Cern

Presented by New Design High School and Mass Appeal, Rooftop Legends continues to transform the rooftop of the former Seward Park High School into a first-rate open-air gallery. The mural featured above was painted by the legendary Claw Money. The following photos were captured at last Sunday’s celebration of urban art culture and community curated by New Design High School Dean Jesse Pais:

Greg Lamarche aka SP.ONE 

Queen Andrea at work

Cern

 Bluster One 

Pure TFP at work

Cekis at work

Photo credits: 1-4 Tara Murray; 5-7 Lenny Collado

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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This is the 13th in a series of occasional posts featuring the range of faces that have surfaced in NYC open spaces:

Toofly at the Welling Court Mural Project in Astoria, Queens

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David Choe, close-up from his all-too-ephemeral mural on Bowery & Houston

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Cernesto at the Welling Court Mural Project in Astoria, Queens

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Tristan Eaton at Coney Art Walls

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See One in Long Island City for Arts Org

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Berlin-based Spanish artist Victor Landeta aka Aum in Bushwick

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 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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This is the twelfth in a series of posts featuring the range of faces have surfaced in NYC open spaces:

Werc in Bedford-Stuyvesant with the Open Society Foundations

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Vexta and Askew in Williamsburg for the Greenest Point, one fragment of huge mural

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Joel Bergner aka Joel Artista in Bellerose, Queens with the DOT

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LMNOPI in Long Island City with Arts Org

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Cern in Williamsburg, close-up

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Thiago Valdi in Staten Island with the NYC Arts Cypher

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Leticia Mandragora, Bushwick 

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 Photo credits: 1, 3 & 7 Tara Murray: 2, 4-6 Lois Stavsky

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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Queens native Cern began writing graffiti in the early 90’s.  His artworks — characterized by luscious colors, swooping shapes and imaginative characters — have, since, made their way into public spaces, alternative venues, festivals, galleries and museums throughout the globe. We recently met up with him in Long Island City where his current exhibit, Vertical Archipelago, remains on view through the end of this month.

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When did you first get up? And where?

Back in 1990 in Queens. I was 12 at the time.

What inspired you to do so?

Everyone around me was doing it!

Are there any early memories that stand out?

I remember riding the train with my mom, looking out the window and thinking, “Wow! This is amazing!”  She said, “This is bad!”

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

Way too much!

Any thoughts on the graffiti/ street art divide?

Everyone seems to be having a good time!

Your current exhibit Visual Archipelago is beautiful, and it encompasses an incredibly wide range of artworks. How do you feel about the movement of graffiti and street art into galleries?

It’s nothing new. It’s been going on for 40 years. It’s a normal progression. And I like the way art looks everywhere.

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What about the corporate world? How do you feel about the relationship between street artists and the corporate world?

I have no problem with an artist getting paid to promote a cool product. I, myself, like working with small, independent businesses.

Do you prefer working alone or collaborating with others?

I like both.

What is the riskiest thing you’ve ever done on the streets?

I just finished painting six stories high on Canal Street throughout the night!

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How you feel about the role of the Internet in this scene?

It’s cool! It provides us all with yet another medium.

Do you have a formal arts education?

I have a degree in Studio Art from Queens College, but I never really used it. It did teach me, though, how to deal with bureaucracy.

What inspires your art these days?

Memories, discoveries, nature, animals and urban life. And, of course, all my travels have been a source of inspiration.

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

I sometimes work from loose sketches.

Are you generally satisfied with your work?

Usually.

How has your work evolved in the past few years?

It’s more experimental, and I tend to work with a range of mixed media including spray paint, watercolor, graphite and ink.

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

To heighten people’s visual awareness.

What do you see as the future of street art and graffiti? Where is it all going?

Styles seem to be evolving more quickly. And the marketing of the art has become increasingly important, almost as important as the art, itself.

And what about you? What’s ahead?

I want to continue in my own development as a person and as an artist.

Note: All of the above images were captured on our visit to Vertical ArchipelagoCern’s current exhibit at 26-19 Jackson Avenue in Long Island City.

Interview by Lois Stavsky with Tara Murray.

Photos: 1, 2, 3 & 5 Tara Murray; 4 & 6 Lois Stavsky

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Cernesto

Within the last month ArtBattles local champion, Cernesto, and European ArtBattles champ, El Niño de Las Pinturas, have painted — to our delight — huge murals in the East Village and in Soho.

Cern‘s completed mural in the East Village

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El Niño de Las Pinturas, completed mural in the East Village

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El Niño de Las Pinturas, close-up in the East Village

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Cern in Soho

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El Niño de Las Pinturas in Soho

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 Photos: 1-3 & 5-6 Tara Murray; 4 Lois Stavsky

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This is the twelfth in a series of occasional posts featuring the diverse range of trucks and vans that strike our streets.

Cern

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Cash RFC

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Keely, Deeker… 

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Cone

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YNN

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NME

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Frank Ape

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Photo Credits: 1 Tara Murray; 2, 3, 6 & 7 Dani Reyes Mozeson; 4 Lois Stavsky; 5 Houda Lazrak

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The first day of spring 2015 brought wintry snow to NYC. Here are a few images I captured while in Greenpoint for the day:

 Phetus

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Matthew Denton Burrows

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Cern

Cern

Tone

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 Faring Purth

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ShiroYes One and Tone MST

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To be identified

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 Miro RIS (& Shiro, top right)

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Photos by Lois Stavsky

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jared-Levy-Cern-Updating-Philosophies

Brooklyn-based director and cinematographer Jared Levy has traveled the world pursuing his distinct docu-journalism.  Among his projects is Graffiti Fine Art, an award-winning documentation of artists who participated in the 1st International Graffiti Biennial in São Paulo, Brazil. More recently, NYC’s Cern was the subject of a short film called Updating Philosophies. Eager to find out more, I met up with him last week in Williamsburg.

Your award-winning film Graffiti Fine Art is a wondrous ode to graffiti. What drew you to graffiti? Any early memories?

I grew up in a small town on Long Island, where there was no graffiti. And I was indifferent to it on my trips into the city. It was when I visited São Paulo in 2009 that I first discovered it on another level and appreciated it.

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What brought you to São Paulo?

I had recently graduated from the Newhouse School at Syracuse University, and I was interested in developing a portfolio. After spending two weeks on vacation in Brazil during Carnaval, I was eager to return to the country. I arrived without any preconceived notion about what topics I would cover. At the time I felt like it was better to explore what was there than to conjure up ideas about a place I didn’t know. It didn’t take long for São Paulo’s graffiti to grab my attention. The city is completely covered in paint.

How were you able to meet and connect to so many street artists in a relatively short period of time?

Lots of serendipity!  I was at a bar in São Paulo when I mentioned to one of the few English-speakers there, Nathalie Stahelin, that I was interested in the art I’d seen on the walls of the city. She introduced me to Melton Magidson, the former owner of Magidson Fine Art on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Melton then introduced me to Ethos, who became the subject of my first graf video. Up until that point it had been three relatively frustrating months of dead ends. These encounters, which all happened within a crazy two-day span, dramatically changed my entire situation in Brazil.

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How did you then go on to film Graffiti Fine Art?

Through the Ethos video, I started meeting more writers by offering to take photos of them painting. It was a great way to meet people, exchange art and become friends. Eventually I met Binho. His friendship, along with a few other artists, really helped set the stage for my time in São Paulo. Graffiti Fine Art developed when Binho invited me to film an event he was curating — the 1st International Graffiti Biennial featuring works by 65 street artists from 13 countries at the Brazilian Museum of Sculpture in São Paulo.

What was the experience like?

For eight days the museum stayed open 24/7. Most artists came to work on their murals after hours. I never wanted to miss a mural so during those eight days and nights, I took naps on a bench in a janitor’s closet when I wasn’t filming. I never left the grounds of the museum. It was a blast hanging out and meeting artists from all over the world. A priceless experience. 

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How do you feel about the movement of graffiti into museums?

On one level it thrills me, as it gives these artists the respect and recognition they deserve. But it’s no longer graffiti. The definition of that is pretty cut and dry – letters in the public domain. But at the time this was a new question for me to explore, being relatively new to the scene. For the artists however, this conversation was old news. I think that actually helped the film in that it brought fresh eyes to the topic. I hope it made the film more accessible for people not familiar with graffiti/street art. But to answer your question, it’s a game of semantics and I’m just glad these incredibly talented artists are reaching new audiences.

In addition to being visually mesmerizing, your film touches on so many key issues about the movement that speak to us. Were you satisfied with your final work?

Yes, absolutely. I learned a lot through every part of the process. It’s interesting, four years removed from it and my relationship to the film is still evolving. My thoughts on the piece both technically and conceptually continue to change as I improve as a filmmaker. But, honestly, I just grow fonder of it really, as it reminds me of a specific time in my life. A really fun and exciting time.

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What – would you say – were your greatest challenges in working on this project in São Paulo?

Certainly language.  Even after I learned basic Portuguese, idioms and slang terms – specific to the city —  confounded me. And São Paulo’s infrastructure is particularly challenging. Filming all of the São Paulo exterior timelapses was a 3-4 week battle, but now that it’s over, I definitely cherish the unique relationship I feel I have with the city itself. Also, it is always delicate filming and representing process. Building trust and creating authentic capture is a challenge I continually face. Even more so in this case when you’re a foreigner asking for an artist’s trust. I respect the artists greatly for opening up to me.

Your company Navigate recently produced a short film which you directed called, Updating Philosophies, featuring NYC artist Cern.  Can you tell us something about that process?

Justin Hamilton, the film’s cinematographer/co-owner of Navigate, and I filmed Cern for seven days – at work on a mural, on a truck and with his balloon structures. Each day we got up before sunrise to assure the best light. The final video is about 5 minutes. Its focus is on the creative process. 

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Why did you decide to make Cern the subject of a video?

I originally met Cern, who is a New Yorker, in São Paulo for Graffiti Fine Art. So it’s come full circle in a way. Once I moved back to NYC in 2011, I developed a personal relationship with him. I’ve always found him to be thoughtful, kind and talented. I knew a short film taking a deeper look at his ideas would yield great results. He’s a smart, philosophical dude. It’s also my first crack at a graffiti/street art related piece since Graffiti Fine Art. My relationship with Cern felt like a great opportunity to dive back into the genre with a — hopefully — sharper cinematic eye.

What’s ahead?

I’m interested in pursuing and telling different types of stories that connect us all. I find process to be far more interesting than the end result. Through process you can learn so much about the creator — where often the connection to the audience exists. Telling these types of thoughtful and authentic stories is what we hope to continue at Navigate.

Interview by Lois Stavsky; all images courtesy of Jared Levy and Julian Walter

Photos: 1. On the set of Updating Philosophies with Cern; 2  Ces, close-up from Graffiti Fine Art still; 3. Suiko, close-up from Graffiti Fine Art still; 4. Jaz, close-up from Graffiti Fine Art still; 5. Shockclose-up from Graffiti Fine Art still; 6. Cern, still from Graffiti Fine Art; 7-8. On the set of Updating Philosophies with Cern

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This is the 15th in an occasional series of posts featuring images of girls — and women — who grace our public spaces:

David Cooper in Bushwick

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Cern in Greenpoint, close-up 

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Mag Magrela on the Lower East Side

"mag Magrella"

Caratoes in Bushwick

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Andre Trenier in the Bronx

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Dasic Fernandez at Welling Court in Astoria, Queens

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Photos: 1 and 5 by City-as-School intern Zachariah Messaoud; 2-4 and 6 by Lois Stavsky

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We’ve been noticing more and more subway trains on walls down in Brooklyn and up in the Bronx.  Here’s a sampling:

Damien Mitchell for the Bushwick Collective

"Damien Mitchell"

Downer Jones in Bushwick

"Downer Jones"

Bella Amaral in Bushwick for JMZ Walls

"Bella Amaral"

Danielle Mastrion in Bushwick for the Dodworth Street Mural art project

"Danielle Mastrion"

Dek 2DX in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx

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Shiro in Bushwick for JMZ Walls

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Cern in Williamsburg

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Photos: 1, 2, 4 and 6 by Lois Stavsky; 3 by Tara Murray; 5 by City-as-School intern Zachariah Messaoud and 7 by Dani Reyes Mozeson

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