contemporary art

Featuring a captivating range of paintings, drawings and pastels, Daze’s solo exhibition, Daily Commute, is a stirring ode to NYC – its diversity, its energy and its legendary graffiti culture. Handsomely curated, it continues through March 17 at P.P.O.W at 535 W 22nd Street in Chelsea. Pictured above is Midtown, rendered with oil, acrylic, spray paint and pumice on canvas. Several more images follow:

Rush Hour Reflection, oil, spray paint, acrylic and pumice on canvas

Eastern Parkway, oil, acrylic, spray paint and pumice on canvas

Masquerade W.H. in Times Square, oil, acrylic and spray paint on canvas

Stolen Moments, oil, acrylic and spray paint on canvas

Generations, oil, acrylic and spray paint on canvas

P.P.O.W is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10am to 6pm.

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

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We first came upon Alexis Duque‘s tantalizing aesthetic several years ago, when we discovered a meticulously detailed wheatpaste of his on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. We’ve been huge fans ever since. His rich and inventive sensibility is now on view in Paradise Lost— a solo exhibition opening tonight, March 7, and continuing through March 31 — at Paul Calendrillo New York.  Pictured above is Calaveras X, rendered with acrylic on canvas against a background inspired by post-colonial floor tiles of traditional Latin American homes — as seen by the artist on his many visits to his native country, Colombia. Several more masterfully crafted images, all suggestive of a world in which Paradise is lost, follow:

Truck, Acrylic on canvas, 2017, 16″ x 12″

Diana, Acrylic on canvas, 2017, 24″ x 16″

Slum, Acrylic on canvas, 2013, 31.5 x 23.5

And one of several sculptures on exhibit —

Dwelling, Cardboard, modeling paste, ink and acrylic, 2018, 20″ H x 10″ W x 10″ D

Paul Calendrillo New York is located at 547 West 27th St, Suite 600, in Chelsea and is open 11:00am to 6:00pm Tuesday – Saturday with extended hours on Thursdays that offer an opportunity to meet the artist. Tonight’s opening reception takes place from 6:00 to 8:00pm.

Photos of images: 1-4, Lois Stavsky & 5 Tara Murray

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

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Plasma-slug-A-colony-of-love

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

plasma-slug-black-and-white-painting

And why is that?

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

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

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

plasma-slug-paiting

What prompted you to do that?

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

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

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

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 Congratulations! It’s quite amazing!

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

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ki-smith-with-Ryan-Bock-art-mana-contemporary-jersey-city

While visiting Ryan Bock‘s solo exhibit at Apostrophe NYC‘s Mana Contemporary studio space last month, I had the opportunity to speak to Ki Smith who — together with his brother Sei —  founded Apostrophe NYC  back in 2012. For the past several months Base 12, Apostrophe NYC‘s 12 emerging artists, have been working in a 8000-square-foot space through a one-year residency program at Mana Contemporary in Jersey City.

This is such an ideal space. How did this residency come your way?

Mana actually reached out to us after seeing the wide press coverage we received in response to our guerrilla-style pop-up exhibits.

Your pop-up shows were certainly unconventional! It’s not surprising that they — particularly your intervention at the Whitney Museum — generated so much media attention. It was your pop-up exhibits at the Kosciuszko Street stop on the J Line, in fact, that initially attracted my attention. When I first met you, you were based in Bushwick. 

Yes. But as a result of the opportunity that Mana offered us, several of us have since moved to Jersey City.  And we love it here! Mana is a very unique place and is located in a great area that’s just a short walk from Little India and all its great restaurants.

 

With your distinct styles and sensibilities, you guys all seem to work so well together. 

Since starting the Base 12 project we have all gotten to know each other quite well and I feel like every one has gained a lot of respect for each other’s work and practices. And with 12 of us working together to navigate the contemporary art world, we are able to accomplish so much more than if we were working individually — 12 times as much!

Here at Mana each Base 12 artist has been publishing a book to accompany his or her exhibit. That’s quite impressive.

I feel like making books and records of exhibitions is really important and something that very few smaller galleries do for artists, so we decided that we had a good opportunity to create a new company Apostrophe NYC Books. And in classic Apostrophe style we do everything in house, from printing to binding to working with the artists to designing and hand silkscreening the covers.  Making books is another great way to share art, and because of the especially quick turnaround on the shows we are currently doing, it’s also a great way to memorialize shows that people might miss the opportunity to visit.

What’s ahead?

The following solo exhibits are scheduled: Charlie Hudson on July 8th; Kolter Hodgson on July 22nd; Alana Dee Haynes on August 5th; Morell Cutler on August 19th; Julia Powers on September 2nd; Caslon Bevington on September 16th and James Reyes on September 30th. And next Saturday night, July 15th, is the opening of Base 12: Little Big Show, a group exhibit that critiques assumptions of virtual versus “real” representation with two allied narratives in sequential galleries: the first in an exhibition of miniature digital reproductions, the second in a series of original artworks.

That sounds very exciting! I can’t wait to see what’s ahead for you all!

Note: Tonight is the opening of  Charlie Hudson‘s solo exhibit.

Images

1 Ryan Bock artwork — with Apostrophe NYC co-founder Ki Smith

2  Julia Powers

3  Kolter Hodgson

4  James Reyes

5  Charlie Hudson

Photos and interview by Lois Stavsky

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Icy-and-Sot-flyer

The newly released LET HER BE FREE documents Iranian brothers Icy and Sot‘s foray from skateboarding teens in Iran to politically-conscious, internationally acclaimed artists. To celebrate the launch of their book, the artists invite you to a pop-up exhibition of small and mid-scale stencil artworks that have been created exclusively for this book launch. Opening tomorrow evening. July 23 at 51 Orchard Street with a book signing, the exhibit continues through July 30.

Unity, spray paint on canvas

icy-and-sot-Unity _ 30x36 inch _ stencil spray paint on canvas

Justice, spray paint on cut-out wood

Icy-and-Sot-Justice _ 30x24 inch _ stencil spray paint on cut out wood

In Long Island City 

Icy-and-Sot-street-art-long- Island-city-BYC

And book cover

icy-and-sot-let-her-be-free-book-cover

Published by Lebowsi Publishers with an introduction by filmmaker and poet Jess X Chen and an afterword by Brooklyn Street Art‘s Jaime Rojo and Steven P. Harrington, the artists’ first collection of works features over 200 full color photos.

All images courtesy Icy and Sot

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Tracy168-graffiti-Bushwick-Collective-NYC

With his outstanding sense of color, style and design, Tracy 168 achieved legendary status early on in the most significant art movement of our time. The personification of wild style and the first writer to hit the subways with cartoon characters, the prolific artist wielded tremendous influence. On reviewing Tracy 168‘s work on exhibit back in 1999, the Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times art critic Holland Cotter had the following to say: “Tracy offers an astounding variety of styles, from 3-D to space-age spiky to Cubistic. He floats out words on cushions of colors, and ties them up in unreadable knots, festooned with tendril-like flourishes.”

When did you first get up?

I first got up with a crayon on a wall in my house when I was four years old. I remember drawing a tortoise and a hare. I lived across from the Bronx Zoo, and I always heard the sounds of animals from my window.

What about the streets? When did you first hit the streets? And the trains? When did you first hit them?

In 1969 when the Mets won the World Series, I first hit the streets. And I tagged my first train the same year. I was 11.

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What inspired you to do so?

I loved the sense of adventure…the adrenalin rush. I envisioned myself as a Tom Sawyer or Huckleberry Finn. And I loved seeing my name on the trains.

Had you any favorite spots?

I was all-city, and I loved painting anywhere with people whom I loved. But my favorite spots were New Lots Avenue and Utica Avenue on the IRT line in Brooklyn. Any train I painted there would run right away, and so I didn’t have to hang around too long to see my piece pass by.

tracy168-cartoon-on-subway-train

What about crews? Did you get up with any crews?

I founded the Wanted crew. It was one of the largest crews ever, and just about anybody who was anybody of worth was in that crew. It represented Wild Style.

Had you any early role models or inspirations?

My mother, my grandfather, Jack StewartMichael Stewart… Michael Stewart gave his life so that others would live. After his death in 1983 — and the trials and investigations that ensued — the police were somewhat afraid of treating writers so brutally.  We are the true prophets…

Any particular risky ventures stand out?

I was always wild, always doing dangerous things.

tracy168-painting

How did you support yourself back in the day? What was your source of income?

In the late 70’s, I began to create all kinds of art-related jobs for myself — painting storefronts, memorial walls, murals… I was the first writer to do that kind of thing. I also worked in an advertising agency. Jack Stewart taught me about copyrights and trademarks. He was a true mentor. He told me real stories — not the ones from Fantasy Island.

Your work has been shown in all kinds of settings across the globe!

Yes!  I’ve been in museums and galleries all over the world. I was always breaking boundaries, Here in NYC my work has been exhibited in dozens of spaces including the New York Historical Society, the Brooklyn Museum and NYU.

I remember seeing your work at the Brooklyn Museum back in 2006.

Yeah! When I came by, I made some adjustments to my canvas with a paintbrush. That didn’t go over well with the security guards. They got the curator of the exhibit involved, who insisted that I couldn’t change anything, since it had already been photographed for their catalog.

tracy168-graffiti-Bronx-NYC

Did you have a formal art education?

My education is hands-on.

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

It can be used as a tool — if you know how to read the truth.

tracy-sketch

What’s your ideal working environment?

Anywhere outdoors. Even when I paint canvases, I like to paint outside.

What inspires you these days?

My main inspiration is to express myself and grow as an artist in a world that is reluctant to see me as one.

Are there any particular cultures that have influenced your aesthetic?

Every culture. NYC is a melting pot, and I’m in the center of it painting.

tracy-168-abstract-art-in-black-book

Are you generally satisfied with your finished piece?

I’m not done until I’m happy. As long as I’m alive, I can improve on it. But it must have meaning and exude positivity. Otherwise, why bother?

A few years back you were reported dead. What was that all about?

If I hadn’t died then, I wouldn’t be alive now. It had to happen.  When I vanished, I saw the world going in the wrong direction. This art form can save it.

How has your work evolved in the last few years?

It’s constantly evolving.  This movement is to art like jazz is to music. It’s a fusion of styles and cultures that knows no boundaries. It is a universal language. And the message of Wild Style is “Be yourself. Find out what your talent is and get good at it.” I love everyone, but I will not surrender the truth and lose my integrity.

Photos: 1, 6-8 Lois Stavsky; 2, 4 & 5 courtesy of the artist; 3 Flint Gennariinterview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky

Note: Photos 7 & 8 were captured from Tracy’s current black book; special thanks to Flint for the introduction!

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