First Street Green Park

To the delight of us graffiti lovers, First Street Green Park has been showcasing artwork by a range of first rate, often legendary, graffiti writers and muralists. The image featured above was painted by Andre Trenier  and Zaone. What follows are several more murals that surfaced at last month’s Summer Classics Block Party hosted by DJNY Art:

Albertus Joseph and Jaylo YNN, tribute to the late Sean Price

Jeff Henriquez at work on tribute mural to the late Guru of Gang Starr

Wore IBM does Rakim

Graff masters T Kid and Doves at work

T Kid‘s completed piece

Completed Doves piece

And on Friday — September 8th — DJNY Art will be hosting “Welcome To The Lab,” a Pop Up event for Nike and Sneaker Lab at Van Der Plas Gallery, 156 Orchard Street on the LES.

Photos: 1, 2, 4, 6 & 7 Lois Stavsky; 3 & 5 courtesy Kate Storch

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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Brazilian artist Marcelo Ment recently brought his infectious, spirited aesthetic back to NYC, where he painted in Bushwick for JMZ Walls, on the Lower East Side for the New Allen and at First Street Green Park for International Hip Hop Day. While he was here, I had the opportunity to interview him.

When and where did you first get up?

It was in 1992 in Rio. I was 15 at the time.

What inspired you back then?

I always loved graffiti. My friends used to bring back graffiti magazines from the States, and I loved what I saw. I wanted to do it too. And from the time I was a young child, my older sister had always encouraged me to draw.

How did it feel at the time – the first time you got up?

It was great! I was so excited, I had butterflies in my stomach. It was love at first touch.

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How did your family feel about what you were doing back then?

My mom didn’t understand it.  She said, “You have talent. So why are you doing this?” But now my entire family is proud of me.  They respect that I can make a living from what I love doing.

Yes, that’s the best! What is the principal source of your income?

Commissions, graphic design and canvasses.

What was the riskiest thing you’ve done?

Painting in high places that were not safe.

So then why did you?

I told myself that I have to.

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What about these days? Do you prefer to work in legal spots or in unsanctioned ones?

These days I tend to do more legal work. I’m 40. I’m not a kid anymore, and I have serious responsibilities. But I respect illegal art and I miss the adrenalin rush.

Have you any thoughts about the graffiti/street art divide?

I don’t feel it in Rio. There’s a sense of mutual respect.

Are there any particular cultures that have influenced your style?

My initial and principal influence was classic NYC graffiti. I love letters.

Do you have a formal art education?

No! I’m self-taught.

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What percentage of your time is devoted to art?

Almost 100%.

Have you any other interests? Passions?

Music is very important to me. I especially love reggae – all kinds of it.

Have you shown your work in galleries?

Yes, I’ve exhibited in Rio and in Amsterdam.

Do you prefer working alone or collaborating with others?

I love collaborating with friends.

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Are there any artists you would particularly like to collaborate with? Artists who have inspired you?

Among them are: Marko 93 from Paris, Germany’s Can2 and the Brazilian artist, Tarm.

What is your ideal working environment?

Anywhere I have access to paint!

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

It varies. I prefer to freestyle.

Are you generally satisfied with your finished work?

I don’t think I am.  We are all so far from our best.

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How has your work evolved through the years?

It’s evolved from painting letters to painting women. Painting women has been particularly challenging. And as I continue to grow as an artist, I tend to fuse my various styles and skills.

How do you feel about the role of social media in all of this?

It’s good and bad. Some are too eager to share what’s not worth sharing.

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

To share knowledge and awareness.

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Photos: Lois Stavsky; interview conducted and edited 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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Last Tuesday, First Street Green Park — on the corner of Houston Street and 2nd Avenue — was home to a buoyant celebration of International Hip-Hop Day. Hosted by PeepThis and organized by Anthony Bowman and Kate Storch, the event featured legendary graffiti artists, along with hip-hop and DJing pioneers. The mural pictured above was painted by T-Kid. Here are several more images we captured:

Jerms

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Doves

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Lady K Fever at work

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Andres Correa at work, to the left of Kool Kito

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Marcelo Ment — in from Brazil

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La Femme Cheri, Ree and Theresa Kim aka Resa Piece

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The crew

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Other featured New York graffiti and street art legends included: Will Power, Flint 707, Nic 707, Keo, Omni and Frank Wore Croce. The hip-hop music — featuring DJ Grand Wizard Theodore and DJJS1 — was broadcast live on Damatrix Studios.

Photo credits: 1-4 & 7  Lois Stavsky 5 & 6 Tara Murray & 8 Karin du Maire

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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This is Part II in an ongoing series of posts featuring politically and socially conscious works that have surfaced on NYC streets:

Caleb Neelon and Katie Yamasaki collaborate on a memorial wall for Kalief Browder at Welling Court in Astoria, Queens

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East Harlem wheatpastes

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Shepard Fairey in Coney Island

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Kesley Montague leaves a message in Nolita

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Icy and Sot at Welling Court in Astoria, Queens

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Chris Stain and Josh MacPhee in the East Village, fragment from mural in First Street Green Park

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David Shillinglaw and Lily Mixe for Earth Day in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

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Photos: 1 & 2 Dani Reyes Mozeson; 3, 4, 6 & 7 Lois Stavsky and 5 Tara Murray

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