Jilly Ballistic

Launched — once again — by Learn and Skate is an auction to raise funds to help support the production of the first skate park in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. The skate deck featured above was fashioned by Bronx-based Sen2.  Dozens more skate decks — recently designed by a global array of artists — are available for bidding at Europe’s online auction house Catawiki. What follows is a small sampling:

 Wane COD

Chris RWK, Chinon Maria and Andrea Romero del Collado

Jilly Ballistic

Antonio Sobrino

You can view all of the skate decks and bid on them here.

All images courtesy Jean Claude Geraud

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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We recently had the opportunity to speak with writer and photographer Yoav Litvin about 2Create, his ongoing project and upcoming book on creative collaborations.

We love your recently launched 2Create Facebook Page and Group. Can you tell us something about the concept behind 2Create? What is its mission?

The aim of 2Create is to study and promote teamwork and fellowship as it showcases the art of collaboration. Folks tend to place far more emphasis on competition than on collaboration. But so much more can be accomplished if we work together.

Icy-and-Sot-street-art-at-Welling-Court-NYC

Yes! We tend to glorify individualism, particularly in the West.

And my point is that when two people create, it is greater than two. 1 + 1 is not 2, but something more. The duo is the basic unit of a collective.  And we need to look at forming collectives as a means to solve our societal problems.

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One of your initial projects, related to this larger one, is your upcoming book, 2Create: Art Collaborations in New York City.  Can you tell us something about it?

Yes. It will be released by Schiffer Publishing this fall. It showcases the works and processes of nine pairs of NYC graffiti and street artists. Each duo consists of two artists whose unique styles came together to create a larger-than-life work of street art in a NYC neighborhood. The book focuses on the backgrounds, techniques, and collaborative processes of the featured duos.

asvp-at-work-in-studio-NYC

What spurred you to produce this particular book? What was your impetus behind it – in addition to promoting the concept of collaboration?

There were a number of factors. I was interested in expanding the documentation that I began in Outdoor Gallery New York City by getting to know more of my favorite artists – like Cekis and Rubin. But most of all, it was a project that enabled me to further develop myself as an artist by integrating my background in psychology, my passion for progressive politics and my respect and love for graffiti and street art in NYC.

jilly ballistic-al diaz

What were some of the challenges that you faced in the process?

Identifying artists who could work well together and produce first-rate artwork was the initial challenge. I also had to gain their confidence and access to their relationship so that they would speak freely about the process.  And some of the artists were quite shy – which was an additional challenge. And, then, for some of the works I had to secure walls, materials and more.

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What’s ahead for 2Create?  Where are you going with it?

I want to continue documenting and interviewing duos that work together in a wide range of scenarios: visual arts, dance, music and more!

 2create-500

How can we become engaged with your project? Can we contribute to it?

You can Like the project on Facebook and share your own collabs and connect with others here. You can also follow it on Instagram and on Twitter.

It sounds great! And what a wonderful concept!

Images

1. Dasic Fernandez with Rubin 415

2. Icy and Sot

3. Cekis with Cern

4. ASVP

5. Jilly Ballistic with Al Diaz

6. Alice Mizrachi with Trap IF

7. Logo design by Dan Michman

Photos © Yoav LitvinYoav in conversation with Lois StavskyTara Murray and City-as-School intern Sol Raxlen

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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A specialized new online gallery certain to appeal to us street art aficionados, Cluster Wall launches tomorrow evening with an exhibit and party at 17 Frost in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. We recently had the opportunity to speak to Cluster Wall’s founder, Evan Tobias. 

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What is Cluster Wall? Why that name?

It is a term I respond to! As an art-lover and collector, I tend to cluster art of all colors and styles in our Brooklyn apartment. The results are vibrant, bold and kinetic, like New York City, itself!

What is your mission in launching Cluster Wall?

My mission is to provide art lovers with the opportunity to purchase first-rate, hand-embellished affordable art. There will not be any ink jet prints. All of the artworks will be signed and numbered, and editions will be limited. Prints will be released in a series of 100 or fewer. And, in addition, a small number of original works will also be made available.

"Evan Tobias"

What work experiences do you bring with you to your current position?

I was the founder and editor of Block Magazine, and founder of the Full Circle Bar in Williamsburg.

Most of the artists — whose works you will be exhibiting and selling — are active on the streets. Why the focus on street art?

I’m a big fan of street art. I’ve been living in Williamsburg since 2001, and I’ve seen how street art has enhanced my neighborhood. It has made it a better place to live. But Cluster Wall is not limited to street artists. I will be releasing artworks by other contemporary urban artists, as well.

the-drif

How did you decide which artists to work with?

I started off by contacting artists I know, and then I was connected to some others. I was specifically looking for artwork that I love that would also work well as prints.

Can you tell us something about this weekend’s exhibit? What can we expect to see?

We will be featuring prints and original artworks by Chris RWK, Joe Iurato, Rubin, ASVP, Elle, The Drif, London Kaye, Solus, Opie and ORYX, along with collaborative works by John Paul O’Grodnick and Jilly Ballistic, who will also be painting live.

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What is Cluster Wall bringing to the art scene?

It provides art lovers with the opportunity to collect outstanding, innovative artwork at modest prices.

That all sounds great! Good luck!

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Note: The launch begins at 7pm tomorrow — Saturday — at 17 Frost Street and will feature, along with dozens of artworks, music by DJ Nigel Rubirosa and refreshments provided by Lion Beer and Sea Grape Wines.

Interview conducted by City-as-School intern Zachariah Messaoud.

Photos

1. Chris RWK  

2. Cluster Wall founder Evan Tobias, seated in front of artwork by London Kaye 

3. The Drif

4. John Paul O’Grodnick and Jilly Ballistic

5.  Joe Iurato

All photos courtesy Cluster Wall, except for pic of Evan by Lois Stavsky

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Outdoor Gallery New York City author and photographer Yoav Litvin continues readings from his book and conversations about New York City street art this evening, August 6, from 5-:30 – 7:30 at the Bronx Museum of the Arts. Among the topics he will discuss are: documenting street art and graffiti; constructing and editing interviews, and publishing and promoting his book.  Admission is free and you can hop off the Bronx Trolley that provides a free arts and culture tour of the South Bronx on the first Wednesday of every month. Yoav will be joined this evening by the wonderfully talented artist and art educator, Alice Mizrachi, who will speak about her own art and its evolution.

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On Wednesday, August 20, Yoav’s special guest, Brooklyn-based street and subway artist Jilly Ballistic, will join him at Word at 126 Franklin Street in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. The discussion will begin at 7pm.

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And on Thursday, August 28, Chris Stain, one of our favorite stencil artists and muralists, will be joining Yoav at 7pm at the collectively-owned Bluestockings at 172 Allen Street on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.

"Chris Stain"

Photos by Yoav Litvin

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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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While not conducting his post-doctoral research on Brain and Behavior at The Rockefeller University, Jerusalem native Yoav Litvin can be found on our city streets pursuing his passion for street art. We recently met up for a chat.

Dain

What spurred your interest in public art?

As a result of an injury, there wasn’t much I could do other than walk around.  So that’s what I did. And once I began to notice street art, I couldn’t stop taking photos of it. I also appreciate the risks artists take when putting up pieces; it’s a rush I can relate to. And I admire the artists’ generosity in taking these risks to share their vision with the public.

Alice Mizrachi and Cope2

What is it about street art that continues to so engage you?

I love its beauty and humor. I appreciate its aesthetic and the way it challenges convention. It is a beautiful, non-violent way to raise issues in the public sphere.  And as a political person, I am drawn to the confrontational nature of much of it.

Never Satisfied

What do you see as the role of the photographer in today’s street art movement?

Because of the transient nature of public art, I see it as essential. The image is important, but so is its context and appropriate accreditation to the artist.  And documentation of NYC’s street art trends is especially essential as this city is the world’s cultural Mecca.

gilf!

Tell us a bit about your current project.

I’ve been working for over a year now on a book that profiles 46 of the most prolific urban artists working in NYC.  It will feature images and interviews, along with some exciting supplements.

Jilly Ballistic

Have you any favorite artists whose works you’ve seen here in NYC?

There are too many to list. I love them all for different reasons.

Enzo and Nio

How do you keep up with the current scene?

In addition to documenting what I see and speaking to artists, I follow popular street art blogs such as StreetArtNYC, Brooklyn Street Art and Vandalog.  I also check Instagram daily for new images that surface not only on NYC streets, but across the globe. And I try to attend gallery openings as often as possible.

NDA and Elle Deadsex

We certainly look forward to reading your book.  Tell us more about its current progress. How close it is to publication?

I’ve finally completed the stage of collecting texts and images, and am currently working together with a first-rate designer. I am now seeking a publisher.

Yoav can be contacted at yoavlitvin@gmail.com

Featured photos are in the following sequence:

1) Dain. Wythe Avenue, Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

2) Alice Mizrachi and Cope2. Boone Avenue, The Bronx.

3) Never Satisfied. Bedford Avenue, Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

4) gilf! Grattan Street, Bushwick, Brooklyn.

5) Jilly Ballistic. Astor Place 6 Train station, Manhattan.

6) Enzo and Nio. Wythe Avenue, Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

7) ND’A and Elle Deadsex. Jefferson Street, Bushwick, Brooklyn.

All photos by Yoav Litvin.

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