Case Ma’Claim

Recently released by Schiffer is Tokyo Graffiti, a delightfully intriguing and wonderfully informative survey of  Tokyo’s current street art and graffiti scene documented by London-born photographer David Sharabani aka Lord K2. After reading the book, I posed a few questions to Lord K2:

You’ve documented urban art in several cities and have previously published a book on Santiago’s rich street art scene.  What drew you to Tokyo?

Tokyo’s street art scene has never been documented and published before in a book of this format, and its urban art is relatively overlooked by locals and tourists alike. The walls and streets are so pristine and well-organized — many with an abundance of logos and commercials – that you may get the impression that street art is not needed. But when well-placed and in the right context, it enhances Tokyo’s well-planned and maintained architectural surroundings.

Also, I saw this book as a challenge. I was in Tokyo photographing the Sumo wrestling culture. The majority of my time was spent handling bureaucratic paperwork, and out of frustration and impatience, I decided to hit the streets. Initially, I wasn’t entirely sure there would be enough art out there to justify a book. But the more I dug in, the more hidden gems I discovered. Since Tokyo’s graffiti is not so apparent, I thought it would be a good idea to compile a book of some of the most significant pieces in one format to be viewed easily.

How does Tokyo’s street art and graffiti scene differ from other cities you’ve visited?

Regarding graffiti and art that is often regarded as vandalism, it’s not in the nature of Japanese to vandalize, rebel or speak up. Their economy functions well; there is virtually no street crime, and the education system is excellent. It seems that there is not too much to protest about. Also, conformism is an integral part of the Japanese way. Going against the flow of polite dignified behavior is considered a far more extreme form of misconduct than it is in most other countries.

Another distinct difference between Tokyo and many other cities is that in Tokyo it is a nightmare-of-a-process to obtain permissions, limiting the quantity of “decorative art,” even though the quality is generally high.

There are, though, a fair amount of stickers mounted in the highly populated central neighborhoods of Harajuku, Shibuya and Shinjuku, since these are quick and easy to put up with a minimal chance of being caught. Many of these stickers have been put up by foreigners.

What were some of the challenges you’ve faced in documenting it?

A big challenge was getting the artists to talk. They were happy to be interviewed, but cautious as to what they would reveal. It was hard to extract any juicy or emotive information. Fortunately, I was introduced to Little Pink Pills, who was already well-informed on the scene. She ended up writing the book’s text that accompanies my photos.

The other challenge was sourcing the graffiti. Even though artists would pinpoint locations, this didn’t suffice. I had to scout the streets for hours on end on my bicycle. I was inevitably much fitter for it.

Do any particular images or styles stand out to you? Any that are distinctly Japanese?

The mural that stands out most to me is one that was painted by German artist Case Maclaim. It’s a gigantic mural on the back of a building in Tennozu Isle painted for Pow! Wow! Japan depicting Sumo video game fighter E .Honda. It’s striking to see it in the distant urban scape.

Half the street art in Tokyo is painted by Westerners. They often incorporate images from popular Japanese culture such as Samurai, Geishas, Sumo, as well as comics that portray social issues. Japanese artists do not have a collective style of painting, as each individual/crew has its own distinctive style. Many of them incorporate less commercial elements of Japanese culture. For example, Usugrow blends Japanese calligraphy with pointillism and Los Angeles Cholo culture. Shizentomotel paints Namahage, a traditional Japanese folklore demon. Dragon‘s style is a fusion of graffiti, manga and ukiyo-e. Tamura Yoshiyasu, a manga artist, painter and illustrator, mixes modern manga with traditional Japanese art.

I’m so glad that you and Little Pink Pills made this book happen! Congratulations!

Photos 1 Book cover 2 Fin DAC 3 Unidentified 4 Kami and Sasu aka Hitotzuki 5 Assorted stickers 6 Little Pink Pills 7 Case Maclaim  & 8 Makoto; interview 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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Home to some of Miami’s most intriguing artists — with an increasing presence of global ones — Little Haiti is an oasis of style and expressiveness. Pictured above is a mural painted collaboratively by 2Alas and Case Maclaim. What follows are several more I captured on my recent trip to Miami.

Hong Kong-based Caratoes

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Miami native Axel Void, close-up of tribute mural to the late graffiti writer “Reefa” Hernandez, who was killed by a Miami police officer

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Local artist Marcus Blake aka Mdot Blake, close-up

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Nicaraguan artist Luis Valle aka El Chan Guri, close-up

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Fort Lauderdale-based Nate Dee

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Miami-based Ernesto Maranje, close-up

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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.

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Presenting a diverse range of mural art by over 30 local, national and global artists, Canvas 2016 has brought soul and spirit to Downtown West Palm Beach, transforming it into an intriguing outdoor museum. Pictured above is by Tristan Eaton. Here are several more images I captured this past Sunday:

Brazilian artist Sipros with the Dutch duo Pipsqueak, close-up

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Brazilian muralist Kobra does Albert Einstein, close-up

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Parisian artist Astro

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The German duo, Herakut, close-up — with a message

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German artist Case Maclaim

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Spanish muralists PichiAvo

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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.

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giz-ghost-such-graffiti-street-art-Bushwick-Collective-NYC

We recently had the opportunity to speak to Bushwick Collective‘s founder and curator, the indefatigable Joe Ficalora, as he readies for this year’s 5th Annual Block Party, June 3-5.

As you prepare for this year’s 5th Annual Block Party, can you share with us some of this past year’s highlights?

Last June’s Annual Block Party was certainly a highlight!  The entire community came together as a family. It was a beautiful sight! A special highpoint of this past year was the Bushwick Collective‘s collaboration with Mana Urban Arts. We had the chance to go down to Miami in December during Art Basel. NYC artists, along with local Miami ones and artists from across the globe, painted together, transforming the inside and outside of the RC Cola Factory. It was a particular thrill to have seven-year-old Lola join us and watch her paint with Chor Boogie. We’ve also facilitated murals in Miami and Jersey City in coordination with Mana Urban Arts. And – more recently — during Frieze Art Week, we participated in Art New York on Pier 54 with Sipros in support of the Perry J. Cohen Foundation.

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What would you say was your greatest challenge this past year?

My greatest challenge was dealing with all the marketers trying to hunt down walls. Now that this neighborhood is “cool,” they feel that they can take advantage of the public space without giving back.

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What can we expect at this year’s Block Party?

There will be live painting, food trucks, local vendors, special activities for families with kids and surprise performers.  A pop-up exhibition at 198 Randolph Street will feature artists from the The Parsons School of Design at the New School, the official sponsor of the weekend, along with local artists. The Museum of the City of New York will be projecting images of Bushwick from over 100 years ago and sharing a huge blown-up photo of Bushwick in 1909. All money from the artwork sold at the exhibit — that opens to the public at 7pm on Friday, June 3, and can be viewed on Saturday and Sunday from 10am-5pm — will go directly to the artists. Local artists will also be exhibiting their work independently. Performers opening the weekend include: The BBoy Rebels (NYC Original Subway Dancers), DJ Mister Cee, Loaf Muzik, Monsters of Brooklyn, Thorough, Thirsting Howl lll, Styles P and Jim Jones. And on Saturday — in addition to JADAKISS — DJ Statik Selektah and friends, Lil Waah, Joell Ortiz, Dave EastChris Rivers, son of the legendary Big Pun, and The BBoy Rebels will perform. Keep posted to our website for updates.

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Who are some artists we can look forward to meeting?

Artists from everywhere will be painting. Among them are: D*Face, Case Maclaim, Sipros, Atomik, Don Rimx and Trans1. Local artists include: Giz, Tats Cru, CrashMeres, Topaz, Plasma Slug, Lola the Illustrator and Hops 1.

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That sounds great! What’s ahead for the Bushwick Collective?

We will continue to grow as an organization and evolve with time. We look forward to further collaborations with Mana Urban Arts.  We also look forward to establishing new partnerships.

Images

1. Giz, Ghost, Such, RIS Crew

2. Sipros

3. Case Maclaim

4. Oji

5. Starfighter

Photo credits: 1 & 3 City-as-School intern Sol Raxlen; 2, 4 & 5 Lois Stavsky; interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky with Sol Raxlen

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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Opening this evening from 6-9pm at World Trade Gallery is Off the Wall, an exhibit featuring artwork by some of our favorite artists. We recently had the opportunity to speak to its curator, Joshua B. Geyer.

What is the concept behind this exhibit?

I wanted to showcase in a gallery setting artworks by a diverse group of high-caliber artists who work in public spaces, as well as in their studios. My current job is just a few blocks away from the Top to Bottom Mural Project on 21st Street. I pass it every day, and I love it. I thought it would be a great idea to feature those artists, as they are among the best anywhere.

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When did you first begin working on Off the Wall?

I first found out about the availability of the space three weeks ago. One of my friends who works in World Trade Gallery offered me the opportunity to curate an exhibit beginning in mid-March.

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What was your greatest challenge in getting this together in such a short timespan?

My greatest challenge was selecting the artists.  There was so much talent to choose from.  Close to 50 outstanding artists have painted in the Top to Bottom Mural Project.  I also wanted to take into consideration the input I was given from the team — James P Quinn and Geoff Kuffner — who implemented the project.

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Do you feel that you have accomplished your mission?

Yes! The artworks in Off the Wall are representative of the diverse range of outstanding pieces that have surfaced at 43-01 21st Street in LIC since this past September. And this space couldn’t be more ideal!

Off the wall-flyer

We love your flyer. Did you design it?

It was a collaborative venture between See One and me. The photo is mine and the actual design is See One’s.

What’s ahead?

I’d love to build a relationship with World Trade Gallery, and I look forward to curating more exhibits featuring artists whose works are seen on our streets.

Images

1. Icy and Sot, close-up

2. Erasmo and Case Maclaim

3. See One

4. Daze

Photo credits: 1, 3 & 4 Dani Reyes Mozeson; 2 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 here for Android devices.

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Pichiavo

Since its inception in 2009, Wynwood Walls has served as a rotating canvas for a stunning array of street art and graffiti murals painted by outstanding artists from across the globe. Here is a sampling of what I captured last week:

Another segment from huge mural painted by Valencia, Spain natives Pichi & Avo

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Chilean artist Inti

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Puerto Rico-based Alexis Diaz

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French-Tunisian artist El Seed

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German artist Case Maclaim, close-up

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NYC-based Logan Hicks, close-up

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Photos by Lois Stavsky

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The following post is by Houda Lazrak, a contributor to StreetArtNYC and an M.A. candidate in Museum Studies at NYU.

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In coordination with the street art festival JIDAR Toiles de Rue, the recently opened Museum Mohamed VI of Modern and Contemporary Art in Rabat, Morocco is currently hosting the exhibit Main Street. Curated by Nicolas Couturieux, it features original artworks and installations from a range of celebrated local and international artists.

Also by C215 from France who drew his inspiration from the people of Morocco

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German native Case Maclaim

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French artist Tilt — inspired by a Moroccan motorcycle

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New York-based Ron English

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Moroccan artist Simo Mouhim

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Toulouse, France native Miss Van

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The exhibit continues through December in the museum’s lower level.

All photos by Houda Lazrak

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"Alice Pasquini"

In my meanderings around Jersey City this past year, I came upon a number of first-rate murals by a wonderful array of artists signed Savage Habbitalong with the artists’ signatures. Just who or what is Savage Habbit? I found out this weekend as Inez, its founder, gave me a tour of Savage Habbit’s walls and answered some questions about its mission:

"Mr. Mustart"

Just what is Savage Habbit?

It is foremost a blog that was founded in 2011.  It is dedicated to showcasing the best art that has made its way onto the streets across the globe.  Among Savage Habbit’s missions today is to bring more street art to our local community.

What motivated you to launch Savage Habbit?

I wanted a blog that represented the art that I love, and the only way I could do that was to start my own.

"Li Hill"

And what about the murals?

I’m a New Jersey girl. I was born and raised here. I wanted to walk around my neighborhood and see art in my community. And I wanted to give back to my state. These murals benefit everyone!

When did your first mural surface?

Last year — in 2013.

Ekundayo

What has been your greatest challenge?

Finding walls.

You seem to have facilitated quite a few murals. How do you find the artists?

Some contact me, and others I contact when I see that they are in town.

"Sean Lugo"

What’s ahead?

There are five confirmed walls.  Savage Habbit’s next wall will feature Nanook and Mata Ruda.

And what about the name “Savage Habbit?” What does it represent?

The name is derived from a Wu Tang quote:  Ricochet Rabbit had a habit, he was a savage. We are savagely passionate about our habit, art!

"case maclaim"

That sounds right!  We look forward to seeing more art on the streets of Jersey City.

Brief interview and photos by Lois Stavsky

1. Alice Pasquini, close-up

2. Mr. Mustart

3. Li-Hill at work yesterday

4. Ekundayo

5. Sean Lugo

6. Case, MA`CLAIM, close-up

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