Keith Haring

If you haven’t yet had your portrait drawn with one line in under one minute by the wonderfully passionate, nomadic Brooklyn-based 0H10 M1ke, tomorrow is your chance. From 6 – 10pm, Mike promises to do that and lots more at 198 Allen Street. Last week, we met up and caught up a bit.

When we last spoke in 2014, you said that your goal was to create 100,000 one-line matchbox portraits? Mine was 11,206! How close are you to your goal?

My most recent was #13,021! I’ve done quite a few at 17 Frost, at 198 Allen, on the trains, on the streets — anywhere I can!

How do you approach folks? And how do they respond?

I simply say, “Give me a New York moment; I’ll draw your portrait in one line on a matchbox in one minute.” They generally respond with skepticism. But once they see the portrait I’ve created, they like it.

In addition to your ongoing matchbox project, what other projects have engaged you as of late?

I’ve been preparing for my upcoming solo show and performance If Basquiat and Keith Haring had a baby…reimagining the works of Basquiat and Haring in one-line drawings. I’ve, also, been working on creating sculptures inspired by Warhol; instead of using Brillo boxes, I use Nike boxes. And I’ve been staging wrestling as dance, which will be projected –along with large portraits — onto a huge screen outside 198 Allen.

What inspires you to keep creating?

I’m compulsive. I have to. And people, the street art community in particular, have been welcoming and supportive.

Are there any particular artists out there who continue to influenc your aesthetic?

Obviously Haring and Basquiat. But other main influences include UFO and Neckface.

Anything else new — in terms of your art-making?

I’ve been getting my original drawings into hand-made books. I recently constructed a 3o-pocket rotating magazine rack, and I’ve filled it with all hand-made original artbooks and magazines. I also create on a larger variety of surfaces.

What’s ahead?

Murals, prints and reproducibles.

Good luck with it all!

Note: You can keep up with 0H10 M1ke here — now that he’s posting on Instagram!

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

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basquiat

Among the diverse works on display in Fast Forward: Painting from the 1980s at the Whitney Museum are several by artists whose contributions to the graffiti and street art movement have been monumental. Pictured above is LNAPRK by Jean-Michel Basquiat. Here are several more:

Keith Haring, Untitled, Fiber-tipped pen on synthetic leather

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 Martin Wong, Closed, Acrylic on canvas; the artist’s extensive graffiti collection was the subject of City as Canvas at the Museum of the City of  New York in 2014

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Kenny Scharf, When the Worlds Collide, Oil and spray paint on canvas against wallpaper adapted from Keith Haring mural at the Pop Shop

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Kenny Scharf, close-up 

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Fast Forward: Painting from the 1980s continues through May 14 at the Whitney Museum, 99 Gansevoort Street in the Meat Packing District. Check here for hours. Admission is Pay-What-You-Wish on Friday’s, 7-10 pm.

Photos 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.

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keith-Haring-city-kids-mural-art copy

Coinciding with the Democratic National Convention, the non-profit Rock The Vote launched its Truth to Power campaign in Philadelphia earlier this week. Among its events was a three-day pop-up art exhibit featuring a varied range of socially and politically engaged works in different media. Among the artists who participated are many whose works have also surfaced in public spaces. Pictured above is Keith Haring with the City Kids Foundation. Here are several more:

Mear One, False Profits

Mear-One-political-art

Beau Stanton, Elemental Crisis 

beau-stanton-political-art

Shepard Fairey aka Obey

Obey-political-art

Lmnopi, Tehrir

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Mata Ruda, How Can I Write My Own Future with My Hands Bound?

mata-ruda-political-art

Photo credits: 1-3, 5 & 6 Lois Stavsky; 4 Sara Ching Mozeson

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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eric-orr-robot-head

Best known for his iconic Robothead and his subway collaborations with Keith Haring, South Bronx native Eric Orr can now be found most days in his new Hunts Point studio. I recently had the opportunity to meet up with him there.

What a great space! When did you begin working here?

It’s been four months now. It couldn’t be more perfect, as it’s just a short ride from my house and convenient to just about everything.

eric-at-work

How does working in a studio differ from working in your apartment?

It’s an entirely different experience. There’s a lot less traffic here. I can leave my paint on the floor and know that it will still be there when I return. I have the freedom to create without having to put things away. And my family is happy too! No more fumes and no more paint in their way!

How does having your own space impact your work as an artist?

Bigger thoughts and bigger pieces. I’m planning to design huge sculptures and paint on larger surfaces. Can you imagine what I’d be doing now if I had a space like this 40 years ago!

Dennesa-Andrea Usher-and-Eric-Orr-collab

You are currently participating in Leave a Message, a group exhibit — curated by Tes One at St. Petersburg’s Morean Arts Center. What’s next?

I’m showing in Unveiling Visions: The Alchemy of the Black Imagination, an art and design exhibit — curated by John Jennings and Reynaldo Anderson — at the Schomburg Center’s Latimer Edison Gallery. On exhibit are photos of the 1984 Eric Orr and Keith Haring subway drawings, along with an original 1986 cover of my Rappin Max Robot comic book. I will also be exhibiting five new Robothead masks recently created in the new studio space. Then later this year I will have a solo exhibit at WallWorks Gallery.

eric-orr-record-robot-head

What about the upcoming New York Comic Con? Can we expect to see you there?

Yes! I will have hand-embellished mini posters of the cover of my Rappin Max Robot #1 comic book available for purchase. I will also be speaking on the Hip-Hop & Comics: Cultures Combining panel discussion with Depth of Field‘s, Patrick Reed on October 8, 2015 at 11 AM.

I am looking forward to it all! 

Note: Unveiling Visions: The Alchemy of the Black Imagination opens tomorrow evening, Friday, September 25, at the Schomburg Center’s Latimer Edison Gallery, 515 Malcolm X Boulevard in Harlem.

unveiling-at-schomburg center

 Photo credits: 1 & 3, courtesy of the artist; 2 & 4 Lois Stavsky; interview by Lois Stavsky

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keith-haring-close-up-untitled-1984

Unlike so many of Keith Haring‘s playfully iconic works that exude a child-like innocence, the huge works on exhibit in Heaven and Hell largely suggest an eerie darkness and unfettered eroticism. Here’s a sampling:

Wide view of two untitled works, 1984

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Untitled, 1985

Keith-haring-Untitled-1985

Untitled, 1984

keith-haring-untitled-artwork, 1984

Untitled, 1984

Keith-Haring-art

Heaven and Hell remains on exhibit at Skarstedt at 550 West 21 Street through next Saturday.

Photos of images: 1, 4 and 5 City-as-School intern Zachariah Messaoud; 2 and 3 Dani Reyes Mozeson. Note: First photo is a close-up from the huge mural below it (R).

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shida-vexta-street-art- melbourne-dean-sunshine

With his keen eye and infinite passion, Melbourne-based photographer Dean Sunshine avidly documents the graffiti and street art he encounters in his hometown and beyond. His second, newly-released book, Street Art Now, is a first-rate chronicle of the art that has been surfacing  — not only on the streets of Melbourne — but in other cities across the globe that Dean has recently visited. I met up with him when he was in NYC this past fall. Soon after, his stunning second book Street Art Now made its way into print. 

STREET ART NOW-Cover-FINAL

Have you any early memories of Melbourne graffiti and street art? When did you begin to photograph it?

Graffiti and hip-hop sprouted in Melbourne in the 80’s with VHS copies of Style Wars being handed around, educating the kids here about these subcultures thriving in NYC. My first piece of graffiti art was a present for my 21st birthday in the mid eighties — a basketball backboard spray painted by Merda and Ransom – two of the stars of the Melbourne scene. Decades later this piece still hangs at my home and many of the writers who are now mates are surprised and envious of this original piece. I started taking photos in the early 2000’s.

Wane-COD-graffiti- melbourne-Dean-Sunshine

What motivated you to do so?

I loved snapping all this amazing art seen on the streets, but it was actually my partner at the time who told me I was a fool to have thousands of images on a hard drive that nobody else could enjoy. She said, “You should start a blog,” and the Land Of Sunshine was born.

Roa-street-art-melbourne-Dean-Sunshine

Adnate-street-art Melbourne-Dean-Sunshine

How do you find the time while working at a day job to photograph so many great pieces of street art, blog regularly and publish two books?

I find time during my daily grind in the rag trade driving around to appointments across the suburbs of Melbourne visiting textile factories. On these travels I often stumble over graffiti and street art, and I pull over and take a quick shot. On the weekends I often hunt out abandoned factories, get down into the drains, and search new lane-ways — always on the lookout for new work.

shida-seth- globe-painter-street-art-melbourne-dean-sunshine

Do any particular moments stand out in your street-art hunting expeditions?

There are so many highlights throughout my time documenting. I have met, hung out and I’ve been privileged to watch so many incredible artists in action including: ROA, Kid Zoom, Herakut, Hush, D*Face, Stormie Mills, Rone, Makatron, Adnate, SlicerLi-HillShida, Smug, WANE, Sofles, Kaff-eine, DEB, Heesco, Meggs, Reka, Phibs, Bailer, DVATE, Does, Twoone, Mysterious Al, Dscreet, Vexta, 2501, Faith47, DALeast, Pixel Pancho, Phlegm, Insa, Sirum, The Yok, Sheryo, Gaia, Alexis Diaz, Maya Hayuk, Crash, Daze and ELK. But the times I have spent with Futura, Henry Chalfant and Martha Cooper stand out the most, as these three are the pioneers of this scene in which we find ourselves submerged. I got to take each of them around the streets and lanes of Melbourne, proudly showing them my favorite spots in my own hometown. Such absolute legends, all with a passion that has lasted decades. I wish I will be as passionate 25 years on!

Pixel-Pancho-street-art-perth-australia-Dean-Sunshine

What brought you to NYC?

I came to New York this past September to keep my wife company who was shooting fashion week. (Yes, she is also a photographer!) As she went uptown each morning to the shows, I got on my pushbike and rode all over, snapping as I went.

kaffeine-li-hill -street-art-NYC-dean-sunshine

What other cities have you visited?

Over the last years, I’ve been lucky to have travelled to Los Angeles, Hawaii, Berlin, Paris, Italy, Mexico, Buenos Aires, Rio De Janeiro, and even Perth. It’s funny how these days it’s a priority when I’m on holidays to track down and snap all the local art I find. My recent book, Street Art Now, documents some of these findings.

yok-sheryo-street-art-zicatela-mexico-Dean-Sunshine

What’s ahead?

Well, I am soon to become a father so my priorities will change — although I will probably be doing the same, just with the little guy on my back.

KEITH HARING- mural-1984 -Dean Sunshine- Melbourne

Congratulations! I am quite certain you will.

Note: You can check out some local coverage that Dean’s recent book, Street Art Now, received here, along with a guided tour of the Melbourne scene by Dean here.

Photos of above artworks in Street Art Now:

1. Vexta and Shida in Melbourne

3. WANE in Melbourne

4. ROA in Melbourne

5. Adnate in Melbourne

6. Seth GlobePainterShida and TwoOne in Melbourne

7. Pixel Pancho in Perth

8. Li-Hill and Kaff-eine in New York City

9. The Yok and Sheryo in Zicatela, Mexico

10. Keith Haring in Melbourne, 1984

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"Keith Haring"

Dorian Grey‘s current exhibit, East Village Alchemy, takes us on a magical foray through the East Village’s 1980’s street art scene presenting a range of artworks by four of its key practitioners. Here’s a sampling:

Keith Haring subway drawing, early 80’s

"Keith Haring"

Paolo Buggiani, Performance Art, Unsuccessful Attack to the World Trade Center, 1983

"Paola Buggiani"

 Ken Hiratsuka, whose intricately-carved artworks have been part of our city’s visual landscape since the early 80’s

Ken-Hiratsuka-dorian-grey

Scot Borofsky, whose symbol-based graphics graced the walls of the East Village in the 80’s

scot-borofsky-primitive-art-dorian-grey

"Scot Borofsky"

The Dorian Grey Gallery is located at 437 East 9th Street at Avenue A in Manhattan’s East Village..

Photos of artworks 2-6 on exhibit by Dani Reyes Mozeson

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"Eric Orr"

Legendary for his collaborative artwork with Keith Haring on the NYC subways, Bronx-based artist and designer Eric Orr also produced the first-ever hip-hop comic book.  I recently had the opportunity to find out more about this multi-faceted artist who will be participating tomorrow – Friday – evening at the New York Comic Con panel discussion Hip-Hop and Comics: Cultures Combining, presented by Depth of Field.

You were one of the first graff artists to develop a distinct icon. Your “robot head” has since appeared on a wide range of surfaces – from T-shirts to record labels to international fine art exhibits. It has even made its way into Sotheby’s and Christie’s auction houses and catalogues. Can you tell us something about it?

It was inspired by the space age and the robotics era. I grew up in the age of Star Wars, Space Odyssey and the Robot Dance. And as tagging on walls and traditional graff didn’t do that much for me, my robot actually made it to the streets of the South Bronx where I grew up.

Orr-meets-Keith-Haring-NYC-subway-graffiti-character

You may well be best-known for your collabs with Keith Haring that surfaced on the 6 Pelham Bay and the 4 and 5 NYC subways lines 30 years ago. You are, in fact, the only artist who ever collaborated with Keith in the subway system. How did you two first meet up?

Keith, it seems, had been eyeing my work for a while.  But we actually met, by chance, one day at a Swatch watch completion. I was wearing my hand-painted robot head shirt when Keith Haring approached me and invited me to collaborate with him on a series of artworks on the black panel spaces of the NYC subway system.

And these became a legendary part of NYC’s subway history! You also played a huge role in the hip-hop scene back in the day, producing work for Afrika Bambaataa and such hip-hop artists as Jazzy Jay, along with the brand logo for the Strong City Record label.  Can you tell us something about that? What exactly was the relationship between graffiti and hip-hop?  And was there one?

Yes! The same energy from the streets of the South Bronx that created the graffiti there in the late 70’s created hip-hop. Writers would go straight from getting up in the streets to hanging out at park jams and clubs. And it was largely the graffiti artists who designed the flyers for the hip-hop events.

"Eric Orr"

What about the relationship between hip-hop and comics? You produced the first-ever hip-hop comic and will be speaking about the two cultures at the  tomorrow – Friday.

From the beginning graffiti artists, MC’s and break-dancers adapted elements from the comic book culture. Just about everything — from our names to our fantastical identities to the flyers we designed — had comic elements in it. But only someone from the inside could have produced an authentic hip-hop comic.  My original “Maxwell Robot” strip ran in Rap Masters magazine.

Do you have a formal art education?

I studied art at the School of Visual Arts and the Art Students League.

Was it worthwhile?

Yes, it inspired me to take my work to a commercial level.

"Eric Orr"

How do you feel about the interplay between graffiti/street art and the commercial world?

I have mixed feelings. It’s great for me and others to get paid to do the things we love. But it’s also easy for artists to be exploited — if their art is used to market a product and they are not getting paid for their artwork or sharing in the company’s profits.

You’ve done workshops with kids in New Zealand – to which you originally traveled to create a design for Serato — and recently here up in the Bronx. Can you tell us something about that?

Having grown up in the South Bronx, I understand just how important it is for kids to have positive experiences that nurture their creativity in productive ways. My most recent venture was with Sienide, working with youth to design a mural on 172nd Street and Southern Boulevard for the Children’s Aid Society’s.

erik-Orr-robot-for-childrens-aid-society

What’s ahead?

Cornell University recently approached me about purchasing the original source material for Rappin’ Max Robot for its hip-hop collection of rare books and manuscripts. I am currently working on an a piece for an upcoming train show at Grand Central, scheduled to open on November 22. And tomorrow evening, I will be participating in the New York Comic Con panel discussion Hip-Hop and Comics: Cultures Combining.

Congratulations! It all sounds great! 

Interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky; all images courtesy of Eric Orr; final photo by Lois Stavsky

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"Keith Haring"

An exhibition of huge works painted by Keith Haring in the 80’s remains on view through Saturday, June 14 at Gladstone Gallery. While all are characteristic of Haring’s boldly, playful aesthetic, some exude a dark social and political sensibility — referencing such themes as the AIDS crisis (pictured above), greed and economic inequality. Here’s a sampling:

Keith-Haring

"Keith Haring"

"Keith Haring"

"keith haring"

The gallery is located at 515 West 24th Street in Chesea, Manhattan.

Photos of images by Dani Reyes Mozeson

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Speaking with LA2

February 3, 2014

"Keith Haring and LA2"

Based on the Lower East Side, LA2 creates bold, brightly-colored energetic works on a range of surfaces. Befriended by the legendary Keith Haring as a young teen, LA2 is best-known for his distinct tag that has earned him accolades both on the streets and in galleries and museums world-wide.  I recently had the opportunity to interview him:

When and where did you first start tagging up?

I was 10 when I first started tagging. The street was my canvas.  I lived on the Lower East Side, and so those were the streets that I hit.

Who or what inspired you at the time?

I noticed kids at the Boys Club and in school tagging up. And I was inspired by Lee Quinones’s work that I saw on subway cars and on walls in my neighborhood.

LA2

Did you tag alone or did you work with crews back in the day?

It didn’t matter.  I just wanted to tag up.  I worked mostly alone, but I did get up with TNS (The Non Stoppers) and El 3 (RIP), who later died when he was electrocuted by the 3rd rail.

You went on to collaborate with Keith Haring.  How did you first meet Keith?

Keith was looking for me.  He had seen my tag and wanted to find me.  When Keith was working on a mural at Junior High School 22, Richie SOE came to my house and told me that Keith wants to meet me, and so I went over there.

How did Keith Haring’s work change after meeting you?

Before he met me, he was doing mostly simple characters. After we began working together, his work became more energetic. And soon after Rock Hudson announced that he had AIDS, Keith came out of the closet, and his artwork took on a more sexual tone.

LA2 art

What was it like collaborating with Keith?

It was great.  I’ve always been fond of Keith as a person and as an artist.  We travelled to Europe together, and Keith made sure that I was paid what was due me.  I feel grateful to Keith, but not to the Keith Haring Foundation. But that’s another story.

Your artwork has been exhibited in galleries worldwide. How do you feel about the movement of graffiti and street art into galleries?

I think it’s great.  It’s a win-win for both galleries and artists. We artists have to make money to keep doing what we’re doing.

Any thoughts about the graffiti-street art divide?

There’s less and less of a divide.  After Keith Haring collaborated with me, the museums had no choice but to accept graffiti.  This past year, I became the first writer to paint in the Children’s Museum of the East End in the Hamptons.

LA2

Who are some of your favorite artists?

They’re all dead.  Keith Haring, Andy Warhol, and Basquiat were my favorites.

Do you prefer working alone or collaborating with others?

I generally work alone.  But in addition to Keith Haring, I’ve collaborated with quite a few artists including Richard Hambleton, Kenny Scharf and my girlfriend’s daughter, Jasmin.  And when Stik was in from London this past fall, I collaborated with him.

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

I think it’s great.  Since my girlfriend, Ramona, created the website, we’ve received invitations from galleries overseas in such countries as Italy and Germany.

LA2

Do you have a formal art education?

No, I’m self-taught. I dropped out of Seward Park High School to travel with Keith Haring and help him establish his career. 

What is the riskiest thing you ever did?

Just getting my tag up is risky.  I’ve spent time in jail for that.  Whenever I take my dog, Nico, for a walk, I tag when he pees. And I’ve gotten locked up for that, along with Nico. He’s gotten locked up, too! 

What inspires your art?

It’s inspired by my emotions…the things I go through… my thoughts and feelings.  Creating art is how I express myself.

LA2

Do you work with a sketch in hand?

Never, it’s all straight out of my head.

Are you generally satisfied with your finished piece?

I’m always happy.  I love them all.

How has your work evolved through the years?

It has gotten more detailed.  There’s more line work and people tell me that it’s tighter.

What do you see as your role  — as an artist — in society?

My particular role is to educate kids on how to express their creativity in a healthy way.  They need to use the right materials and to cover their faces.  I developed health problems (COPD) by not protecting myself when painting.  I love lecturing kids and working with them. I will be doing a workshop with children this spring at the Angel Orensanz Center in conjunction with the Fridge Art Fair.

LA2

What do you see as the future of graffiti?

It’s going to become more and more valued as an art form.

The Europeans have always seemed to value it more than we have. Why do you suppose they are so much more receptive to graffiti than we here in the States are?

It’s because they appreciate art more, in general.  It’s always been that way. And on a personal level, Paul Kostabi sold my art in Italy 20 years ago, gaining the attention and appreciation of Europeans.

What’s ahead for you?

Traveling, exhibiting both here and overseas, educating the youth and continuing to become healthier.

Editor’s note: A selection of LA2’s work in on exhibit at City as Canvas: Graffiti Art from the Martin Wong Collection at the Museum of the City of New York. Curated by Sean Corcoran, it opens tomorrow, February 4, and continues through August 24.

Interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky;  first two photos — of LA2 collaborating with Keith Haring and of LA2 tagging — originally published in Keith Haring, Rizzoli — courtesy of LA2; all other photos by Dani Reyes Mozeson

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