Eric Orr

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Opening tonight at More Points Bx in the Hunts Point section of the Bronx is Fight 4 Your Write: The CAMO Show, an exhibit of intriguing art in a range of media and styles suggestive of the notion of camouflage. While previewing the exhibit yesterday, I spoke briefly to More Points Bx directors and curators, Sienide and Eric Orr.

What inspired you to curate this exhibit?

We wanted to bring our friends together, while sharing different styles and techniques of art — all beautiful and unconventional and on a common theme.

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What are some of the techniques represented here?

There are so many. Among them are: stencil art, aerosol art, mixed media, painting, printing, sketching, drawing with markers…More Points Bx even has its first oil painting featured here.

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Can you tell us a bit about the exhibit’s theme? 

It’s our theme — the concept of camouflage. As graffiti writers, there is much we hide. And much of what we write is only for us to decipher.

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How did you decide which artists to feature?

We got the word out among our friends, and we reached out to others on social media.

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There’s quite a range of artists here — from several younger emerging ones to many established legends. How many artists are featured in the exhibit?

There are 36. Dozens of people reached out to us.

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After the exhibit officially opens, how much longer will it remain on view?

It will stay up for a bit over a month — 36 days to be exact!

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How can folks arrange to see it if they miss the opening or if they wish to view it a second time? There’s so much to see!

One of us is here at 527 Faile Street just about all afternoons and evenings. We can also be reached by email at mrmorepoints@gmail.com.

CAMO

What can folks who attend the exhibit’s opening expect — besides the great art and great company?

Music for the evening will be powered by DJ JAZZY JAY with special guests, and drinks will be provided by Port Morris Distillery. Come out and help us kick off the new season!

Images

1  BG 183, Tats Cru

2  Sienide, Rhonda Rae and Al Diaz

3  Al Diaz

4  Bio Tats Cru, Steve Cogle and Nicer Tats Cru

5  Yes One

6  Eric Orr

7  Serve

Photos and interview by Lois Stavsky

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Splendidly curated by Laura James and Eileen WalshBronx Now showcases a wide range of artworks in different media by some of the best artists working in the Bronx. Among these are several whose works also enhance public spaces. While visiting the exhibit on Sunday, I had the opportunity to speak to both curators and pose a few questions to Laura James, the founder of BX200.

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Just what is BX200? And when was it launched?

BX200 is a directory of 200 artists, all of whom live or work in the Bronx. It was officially launched at the Bronx Museum of the Arts in March 2015.

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 What is its mission? And what spurred you to launch it?

Its mission is to connect our borough’s best artists to as wide an audience as possible from curators to collectors to other artists. My initial incentive in launching it was to get to know other artists living and working in the Bronx.

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You and  Eileen Walsh have, obviously, accomplished so much working together. The directory looks great, and this exhibit is wonderful. How did you two initially meet?

Awhile back, Eileen had invited me to participate in an exhibit she was curating elsewhere. Then when she read about BX200, she was eager to partner with me.

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The art here is spread across two rooms, and it all looks amazing. How did this great space come your way?

Eileen introduced me to it, and I thought it would be an ideal setting to introduce a selection of Bronx artists to folks who frequent Brooklyn spaces, particularly in Bushwick where so much is happening.

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How did you decide which artists to include in Bronx Now?  Some of the artists are quite young and relatively unknown, and others have established reputations and have exhibited in renowned museums.

We were interested in presenting a snapshot of the Bronx featuring works that we love — in a variety of styles and media — from a wide range of artists.

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The exhibit opened with a reception Saturday evening How did the opening go?

It was fantastic! About 300 people came and we had Andre Trenier painting live

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What are some of the other events we can look forward to this week? 

This Thursday, May 5, there will be a Bronx Now Artist Talk from 6-8pm. Participants will include Tats CruJohn Ahearn, Rebecca Allan, Danny Peralta and Alicia Grullon. And this Saturday there will be a closing reception from 5-8pm with a performance by Paco Cao. From Wednesday through Saturday’s closing, the gallery — located at 119 Ingraham Street — opens at noon. Enter through Terra Firma.

Congratulations on BX200 and this wonderful exhibit! I’m looking forward to more.

Images

1. John Ahearn with curators Laura James and Eileen Walsh

2. Bio, Tats Crew

3. Eric Orr

4. Crash

5. Nicer, Tats Cru

6. Andre Trenier, close-up

7. MRS

Photo credit: 1, 2, 4-7 Lois Stavsky; 3 courtesy Laura James; 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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eric-orr-robot-head

Best known for his iconic Robothead and his subway collaborations with Keith Haring, South Bronx native Eric Orr can now be found most days in his new Hunts Point studio. I recently had the opportunity to meet up with him there.

What a great space! When did you begin working here?

It’s been four months now. It couldn’t be more perfect, as it’s just a short ride from my house and convenient to just about everything.

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How does working in a studio differ from working in your apartment?

It’s an entirely different experience. There’s a lot less traffic here. I can leave my paint on the floor and know that it will still be there when I return. I have the freedom to create without having to put things away. And my family is happy too! No more fumes and no more paint in their way!

How does having your own space impact your work as an artist?

Bigger thoughts and bigger pieces. I’m planning to design huge sculptures and paint on larger surfaces. Can you imagine what I’d be doing now if I had a space like this 40 years ago!

Dennesa-Andrea Usher-and-Eric-Orr-collab

You are currently participating in Leave a Message, a group exhibit — curated by Tes One at St. Petersburg’s Morean Arts Center. What’s next?

I’m showing in Unveiling Visions: The Alchemy of the Black Imagination, an art and design exhibit — curated by John Jennings and Reynaldo Anderson — at the Schomburg Center’s Latimer Edison Gallery. On exhibit are photos of the 1984 Eric Orr and Keith Haring subway drawings, along with an original 1986 cover of my Rappin Max Robot comic book. I will also be exhibiting five new Robothead masks recently created in the new studio space. Then later this year I will have a solo exhibit at WallWorks Gallery.

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What about the upcoming New York Comic Con? Can we expect to see you there?

Yes! I will have hand-embellished mini posters of the cover of my Rappin Max Robot #1 comic book available for purchase. I will also be speaking on the Hip-Hop & Comics: Cultures Combining panel discussion with Depth of Field‘s, Patrick Reed on October 8, 2015 at 11 AM.

I am looking forward to it all! 

Note: Unveiling Visions: The Alchemy of the Black Imagination opens tomorrow evening, Friday, September 25, at the Schomburg Center’s Latimer Edison Gallery, 515 Malcolm X Boulevard in Harlem.

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 Photo credits: 1 & 3, courtesy of the artist; 2 & 4 Lois Stavsky; interview by Lois Stavsky

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Boone-Room-Bronx-graffiti-Cope2

Some of NYC’s most vibrant and striking murals–on Boone Avenue between 172nd and 173rd Streets in the Bronx–were demolished last year to be replaced by residential buildings. But thanks to the efforts of SLO Architecture, various artists, neighboring Fannie Lou Hamer High School, Maria Krajewski, City-As-School students and several others, the spirit of Boone Avenue lives. Featuring dozens of images, interviews and more, the Boone Room website, constructed by City-As-School students, can now be viewed online. To celebrate its launch, the public is invited to join the City-As-School family, several of the artists and a host of performers and musicians tonight at Exit Room.

 Artists interviewed for the Boone Room website include: Cope2, Eric Orr, Marthalecia and Valerie Larko who has preserved the walls in her amazing photorealistic paintings.

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Lady K Fever

"Lady K Fever"

Kashink — who was visiting NYC from Paris — to the left of Lady K Fever

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 Tonight at 270 Meserole Street in Bushwick

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Post by City-As-School intern Zachariah Messaoud with Lois Stavsky; photos 3 and 4 courtesy Maria Krajewski

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Betso-Mickey-Splash-PIQ

An extraordinary range of artworks in various media celebrating the iconic Mickey Mouse is currently on exhibit at PIQ at 8 Grand Central Terminal in the Shuttle Passage. Among the artists featured in Twisted Mouse are many who also grace the streets of our cities. I recently had the opportunity to speak to its curator, Sabina Nowik.

Can you tell us something about this exhibit? What is happening here?

It is a celebration of Mickey Mouse with dozens of works ranging from the quirky to the gruesome.

"Eric Orr"

Why Mickey Mouse? What is his significance to you?

Having lived and worked in Orlando, Florida, I’ve always had a special relationship with Disney’s characters. Mickey Mouse represents youth and fun!

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How did you bring such an extraordinary array of artists together? How did you find them all?

I knew some of the artists from the previous exhibit here at PIQ; some I discovered via word-of-mouth. And I did considerable online research.

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What was the experience like? Was it different from what you had expected?

It was very pleasant, as I had expected it to be. But the installation itself — incorporating everything from soft vinyl to triptych art — came together far more seamlessly than I had anticipated.

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Note: Twisted Mouse continues through March, with many artworks to remain on exhibit through April. Hours: Monday-Thursday: 8-10 | Friday 8-11 | Saturday: 8-10 | Sunday 9-9.

Artworks

1. Betso, Mickey Splash

2. Eric Orr, Max with Mickey Ears

3. Sienide, Wickey Mouse

4. Miss Zukie, Stuffed Mouse

5. Chris RWK, Tourist Trap

Photo credits: 1 Sara C. Mozeson; 2 – 4 Lois Stavsky and 5 courtesy of the artist

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"Eric Orr"

Legendary for his collaborative artwork with Keith Haring on the NYC subways, Bronx-based artist and designer Eric Orr also produced the first-ever hip-hop comic book.  I recently had the opportunity to find out more about this multi-faceted artist who will be participating tomorrow – Friday – evening at the New York Comic Con panel discussion Hip-Hop and Comics: Cultures Combining, presented by Depth of Field.

You were one of the first graff artists to develop a distinct icon. Your “robot head” has since appeared on a wide range of surfaces – from T-shirts to record labels to international fine art exhibits. It has even made its way into Sotheby’s and Christie’s auction houses and catalogues. Can you tell us something about it?

It was inspired by the space age and the robotics era. I grew up in the age of Star Wars, Space Odyssey and the Robot Dance. And as tagging on walls and traditional graff didn’t do that much for me, my robot actually made it to the streets of the South Bronx where I grew up.

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You may well be best-known for your collabs with Keith Haring that surfaced on the 6 Pelham Bay and the 4 and 5 NYC subways lines 30 years ago. You are, in fact, the only artist who ever collaborated with Keith in the subway system. How did you two first meet up?

Keith, it seems, had been eyeing my work for a while.  But we actually met, by chance, one day at a Swatch watch completion. I was wearing my hand-painted robot head shirt when Keith Haring approached me and invited me to collaborate with him on a series of artworks on the black panel spaces of the NYC subway system.

And these became a legendary part of NYC’s subway history! You also played a huge role in the hip-hop scene back in the day, producing work for Afrika Bambaataa and such hip-hop artists as Jazzy Jay, along with the brand logo for the Strong City Record label.  Can you tell us something about that? What exactly was the relationship between graffiti and hip-hop?  And was there one?

Yes! The same energy from the streets of the South Bronx that created the graffiti there in the late 70’s created hip-hop. Writers would go straight from getting up in the streets to hanging out at park jams and clubs. And it was largely the graffiti artists who designed the flyers for the hip-hop events.

"Eric Orr"

What about the relationship between hip-hop and comics? You produced the first-ever hip-hop comic and will be speaking about the two cultures at the  tomorrow – Friday.

From the beginning graffiti artists, MC’s and break-dancers adapted elements from the comic book culture. Just about everything — from our names to our fantastical identities to the flyers we designed — had comic elements in it. But only someone from the inside could have produced an authentic hip-hop comic.  My original “Maxwell Robot” strip ran in Rap Masters magazine.

Do you have a formal art education?

I studied art at the School of Visual Arts and the Art Students League.

Was it worthwhile?

Yes, it inspired me to take my work to a commercial level.

"Eric Orr"

How do you feel about the interplay between graffiti/street art and the commercial world?

I have mixed feelings. It’s great for me and others to get paid to do the things we love. But it’s also easy for artists to be exploited — if their art is used to market a product and they are not getting paid for their artwork or sharing in the company’s profits.

You’ve done workshops with kids in New Zealand – to which you originally traveled to create a design for Serato — and recently here up in the Bronx. Can you tell us something about that?

Having grown up in the South Bronx, I understand just how important it is for kids to have positive experiences that nurture their creativity in productive ways. My most recent venture was with Sienide, working with youth to design a mural on 172nd Street and Southern Boulevard for the Children’s Aid Society’s.

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What’s ahead?

Cornell University recently approached me about purchasing the original source material for Rappin’ Max Robot for its hip-hop collection of rare books and manuscripts. I am currently working on an a piece for an upcoming train show at Grand Central, scheduled to open on November 22. And tomorrow evening, I will be participating in the New York Comic Con panel discussion Hip-Hop and Comics: Cultures Combining.

Congratulations! It all sounds great! 

Interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky; all images courtesy of Eric Orr; final photo by Lois Stavsky

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"5Pointz street art & graffiti in NYC"

5Pointz, New York City’s aerosol art Mecca, officially launched its tenth season this past Saturday.  Veteran writers, newbies, break-dancers, graff lovers, hip-hop aficionados and tourists, along with curious passersby, all came together in celebration. Here are some scenes:

Native New Yorker Demer has been an active graffiti writer since the early 80’s, beginning with NYC subway trains. These days his work is featured worldwide in print, in exhibits, on movie screens and on walls. Early Saturday he was busy at 5Pointz.

"Graff writer Demer ar 5Pointz NYC"

Active on the streets of the Bronx and beyond, aerosol art master Sien aka Sien Ide collaborated with Bronx native and acclaimed artist Eric Orr, one of the first writers to incorporate symbols into graffiti and to collaborate with Keith Haring.

"Sien and Eric Orr at 5Pointz"

Break-dancers shared their talents, as well.

A number of  long-term walls, including those by the Madrid-based Ego Crew and Paris’s 2rode, also greeted visitors.

"Ego Crew @ 5Pointz"

"2rode graffiti mural at 5Pointz"

And, of course, there were new pieces by Jonathan “Meres” Cohen — under whose direction, relentless commitment and curatorial vision 5Pointz has attained international acclaim.

"Meres at 5Pointz"

Although the threat of closure looms, that didn’t seem to be on anyone’s mind on Saturday.

Photos by Lenny Collado and Dani Mozeson

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