZ Walls</em> Founder and Curator Alberto Mejia

And many of these changes are directly related to the art that had begun surfacing on the streets.

Yes! My vision was to bring street artists, graffiti writers and muralists to my end of Bushwick. And I didn’t think that these genres should be kept separate from one another.  Why shouldn’t graffiti writers share space with street artists and muralists?

I agree! And the visual impact of JMZ Walls has been great. How did you go about getting walls for artists?

I know many of the building owners. At first I started asking for gates, and soon the owners were offering walls to me.

for jmz walls bushwick street art nyc Speaking with <em>JMZ Walls</em> Founder and Curator Alberto Mejia

Who were some of the first artists to paint for JMZ Walls?

The first piece was by a German graffiti writer, Byond.  He was followed by Queen Andrea, Claw Money and Dasic Fernandez.  I was inspired by Queen Andrea, in fact, to dedicate an entire block — Lawton Street — to female artists!

How do you decide which artists to include?

I’m interested in giving opportunities to local graffiti artists who haven’t had all that many occasions to paint in legal spots. And I love hosting talented artists from abroad who are seeking a space to paint.  I also like giving opportunities to artists who don’t generally paint in public spaces.

kes jmz walls graffiti bushwick Speaking with <em>JMZ Walls</em> Founder and Curator Alberto Mejia

Yes! I was introduced to several artists – including BK Foxx – through JMZ Walls. How has the local community responded to JMZ Walls?

Families have been very appreciative, and the kids love the art. I often hear them saying, “That’s cool!” when they pass by.

Yup! You have certainly enlivened this end of Bushwick! It’s worth a ride on the J, M or Z line out here just to see these walls you’ve curated! I’ve done it often! What – would you say – has been your greatest challenge?

My greatest challenge has been financing it. Supplies and paints are expensive, and artists’ budgets are often limited. You can find out here how you can help support us through our recently launched GoFundMe Campaign.

spraycam street art jmz walls Speaking with <em>JMZ Walls</em> Founder and Curator Alberto Mejia

Thank you for all that you’ve done for the community and for all of us street art and graffiti aficionados. We look forward to what’s ahead for JMZ Walls.  And good luck with your GoFundMe Campaign.

Images

1. BK Foxx

2. Brazilian artists Thiago Valdi & l7m

3. Rio de Janeiro-based  Marcelo Ment

4. Kesta 

5. Montreal-based Philippe Mastrocola aka Spraycam

Photo credits: 1 & 2 Tara Murray; 3-5 Lois Stavsky; interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky

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

en play badge 2 Speaking with <em>JMZ Walls</em> Founder and Curator Alberto Mejia

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sara erenthal art on piano Sara Erenthal Gives New Life to Discarded Objects on Park Slope Streets

A self-taught, multi-disciplinary artist, Sara Erenthal has a strong presence on the streets of Park Slope, Brooklyn. We recently spoke.

You’ve established quite a presence here on the streets of Park Slope. What keeps you coming back?

There is a lack of public art in Park Slope, and there seems to be a hunger for it. Folks here have been so receptive to what I am doing. They seem excited to have something interesting and different to look at.  Park Slope is where I am living these days, and so it’s easy for me to get around either by foot or by bike.

sara erenthal street art nyc Sara Erenthal Gives New Life to Discarded Objects on Park Slope Streets

With the exceptions of the walls you are commissioned to paint, your canvas is almost always some type of discarded object. Why is that?

Since folks take many of my works home with them, I feel that I am saving trash from ending up in landfills. Also – what I am doing is not illegal. I cannot take the legal risks of doing unsanctioned artworks that could land me with a fine, time in jail or both.

sara erenthal upcycled art nyc Sara Erenthal Gives New Life to Discarded Objects on Park Slope Streets

You almost always seem to be drawing faces. Can you tell us something about them?

They are variations of myself – subconscious portraits. Growing up in a cloistered ultra-Orthodox world, I was limited to just one hairstyle. The changes in the hairstyles represent the changes in myself.

sara erenthal mural art Sara Erenthal Gives New Life to Discarded Objects on Park Slope Streets

I’ve noticed folks stop and often photograph you while you are drawing.  Do any particular interactions with passersby stand out?

Yes! Recently a woman ran after me as I was rushing out of my house — in my pajamas — to the local health food store to buy some ginger. I was sick at the time. She asked me if she could bring her father – a huge fan since he had seen my work on a mattress — to meet me. He showed up almost instantly for his daughter to snap a photo of the two of us  – with me decked in my pajamas!

sara erenthal public art work park slope nyc Brooklyn Sara Erenthal Gives New Life to Discarded Objects on Park Slope Streets

In addition to your work on found objects, you’ve also painted on a range of sanctioned surfaces this past year. Any particular challenges? Any favorites?

Painting on a shuttered gate was definitely a challenge as I generally paint on flat surfaces. Among my favorites is the artwork that I painted at D’Vine Taste.

sara erenthal street art Park Slope Sara Erenthal Gives New Life to Discarded Objects on Park Slope Streets

Yes! I love the stark simplicity of the white on black. It’s beautiful! And what about the piano? How did that become your canvas?

A local pre-school threw it out last spring with a sign “Free piano.” Six months later it was still there. I asked then for permission to paint it. And I love that it is still there! I feel as though I gave it a new life.

sara erenthal make art from your heart NYC Sara Erenthal Gives New Life to Discarded Objects on Park Slope Streets

You did! What’s ahead? 

I am now preparing for a solo show to open at FiveMyles Gallery at 558 St Johns Place on March 9 from 6-9pm. And later in the spring, I will be exhibiting my work at Google’s New York site in Chelsea. An outdoor mural in Gowanus is also on the horizon.

I’m looking forward to it all! Good luck!

Photo credits: 1-5 & 7 Lois Stavsky; 6 Tara Murray; interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky

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

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Bisco Smith Methods style writing edited 1 Bisco Smith, MANIFEST, at Okay Space in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Back in NYC, in the place he calls “home,” Bisco Smith — the first artist in residency at Okay Space — has been busy!  At work during one of the most tumultuous weeks in the history of our country, the artist proposed that creating his newest body of work, MANIFEST, helped “center” him, as he strives to find “the goodness amidst the chaos.”  This past Friday, MANIFEST was unveiled at Okay Space at 281 North 7th Street.  Here are several images captured shortly before it officially opened to the public:

Bisco Smith adding info to Methods, serigraph on paper, edition of 111

Bisco Smith and style writing Bisco Smith, MANIFEST, at Okay Space in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

 Manifest Moments #9, acrylic & spray paint on canvas

bisco smith style writing on canvas Bisco Smith, MANIFEST, at Okay Space in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Manifest Moments, the series — each, 18 x 18 – acrylic & spray paint on canvas

Bisco Smith works Manifest Moments Bisco Smith, MANIFEST, at Okay Space in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Gratitude for all things past, service for all things present, responsibility for all things future

style writing williamsburg gallery  Bisco Smith, MANIFEST, at Okay Space in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

 And as seen at night from the outside, shortly before it opened

Bisco Smith style writing at OKAY SPACE Bisco Smith, MANIFEST, at Okay Space in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Okay Space is open Monday through Friday, 11-6, and on Saturday 12-5.  For further info, you can contact the space at 929-250-2388.

Photos by Lois Stavsky

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fin dac at work street art bushwick nyc Skillosophy Celebrates Street Art & Graffiti Outside Livestreams Bushwick Headquarters with: Fin DAC, Rubin, Danielle Mastrion and Lexi Bella, Jerms, Misha T, N Carlos J & more

Several stunning new murals recently surfaced on Morgan Avenue and Stagg Street in Bushwick. While visiting Livestream last week, I spoke to visual artist and curator Bianca Romero about Skillosophy, the movement behind these artworks.

Just what is Skillosophy? And when was it launched?

It’s an exhibition/showcase series that takes place four times a year with a focus on multi-disciplinary artists. It was launched last year by the co-founders of Lyricist Lounge & Defiant Ent and Livestream. For this past quarter, Danny Castro – Lyricist Lounge co-founder — and I decided to feature outdoor murals for the fall exhibition during Bushwick Open Studios, in addition to the art that is on exhibit inside the Livestream headquarters.

Fin Dac paints mural Bushwick NYV Skillosophy Celebrates Street Art & Graffiti Outside Livestreams Bushwick Headquarters with: Fin DAC, Rubin, Danielle Mastrion and Lexi Bella, Jerms, Misha T, N Carlos J & more

What spurred you to add this outdoor element to Skillosophy?

Typically, Skillosophy is indoors, inside the Livestream studio space. But we wanted to take it outside for Bushwick Open Studios. It seemed like a great way to give exposure to the talented muralists and street artists, and it was a great addition to our Block Party to have it done live. We loved the communal and public aspect of it.

Rubin street art bushwick nyc Skillosophy Celebrates Street Art & Graffiti Outside Livestreams Bushwick Headquarters with: Fin DAC, Rubin, Danielle Mastrion and Lexi Bella, Jerms, Misha T, N Carlos J & more

You’ve done a wonderful job of curating it all. The art both inside and outside is wonderfully eclectic and is beautifully presented. Have you a background in art? 

Both my parents are artists. My father, in fact, was a pioneer in graphic design and has taught design at the School of Visual Arts and at the Parsons School of Design. My mother was a fashion designer, and I, myself, am an artist.

Danielle Mastrion Lexi Bella street art NYC Skillosophy Celebrates Street Art & Graffiti Outside Livestreams Bushwick Headquarters with: Fin DAC, Rubin, Danielle Mastrion and Lexi Bella, Jerms, Misha T, N Carlos J & more

And can you tell us a bit about Livestream? When was it first founded and what is its mission?

It was founded in 2007 with the mission to make any every event available live online through video.

Jerms graffiti Bushwick NYC Skillosophy Celebrates Street Art & Graffiti Outside Livestreams Bushwick Headquarters with: Fin DAC, Rubin, Danielle Mastrion and Lexi Bella, Jerms, Misha T, N Carlos J & more

And how has Livestream responded to Skillosophy?

The love it. They’ve thoroughly embraced it. They love the idea of bringing the extraordinary talents of Bushwick into our offices. A walk through our offices — that are covered with work by local artists — is like a walk through the neighborhood!

misha T m dot season street art bushwick nyc Skillosophy Celebrates Street Art & Graffiti Outside Livestreams Bushwick Headquarters with: Fin DAC, Rubin, Danielle Mastrion and Lexi Bella, Jerms, Misha T, N Carlos J & more

Who is Skillosophy‘s audience?

All art lovers! Anyone who loves any aspect of art — music, dance, film or visual art.  The venue has hosted hip-hop shows, film industry mixers and skillshares in addition to art exhibits. We’ve had a very diverse audience…from working class folks to art collectors to party people!

N Carlos J street art Bushwick NYC Skillosophy Celebrates Street Art & Graffiti Outside Livestreams Bushwick Headquarters with: Fin DAC, Rubin, Danielle Mastrion and Lexi Bella, Jerms, Misha T, N Carlos J & more

How can folks best keep up with your events? And how can they arrange a visit to Livestream‘s headquarters for private viewings of the indoor art?

They can follow Skillosophy on Instagram, and they can contact us at skillosophyshow@gmail.com to schedule a private viewing and inquire about pricing and events. And any artist or performer interested in participating in a future Skillosophy exhibition and showcase can contact as at this email, as well.

 Images

1 & 2 Fin DAC at work

3 Rubin at work

4 Danielle Mastrion and Lexi Bella

5 Jerms

6 Misha T 

7 N Carlos J

Photo credits 1-5 & 7 Karin du Maire and 6 Tara Murray; interview with Bianca Romero conducted by Lois Stavsky

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buff monster street art Central Avenue NYC Buff Monster on: Living in NYC, Collaborating With Brands, Celebrating Brooklyn for Miller Lites <em>Our Can, Your Canvas </em> and more

Celebrated for his captivating characters that have surfaced throughout the globe, Buff Monster forever delights us with his playful imagination and creative energy. In addition to painting murals across the world, the wildly talented and prolific artist has fashioned a wide array of artworks from prints and stickers to vinyl toys. He has also collaborated with numerous brands. Curious about this collaborative process, I recently caught up with him where he had just finished painting a mural in partnership with Miller Lite at Dobbins Street and Norman Avenue  – where Williamsburg meets Greenpoint.

Buff Monster street art in NYC Buff Monster on: Living in NYC, Collaborating With Brands, Celebrating Brooklyn for Miller Lites <em>Our Can, Your Canvas </em> and more

You were born in Hawaii and lived on the West Coast for several years. What brought you to NYC?

I’ve been to all 50 states, but I’ve only lived in states with good weather. I lived in LA for 15 years, and I grew tired of the same climate all the time. I needed a change. I wanted to be somewhere where there are seasons. I was looking for something different — personally and professionally.

Buff Monster street art progress Bushwick Collective NYC Buff Monster on: Living in NYC, Collaborating With Brands, Celebrating Brooklyn for Miller Lites <em>Our Can, Your Canvas </em> and more

And has NY met your expectations?

Absolutely! I love it! NYC has brought me new opportunities and projects. And snow is amazing! But you wouldn’t catch me painting outdoors in the winter!

buff monster street art brooklyn nyc Buff Monster on: Living in NYC, Collaborating With Brands, Celebrating Brooklyn for Miller Lites <em>Our Can, Your Canvas </em> and more

You’ve created dozens of murals on the streets and an incredible range of your own products. You’ve worked, as well, with many brands. Among them are: Disney, Converse, Hello Kitty, Samsung, Nike, Coca-Cola and here with Miller Lite. What are some of the challenges that working with brands imposes?

The challenge is to make it work for everyone — for me, for the company I’ve teamed up with and for its intended viewers. Any collaboration I take on has to be consistent with my brand, and it has to make sense!  A successful collaboration forces me to think. And I like to think! I like challenges!

buff monster shutter nyc Buff Monster on: Living in NYC, Collaborating With Brands, Celebrating Brooklyn for Miller Lites <em>Our Can, Your Canvas </em> and more

What about this particular project — this collaboration with Miller Lite?  What’s happening here?

This blank canvas was donated to me by Miller Lite as the first installation of  its Our Can, Your Canvas project, a program aimed at celebrating the character and soul of iconic neighborhoods. My challenge was to capture the distinct spirit of Brooklyn — its energy and integrity. And so I came up with symbols that represent Brooklyn as I see it.

buff monster miller beer street art Brooklyn NYC Buff Monster on: Living in NYC, Collaborating With Brands, Celebrating Brooklyn for Miller Lites <em>Our Can, Your Canvas </em> and more

You studied Business Administration and Fine Art at The University of Southern California.  How has your education in business administration impacted your art career?

It made my art career. If you don’t make money from what you do, it is just a hobby.

buff monster nolita street art nyc Buff Monster on: Living in NYC, Collaborating With Brands, Celebrating Brooklyn for Miller Lites <em>Our Can, Your Canvas </em> and more

We love your characters. Your Melty Misfits are so much fun. What are some of your influences?                  

Among them are: Heavy Metal, Pop Art, ice cream, Japanese culture and graffiti.

buff monster close up street art NYC Buff Monster on: Living in NYC, Collaborating With Brands, Celebrating Brooklyn for Miller Lites <em>Our Can, Your Canvas </em> and more

How has your artwork evolved through the years?

It has become more expressive.

Buff Monster characters Bushwick Collective nyc Buff Monster on: Living in NYC, Collaborating With Brands, Celebrating Brooklyn for Miller Lites <em>Our Can, Your Canvas </em> and more

What’s ahead?

I’m headed now to the Life Is Beautiful Music Festival in Las Vegas, Nevada where my Self Portrait will be on display at the Crime on Canvas group exhibit. ( Buff Monster has since returned and is now at work in Jersey City with Mana Urban Arts Projects.)

Note: Buff Monster’s mural for Our Can, Your Canvas remains up through October 30.

Photo credits: 1, 2, 4 & 8 Tara Murray; 5 Courtesy of Our Can, Your Canvas 3, 6 & 7 and interview Lois Stavsky; 

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lamkat Brooklyn Based Artist LAMKAT on Public Art, Collaborations, Zany Characters, This Weekends Art Mart at Bushwick Open Studios & More

This past summer, a distinctly elegant mural surfaced on the streets of Williamsburg by Brooklyn-based artist LAMKAT. Last week, I had the opportunity to meet up with the talented artist and find out a bit about her.

When did you first share your vision in a public space?

The very first time I painted outdoors was this past June in Krakow, Poland.  It was in collaboration with Marcin Kowalik and sponsored by Galeria Dystans.  I loved the experience, and was instantly inspired to continue painting outdoors.

lamkat mural art krakow poland1 Brooklyn Based Artist LAMKAT on Public Art, Collaborations, Zany Characters, This Weekends Art Mart at Bushwick Open Studios & More

 Were you always conscious of street art? Have you any favorite street artists?

Yes! I was always aware of it and I’ve always loved it! Among my favorite street artists are Bogota-based Gauche — whom I met in Berlin — and Li-Hill.

Can you tell us something about your particular aesthetic? What inspires it?

My father’s black and white photography has been a huge inspiration. He’s the one that taught me the importance of perspective and depth, both visually and as a way of observing life.  And I’m inspired by math.

Lam Kat mural art brooklyn Brooklyn Based Artist LAMKAT on Public Art, Collaborations, Zany Characters, This Weekends Art Mart at Bushwick Open Studios & More

Are there any particular cultures that have influenced it?

My Chinese heritage plays a role, and growing up in Texas, I was influenced by Mexican culture.

Do you prefer working alone or collaborating with others?

Both! I like working alone, and I love collaborating. This summer I collaborated with One Thousand Birds, a commercial sound studio. We created interactive sound murals that were featured at Likeminds Camp, a creative and tech conference set in the middle of the woods in Beacon, NY.

lamkat interactive sound mural Brooklyn Based Artist LAMKAT on Public Art, Collaborations, Zany Characters, This Weekends Art Mart at Bushwick Open Studios & More

Have you a formal art education?

I started with Fine Arts, but I then studied Advertising and Art Direction at The University of Texas at Austin. And I earned a degree in Communication Design from The University of North Texas.

Do you feel that your formal education benefited you?

It did when I worked in advertising. It taught me about the relationship between art and business…how to turn art into a business.

LamKat street art shutter 100 gates nyc Brooklyn Based Artist LAMKAT on Public Art, Collaborations, Zany Characters, This Weekends Art Mart at Bushwick Open Studios & More

Now that you are now longer focused primarily on advertising, what is the main source of your income? 

My art still is — through commissions — in such venues as restaurants — and also through my work as an illustrator.

Your illustrations — as evident in the gate you recently painted for the 100 Gates Project – certainly exude a different feeling than your huge abstract murals!

Yes! I’ve always loved drawing birds, robots and goofy characters!

lamkat illustration Brooklyn Based Artist LAMKAT on Public Art, Collaborations, Zany Characters, This Weekends Art Mart at Bushwick Open Studios & More

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

I do have an initial sketch.

How do you generally feel when your piece is finished?

I feel happy and sad at the same time! I’m happy, of course, that it’s completed, but I love painting so much that I feel sad that it’s over!

lamkat illustration Toxotes Brooklyn Based Artist LAMKAT on Public Art, Collaborations, Zany Characters, This Weekends Art Mart at Bushwick Open Studios & More

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

It is to bring a sense of vibrancy to our environment.

What’s ahead?

The interactive sound mural from Beacon will be at the Art Mart, 395 Johnson Avenue, at Bushwick Open Studios (ed.note: beginning today through Sunday); I will also be selling my smaller-scale works there. On October 20th, I will be participating in a skate deck show at Fillin Global, 160 Bowery. I’m also scheduled to paint next month up in the Bronx at the BMX Park. And in late October, I’m heading to Austin.

lamkat illustration kenneth Brooklyn Based Artist LAMKAT on Public Art, Collaborations, Zany Characters, This Weekends Art Mart at Bushwick Open Studios & More

It sounds great! Good luck with it all!

Photo credits: 1 Tara Murray; 2-8 courtesy of the artist; interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky

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

en play badge 2 Brooklyn Based Artist LAMKAT on Public Art, Collaborations, Zany Characters, This Weekends Art Mart at Bushwick Open Studios & More

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This is the tenth in a series of occasional posts featuring images of children that have surfaced on NYC public spaces.

BK Foxx with JMZ Walls in Bushwick, Brooklyn

BK Foxx street art Brooklyn nyc Kids on NYC Walls    Part X: BK Foxx, Joe Iurato with Logan Hicks, Ernest Zacharevic, Swoon, Cekis and Rubin 415 with Joe Iurato

Joe Iurato and Logan Hicks at the Bushwick Collective

Joe iurato and logan hicks street art bushwick collective nyc Kids on NYC Walls    Part X: BK Foxx, Joe Iurato with Logan Hicks, Ernest Zacharevic, Swoon, Cekis and Rubin 415 with Joe Iurato

Ernest Zacharevic – based on photo by Martha Cooper – in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn

EZ street art bed stuy nyc Kids on NYC Walls    Part X: BK Foxx, Joe Iurato with Logan Hicks, Ernest Zacharevic, Swoon, Cekis and Rubin 415 with Joe Iurato

Swoon in Red Hook, Brooklyn

swoon street art red hook nyc Kids on NYC Walls    Part X: BK Foxx, Joe Iurato with Logan Hicks, Ernest Zacharevic, Swoon, Cekis and Rubin 415 with Joe Iurato

Long-running Cekis in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn

cekis street art clinton hill nyc Kids on NYC Walls    Part X: BK Foxx, Joe Iurato with Logan Hicks, Ernest Zacharevic, Swoon, Cekis and Rubin 415 with Joe Iurato

Rubin 415 and Joe Iurato with the Welling Court Mural Project in Astoria, Queens

rubin415 and joe iurato street art Astoria NYC 2016  Kids on NYC Walls    Part X: BK Foxx, Joe Iurato with Logan Hicks, Ernest Zacharevic, Swoon, Cekis and Rubin 415 with Joe Iurato

Photos 1 Courtesy of John Woodward; 2-4 Tara Murray; 5 Dani Reyes Mozeson and 6 Lois Stavsky

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

en play badge 2 Kids on NYC Walls    Part X: BK Foxx, Joe Iurato with Logan Hicks, Ernest Zacharevic, Swoon, Cekis and Rubin 415 with Joe Iurato

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