Brooklyn

meres graffiti nyc New at Brooklyn Reclaimed: Meres, T Kid 170, Rath, Pase, VIP Rap, Sloke and 4Sakn

The walls at and in the vicinity of  Brooklyn Reclaimed brim with first-rate graffiti by artists from near and far. Pictured above is by Brooklyn Reclaimed curator, Meres One.  Several more images that I recently captured follow:

The legendary T-Kid 170

t kid graffiti nyc New at Brooklyn Reclaimed: Meres, T Kid 170, Rath, Pase, VIP Rap, Sloke and 4Sakn

NYC-based Rath

rath graffiti nyc New at Brooklyn Reclaimed: Meres, T Kid 170, Rath, Pase, VIP Rap, Sloke and 4Sakn

Bronx-based Pase

pase bt graffiti nyc New at Brooklyn Reclaimed: Meres, T Kid 170, Rath, Pase, VIP Rap, Sloke and 4Sakn

The itinerant VIP Rap

vip rap graffiti nyc New at Brooklyn Reclaimed: Meres, T Kid 170, Rath, Pase, VIP Rap, Sloke and 4Sakn

Texas-based Sloke

sloke graffiti nyc New at Brooklyn Reclaimed: Meres, T Kid 170, Rath, Pase, VIP Rap, Sloke and 4Sakn

New Jersey-based 4Sakn

4 saken graffiti nyc New at Brooklyn Reclaimed: Meres, T Kid 170, Rath, Pase, VIP Rap, Sloke and 4Sakn

 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.

en play badge 2 New at Brooklyn Reclaimed: Meres, T Kid 170, Rath, Pase, VIP Rap, Sloke and 4Sakn

{ 0 comments }

Lee quinones mural art coney art walls NYC New at <em>Coney Art Walls</em> for Summer 2017: Lee Quinones, Mark Bodé, Chris Stain, Skewville, Ganzeer, Alexis Diaz, Shantell Martin, Jim Drain, Crash with BR 163 and more

Curated by Joseph Sitt and Jeffrey Deitch, Coney Art Walls has officially launched its 2017 season with the addition of ten new murals:  Featured above is the work of the legendary Lee Quinones. What follows are several more:

Noted comic artist, muralist and tattooist Mark Bodé, captured while gated

mark bode mural art coney art walls NYC New at <em>Coney Art Walls</em> for Summer 2017: Lee Quinones, Mark Bodé, Chris Stain, Skewville, Ganzeer, Alexis Diaz, Shantell Martin, Jim Drain, Crash with BR 163 and more

NYC-based stencil artist Chris Stain

chris stain street art mural coney art walls nyc New at <em>Coney Art Walls</em> for Summer 2017: Lee Quinones, Mark Bodé, Chris Stain, Skewville, Ganzeer, Alexis Diaz, Shantell Martin, Jim Drain, Crash with BR 163 and more

Queens-native Skewville, close-up

skewville street art mural coney art walls nyc New at <em>Coney Art Walls</em> for Summer 2017: Lee Quinones, Mark Bodé, Chris Stain, Skewville, Ganzeer, Alexis Diaz, Shantell Martin, Jim Drain, Crash with BR 163 and more

Egyptian artist Mohamed Fahmy aka Ganzeer

Ganzeer New at <em>Coney Art Walls</em> for Summer 2017: Lee Quinones, Mark Bodé, Chris Stain, Skewville, Ganzeer, Alexis Diaz, Shantell Martin, Jim Drain, Crash with BR 163 and more

Puerto Rican artist Alexis Diaz, work in progress

alexis diaz street art mural coney art walls nyc New at <em>Coney Art Walls</em> for Summer 2017: Lee Quinones, Mark Bodé, Chris Stain, Skewville, Ganzeer, Alexis Diaz, Shantell Martin, Jim Drain, Crash with BR 163 and more

UK native multidisciplinary artist  Shantell Martin

 Shantell Martin mural art coney art walls NYC. New at <em>Coney Art Walls</em> for Summer 2017: Lee Quinones, Mark Bodé, Chris Stain, Skewville, Ganzeer, Alexis Diaz, Shantell Martin, Jim Drain, Crash with BR 163 and more

Miami-based Jim Drain

Jim Drain street art mural coney art walls nyc New at <em>Coney Art Walls</em> for Summer 2017: Lee Quinones, Mark Bodé, Chris Stain, Skewville, Ganzeer, Alexis Diaz, Shantell Martin, Jim Drain, Crash with BR 163 and more

 Bronx-based John Matos aka Crash and BR 163

Crash BR163 TatsCru street art mural coney art walls nyc New at <em>Coney Art Walls</em> for Summer 2017: Lee Quinones, Mark Bodé, Chris Stain, Skewville, Ganzeer, Alexis Diaz, Shantell Martin, Jim Drain, Crash with BR 163 and more

Bordered by Bowery Street, West 15th Street and Stillwell Avenue near the Coney Island boardwalk and beach, Coney Art Walls is open daily 12pm – 10pm through September. Throughout the summer, Coney Art Walls – launched by Thor Equities – will host dozens of appearances and live entertainment.

Photo credits: 1-6 & 8 Lois Stavsky; 7 Roy Rochlin & 8 courtesy of Thor Equities

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.

en play badge 2 New at <em>Coney Art Walls</em> for Summer 2017: Lee Quinones, Mark Bodé, Chris Stain, Skewville, Ganzeer, Alexis Diaz, Shantell Martin, Jim Drain, Crash with BR 163 and more

{ 0 comments }

rocko and zimer street art nyc Rocko on the Now Iconic <em>Spread Art NYC</em> Biggie KONY Mural on Quincy and Bedford in Bed Stuy

This past Sunday, I had the opportunity to meet up with Rocko, artist and founder of Spread Art NYC. We discussed the Biggie KONY mural that he’d painted with Zimer, the wide attention it has recently attracted and his efforts to preserve it.

When was the mural first painted? And how did you decide on its subject?

Zimer and I painted it back in 2015. As it was our first mural in Bed-Stuy, we decided that it must be of Biggie.

What about the specific site — on Quincy and Bedford? How did that come to be?

I researched Biggie and the neighborhood for about a year.  I picked this site for the mural because Biggie had referenced it in his first demo tape “Microphone Murderer.” I’d also found a video of Biggie freestyling at the age 17 on Bedford and Quincy. I located the site and was put in touch with the building’s owner, who agreed to let us paint a mural. We signed the agreement five minutes after we’d met!  I was impressed by the landlord’s kindness and generosity.

OGB biggie mural bed stuy Rocko on the Now Iconic <em>Spread Art NYC</em> Biggie KONY Mural on Quincy and Bedford in Bed Stuy

What was the initial response to the mural?

Incredible! It was all over the news. And in 2016, when Borough President Eric Adams recognized Biggie’s birthday, May 21, as Official Biggie Day, it received even more attention.

When did you find out about plans to remove it?

About four months ago, the landlord told me that he wished to renovate the property and add windows to it. I asked him to see if it was possible to do so without damaging the mural. He agreed to speak to the architect. But soon after, he asked us to pay $1250 a month to maintain it.

Why $1250 a month?

He told me that advertisers are renting other walls he owns for at least $1250 a month. And that if he didn’t add windows, he would have to charge me the $1250 he would otherwise get.

ogb and artists Rocko on the Now Iconic <em>Spread Art NYC</em> Biggie KONY Mural on Quincy and Bedford in Bed Stuy

How did you respond to that request?

I offered a one-time payment of $5000, but he said he had paid more than that in construction costs and permits, and that our mural is causing him to lose money. At that point, I couldn’t argue with him. I knew that he was telling me the truth.

What spurred you to post about the situation on Instagram?

There are so many people – from DJ 50 Grand to Matty C  to the OGB crew — deeply connected to this mural and all that it represents. We felt that we had to go public with the sad news that our beloved Biggie mural might be put to rest soon.

When did you find out that what you’d put out was going viral?

The next day, I woke up to a load of emails from local news sources wanting to get more info. Zimer and I declined to comment until we knew what was really going on.

quincy and bedford bed stuy Rocko on the Now Iconic <em>Spread Art NYC</em> Biggie KONY Mural on Quincy and Bedford in Bed Stuy

Among the many efforts from community members and organizations was a landmark petition. That was problematic to you. Why?

I don’t have any issue with the people who started the petition. They genuinely care about their community and culture.  But I didn’t want to go the way of a petition. Look at what happened to 5Pointz! On November 19, 2013, the landlord whitewashed the building overnight. I think we all have learned from that tragedy. And we didn’t want that to happen to the KONY Biggie mural.

How did the landlord react to the petition?

The landlord refused to even meet with me because he thought I was the one who’d started the landmark petition. He told me that he would do what it takes to protect his property.  At this point, I knew we were at the edge of losing.

Why do you suppose the landlord had taken such a strong stand?

He is well-known and well-respected in his community, and was most likely upset that he was being portrayed in a negative light.

Tyanna Wallace with Biggie mural Rocko on the Now Iconic <em>Spread Art NYC</em> Biggie KONY Mural on Quincy and Bedford in Bed Stuy

What was your next move in your determination to save the mural ?

I had to convince the landlord that I had nothing to do with the petition.  We were planning to have a huge Block party on Biggie’s birthday, but we had to cancel. There was too much confusion and misunderstanding.

What — do you think — caused him to change his mind and decide to let the mural remain?

During a two-hour meeting last Monday, it became obvious to me that he was not aware who Biggie was or of Biggie’s connection to Bedford and Quincy. I informed him that the Brooklyn Nets, Atlanta rapper TI, and various Mega companies were willing to pay whatever to save the mural, and that the Mayor and Congressman Jeffries are also offering support. Once he understood the significance of the mural, he agreed to keep it. I had also made the point that other landlords were paying thousands of dollars to artists they hire to paint their building’s facades – and that it did not make any sense to remove artwork that was “gifted” to him and the community.

What a happy ending!  So the landlord did not ask for any money?

No! We didn’t have to pay anything. At the end of our meeting, I shook his hand and said, “Thank you, Mr. Berkowitz! You just made so many people happy.”

Images 

1  Rocko in front of the mural

2  OGB Crew

3  Zimer, Deejay 50 Grand and Rocko

4  Deejay 50 Grand with former Source magazine editor Matty C

5  Biggie’s daughter, T’yanna Wallace

Photos: 1 Lois Stavsky, 2-5 courtesy of Rocko; interview 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 Rocko on the Now Iconic <em>Spread Art NYC</em> Biggie KONY Mural on Quincy and Bedford in Bed Stuy

{ 0 comments }

made street art nyc <em>Underhill Walls</em> in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn with: MADE, SacSix, Allison Ruiz, Vanezza Cruz, Albertus Joseph, JT Liss, Ariana Febles, Chris RWK and more

The intersection of Underhill Avenue and St Johns Place was the place to be these past two weekends. Under the curatorial direction of Frankie Velez and Jeff Beler, over a dozen artists shared their talents, while delighting and engaging hundreds of passersby. The mural pictured above is the work of MADE.  Here are several more:

Another Biggie, this one by SacSix, with co-curator Frankie Velez to the right

sac six street art nyc <em>Underhill Walls</em> in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn with: MADE, SacSix, Allison Ruiz, Vanezza Cruz, Albertus Joseph, JT Liss, Ariana Febles, Chris RWK and more

Allison Ruiz and Vanezza Cruz at work

soledad art and byducon street art nyc <em>Underhill Walls</em> in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn with: MADE, SacSix, Allison Ruiz, Vanezza Cruz, Albertus Joseph, JT Liss, Ariana Febles, Chris RWK and more

Albertus Joseph at work

albertus joseph street art Brooklyn <em>Underhill Walls</em> in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn with: MADE, SacSix, Allison Ruiz, Vanezza Cruz, Albertus Joseph, JT Liss, Ariana Febles, Chris RWK and more

 JT Liss

JTLiss photo art street art nyc <em>Underhill Walls</em> in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn with: MADE, SacSix, Allison Ruiz, Vanezza Cruz, Albertus Joseph, JT Liss, Ariana Febles, Chris RWK and more

Ariana Febles

Ariana Febles street art nyc <em>Underhill Walls</em> in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn with: MADE, SacSix, Allison Ruiz, Vanezza Cruz, Albertus Joseph, JT Liss, Ariana Febles, Chris RWK and more

Chris RWK

ChrisRWK street art nyc <em>Underhill Walls</em> in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn with: MADE, SacSix, Allison Ruiz, Vanezza Cruz, Albertus Joseph, JT Liss, Ariana Febles, Chris RWK and more

Photos 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 <em>Underhill Walls</em> in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn with: MADE, SacSix, Allison Ruiz, Vanezza Cruz, Albertus Joseph, JT Liss, Ariana Febles, Chris RWK and more

{ 0 comments }

pablo power Gay science and joyous wisdom Pablo Power & Schoolly D, <em>Philly VS New York: A Declaration of Co Independence</em> at Okay Space in Williamsburg

Currently on view at Okay Space at 281 North 7th Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn is Philly VS New York: A Declaration of Co-Independence. Featuring works — fashioned both individually and collaboratively — by legendary Philly rapper Schoolly D and New York-based multi-disciplinary visual artist Pablo Power, this exhibit is a follow-up to their 2013 exhibition, Am I Black Enough?  Presented by Okay Space and Black Swan Projekt, Philly VS New York: A Declaration of Co-Independence continues through April 1. Pictured above is Gay Science and Joyous Wisdom by Pablo Power. What follows are several more images on display:

Schoolly D, Smoke Some Kill, Ink on paper

schoollyD smoke some kill original album art Pablo Power & Schoolly D, <em>Philly VS New York: A Declaration of Co Independence</em> at Okay Space in Williamsburg

 Pablo Power, Crack Another 40, A Birthday on Chrystie, Mixed media

Crack another 40 Pablo Power Pablo Power & Schoolly D, <em>Philly VS New York: A Declaration of Co Independence</em> at Okay Space in Williamsburg

 Pablo Power, Dekalb Didactic, Mixed media

Pablo Power Dekalb Didactic Pablo Power & Schoolly D, <em>Philly VS New York: A Declaration of Co Independence</em> at Okay Space in Williamsburg

Schoolly D,  Cheeba, Cheeba, Mixed media

schoolly Cheeba cheeba Pablo Power & Schoolly D, <em>Philly VS New York: A Declaration of Co Independence</em> at Okay Space in Williamsburg

Schoolly D and Pablo Power, Philly Vs New York, Giclée Prints, edition of 30. Release and Exhibit Reception Tonight

pablo power and schoolly D collabo Pablo Power & Schoolly D, <em>Philly VS New York: A Declaration of Co Independence</em> at Okay Space in Williamsburg

And on this coming Wednesday evening, a series of short films will be screened:

okay space films Pablo Power & Schoolly D, <em>Philly VS New York: A Declaration of Co Independence</em> at Okay Space in Williamsburg

 Photos of images 1-5 by Tara Murray

{ 0 comments }

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.

en play badge 2 An Artist and His Studio: With Michael Alan in Bushwick

{ 0 comments }

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

{ 0 comments }

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

{ 0 comments }

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

{ 0 comments }

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.

en play badge 2 Sara Erenthal Gives New Life to Discarded Objects on Park Slope Streets

{ 2 comments }