Laura James

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Opening tomorrow — June 3, from 2-6pm — is The Art of TATS CRU, an exhibit and block party celebrating 37 years of the legendary Bronx-based crew. While previewing the exhibit yesterday, I had the opportunity to pose a few questions to its curators, Eileen Walsh and Laura James.

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This is such a handsome exhibit and such a wonderful tribute to TATS CRU. What spurred you to focus this exhibition on TATS CRU?

After curating BRONX NOW that showcased over two dozen artists in 2016, we decided that we wanted to focus on a smaller group of artists this year. And TATS CRU — Nicer, Bio and  BG183 — seemed the perfect choice. They represent the best of the Bronx and they “kick ass!”

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How would you define the mission of the exhibit?

Its intent is to tell the story of these three artists — through their own artworks and through photos and videos produced by Miguel Teck Arteaga. It is the story of three Bronx-based artists who transformed a youthful passion into a successful career on their own terms. And although they have traveled throughout the world with their art, they’ve chosen to remain here — in the Bronx.

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How did you decide which artworks to present?

The artists — for the most part — made the selections. They wanted to represent themselves with a range of distinct styles and techniques.

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In addition to meeting the artists and viewing their artwork, what can visitors expect to experience at tomorrow’s opening?

The Block Party will feature homegrown, Bronx entertainment. DJ Pusha will keep the party going, along with dance performances by BBoy and Emcee Chief69 and Hip-Hop legend Rokafella‘s Full Circle Souljahs dance troupe. There will be live music performances by up and coming Bronx MINDY artists Static Vision and by alternative music group The Nobodies. There will also be a presentation by spoken word artist and rapper Safiel VonayThe Bronx Children’s Museum will host creative activities for children and families and will have its Museum on the Go Bus parked on the street outside the gallery.

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How can folks see the exhibit, particularly if they can’t make it to the opening?

Located at 305 E 140 Street between in the South Bronx, BronxArtSpace is open Wednesday through Friday from 12-6:30pm and Saturday 12-5pm. The exhibit will also be open on Wednesday, June 7, from 6-8pm for Trolley Night. And on Thursday, June 22, at 6pm there will be an artist talk with Hector Nazario aka Nicer, Sotero Ortiz aka BG183 and Wilfredo Feliciano aka Bio, along with the premiere of The Jardin Orange Project, a short documentary that features some of the world’s most renowned streets artists, including TATS CRU, as they come together to paint massive murals in the city of Shen Zhen, China.

Note: Tomorrow’s event — free and open to the public — is sponsored by neighborhood businesses JCAL Development Group, ID Studio Theater, Zaro’s Bakery, La Grata Italian Restaurant, Filtered Coffee, and Bronx Native, along with the support of Port Morris Distillery and The Bronx Brewery.

Images

1  Invite featuring BG183, Nicer and Bio

2  Curators Eileen Walsh and Laura James

3  Nicer

4  Bio

5  BG 183

6 Bio with guests at preview

Photos 2-6 by Lois Stavsky; interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky — who will also be moderating the Artist Talk on June 22. Special thanks to Scratch for her assistance at the preview!

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Splendidly curated by Laura James and Eileen WalshBronx Now showcases a wide range of artworks in different media by some of the best artists working in the Bronx. Among these are several whose works also enhance public spaces. While visiting the exhibit on Sunday, I had the opportunity to speak to both curators and pose a few questions to Laura James, the founder of BX200.

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Just what is BX200? And when was it launched?

BX200 is a directory of 200 artists, all of whom live or work in the Bronx. It was officially launched at the Bronx Museum of the Arts in March 2015.

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 What is its mission? And what spurred you to launch it?

Its mission is to connect our borough’s best artists to as wide an audience as possible from curators to collectors to other artists. My initial incentive in launching it was to get to know other artists living and working in the Bronx.

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You and  Eileen Walsh have, obviously, accomplished so much working together. The directory looks great, and this exhibit is wonderful. How did you two initially meet?

Awhile back, Eileen had invited me to participate in an exhibit she was curating elsewhere. Then when she read about BX200, she was eager to partner with me.

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The art here is spread across two rooms, and it all looks amazing. How did this great space come your way?

Eileen introduced me to it, and I thought it would be an ideal setting to introduce a selection of Bronx artists to folks who frequent Brooklyn spaces, particularly in Bushwick where so much is happening.

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How did you decide which artists to include in Bronx Now?  Some of the artists are quite young and relatively unknown, and others have established reputations and have exhibited in renowned museums.

We were interested in presenting a snapshot of the Bronx featuring works that we love — in a variety of styles and media — from a wide range of artists.

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The exhibit opened with a reception Saturday evening How did the opening go?

It was fantastic! About 300 people came and we had Andre Trenier painting live

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What are some of the other events we can look forward to this week? 

This Thursday, May 5, there will be a Bronx Now Artist Talk from 6-8pm. Participants will include Tats CruJohn Ahearn, Rebecca Allan, Danny Peralta and Alicia Grullon. And this Saturday there will be a closing reception from 5-8pm with a performance by Paco Cao. From Wednesday through Saturday’s closing, the gallery — located at 119 Ingraham Street — opens at noon. Enter through Terra Firma.

Congratulations on BX200 and this wonderful exhibit! I’m looking forward to more.

Images

1. John Ahearn with curators Laura James and Eileen Walsh

2. Bio, Tats Crew

3. Eric Orr

4. Crash

5. Nicer, Tats Cru

6. Andre Trenier, close-up

7. MRS

Photo credit: 1, 2, 4-7 Lois Stavsky; 3 courtesy Laura James; interview conducted and edited by 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.

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