Hellbent

icy-and-sot-stencil-world-trade-center

This past Sunday, we had the opportunity to meet up with Joshua Geyer, one of the curators of the current installation on the 69th floor of 4 World Trade Center. Curious about it all, we posed a few questions to him:

Joshua-Geyer-and-Chris-RWK-art

We’ve been seeing more artwork by street artists indoors these past few months — in a wide range of unlikely settings — than on the streets. Whose concept was it to turn this floor into a showcase for street art and graffiti?

Several executives who work in this building had visited the World Trade Gallery awhile back, and they loved the art that was exhibited there. It was their idea to invite street artists to paint on this floor.

And how did you become involved with this project?

Last March, I had curated an exhibit at the World Trade Gallery that featured works by over a dozen street artists. And so I was invited back to work on this project.

buff-monster-mural-art-world-trade-center

Which of these artists did you, personally, engage in this project?

The artists I invited to paint here include: Icy and Sot, Sonni, Cern, Fanakapan, Rubin, Hellbent, Buff Monster, Chris RWK, Jackfox, UR New York, Erasmo and Basil Sema.

How did you decide which ones  to invite?

I chose artists I know — whom I’ve worked with in the past — whose art would work in this particular setting.

cern-mural-art-world-trace-center

Did this project present any distinct challenges?

This was the first time I’d ever worked with other curators. That was a definite challenge, as we didn’t all have the same vision, and each one of us worked independently. I generally curate on my own. And when I work with Centre-fuge Public Art Project, every decision is made collaboratively, and we are all pretty much on the same page.  But I did learn about different approaches to curating a space and navigating my way through different visions.

Who were some of the other curators?

Among them are: Caitlin CrewsSean Sullivan and Bobby Grandone

fanakapan-scultpture-wtc

Within the past few weeks, there have been quite a few discussions about the need to financially compensate all artists for work they do within corporate settings. What are your thoughts on this issue?

I absolutely agree. Unfortunately, the art world doesn’t always come through. Creatives can be easily exploited. And if this doesn’t change, we will continue to lose many talented artists. But lots of positive things are happening now in this space.

Can you tell us about that?

Yes. Many students — from local elementary schools to the Parsons School of Design — have visited. They’ve had the opportunity to meet artists and speak to curators, and their response has been great. I look forward to more school visits. And I am hoping, of course, that the artists who painted here will attract clients and gain future opportunities.

jack-fox-art

How can folks visit this space? Is it ever open to the public?

I will be giving weekly tours. For specific information and to set an appointment, I can be reached at Tower4Arts@gmail.com. I would love to have schools — and art teachers, in particular — reach out to me.

And what about you? What’s ahead for you?

Later this spring I will be joining several artists — including Vexta, Faith47 and Alexis Diaz — on a trip to El Salvador facilitated by the United Nations. I will be doing a photography workshop with kids, and we will be wheat-pasting their photos outdoors. And currently I’m working with No Longer Empty, with plans underway for an exhibit in Brownsville.

sonni-mural-art--world-trade-center

That all sounds great! We’re looking forward to hearing about your experiences.

Note: The images featured in this post were among those curated by Joshua Geyer. Keep posted to the StreetArtNYC Facebook page for additional images of artworks in this space.

Images

Icy and Sot

2 Josh standing next to Chris RWK

Buff Monster, with fragments of Hellbent to the side

Cern

Fanakapan

Jackfox

Sonni

Photos & interview by Lois Stavsky

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The following guest post is by Houda Lazrak, a graduate student in Museum Studies at New York University.

"Icy and Sot"

As street art continues to gain legitimacy as a contemporary art movement throughout the world, New York City remains its cradle of birth and continues to attract artists from around the globe.  Gingko Press’s recently published Outdoor Gallery — New York City by author and photographer Yoav Litvin bears witness to the unmediated and diverse creative expression of New York City’s street art.  Thought provoking, comprehensive and aesthetically pleasing,  Outdoor Gallery presents hundreds of street art photographs, accompanied by interviews, featuring more than forty artists.

"Outdoor Gallery"

For two years Yoav immersed himself in the world of street artists, learning their visual language, engaging in their community and observing their habitus. Outdoor Gallery justly frames street art as a platform for disrupting society’s notion of the use of public space.  As the author states, street art is “a creative and non-violent form of rebellion.”

Toofly

The author provides us with a rare opportunity to view the artists’ actual process.  Yoav photographs artist Adam Dare’s steps as he installs his signature bunny paste-up on scaffolding in the dark of the night.  Jilly Ballistic, known for subway site-specific images, also agrees to guide us through a 9-step process of pasting an image of a city officer in the Astor Place metro station.

"Jilly Ballistic"

Although most of the photographs are taken soon after the images have surfaced, Yoav eloquently emphasizes the ephemeral nature of the art form in his opening commentary and throughout the interviews he conducted.  He also reminds us that street art is continuously at the mercy of many factors, such as neighborhood gentrification, weather conditions, vandalism and police intervention.   Photography serves as an ally in keeping the art works alive after they have faded or disappeared.

Hellbent

The book’s narrative also acknowledges and insists on the diversity of mediums, surfaces and messages embedded in the art pieces.  The interviews inform us of the range of intention behind the pieces.  For some artists, such as gilf!, Enzo & Nio, and Icy & Sot, political commentary is the rationale behind their work.  Alice Mizrachi, on the other hand, uses her large-scale murals to encourage community engagement. Finally, street art serves as a creative outlet and as a form of self-expression. Shiro describes her signature character as her “alternative self, reflecting [her] experiences and emotions as [she] goes through life.”

Never

This book provides remarkable insight into the motivations and the creative process of dozens of street artists whose works have surfaced in NYC. More than shedding light on the extraordinary talent of these artists, Outdoor Gallery inspires readers to discover for themselves the treasure trove of outdoor art New York City has to offer.

Outdoor Gallery — New York City can be ordered online at Amazon and is available from retailers worldwide including Low Brow Artique and Zakka in Brooklyn and Strand Books, the MoMA and Guggenheim Museum shops in Manhattan.

Images © Yoav Litvin 1. Icy & Sot in Williamsburg, Brooklyn; 2. Toofly in Bushwick, Brooklyn and in Astoria, Queens; 3. Jilly Ballistic process in underground metro; 4. Hellbent in Astoria, Queens & 5. Never Satisfied in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

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"Joe Iurato"

Intrigued by the small artworks that surface unexpectedly thoughout New York City, Amy Young has curated a delightful exhibit featuring small works by over a dozen artists.  Here’s a sampling:

Another cut-out by Joe Iurato

"Joe Iurato cut-out"

Elbow-Toe, close-up

"Elbow Toe"

Cake

Cake

Hellbent

Hellbent

Jaye Moon

"Jaye Moon"

Other featured artists include: Jilly Ballistic, C215, Clown Soldier, Enzo and Nio, Gilf!, Jay Shells, Shin Shin and Wing.  A closing party will take place tomorrow, April 4, from 5-9pm. The works will remain on exhibit through Sunday at R. Jampol Projects, 191 Henry Street between Clinton and Jefferson on the Lower East Side.

Photos: 1. courtesy of  the gallery; 2. 3. & 5.  Sara Mozeson; 4 & 6, City-as-School intern Dea Sumrall

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One of NYC’s most prolific street artists, Royce Bannon aka Choice Royce is also a first-rate curator.  His most recent venture, SPECTRUM, is on view at Gallery Brooklyn through August 31.

Gallery Brooklyn

Your iconic monsters surface throughout the boroughs – both on the streets and in galleries – and you also have curated some of NYC’s most impressive street art shows.  What got you into curating?

Back in 2005, my sister and her husband ran a gallery space in Harlem.  I loved the idea of organizing an exhibit that would showcase my friends’ work.  And since I had access to a space, I did just that.

Who were some of the artists in your first exhibit?

They were mostly members of my crew, the Endless Love Crew. Guys like Abe Lincoln, Jr., Infinity, GoreB, Anera…

EKG and Royce Bannon

I remember seeing Work to Do at 112 Greene Street a few years back in SoHo. It was amazing!  How did it come to be?

In 2009, Steve Loeb and John Robie offered me their 4000 square foot studio space to curate an exhibit.  With help from my friends, we organized an exhibit with 50 — 60 artists. Work was installed just about everywhere in every manner possible. The response was wonderful and it whet my appetite to curate more exhibits.

What about other spaces? Where else have you curated?

I’ve curated shows at 17 Frost and at the Mishka Store in Williamsburg and at the Woodward Gallery on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. My current exhibit, SPECTRUM, is at Gallery Brooklyn here in Red Hook.

Rubin

Tell us a bit about your process of curating? How does it begin?

It begins with a concept. And once I have the concept, I contact the artists I’d like to feature and, then – sometimes — I have to begin searching for a space.

What about SPECTRUM? What is the concept behind SPECTRUM?

The concept for this show was actually See One’s. He suggested that I curate an exhibit featuring abstract graffiti with works by Col, Rubin and Hellbent and him. I added EKG.

See One

It’s certainly a great selection of artists – all five are active on the streets, as well as in their studiosHow did you hook up with Gallery Brooklyn?

I began contacting various spaces and Gallery Brooklyn – that had hosted Geometrics last year — was welcoming and enthusiastic. It was the perfect match.

And the installation is flawless!

Thanks! I couldn’t be more satisfied. I wasn’t sure what to expect, and the results are beyond my expectations! The works all complement one another.

Hellbent

How did the opening go?

It was fantastic. The response was all positive and it sold well.

What’s ahead?

More curating. More art. More writing. And more interviews for the Source.

Col

Have you any new concepts for exhibits?

I’d like to curate an exhibit on the theme of characters.

That sounds great! I am already looking forward to it!

Interview by Lois Stavsky; photos of EKG and Royce collab, See One, Rubin and Hellbent — in that order — by Lois Stavsky; final photo of Col courtesy of Royce.

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Hellbent’s artworks — from his signature jawbone to his geometric abstracts – are among our favorites, both on the streets and in gallery settings. His current solo exhibit, Even Romantics Love Violence, at Mighty Tanaka, along with recent works that have surfaced on NYC streets, reflects his skillful use of colors and patterns.

Son of a Gun (The Vaselines), Spray Paint on Canvas — in Even Romantics Love Violence at Mighty Tanaka

Hellbent on canvas

 Hellbent’s sculpted signature jawbone in Even Romantics Love Violence at Mighty Tanaka

Hellbent

Benediction (Thurston Moore), 2013, Spray Paint on Raw Linen — in Even Romantics Love Violence at Mighty Tanaka

Hellbent at Mighty Tanaka

Treasure Hunters (Calvin Love) 2013, Spray Paint on Panel  — in Even Romantics Love Violence at Mighty Tanaka

Hellbent

 And on the streets — at the Bushwick Collective with See One

Hellbent and See One

 On Bushwick door

Hellbent

And on the Bowery for New Museum’s Ideas City Festival

Hellbent

Keep posted to our Facebook page for images of Hellbent’s newest work to grace the walls of Prospect Heights, Brooklyn.

Photos by Tara Murray and Lois Stavsky

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We returned this week to one of our favorite East Village spots — East First Street off First Avenue — where a once-abandoned trailer now boasts a range of crisp, expressive images. With Cycle 7 now complete, this is what we captured:

Matthew Denton Burrows

Matthew Denton Borrows

Hellbent

Hellbent

Joe Iurato

Joe Iurato

Joseph Meloy and Nicholai Khan 

Joseph Meloy and Nicholai Khan

Yuki

Yuki-for-centre-fuge-public-art-project

The current installation will remain through May. Submissions for Cycle 8 are due by April 1 and can be submitted to Centrefuge@gmail.com, Images of Cycle 7 in progress can be seen here.

Photos by Dani Mozeson & Tara Murray

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Joseph Meloy & Nicholai Khan

East First Street near First Avenue in the East Village/Lower East Side is the place to be this week as the Centre-fuge Public Art Project begins its second year of transforming a once-abandoned trailer into a showcase of urban art. These images of works-in-progress were captured yesterday:

NYC native Joseph Meloy at work on his distinct post-graffiti style that he labels Vandal Expressionism

Joseph Meloy

Queens-based Nicholai Khan fashions a school bus as tribute to NYC’s striking school bus drivers

Nicholai Khan

Brooklyn-based Hellbent with his enchanting geometric rhythms 

Hellbent for Centre-fuge

Peeking into Hellbents’s black book

Hellbent black book

Graphic artist Matthew Denton Burrows conceives an intriguing character

Matthew Denton Burrows

Hellbent and Matthew Denton Burrows side by side

Hellbent and Matthew Burrows for Centre-fuge Public Art Project

Japanese painter and muralist Yuki brings her graceful aesthetic to the scene

Yuki for Centre-fuge

The wonderfully talented Joe Iurato will be on board tomorrow.  StreetArtNYC will feature images of the completed trailer next week.

The Centre-Fuge Public Art Project was conceived in 2011 by First Street residents Pebbles Russell and Jonathan Neville in memory of their friend, Mike Hamm.

Photos by Tara Murray

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Artists from across the globe, along with some of our favorite local artists, have been busy this past month gracing Brooklyn’s most elegant, evolving canvas – Bushwick Five Points. Here are some pieces that have recently surfaced:

Brooklyn-based artists See One and Hellbent

"See one and Hellbent street art"

Hellbent, close-up

"Hellbent street art"

 Italian artist Pixel Pancho

"Pixel Pancho street art"

 

Italian artist Never2501

"Never2501 street art"

"Never2501 street art"

 Cuban artist Shie Moreno

"Shie Moreno street art mural"

Australian artist Reka

"Reka street art"

"Reka street art"

Photos by Tara Murray and Lois Stavsky

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"Bushwick Five Points street art"

Within the past year, the walls along Scott, Troutman and St. Nicholas in Bushwick, Brooklyn have evolved into a vibrantly intriguing outdoor gallery. We recently had the opportunity to pose some questions to its curator, Joe Ficalora.

What inspired you to transform this neighborhood into such a wonderful open-air gallery?

I’ve lived in this neighborhood all my life.  Growing up here, I was not even allowed to play outside. The delis were drug spots, and the surrounding blocks teemed with prostitutes and junkies. I was continually exposed to hookers and gangs. My dad was murdered right down the block as he was leaving the L train Jefferson Avenue station. As artists and creative types began moving into the neighborhood, things changed. And after my mother’s death, I was moved to transform the cold industrial aura of this area into something that would revive me and provide the artists with a space to showcase their talents.  I am trying to create an environment that I couldn’t get as a child.

"Icy and Sot street art"

Wow! You are certainly succeeding. Bushwick Five Points has become one of our favorite spots in NYC! How do you manage to have access to so many walls?

Some are family-owned and others I’ve negotiated with their owners. Once these building owners see a finished wall, it is not difficult for them to recognize that the artwork surfacing here is far more appealing than random tags and unspeakable words!

We’ve noticed and love just how varied the artwork is here – in terms of both artists’ backgrounds and styles.  Have you any favorites?

I love them all, and I love the mix! Each piece is special to me. I love watching everything from the progress of the artists to the reactions of the passersby.

"Never street art"

How do you decide which artists to feature on the walls here at Bushwick Five Points?

I look for passion and integrity. I always meet the artist first, and we walk through the neighborhood together.  I show them the walls, and I tell them a bit about the other artists who’ve painted here. If I like the artist’s work and feel right about the artist, it’s a go!

"The Yok and Sheryo street art"

How do you decide which walls go to which artists?

We discuss which spaces are available and the artist then chooses his or her canvas.

Any thoughts about the graffiti/street art divide?

I admire the graffiti that has been surfacing in the vicinity of Morgan Avenue. But I love the varieties of expression that street art offers.

"Dan Witz street art"

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

I think it’s beautiful. We all get to see and appreciate what’s surfacing throughout the world.

"Hellbent street art"

What’s ahead?

I’m not looking long-term. I’m enjoying what I’m doing now. And I’d love to keep doing what I’m doing the rest of my life!

"OverUnder and LNY street art"

That sounds great! We are so glad you are doing what you are doing.

"Jim Avignon street art"

Special thanks to Bodega Wine Bar for the delicious complimentary snacks we were served while interviewing Joe.

Images beginning with top: Nick Walker, Danielle Mastrion and Concrete Jungle, photo by Dani Mozeson; Icy and Sot, photo by Lenny Collado; Priscila De Carvalho, Maria Berrio & Miriam Castillo, photo by Lois Stavsky; Never, photo by Lois Stavsky; The Yok and Sheryo, photo by Dani Mozeson; Rimx, photo by Dani Mozeson; Dan Witz, photo by Dani Mozeson; Hellbent, photo by Tara Murray; OverUnder and LNY, photo by Dani Mozeson; Jim Avignon, photo by Lois Stavsky

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Speaking with Hellbent

August 9, 2012

"Hellbent streetart"

A few years back, a distinct jaw crafted onto a range of tantalizing backgrounds — signed Hellbent — began to surface on boards posted onto sundry surfaces on NYC streets.  These days, Hellbent’s  enticing, evolving visual rhythms increasingly grace large walls, as well. We recently had the opportunity to visit Hellbent’s studio and pose a few questions to him:

We love your wondrously inventive abstract artwork that recently surfaced on the streets of Bushwick and at Welling Court. But — I suppose — many of us will always identify you with your iconic jaw bone. Could you tell us something about it?

The idea of the jaw came to me about five or six years ago. It was inspired by a story I read about Freud’s battle with jaw cancer and how – early into his diagnosis – he was saved by a dwarf, a hospital roommate who alerted the physicians when a speechless Freud was hemorrhaging.  Besides its reference to psychoanalysis, the jaw also suggests basic human functions such as speaking and eating. More after the jump!

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