graffiti

Based in Bari in the South of Italy, Nico Skolp is a masterful designer, graffiti writer and muralist with a particular passion for working in public spaces. As he readies to visit and share his talents with us in New York City, I had the opportunity to pose a few questions to him:

You began painting on the streets as a graffiti writer while still a teenager. How has your style evolved since?

I still paint graffiti, but I am always searching for new inspiration. I’m interested in the possibility of communicating with a larger audience — one outside of the graffiti community. My murals blend shapes and colors into elaborate site-specific abstractions. Although graffiti is composed of  letters, it is more difficult to understand and more abstract than some other types of art. It is an interesting paradox!

You’ve been increasingly collaborating with other artists. What is that experience like? Is there any artist — in particular — with whom you’d like to collaborate?

I like collaborations. I like sharing visions and methods. It helps sharpen skills. If I could choose anyone with whom to collaborate, I would definitely say MOMO. His works are so interesting!  I admire his research and his experimentation.

Have you a formal art education? 

I graduated  with a degree in Industrial and Communication Design. In fact, I feel more like a designer than an artist. In 2006, I set up a visual arts and design agency, Ff3300.

Do any particular graffiti/street art memories stand out?

There is no one memory — in particular — that stands out. But I feel that my crew — Sorry Guys — contributed to the growth of a new generation of writers. Younger writers often enthusiastically tell me how much we have influenced them, as they grew up following us. It is an honor to think that I have inspired other writers, as  others — who came before me — inspired me.

When you paint in public spaces, do you work with a sketch-in-hand or just let it flow?

It depends. If the work is a commission, frequently I must first produce a sketch. Otherwise, I don’t, but I do seek inspiration beforehand. I used to work spontaneously, but recently, I’ve been using a method based on the rules that represent my style. It was from my style that the software open-source — based on shapes that are controlled by certain variables — was conceived. With these, you can make infinite compositions. You can download the software here. I designed it with Piero Molino, a close friend — an engineer who works for UBER in San Francisco.

Are you generally satisfied with your finished piece?

In general, yes! I’m satisfied, but I’m always striving to improve. Technically, I think I’m at a good level, The skills I have acquired have boosted my self-confidence. I’m happy with my life choices.

Have you exhibited your work in gallery settings? 

I’ve never had a solo exhibition. I’ve just contributed canvases to some graffiti exhibitions such as the one held at the 2010 Meeting of Styles in Tessalonica, Greece.  I’ve been thinking recently about showing in a solo exhibition and hopefully start with one in Bari. I love this city and it is where it all started for me. It has recently become a hub for tourism, and I love the idea of making a cultural contribution to it. 

What’s ahead?

I just finished my latest work in Matera, the 2019 Capital of Culture in Europe, and I’m heading now to  New York City, where I’d like to explore its urban art culture and make a contribution — why not a wall? — to the city! I will make myself available for any opportunities.

Yes! That would be wonderful!

Note: Nico Skolp can be contacted via his Instagram or his email nicoff3300@gmail.com.

Interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky; all images courtesy of the artist

Featured images:

  1. Matera, Italy
  2. Bari, Italy
  3. Bari, Italy
  4. Corato, Italy
  5. Matera, Italy

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Showcasing a huge range of aerosol art, the walls in Hackensack’s Union Street Park brim with bold hues and swooping patterns. Under the curatorial skills and direction of NJ-based Darrius-Jabbar Sollas aka Nasty Neo, they frequently rotate — especially during the spring and summer months. While visiting on Friday, I captured the artworks that had been painted over Memorial Day weekend. Pictured above is a segment of one wall — featuring Wore One, TSK, Close, 2 I’ll and Buc 1. Several individual pieces — as seen throughout the park — follow:

Veteran writer Wore One — in honor of his son who is serving in the military

Buc 1 goes bold

Bronx legend Terrible TKid

The masterful Sade TCM

The legendary Part One

Special thanks to Darrius for identifying all of the artists and for maintaining Bergen County’s lone graffiti Mecca! Since my visit on Friday, the Bronx Team has graced the ever-ephemeral walls of Union Street Park.

Photos by Lois Stavsky

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Late last year — when I was out of the country — the Painting Center presented Symbols, Totems and Ciphers. Curated by acclaimed artist Scot Borofsky, who had been active on the streets of the East Village back in the 80’s, the exhibit featured works in a range of media by those artists who had pioneered the street art movement. As I had missed that historical exhibit, I was delighted to discover that a variation of it is now on view at the National Arts Club on Gramercy Park South. Featured above is one of the legendary Keith Haring‘s subway drawings, photographed by Fernando Natalici. It was Keith Haring, noted Borofsky, who brought “the idea of street-art into the consciousness of every New Yorker.” What follows are several more images I captured while visiting Studio in the Street: Symbols – Totems – Ciphers at the National Arts Club.

The noted Italian multi-media artist Paolo Buggiani, Street Hanging Sculpture, Mixed media

The late Chicano stencil artist Michael Roman — captured by  Scot Borofsky

Multi-media artist and writer Bob Dombrowski, Thirteen, Silkscreen on paper

The prolific Florida-based artist R.V. (Robin Van Arsdol), RV’s Images, Acrylic on canvas, 1985

Artist and curator Scot Borofsky, whose site specific works on local ruins often referenced Pre-Columbian patterns

Other pioneering street artists featured in Studio in the Street: Symbols – Totems – Ciphers include: AVANTRichard Hambleton, Ken Hiratsuka, SAMO and Kevin Wendall.  The exhibition continues at the National Arts Club, 15 Gramercy Park South, through June 14 and is open to the public Monday to Friday, 10am – 5pm. Admission is free.

Photos of artworks (and 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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The first exhibition ever dedicated to the legendary Basquiat‘s Xerox’s works, Jean-Michel Basquiat: Xerox, continues through this coming Friday, May 31, at Nahmad Contemporary on the Upper East Side. Curated by Basquiat scholar Dieter Buchhart, who had also curated Basquiat’s recent exhibition at the Brant Foundation, Xerox presents over 20 of Basquiat’s key Xerox works from 1981 to 1987, many shown publicly here for the first time. Featured above is King of the Zulus, fashioned with acrylic, oilstick and Xerox collage on paper mounted on canvas. Several more images from this significant exhibition follow:

Untitled, Acrylic and Xerox collage on wood, 1981

Peter and the Wolf, Acrylic, oilstick and Xerox collage on canvas, 1985

Brother’s Sausage, Acrylic, oilstick and Xerox collage on canvas, 1983

Natchez, Acrylic, oil, wood and Xerox collage, 1985

Red Joy, Acrylic, oilstick and Xerox, 1984

Wide view, segment of installation

Nahmad Contemporary is located at 980 Madison Avenue, off 76th Street, on the Upper East Side and is open Monday – Saturday, 10AM – 6PM.

Photo credits: 1 Courtesy Nahmad Contemporary 2-6 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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The Spanish city of Móstoles — just several miles from Central Madrid — is home to a wild array of stylishly striking graffiti walls. Featured above are the works of  the hugely talented Spanish photorealist and tattooist Theo Magma and the masterful Italian graffiti artist Made514. Several more images painted by members of the DMC Rock Crew, along with their guests, in honor of their 33rd Anniversary follow:

DMC Rock Crew member Soda One

DMC Rock Crew members Eloy Fernandez and Ed-Mun

DMC Rock and FX Crew member Mataone

DMC Rock Crew member Roy

 Local artist Rosk and Spanish painter David Villaécija

The Crime Kings -TCK member Tsug and local artist Andres

Photo credits: 1 Sara C Mozeson 2-7 Lois Stavsky

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Emerging in the mid-80’s as one of the most prolific writers in his native Copenhagen, Bates has since made his mark across the world. With his swooping patterns, vibrant abstract shapes and masterful manipulation of letters, he has attained legendary status. Here in NYC to celebrate his birthday, he has graced the Lazy Susan Gallery with a selection of works fashioned largely with spray paint, acrylic and roller paint. Several more images from his solo exhibition Bates New York Bash— that opens tonight and will remain on view through Thursday — follow:

Bates on Blue with Yellow

Bates with Gold Outline

Camoflauge

You can meet the Great Bates and celebrate his birthday with him tonight — starting at 6pm — at Lazy Susan Gallery, 191 Henry Street, on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.

All images courtesy Lazy Susan Gallery

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There are few bare surfaces in the abandoned naval base in Bywater, New Orleans. Everything — from tags and throw-ups to sophisticated pieces — covers its exterior, interior and rooftops. Featured above is the work of  New Orleans-based Reader, You Go Girl, along with others.  What follows is a selection of images I captured there last week:

Read aka Reader, OYE, Booker, Bones and more

Half Dead & more

Charles

Heam

Tard

Tubman & more

Photos by Lois Stavsky

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The streets of New Orleans — particularly those in the Marigny and the Bywater neighborhoods — teem with a wide range of public art.  Pictured above is a mural painted by New Orleans-based visual artist and activist, Brandan Bmike Odums. Several other images captured on my recent visit to NOLA follow:

The remarkable Reader aka Booker, OYE & more — one of his dozens of pieces in NOLA

The legendary New Orleans-based You Go Girl aka Hugo Gyrl in a delicate vein

New Orleans-based Mr Balloon Hands 

Seattle-based Craig Cundiff with the NOLA Mural Project

New Orleans-based Havana-born artist Ramiro Diaz

You Go Girl and Reader collaboration

Photos: 1-6 Lois Stavsky; 7 Sara Erenthal

Coming next: the graffiti outside and inside and on the rooftops of the abandoned Bywater naval base

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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The mural pictured above was painted by the hugely talented Los Angeles-based painter and designer Tristan Eaton at Wynwood Walls in 2017.  Several more images captured by Houda Lazrak while in Wynwood for the weekend follow:

Spanish artist Deih at Wynwood Walls

Deih, close-up

Crash, Abstrk and Stephen Palladino 

Stephen Palladino, close-up

West Coast-based Hueman at Wynwood Walls

Pez, Kram and Bust collaboration

French artist Pro 176 at Wynwood Walls

Photos by Houda Lazrak

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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One of my favorite NYC walls is the one on 207th Street and 10th Avenue, directly off the 207th Street stop on the 1 line. Under the curatorial direction of South Bronx native Crane, who works up in Inwood, it hosts a range of veteran writers, along with their guests — often from out-of-state or abroad. I headed up there this past Sunday and was glad that I did! Pictured above is the work of UK-based Trik-09, who has been writing graffiti since 2005. Other images on the wall include the following:

The legendary Manhattan-based George “SEN-One” Morillo  (I tried to move the glass panel that had temporarily made its home there, but it was too heavy!)

Veteran NJ-based writer Ree Vilomar and Uptown wall curator and writer Crane

Crane, closer up

Photos by Lois Stavsky

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