Lexi Bella

Home to such projects as 100 Gates and Market Surplus, the streets and venues of Manhattan’s Lower East Side have introduced us to new talents, while showcasing some of NYC’s most prominent graffiti artists and muralists. Artists are now invited to submit ideas for an entire mural — or a segment of it — to be painted on the western façade of Essex Crossing‘s site at 145 Clinton Street that will be home to 107 market-rate apartments and 104 below-market-rate units. Check the Request for Proposals (RFP) for all the details and requirements. You have until December 15th to submit it.

The image featured above was painted by Gera Luz. Here are several more that have surfaced on the Lower East Side within the past year:

Hanksy

Flood

Buff Monster for Market Surplus

Claw Money

Lexi Bella

Photo credit:  QuallsBenson

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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Several stunning new murals recently surfaced on Morgan Avenue and Stagg Street in Bushwick. While visiting Livestream last week, I spoke to visual artist and curator Bianca Romero about Skillosophy, the movement behind these artworks.

Just what is Skillosophy? And when was it launched?

It’s an exhibition/showcase series that takes place four times a year with a focus on multi-disciplinary artists. It was launched last year by the co-founders of Lyricist Lounge & Defiant Ent and Livestream. For this past quarter, Danny Castro — Lyricist Lounge co-founder — and I decided to feature outdoor murals for the fall exhibition during Bushwick Open Studios, in addition to the art that is on exhibit inside the Livestream headquarters.

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What spurred you to add this outdoor element to Skillosophy?

Typically, Skillosophy is indoors, inside the Livestream studio space. But we wanted to take it outside for Bushwick Open Studios. It seemed like a great way to give exposure to the talented muralists and street artists, and it was a great addition to our Block Party to have it done live. We loved the communal and public aspect of it.

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You’ve done a wonderful job of curating it all. The art both inside and outside is wonderfully eclectic and is beautifully presented. Have you a background in art? 

Both my parents are artists. My father, in fact, was a pioneer in graphic design and has taught design at the School of Visual Arts and at the Parsons School of Design. My mother was a fashion designer, and I, myself, am an artist.

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And can you tell us a bit about Livestream? When was it first founded and what is its mission?

It was founded in 2007 with the mission to make any every event available live online through video.

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And how has Livestream responded to Skillosophy?

The love it. They’ve thoroughly embraced it. They love the idea of bringing the extraordinary talents of Bushwick into our offices. A walk through our offices — that are covered with work by local artists — is like a walk through the neighborhood!

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Who is Skillosophy‘s audience?

All art lovers! Anyone who loves any aspect of art — music, dance, film or visual art.  The venue has hosted hip-hop shows, film industry mixers and skillshares in addition to art exhibits. We’ve had a very diverse audience…from working class folks to art collectors to party people!

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How can folks best keep up with your events? And how can they arrange a visit to Livestream‘s headquarters for private viewings of the indoor art?

They can follow Skillosophy on Instagram, and they can contact us at skillosophyshow@gmail.com to schedule a private viewing and inquire about pricing and events. And any artist or performer interested in participating in a future Skillosophy exhibition and showcase can contact as at this email, as well.

 Images

1 & 2 Fin DAC at work

3 Rubin at work

4 Danielle Mastrion and Lexi Bella

5 Jerms

6 Misha T 

7 N Carlos J

Photo credits 1-5 & 7 Karin du Maire and 6 Tara Murray; interview with Bianca Romero conducted by Lois Stavsky

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A collective of artists based primarily in Harlem, HART has become an active force in the uptown arts scene. While visiting its space, I had the opportunity to speak to one of its founders, Kristy McCarthy aka D Gale.

Can you tell us something about HART’s mission?

Our mission is to use art as a tool to engage, educate and empower the members of our Harlem community.  We are especially interested in beautifying abandoned and neglected spaces.

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When was the Harlem Art Collective first born?  And was anyone – besides you – involved in its conception?

It officially began last February. Gia Gutierrez and I had talked about starting some sort of Harlem-based artist organization. But as she didn’t have enough free time at that point to devote to launching it, Harold Baines and I organized the first few meetings with about 10 other artists and community members.

How did you get the word out?  And how many artists are currently involved?

We initially got the word out mostly via emails and through our personal networks. About 40 artists currently participate.

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Here at HART’s base, you provide space for local artists to live and free studio space for artists to create. In addition, you rent out two of the bedrooms to folks who are in NYC for short periods of time.  How did you come upon such an amazing 5-bedroom space in the heart of East Harlem?

We found out about it from the building’s landlord. And its size and location made it a perfect match for our needs.

Among your projects is the always-engaging Guerilla Gallery on 116th Street off 2nd Avenue. It has introduced us to many new artists, and it also showcases art by some of our all-time favorite ones. What other projects have you initiated? 

We have partnered with other community organizations — such as the East Harlem Block Nursery, Concrete Safaris and the Manatí Community Garden — to paint murals at block parties and community events. We worked with Urban Innovations to paint and install little free libraries in community gardens around Harlem, and we have hosted free art workshops at the HART house.

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How can an artist join your collective?

We hold meetings twice a month. Anyone interested in attending and finding out more about HART can contact us via our Facebook page. We are also going to start a monthly newsletter this spring and, hopefully, add a community calendar to the Guerilla Gallery.

What’s ahead?

We are working on organizing a spring show that will feature artists from the collective and from the neighborhood. We are also working on starting other Guerrilla Galleries on abandoned construction walls around Harlem. And we are planning to paint more murals that directly involve the community. We have, also, recently formed a women’s caucus within the collective to organize projects specifically dedicated to women’s issues and female empowerment.

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That sounds great! Good luck with it all. We are looking forward!

Images:

1. El Nino de las Pinturas, inside the Hart House

2. Lexi Bella, Danielle Mastrion and Kristy McCarthy in East Harlem

3. Kristy McCarthy in East Harlem

4. The Guerrilla Gallery in East Harlem, as seen earlier this year

5. Steve Perez, Zerk Oer and Bio,Tats Cru at the Guerrilla Gallery in East Harlem, as seen this past week on massive wall spelling out E-L  B-A-R-R-I-O

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

Interview by Lois Stavsky

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Curated by Lady K Fever and hosted by Aldo Perez, Ihe Art of Peace, an exhibit of mural and graffiti art celebrating peace, opens tonight at the Al Iman Community Center. I had the opportunity to speak to Lady K Fever while visiting the space at 2006 Westchester Avenue earlier this week.

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Can you tell us something about the concept behind this exhibit?

It is an exploration of the notion of peace from the perspective of artists representing a range of ideologies, nationalities, religious backgrounds and ethnicities. The title is a take on The Art of War by Sun Tzu written in the 6th century B.C.

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What inspired it?

It was inspired by Peace December, an organization started five years ago dedicating the month of December to celebrating peace. As Sheikh Musa Drammeh of Peace December contends, trillions of dollars are spent on defense and none are allocated to promoting peace. 

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As curator, how did you decide which artists to engage in this exhibit? 

When Aldo Perez approached me to curate it, I sought artists from a range of backgrounds and communities. Many, in fact, had already been engaged in community-based projects promoting co-existence.

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What were some of the particular challenges you faced in curating this exhibit?

My main concern was that the imagry would not offend the community. I also had to keep the artists’ egos in check, reminding them that The Art of Peace’s principal mission is to promote peace. And I was working with a limited budget.

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The exhibit opens this evening from 6-10pm. How might folks — who can’t make it this evening — see it?

Yes, there will be a reception tonight with DJ Prince Tafari, the artists and special guests — including Assemblyman Jose Rivera. There will also be select artworks for sale. Folks who won’t be able to attend can email artists4peacebx@gmail.com and arrange a time to visit The Art of Peace.

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Images:

1.  Rocko 

2. BG183, Tats Cru with Lady K Fever and Aldo Perez posed in front

3. Meres One

4. Chris Riggs

5. Scratch and Lady K Fever

6. Lexi Bella

Interview and photos by Lois Stavsky

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For the past several days, over two dozen artists — from writers to muralists —  have been busily transforming a huge block along Boone Avenue at 174th Street. Here are a few more images that we captured these past two days from Writers Block organized by Wen Cod:

Mastro

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Curve

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Spot and Acne aka Young Socrates

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Yes 1 at work 

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Nero aka Uncle Ro

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Wen Cod, who organized the event, captured at work in the early stages yesterday morning

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Rath at work

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Danielle Mastrion, Lexi Bella, and Doc TC5 to the far right

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Ces checks it out

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 Note: First image features Jersey Joe aka Rime

Photo credits: 1-4 & 6-9 Lois Stavsky; 5 & 10 Tara Murray

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Conceived and facilitated by N Carlos J — noted artist, community revitalizer and founder of Brooklyn Is the Future — Writing on the Walls is a Brownsville-based mural arts initiative. Inspired to launch this project for his father, a Brownsville native who was diagnosed with cancer last year, N. Carlos’s Jay has engaged over a dozen artists in transforming his dad’s former stomping grounds into a vibrant outdoor canvas.

Another close-up from Werc and El Nino de las Pinturas

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Eelco, close-up

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BK Foxx based on photo by Bytegirl

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Lexi Bella

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Fumero

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N Carlos J

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Note: This blog will be on vacation through mid-September. You can follow us on Instagram and on our Facebook page. Part II of Writing on the Walls to be featured on our return.

Photo credits: 1, 4 & 6 Tara Murray; 2, 3, 5 & 7 Lois Stavsky

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Babe Ruth, Derek Jeter, Roberto Clemente and Satchel Paige are among the legendary baseball players whose faces now grace a range of storefronts on and off River Avenue from 158th Street to 162nd Street. A partnership between the 161st Street Business Improvement District and 501 See Streets, this particular project is one of several initiated by 501 See Streets founder and director, Noah Sheroff. I recently met up with Noah to find out more about him and his Paint New York project.

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You are on a mission to bring public art to neighborhoods in NYC and beyond. What spurred your interest in street art?

I grew up in a neighborhood that was largely void of art. When I first visited 5Pointz in 2011, I was struck by the beauty and energy of it all. The following year I went on a tour of the Bushwick Collective, and soon after that, I discovered the Welling Court Mural Project in Astoria, Queens.  By then I was hooked!  I knew that I wanted to bring art murals to communities that wouldn’t otherwise have them. 

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We are familiar with the murals you facilitated that have transformed the blocks around Yankee Stadium.  Have you engaged other neighborhoods?

Yes. Danielle Mastrion painted a mural on Flatbush Avenue and Avenue H in Brooklyn; Miss Zukie collaborated with John Paul O’Grodnick on Benson Street.across from the Lewis & Clark School, and Marthalicia painted on Jerome Avenue and East 198th Street.

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What are some of the challenges you’ve encountered?

It’s been a daunting learning experience!  The community members are often apprehensive. Artists tend to question my motives. And the funders are hesitant to fund “a new kid on the block.” 

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What seems to be the main concern of the community?

They are concerned about the content – about offending the sensibilities of the folks who live in the neighborhood.  That is one of the reasons artists are often asked to submit a sketch first. 

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You are in the process of forging alliances with several Business Improvement Districts. Are they generally receptive?

Yes, the BIDs are generally receptive. They see the art as a way to highlight their businesses, bring commerce to their neighborhoods and attract tourists. I am also forging partnerships with civics and other neighborhood organizations.

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What’s ahead?

I’m interested in expanding Paint New York into more neighborhoods and working with a range of community groups. And at this point, fundraising is essential to cover expenses and to pay the artists for their talents and time.

Good luck! And we are looking forward to 501 See Streets bringing more art to our streets!

Note:  Find out how you can help support Noah’s project here

Interview by Lois StavskyImages 1 & 2 Danielle Mastrion; 3 & 5 Lexi Bella; 4 & 6 Andre Trenier; photo credits 1 & 2 Lois Stavsky; 3-6 City-As-School intern Diana Davidova

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

This past weekend, Hanksy’s much-anticipated show, The Best of the Worst, drew hundreds of street art fans to the former Chase Bank at 104 Delancey Street on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Along with some of NYC’s most notable graffiti writers and street artists, Hanksy transformed the space into a NYC playground-like arena — with a skate ramp, a Chinese massage parlor and more wonderfully-engaging site-specific installations. Dozens of intriguing, overlapping pieces, paste-ups and stickers paid homage to street art, while, also, poking fun at the scene.

Miss Zukie

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CB23 

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Magda Love and Hanksy and more

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Meres and more

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Russell King, Col and UR New York

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Hanksy

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Included, too, was a rather formally installed art exhibit in the wittily-titled Gag-Osian Gallery featuring some of NYC’s most popular street artists.

Mr. Toll at the Gag-Osian

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El Sol 25 at the Gag-Osian

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All photos by Houda Lazrak; pictured in the first photo are Frank Ape, Lexi Bella and Cosbe

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The Centre-fuge Public Art Project continues its mission to transform the Department of Transportation trailer on First Street and First Avenue into a vibrant open-air gallery. These past few wintry weeks, its 16th cycle has brought an infectious energy to an otherwise cold and stark site. Here are a few close-ups:

Moody at work in mid-December — at the beginning of the current cycle

"Moody Mutz"

Joshua David McKenney at work

"Joshua David McKenney"

And to the right of Pidgin Doll — Marthalicia MatarritaMichael DeNicola, Basil and Lexi Bella

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Foxx FacesRaquel Echanique and Marthalicia Matarrita

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Vernon O’Meally, Lelex and Fade, AA Mobb

"centrifuge public art project"

ArbiterMiss Zukie, Foxx Faces, BK and Sest2

"Centre-fuge Public Art Project"

Pebbles Russell, who co-founded the Centre-fuge Public Art Project in 2012, reports that Cycle 16 will remain in effect for a few more weeks. If you would like to participate in future cycles of this project, send a sketch, along with reference images to other works, to centrefuge@gmail.com.

Final photo by Lois Stavsky; all others by Dani Reyes Mozeson

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Earlier this fall, the Dodworth Street Mural art project began a wondrous transformation of the area on and around Dodworth Street between Bushwick Avenue and Broadway. Here are just a few of the murals that have surfaced:

Eelco ’Virus’ Van den BergRocko and Vera Times

"Eelco and Rocko"

David Louf 

"David Louf aka June"

Miss Zukie and Lexi Bella

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Fumero

Fumero

Danielle Mastrion and CB23

"Danielle Mastrion and CB23"

Col Wallnuts, Marthalicia, BK, Damien Mitchell & Edob LOV3

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Photo credits: 1, 3 – 5 Lois Stavsky; 2 & 6 Dani Reyes Mozeson 

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