JMZ Walls

BXFoxx JMZ Walls Bushwick street art nyc Speaking with <em>JMZ Walls</em> Founder and Curator Alberto Mejia

“Helping to make the JMZ lines more colorful one wall, one gate, one space at a time,” JMZ Walls continues to bring a diverse range of first-rate street art and graffiti — by both local and global artists — to South Bushwick. I recently had the opportunity to speak to its founder, Alberto Mejia.

When was JMZ Walls first launched?

In the fall of 2014.

What spurred you to initiate it?

I’d been living in Bushwick – off the JMZ lines – for 20 years. In the past several years, I saw positive changes in in other parts of Bushwick that I didn’t see happening here.

Thia govaldi and 17 matrix jmz walls bushwick nyc Speaking with <em>JMZ Walls</em> Founder and Curator Alberto Mejia

And many of these changes are directly related to the art that had begun surfacing on the streets.

Yes! My vision was to bring street artists, graffiti writers and muralists to my end of Bushwick. And I didn’t think that these genres should be kept separate from one another.  Why shouldn’t graffiti writers share space with street artists and muralists?

I agree! And the visual impact of JMZ Walls has been great. How did you go about getting walls for artists?

I know many of the building owners. At first I started asking for gates, and soon the owners were offering walls to me.

for jmz walls bushwick street art nyc Speaking with <em>JMZ Walls</em> Founder and Curator Alberto Mejia

Who were some of the first artists to paint for JMZ Walls?

The first piece was by a German graffiti writer, Byond.  He was followed by Queen Andrea, Claw Money and Dasic Fernandez.  I was inspired by Queen Andrea, in fact, to dedicate an entire block — Lawton Street — to female artists!

How do you decide which artists to include?

I’m interested in giving opportunities to local graffiti artists who haven’t had all that many occasions to paint in legal spots. And I love hosting talented artists from abroad who are seeking a space to paint.  I also like giving opportunities to artists who don’t generally paint in public spaces.

kes jmz walls graffiti bushwick Speaking with <em>JMZ Walls</em> Founder and Curator Alberto Mejia

Yes! I was introduced to several artists – including BK Foxx – through JMZ Walls. How has the local community responded to JMZ Walls?

Families have been very appreciative, and the kids love the art. I often hear them saying, “That’s cool!” when they pass by.

Yup! You have certainly enlivened this end of Bushwick! It’s worth a ride on the J, M or Z line out here just to see these walls you’ve curated! I’ve done it often! What – would you say – has been your greatest challenge?

My greatest challenge has been financing it. Supplies and paints are expensive, and artists’ budgets are often limited. You can find out here how you can help support us through our recently launched GoFundMe Campaign.

spraycam street art jmz walls Speaking with <em>JMZ Walls</em> Founder and Curator Alberto Mejia

Thank you for all that you’ve done for the community and for all of us street art and graffiti aficionados. We look forward to what’s ahead for JMZ Walls.  And good luck with your GoFundMe Campaign.

Images

1. BK Foxx

2. Brazilian artists Thiago Valdi & l7m

3. Rio de Janeiro-based  Marcelo Ment

4. Kesta 

5. Montreal-based Philippe Mastrocola aka Spraycam

Photo credits: 1 & 2 Tara Murray; 3-5 Lois Stavsky; interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky

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.

en play badge 2 Speaking with <em>JMZ Walls</em> Founder and Curator Alberto Mejia

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Pink Power street art mural Bushwick NYC Russian Street Artist Yulia Vanifatieva aka Hula on Her Pink Power Art Project, Her Distinct Aesthetic, New York City and more

Moscow-based artist Yulia Vanifatieva aka Hula recently made her way to NYC and left her mark in Bushwick, Brooklyn. After she’d finished painting several outdoor murals in collaboration with JMZ Walls, I had the opportunity to meet up with her and find about a bit about the young Russian artist and her Pink Power art project.

When did you first get up in a public space?

A lot of my childhood friends were painting on the streets, and it was something that I had always wanted to do.  But I didn’t attempt to until four years ago when I was already a university graduate.

And what was it about street art that appealed to you?  That made you want to try it?

I liked the idea of expressing my individuality in a public space.

Pink Power steet art JMZ Walls BushwickJPG Russian Street Artist Yulia Vanifatieva aka Hula on Her Pink Power Art Project, Her Distinct Aesthetic, New York City and more

How did the other street artists respond to you — as a woman in the scene?

At first no one took me seriously. But that has been changing.

Have you collaborated with other street artists?

I’ve never deliberately collaborated, but it’s happened accidentally — when friends start painting on a wall after they’ve seen me begin. Then it — unintentionally — evolves into a team effort!

Do you work from a sketch when you paint?

I have a basic sketch, but I don’t really refer much to it or think about the process. I just do it!

Pink Power street art Bushwick NYC1 Russian Street Artist Yulia Vanifatieva aka Hula on Her Pink Power Art Project, Her Distinct Aesthetic, New York City and more

Do you have a formal art education?

Yes. I graduated from the Ivanova State Textile Academy in 2008 with a degree in Fashion Design. And then between 2010 and 2012, I studied Visual Communications at the British Higher School of Art and Design. But I’d been drawing all my life, and I always knew I wanted to be an artist!

What has been your main source of income — as an artist?

Designing window displays for high-end department stores.

Can you tell us something about your particular aesthetic? How has it developed?

I am interested in experimenting with different surfaces, styles and materials. While studying Fashion Design, I began to use magazines as my canvas. I created fashion illustration sketches with cosmetics instead of with paint and with money instead of with paper. I am increasingly interested in concepts.

pink power installation Russian Street Artist Yulia Vanifatieva aka Hula on Her Pink Power Art Project, Her Distinct Aesthetic, New York City and more

Are you generally satisfied with your finished piece?

At first, I’m not! It takes me awhile to like it.

How has your work or process evolved within this past few years?

Initially, it was difficult for me to execute what I had envisioned. But that has gotten much easier.

Have you any favorite street artists? Artists who have inspired you? 

Among my favorites are Anthony Lister and Herakut.

Pink Power mural art Russian Street Artist Yulia Vanifatieva aka Hula on Her Pink Power Art Project, Her Distinct Aesthetic, New York City and more

Yes! I  can see their influence. They are among my favorite ones, as well! Has your family been supportive of your career choice?

Always! My parents have always encouraged me to follow my passions. They understand how challenging and exciting an artist’s life is.

We street art aficionados have come to identify you with your Pink Power project.  Just what is the concept behind it?

It is a celebration of female power. The concept behind it is that a woman can be strong, clever and beautiful. A woman’s seemingly delicate veneer should not be confused with or mistaken for weakness.

You recently participated in Moscow’s Artmossphere Street Art Biennale. Can you tell us something about that?

Moscow’s Artmossphere Street Art Biennale is a huge showcase of international street art. This year’s marks its second anniversary. I was among 42 international artists — including Miss VanLi-Hill, M-City and the London Police – and 26 Russian artists whose work was presented.

Pink Power Russian Street Artist Yulia Vanifatieva aka Hula on Her Pink Power Art Project, Her Distinct Aesthetic, New York City and more

That’s quite impressive! You’ve painted several walls here in NYC — most recently in collaboration with JMZ Walls. What is your impression of our city?

I love it here. I love this city’s energy and its free atmosphere. NYC is such an open-minded place.

What’s ahead?

I’d like to do less commercial work so that I can focus further on developing and refining my own aesthetic and artistic vision.

That sounds great! Good luck with it all!

Photo credits: 1-3 Lois Stavsky; 4-6 courtesy of the artist; interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky with assistance from Anastasia Foresman whose translation skills came to the rescue!

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.

en play badge 2 Russian Street Artist Yulia Vanifatieva aka Hula on Her Pink Power Art Project, Her Distinct Aesthetic, New York City and more

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This is the eleventh in a series of occasional posts featuring images of children that have surfaced on NYC public spaces

Vince Ballentine for Educated Little Monsters in Bushwick

Vince Ballentine street art nyc Kids on NYC Walls — Part XI: with Vince Ballentine, Faile, BK Foxx, Theresa Kim and Sipros

Faile in Greenpoint

faile street art greenpoint nycjpg Kids on NYC Walls — Part XI: with Vince Ballentine, Faile, BK Foxx, Theresa Kim and Sipros

BK Foxx with JMZ Walls in Bushwick

bkfoxx street art Bushwick NYC Kids on NYC Walls — Part XI: with Vince Ballentine, Faile, BK Foxx, Theresa Kim and Sipros

Theresa Kim with Spread Art NYC in Bushwick

Theresa Kim dodworth mural project Kids on NYC Walls — Part XI: with Vince Ballentine, Faile, BK Foxx, Theresa Kim and Sipros

Sipros for the NYC Arts Cypher in Staten Island

sipros street art staten island nyc1 Kids on NYC Walls — Part XI: with Vince Ballentine, Faile, BK Foxx, Theresa Kim and Sipros

Photo credits: 1, 2, 4 & 5 Lois Stavsky; 3 Tara Murray

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.

en play badge 2 Kids on NYC Walls — Part XI: with Vince Ballentine, Faile, BK Foxx, Theresa Kim and Sipros

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This is the tenth in a series of occasional posts featuring images of children that have surfaced on NYC public spaces.

BK Foxx with JMZ Walls in Bushwick, Brooklyn

BK Foxx street art Brooklyn nyc Kids on NYC Walls    Part X: BK Foxx, Joe Iurato with Logan Hicks, Ernest Zacharevic, Swoon, Cekis and Rubin 415 with Joe Iurato

Joe Iurato and Logan Hicks at the Bushwick Collective

Joe iurato and logan hicks street art bushwick collective nyc Kids on NYC Walls    Part X: BK Foxx, Joe Iurato with Logan Hicks, Ernest Zacharevic, Swoon, Cekis and Rubin 415 with Joe Iurato

Ernest Zacharevic – based on photo by Martha Cooper – in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn

EZ street art bed stuy nyc Kids on NYC Walls    Part X: BK Foxx, Joe Iurato with Logan Hicks, Ernest Zacharevic, Swoon, Cekis and Rubin 415 with Joe Iurato

Swoon in Red Hook, Brooklyn

swoon street art red hook nyc Kids on NYC Walls    Part X: BK Foxx, Joe Iurato with Logan Hicks, Ernest Zacharevic, Swoon, Cekis and Rubin 415 with Joe Iurato

Long-running Cekis in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn

cekis street art clinton hill nyc Kids on NYC Walls    Part X: BK Foxx, Joe Iurato with Logan Hicks, Ernest Zacharevic, Swoon, Cekis and Rubin 415 with Joe Iurato

Rubin 415 and Joe Iurato with the Welling Court Mural Project in Astoria, Queens

rubin415 and joe iurato street art Astoria NYC 2016  Kids on NYC Walls    Part X: BK Foxx, Joe Iurato with Logan Hicks, Ernest Zacharevic, Swoon, Cekis and Rubin 415 with Joe Iurato

Photos 1 Courtesy of John Woodward; 2-4 Tara Murray; 5 Dani Reyes Mozeson and 6 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.

en play badge 2 Kids on NYC Walls    Part X: BK Foxx, Joe Iurato with Logan Hicks, Ernest Zacharevic, Swoon, Cekis and Rubin 415 with Joe Iurato

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swoon street art red hook NYC Guys on NYC Walls, Part VIII:  Swoon, JR, Sipros, Os Gemeos, Werc with Gera Luz, Rob Plater and Crash with Solus

This is the eighth in an occasional series featuring images of males who surface on NYC public spaces:

JR in Soho

jr street art soho NYC  Guys on NYC Walls, Part VIII:  Swoon, JR, Sipros, Os Gemeos, Werc with Gera Luz, Rob Plater and Crash with Solus

Sipros in Midtown Manhattan with the Bushwick Collective

Sipros street art manhattan nyc Guys on NYC Walls, Part VIII:  Swoon, JR, Sipros, Os Gemeos, Werc with Gera Luz, Rob Plater and Crash with Solus

Os Gemeos on the Lower East Side

os gemeos streeet art NYC Guys on NYC Walls, Part VIII:  Swoon, JR, Sipros, Os Gemeos, Werc with Gera Luz, Rob Plater and Crash with Solus

Werc and Gera Luz in LIC with the Welling Court Mural Project

werc and gera luz street art nyc Guys on NYC Walls, Part VIII:  Swoon, JR, Sipros, Os Gemeos, Werc with Gera Luz, Rob Plater and Crash with Solus

Rob Plater in Bushwick with JMZ Walls

tmo plater street art bushwick NYC Guys on NYC Walls, Part VIII:  Swoon, JR, Sipros, Os Gemeos, Werc with Gera Luz, Rob Plater and Crash with Solus

Crash and Solus with the Lisa Project in Noho

solus crash street art nyc Guys on NYC Walls, Part VIII:  Swoon, JR, Sipros, Os Gemeos, Werc with Gera Luz, Rob Plater and Crash with Solus

The first image features Swoon in Red Hook

Photo credits: 1, 5-7 Tara Murray; 2-4 Lois Stavsky

Note: This blog will be on vacation through next Wednesday, January 13. You can follow us on Facebook and on Instagram.

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This is the eighth in a series of occasional posts featuring images of children that have surfaced on NYC public spaces:

Nick Walker in the South Bronx

Nick walker street art bronx Kids on Walls — Part VIII: Nick Walker, Izolag, Chain, Lorenzo Masnah, Miss 163, Adnate, Icy & Sot and Shiro

Izolag in Hunts Point

izolag street art south bronx nyc Kids on Walls — Part VIII: Nick Walker, Izolag, Chain, Lorenzo Masnah, Miss 163, Adnate, Icy & Sot and Shiro

Chain for JMZ Walls in Bushwick

s chain street art nyc Kids on Walls — Part VIII: Nick Walker, Izolag, Chain, Lorenzo Masnah, Miss 163, Adnate, Icy & Sot and Shiro

Lorenzo Masnah on the Lower East Side

lorenzo Kids on Walls — Part VIII: Nick Walker, Izolag, Chain, Lorenzo Masnah, Miss 163, Adnate, Icy & Sot and Shiro

Miss 163 in Hunts Point

miss 163 street art hunts point nyc Kids on Walls — Part VIII: Nick Walker, Izolag, Chain, Lorenzo Masnah, Miss 163, Adnate, Icy & Sot and Shiro

Australian artist Adnate at the Bushwick Collective, close-up

adnate street art bushwick collective nyc Kids on Walls — Part VIII: Nick Walker, Izolag, Chain, Lorenzo Masnah, Miss 163, Adnate, Icy & Sot and Shiro

Icy and Sot on the Lower East Side, close-up

icy sot street art nyc Kids on Walls — Part VIII: Nick Walker, Izolag, Chain, Lorenzo Masnah, Miss 163, Adnate, Icy & Sot and Shiro

Shiro in Bushwick

shiro street art nyc Kids on Walls — Part VIII: Nick Walker, Izolag, Chain, Lorenzo Masnah, Miss 163, Adnate, Icy & Sot and Shiro

Note: Entre La Guardia y El Dorado, featuring works by Lorenzo Masnah (featured above) and Alex Seel, will open this evening at 6pm at XY Atelier Gallery, 81 Hester Street on the corner of Orchard. It will remain on view until August 30.

Photo credits: 1 Tara Murray; 2, 3, 5, 6 & 8 Lois Stavsky; 4 courtesy of the artist 7 Dani Reyes Mozeson

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For over three decades Bronx native Just One has been making his mark on NYC public and private spaces. We recently had the opportunity to speak to the prolific artist.

Just One graffiti Bushwick NYC Speaking with Bronx Based Just One

When did you first get up? And where?

It was back in 1984 — over 30 years ago — in the West Farms section of the Bronx. I was 14 at the time.

What inspired you to do so?

My older brother and his friends were all doing it. It was the natural thing to do.

Any early memories that stand out?

I was at a handball court in Crotona Park when the spray can I was holding in my hand almost burst into flames.

How did that happen?

It came into contact with a cigarette lighter, and could have easily blown up.

We’re glad it didn’t! We’ve noticed your work in quite a few projects these days – from JMZ Walls in Bushwick, Brooklyn to Operation Skittles at August Martin High School in Jamaica, Queens. Do you prefer legal or illegal surfaces?

I love painting anywhere – but to experience the full essence of graffiti, there is nothing like painting on a surface I discover on my own. Finding a space, being there alone and creating something out of nothing is the ultimate experience.

just one JMZ Walls graffiti NYC Speaking with Bronx Based Just One

Have you ever been arrested for graffiti?

No!

How’s that?

I have good instincts.

What was the riskiest graffiti-related thing you’ve ever done? And why did you do it?

Hitting an elevated abandoned train line, where I had to hop over each wall to do another letter. Why did I do it? I’d been eyeballing that spot for quite awhile and nobody else took it, so I’d figure I’d take my chance. And, yes, it was worth it!

How does your family feel about what you are doing?

My children love it!

What percentage of your day is devoted to your art these days?

About 70%.

Just graffiti three pieces1 Speaking with Bronx Based Just One

What keeps you painting after all these years?

Passion and the adrenalin rush!  It also relieves my stress.

Any thoughts on the graffiti/ street art divide?

I, myself, prefer the movement and flow of graffiti. But art is art. And street art can be beautiful.

How do you feel about the movement of graffiti and street art into galleries? Have you shown your work in galleries?

I don’t have a problem with that. It’s a good thing! I’ve shown at the Jeffrey Leder Gallery in Long Island City and in bars and other alternative spaces around town.

Do you prefer working alone or collaborating with others?

Both.

Is there anyone in particular you would like to collaborate with?

I’d like to paint with Mitch 77, Jamie Hef and Lee Quinones.

just one graffiti street art mural NYC Speaking with Bronx Based Just One

Do you rep any crews?

TMC, TFO, KD, COA and I’m the prez of WF, World Famous Crew.

How you feel about the role of the Internet in this scene?

It can be too much. When it gets too much into your business, it’s bad.

Do you have a formal arts education?

I’m self-taught, but my teachers always encouraged me to draw.

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

I freestyle.

Are you generally satisfied with your work?

Most of the time!

Just one graffiti august martin high school nyc Speaking with Bronx Based Just One

How has your work evolved in the past few years?

It’s sharper and neater. And I work much faster.

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

To inspire others to express themselves.

How do you feel about the photographers in this scene?

The more exposure our works get, the better for us.

What do you see as the future of graffiti? Where is it going?

It will continue to evolve.

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

I plan to keep painting.  And I want to get back into the canvas scene and hopefully — sometime soon — do a solo show.

Interview by Lois Stavsky with City-As-School intern Diana Davidovaphotos: 1, 3-5 courtesy of Just; 2 & 6 (with Awez) Lois Stavsky

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diana contreras Delvs street art 12C Outdoor Gallery NYC From Miami to NYC: Diana Contreras and Delvs at 12C Outdoor Gallery in the East Village and with Jenny Perez at JMZ Walls in Bushwick

While in NYC for the Fridge Art Fair, Miami-based artists Diana Contreras, Delvs and Jenny Perez graced our walls with their vibrant, infectious aesthetic.

Diana Contreras aka Didi and Delvs at work in the East Village at the 12C Outdoor Gallery, 12th Street and Avenue C 

diana Contreras Delvs 12C Outdoor Gallery From Miami to NYC: Diana Contreras and Delvs at 12C Outdoor Gallery in the East Village and with Jenny Perez at JMZ Walls in Bushwick

Diana Contreras aka Didi at work at 12C Outdoor Gallery

diana contreras paints outdoor gallery 12C From Miami to NYC: Diana Contreras and Delvs at 12C Outdoor Gallery in the East Village and with Jenny Perez at JMZ Walls in Bushwick

Delvs at work at 12C Outdoor Gallery

Delvs paints street 12C art outdoor gallery NYC From Miami to NYC: Diana Contreras and Delvs at 12C Outdoor Gallery in the East Village and with Jenny Perez at JMZ Walls in Bushwick

Delvs, Diana Contreras and Jenny Perez at work at JMZ Walls in Bushwick

Delvs Diana Contreras Jenny Perez From Miami to NYC: Diana Contreras and Delvs at 12C Outdoor Gallery in the East Village and with Jenny Perez at JMZ Walls in Bushwick

Jenny Perez at work at JMZ Walls in Bushwick

Jenny Perez JMZ walls street art From Miami to NYC: Diana Contreras and Delvs at 12C Outdoor Gallery in the East Village and with Jenny Perez at JMZ Walls in Bushwick

Final piece for JMZ Walls

Diana Contreras Delvs Jenny Perez JMZ Walls NYC1 From Miami to NYC: Diana Contreras and Delvs at 12C Outdoor Gallery in the East Village and with Jenny Perez at JMZ Walls in Bushwick

Photos: 1 & 6 Lois Stavsky; 2-5 Tara Murray 

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In its mission to “make the JMZ lines more colorful – one wall, one gate, one space at a time,” JMZ Walls has brought not only color, but intrigue and charm, to Broadway and Myrtle and its immediate vicinity. Here is a  sampling:

Jay Shells

Jay shells street art bushwck JMZ Walls Brings Color and Intrigue to the JMZ Line with Jay Shells, Fumero, Danielle Mastrion, Claw Money, BK Foxx, Zukie and more

@ducklings

ducklings street art bushwick nyc JMZ Walls Brings Color and Intrigue to the JMZ Line with Jay Shells, Fumero, Danielle Mastrion, Claw Money, BK Foxx, Zukie and more

Fumero

fumero street art bushwick NYC JMZ Walls Brings Color and Intrigue to the JMZ Line with Jay Shells, Fumero, Danielle Mastrion, Claw Money, BK Foxx, Zukie and more

Danielle Mastrion‘s homage to Michael Brown, the unarmed black teen shot dead in Ferguson, Missouri

danielle mastrion steet art Bushwick JMZ Walls Brings Color and Intrigue to the JMZ Line with Jay Shells, Fumero, Danielle Mastrion, Claw Money, BK Foxx, Zukie and more

Claw Money

claw money jmz walls street art nyc JMZ Walls Brings Color and Intrigue to the JMZ Line with Jay Shells, Fumero, Danielle Mastrion, Claw Money, BK Foxx, Zukie and more

BK Foxx

bk foxx street art jmz walls JMZ Walls Brings Color and Intrigue to the JMZ Line with Jay Shells, Fumero, Danielle Mastrion, Claw Money, BK Foxx, Zukie and more

Zukie

zukie street art bushwick nyc JMZ Walls Brings Color and Intrigue to the JMZ Line with Jay Shells, Fumero, Danielle Mastrion, Claw Money, BK Foxx, Zukie and more

Photo of Claw Money by Dani Reyes Mozeson; all others by Lois Stavsky

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