Since September 26, 57 Great Jones Street — the former home and studio of Al Diaz collaborator, Jean-Michel Basquiat — has been the site of Same Old Gallery, a multimedia exhibit showcasing Al Diaz ‘s masterful wordplay and inventive aesthetic. Curated by Adrian Wilson and Brian Shevlin, it features a diverse array of new work by Al Diaz, in addition to historic photos and memorabilia from back in the day when the SAMO© tag that he and Jean-Michel Basquiat had conceived was the talk of the town. Several photos I captured while visiting the space follow:

Mixed media with stencil art

Another contemplation on the brevity of it all

Mixed media musings

With a message for these times

The 1978 Village Voice article that reveals SAMO©’s identity

And this weekend marks the launch of Al Diaz‘s book with a signing and talk

Photos 1-6: Lois Stavsky



I met up with several members of the East Coast – and original – MSK crew while they were painting up in Inwood earlier this year. Among the writers I spoke to were: Kister, its current president; Dia One, MSK’s president back in the 80’s and its legendary former vice president, 2 New. (Note: pictured above is 2 New to the left of Dia One).

When was MSK first founded? And by whom?

It was founded in 1982 by MADE and WASE, along with a few other writers who attended IS 52 — right here in Inwood.


Which trains was MSK hitting back in the day?

Any one nearby – the 1 train, the A, the AA, the C, the CC, the RR and sometimes the D and B.

How were the original MSK crew members regarded back then?

All of us growing up in the Heights and here in Inwood had enormous respect for them.  Everyone knew them and looked up to them.


Can you give us a sense of what it was like hitting the trains back then?

We followed a routine. Five or six of us would gather in a friend’s house.  We’d design an outline. Then we’d rack the paint from a local hardware store. And once we had the paint, we’d pick a yard and sneak in.

And once you got into the yard?

We had to worry about gangs, dogs, cops and stepping on the 3rd rail.  Success was getting out alive and taking a photo.


Do any particular memories stand out?

When three young MSK guys went to the 145th Street lay-ups and had their cans taken away by members of Jon One’s crew.  We had to retaliate, and we ended up eventually beating the crap out of two of them. The drama only continued, and eventually Jon One left NYC for Paris.

As the train era ended in the late 80’s, what surfaces were MSK’s second and third generation hitting?

Mostly highways, rooftops and handball courts.  And because we had to be fast, we mostly did bombs and throw-ups. We didn’t have time for pieces – except for occasional ones on handball courts.


Here you have members of all three generations of MSK working together – painting on a legal wall.

Yes, we do it because it’s fun. It’s our way of celebrating our culture.

And how does painting on a legal spot like this one differ from working illegally?

On a legal space like this, we can take our time and make as many changes as we want as we work. But when we paint on walls like these, we can’t get the adrenalin rush that comes with working illegally. It’s not the same — nowhere close! And we miss it!


1. Dia One and 2 New against mural by Frankizm

2. Frankizm at work on tribute mural to 2 New

3. Dia One at work at night

4. Kron

5. Dia One  — memorial wall first painted in 1992 and redone, at the family’s request, in 2013 — with Flite, Frankizm, Kister, Cel & Nest

Interview & photos by Lois Stavsky



Launched earlier this year by Franco Noriega and Milan Kelez, the New Allen has been bringing a stylish mix of street art and graffiti to the Lower East Side. Here are a few more images we’ve captured:

 Mr June — closer-up




Patch Whisky and Ghostbeard


Edward Granger


The Minuske


Ology CollectiveCol, Ski and 2esae — over on Delancey Street


And earlier —  at work with the London Police peeking through


Photo credits: 1, 2, 4, 6 & 7 Lois Stavsky; 3 & 8 Tara Murray

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


kron-one-and nest-paint-graffiti-Inwood

When I stopped by the wall on 207th Street — one of my favorite Uptown spots —  this past Friday, I met veteran writers Kron One, Nest 156 and Bind 156 at work on a mural to serve as a backdrop for a Minx video. Yesterday I returned to see the completed wall. What follows are a few images captured both days:

Nest 156 at work on Friday


Nest 156‘s completed piece


Kron One at work on Friday


Kron One, as seen yesterday


Bind 156 at work on Friday


Bind 156, as seen yesterday


Photos by Lois Stavsky



Best-known for his sharply dressed, bowler-hatted vandal, the legendary British stencil artist Nick Walker — the  first ever artist-in-residence at the Quin Hotel — has returned!  Curated by DK Johnston, a series of Walker’s new artworks, along with his classic iconic stencil works, remain on view at the Quin through February 18th.  What follows are a few more images of his works on exhibit:

The vandal on 57th Street across from the Quin


The vandal gets busy


The vandal leaves his mark on a pair of Louboutins


And here are a few of his huge stencil works currently on the streets of Manhattan:

In Chelsea


On the Upper East Side

Nick-Walker-Upper-East-Side 2

In Little Italy


The Quin Hotel is located at 101 West 57th Street at Sixth Avenue.

Photos: 1 & 6 Lois Stavsky; 2 & 3 Sara Mozeson; 4 courtesy DK Johnston and 5 & 7 Tara Murray


iena-cruz audubon-murasl-project-NYC

A collaborative venture between the National Audubon Society and the Gitler & ____ Gallery, the Audubon Mural Project, has brought a series of tantalizing murals of climate-endangered birds to the late John James Audubon’s upper Manhattan neighborhood.

Iena Cruz, Tri-colored Heron, 432 West 163 Street, close-up

iena-cruz-street-art-audubon-mural-project-NYC closeup

Gaia, Endangered Harlem, 1883 Amsterdam Avenue, close-up


Gaia, Endangered Harlem, the complete mural


Hitnis, Fish Crow, 3750 Broadway


LNY, Swallow-tailed Kite, 575 West 155 Street


LNY, Swallow-tailed-Kite, close-up


Mr. Mustart, House Finch, 5 Edward M. Morgan Place


Keep posted to our Facebook page and this blog for many more Audubon Mural Project images.

Photo credits: 1, 2, 4 & 6 Tara Murray; 3, 5, 7 & 8 Lois Stavsky

Note: This blog will be on vacation through Nov 28th. You can follow us on Facebook and Instagram.



Earlier this month, the LoMan Art Festival brought not only live art by a wonderfully diverse range of artists to Downtown Manhattan, but also a series of workshops, performances and events. And even though the festival has officially ended, mammoth murals continue to surface on our streets. Here are a few scenes from it all:

Another close-up from Buff Monster‘s huge mural


Beau Stanton at work on mammoth mural on East Third Street


 French artist Ludo in the East Village


Dain and Montreal-based artist Stikki Peaches


JCorp at the Social Sticker Club‘s installation inside the Mulberry Street lot during the festival


Ron English with assistance from Solus standing to his right


JPO and B.D. White, one of many collaborations spotted along Mulberry Street


Leon Reid,  alongside murals by Team Crash — John Matos, Ananda Nahu and Izolag — and Team BIO — Bio, Nicer and Binho — for the Secret Walls Illustration Battle


Keep posted to the StreetArtNYC Facebook page for more images of the works that have surfaced and continue to do so in Downtown Manhattan through the efforts of the LISA Project

Photo credits: 1, 3, 5, 6 & 9 Dani Reyes Mozeson; 2 & 4 Tara Murray; 7 Rey Rosa Photography / The LoMan Art Festival and 8 Lois Stavsky

{ 1 comment }


Always a showcase for NYC — mostly veteran — writers, the always-rotating walls off the 1 train on 207th Street and 210th Street increasingly host artists from abroad. Here is a sampling of what was sighted this past week:

London-based Trans1


London-based Noir


NYC-based veteran writer Ree 


Bronx-based veteran writer Rocky184


Veteran writer Keon1, mgs gnd 


Legendary Bronx-native T-Kid


Photos 1-5 and 7 by Lois Stavsky; 6 courtesy of Keon1


"Lamour Supreme"

Promoting the Ink Master Rivals show on Spike TV, two tattooed arms have made their way onto a huge billboard on Broadway between 51st and 52nd Streets. Featured on the right side of the billboard are several eerie, brightly-hued characters fashioned by Lamour Supreme — as pictured above:

Lamour Supreme, close-ups

"Lamour Supreme"

"Lamour Supreme"

And the left side of the billboard showcases a crew of Sheryo and the Yok‘s delightfully zany characters:

"Sheryo and the Yok"

Sheryo and the Yok, close-ups

"The Yok"


It’s great to see work by some of our favorite artists so prominently displayed!

Photos by Dani Reyes Mozeson

{ 1 comment }


Approaching his 80th birthday, Allan Ludwig, aka Elisha Cook, Jr., can be found just about every day in downtown Manhattan photographing the writings on the walls.  With a BFA Degree in Painting and a PhD in Art History from Yale University, he explains his passion for graffiti and street art.


How did the name Allan Ludwig become Elisha Cook, Jr.?

When I first started posting photos of graffiti on Flickr, I was advised not to use my real name. I chose to identify myself as Elisha Cook, Jr. because he is my favorite actor. The name stuck!

So that’s it!  When did you begin working as a photographer?

Almost 60 years ago. I was in my 20’s.

What attracted you to the field?

I started drawing in my room as a child. But I had difficulty drawing faces. I never liked the way my noses looked. And when I tried to erase them, I’d end up making holes in the paper. It drove me crazy! I decided that it would be easier for me to capture a face with a camera.

street art and graffiti on 11 Spring Street

Had you any influences back then? 

When I was about 13, my neighbor Max Coplan, an accomplished photographer, taught me how to use a camera.

When did the writings and images that surface on public spaces begin to engage you?

In the early 80’s, I walked into a school playground on Grand and Baxter and discovered that its walls were filled with graffiti. I was intrigued. But as I only used black and white film at the time, my earliest photos of graffiti are in black in white, and I wasn’t documenting it regularly.

What spurred you to photograph the streets so methodically since 2000?

My neighborhood had begun to gentrify. Changes were happening rapidly. Overnight the rent on a local restaurant soared from $4,000 a month to $16,000. I wanted to document these changes. And as soon as I switched from black and white film to color, I began noticing street art.

11 Spring Street

Have you had any particularly memorable experiences while photographing graffiti and street art?

I once came upon a love letter written by a woman from England to Faile that was posted onto the building at 11 Spring Street. She had assumed, incorrectly, that Faile was one person and single. I photographed her love letter and posted it onto my Flickr photostream.   When the woman discovered her letter online, she asked me to remove it – which I didn’t. But the story doesn’t end there. She had just returned from Zambia with a love potion. She decided that the time was right for her to visit NYC to meet Faile.  She would set up a meeting to buy a print from him. Surely, the love potion would work!

Did it? What happened? Did she ever meet Faile?

She did, but she encountered an unanticipated problem. When she inserted the love potion into her mouth, it distorted her speech and facial expression. She did meet the object of her love, but she decided against using the love potion. And that’s the end of the story.

Wow! What is it about street art and graffiti that has so captivated you?

It’s the thrill of discovery. There is something magical about it.  I also love its inclusiveness and democratic nature.

11 Spring Street

Have you any thoughts about the street art/graffiti divide?

Most of the street artists I’ve met were trained in art schools, while the original graffiti writers didn’t have any kind of formal art education.  And when the street artists started making their mark on the legendary building at 11 Spring Street off the Bowery, the writers felt that they were not getting enough space or respect.  I remember walking by one day to discover the entire building sprayed all over with silver paint.  There definitely is a divide.

What about your perception of the divide? What differences do you see?

Graffiti is a highly refined art.  It is beautiful. The first generation of writers created an entirely new aesthetic.  They invented a whole new language. Yet few people can understand it and appreciate it. Street art is far more accessible.

There are many folks out there who consider the illegal writings that you photograph vandalism. Have you any thoughts about that?

It’s a non-issue. It’s meaningless. It’s a political fiction invented by politicians and lawyers and the police who enforce it.  It has no validity.

graffiti and street art on 11 Spring Street in NYC

How do you feel about the move of street art and graffiti into museums and galleries?

The commercial world sucks the credibility out of graffiti and street art.  It takes it out of its natural setting.

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

I think it’s wonderful. It makes everything even more accessible. I have Flickr contacts all over the world.

What do you see as the future of graffiti and street art?

I see it as the most important international movement in world art since American pop art. It’s here to stay.

All photos by Elisha Cook, Jr. Except for first two BilliKid paste-ups of Elisha, images capture NYC’s legendary building at 11 Spring Street, 2006-7