Meres One

Gracing the 21-floor staircase of the new citizenM New York Bowery is MoSA (the Museum of Street Art), a rich range of images and words fashioned by 21 5 Pointz Creates artists under the curatorial direction of Marie Cecile Flageul. After visiting the soon-to-open hotel, I had the opportunity to speak to Marie who, along with 5 Pointz founder Meres One, has been directing the project since its inception:

This project is quite remarkable! Can you tell us a bit about its background? 

In Fall 2016, we held our first meeting with citizenM‘s chief marketing officer, Robin Chadha, a huge art lover who is intent on integrating art into his projects. He had been following the entire 5 Pointz story from Amsterdam, where he is based. He approached us because he was interested in bringing back a bit of 5 Pointz to NYC. The result is MoSA,

What about the staircase installation, A Vertical Love Letter to the Bowery? What is the concept behind it?

citizenM tries to understand and embrace the communities they move into. And this particular Lower Manhattan neighborhood has an incredibly rich history, which we attempted to capture with images of significant faces, places, moments and words.

How did you decide which artists to include?

Every artist included had contributed to 5 Pointz. Once I came up with the story line and quotations, it was easy for me to select artists. I had learned from Meres how to look at aerosol art and understand its visual voice.

What were some of the challenges that came your way in the course of managing and curating this project?

A major challenge was giving up control and trusting the artists once they understood the concept and direction of the project. There were also several logistic issues. There was no air conditioning early on, and the lack of elevators became a joke. But it all evolved into a kind of musical chaos, as all of the workers and staff here have been incredibly enthusiastic and supportive.

As it is nearing completion, what are your thoughts regarding the final outcome of this project?

I am humbled by the amount of love, hard work and dedication every artist has put into this project. Their attention to detail has inspired me. I am hopeful that thousands will see it — 5000 square feet that anyone can enjoy and a priceless gift to Downtown Manhattan.

How can folks who are not hotel guests gain access to the exhibit?

As early as October 1, anyone can come into the lobby — between 10am and 5pm — with ID and walk through the exhibition. I will be giving a personal tour to the first 500 folks who register. Groups of 10 or more people can email me at marie@5ptz.com 

Congratulations! And what a great way for visitors and students to learn about the history of this historic neighborhood! I look forward to revisiting it soon.

Note: All of the artists who participated in this project are identified here, and brief interviews with them with videography by Rae Maxwell, along with original soundtrack by Say Word Entertainment artists Rabbi Darkside and The Grand Affair, can be viewed here. In addition to A Vertical Love Letter to the Bowery, a court installation is underway by Rubin 415, Esteban del ValleDon Rimx, Lady Pink and Meres One. And gracing the plaza outside the hotel’s entrance is a captivating mural by Meres One, blurring the line between graffiti and fine art.

citizenM New York Bowery is located at 189 Bowery off Delancey Street.

Images:

1. Meres One

2. Marie and Meres on roof top of citizenM New York Bowery

3. Nicholai Khan

4. See TF

5. Zimad

6. Vince Ballentine

7. Kenji Takabayashi  aka Python

8. Elle

9. Noir

Interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky; photos by Lois Stavsky

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Panic-rodriguez-graffiti-nyc

We love how the walls at Brooklyn Reclaimed — under the curatorial direction of Meres One — have become rotating outdoor canvases.  Pictured above is Panic Rodriguez at work. Here are a few more recent murals —  some captured while in progress, and others when completed.

Amuze

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ZA One at work

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Kais

kais-graffiti-nyc

Wore at work

wore-paints-graffiti-brooklyn-reclaimed-nyc

Kenji Takabayashi aka Python

kenji-graffiti-brooklyn-reclaimed-nyc

Pase, BT

pase-bt-graffiti-brooklyn-reclaimed-nyc

Meres

meres-graffiti-brooklyn-reclaimed-nyc

Photo credits: 1, 3 & 5 Tara Murray; 2, 4, 6-8 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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With its vibrantly seductive murals, the exterior of Brooklyn Reclaimed — curated by Meres One — has become an oasis of color and style.  Here are a few more graffiti murals that have recently surfaced — all by artists who’d frequented the former 5Pointz:

Demer

demer-graffiti-brooklyn-reclaimed

Topaz and Jerms

topaz-Jerms-graffiti-brooklyn

Zimad

zimad-graffiti-brooklyn-reclaimed

Bishop 203 aka Jats

Jats-graffiti-Bushwick

Photos by City-as-School intern Sol Raxlen

Keep posted to our Facebook page and Instagram for more graffiti and street art on the grounds of Brooklyn Reclaimed.

Note: Hailed in a range of media from the Huffington Post to the New York Times, our Street Art NYC App is now available here for Android devices.

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5Pointz lives! Its spirit has been revived on the grounds of Brooklyn Reclaimed, a Bushwick-based company that specializes in the design and construction of handcrafted furniture fashioned from reclaimed wood. On our visit to Brooklyn Reclaimed earlier this week, we caught a glimpse of some completed works and many in progress. Here is a sampling:

Meres-One-5PointzCreates-at-Brooklyn-Reclaimed

Ben Angotti at work

Ben-Angotti-street-art-5Pointzcreates-at-Brooklyn-Reclaimed-NYC

Toofly

toofly-5pointzcreates-streetart-Brooklyn-Reclaimed-NYC

Sloke One

sloke-graffiti-5Pointz-creates-Bushwick-nyc

Amuze, Topaz and Poet

amuze-topaz-poet-graffiti-5Pointzcreates-brooklyn-Reclaimed

Demer and Kenji

demer-graffiti-5pointz-creates

And to celebrate the launch of the Brooklyn Reclaimed yard curated by 5 Pointzcreates, an exhibit will take place this Saturday featuring a range of new original artwork on reclaimed wood and much more.

Reclaimed-Group-Art-Show

Photos: 1 courtesy of Tim Spence of Brooklyn Reclaimed; 2 & 3 Lois Stavsky; 4-6 Tara Murray

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This past Sunday, the 5Pointz family continued its transformation of August Martin HS with some of the finest international, national and local artists adding their talents and visions to the extraordinary indoor gallery the school has become. Here’s a small sampling of more of the works that now grace the hallways and doors of the Jamaica, Queens high school:

El Niño de las Pinturas in from Spain

El-Nino-de-las-Pinturas-art-August-Martin-High-School

NYC-based Ben Angotti

"Ben Angotti"

Queens-based Nicholai Khan with August Martin student Justin Price (interviewed by Street Art NYC) and project co-curator Marie Cecile Flaegul

"Nicholai Kahn"

Trace, New Wave Crew at work

Trace-graffiti-august-martin-high-school

Skio in from Paris and Brooklyn-based Elle

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Bronx-native Andre Trenier at work

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NYC’s ZaOne

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5Pointz curator Meres One

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Note: The school will be open to the public on Thursday, June 11, from 4-8pm.

Keep posted to the StreetArtNYC Facebook page for many more images of the amazing artworks.

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

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T-Kid

This past weekend over 100 artists — including such graffiti legends as T-Kid 170, Cey Adams, Cycle, Claw Money and Part One — transformed the blank white walls of August Martin High School into a dazzling, brilliant canvas. Curatated by Meres One with Marie Cecile Flaegul, the freshly-painted artworks represent a multitude of cultures, sensibilities and styles. While visiting yesterday, I had the opportunity to speak to August Martin student, Justin Price.

This is all so amazing! Your school is an absolute wonderland! What inspired this magical change?

The walls in our school were recently painted white. They looked dull and unwelcoming. We wanted to bring color and life to our surroundings, so that we would look forward to coming to school. And we wanted to look at art that we could relate to and that reflected our culture.

Will-Kasso-grafffiti-August-Martin-High-School

Whose concept was this?

August Martin’s Future Project Dream Team surveyed 500 students to find out what change they most wanted in our school. The students’ consensus was that they wanted to change the appearance of the school’s interior.

cey-adams-graffiti-august-martin-high-school

Once you knew what you wanted to do, what were some of the challenges you faced? 

We had to come up with a proposal and a budget. That took us at least a month. Then we had to identify artists who could work with us. That was our biggest challenge until we were introduced to Meres and Marie of 5Pointz.

Zeso-graffiti

How have things been working out since you met them?

Once we met up with Meres and Marie, everything went smoothly. Meres is an amazing artist and knows so many other amazing artists. And I just can’t say enough about Marie! She is so conscientious and caring.

Miss-Zukie-character-art-august-martin-high-school

Most of the students haven’t yet seen the murals. But what kind of response have you gotten from those who have seem them?

They love them. They can’t wait to pose for photos in front of them!

Steve-Lew-art-Gillian-Smith

Part-One-graffiti-august-martin-high-school

And how have the teachers responded to this project? 

Their response has been positive. They know that if the students are happy and motivated, their jobs are easier.

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Reme-graffiti-art-August-martin-high-school

And what about your principal, Ms. Smith?

She’s been 100% behind it. She’s worked hard to make sure that it happens and she has been here with us all weekend.

Remiks-graffiti-See-tf-Portrait-August-Martin-High-School

Why do you suppose there are so many underachievers among the students here?

Many of the students here lack the support systems they need, and they feel easily discouraged.  So many are talented and really love discovering new things.

Cycle-close-up-graffiti-art-August-Martin-High-School

I don’t doubt it!  What are your thoughts about this project and its possible impact?

I love it! It makes me so happy! And I think it will have a great impact on the other students.

sembakkus-graffiti-art-august-martin-high-school

Why is the project called Operation Skittles? I’ve been wondering about that!

Actually, there are two reasons!  Skittles are colorful and this project brings color to our school. And Skittles are the favorite snack of  Syreeta Gates, the Future Project Dream director here at August Martin.

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Now that makes sense! How lucky you students at August Martin are to have realized Operation Skittles!

Note: Keep posted to the Street Art NYC Facebook page for more images and for news about an event at August Martin open to the public in early June.

Photos and interview by Lois Stavsky

1. T-Kid 170

2. Will Kasso

3. Cey Adams

4. Zeso and Awez

5, Miss Zukie

6. Kid Lew with August Martin principal Gillian Smith standing to his left

7. Part One

8. Meres One

9. Reme 821

10. Remiks and See TF

11. Cycle

12. Sjembakkus — in from Amsterdam

13. BK Foxx

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Reclaimed, Meres One‘s solo exhibit at Bushwick’s Low Brow Artique, brilliantly celebrates Meres‘s wonderful talents and his love of graffiti. I spoke to Meres soon after visiting the exhibit:

meres-graffiti-art

Can you tell us something about the title of the exhibit, Reclaimed? What does it mean?

After many months of coping with the loss of 5Pointz, Reclaimed is my way of revisiting and reclaiming my early days as a graffiti artist.

Meres-graffiti-colors

When did you first come up with the concept with the exhibit?  And can you tell us something about the process of preparing for it? 

I came up with the general idea in January, and when I showed some of the pieces I was working on to Bishop, he offered me a solo show at Low Brow Artique. In preparation, I revisited hundreds of photos of walls that I had painted at 5Pointz. My next step was to reinterpret them — selecting fragments from them and honoring my appreciation of hand-style.

"Meres One"

What about the centerpiece? It is so impressive! Its texture is just beautiful. It looks as though it was painted on reclaimed wood.

Yes, I painted it on a piece of wood that was reclaimed from the Coney Island boardwalk. I love that it has taken on a new life in this exhibit.

Meres-Reclaimed-found-wood

How has the response been to the exhibit?

It’s been great! The opening was wonderful, and only two pieces remain. The others were sold shortly after the exhibit opened. I am currently preparing for a Part II, where I will take my work on this same concept to another — more abstract — level while working on a range of different surfaces.

Meres-graffiti-art-at-lowbrow-artique

Note: Reclaimed remains on view at Low Brow Artique through Saturday May 9.  Now open seven days a week, Low Brow Artique is situated at 143 Central Avenue in Bushwick, Brooklyn.

Interview and photos by Lois Stavsky 

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

MH Cover

Presenting a distinctive global perspective on art, music, fashion and culture, Modern Hieroglyphics — readying now for the release of its second issue — premiered this past summer. Co-founded by adventurous designer Jack McKain and West Coast-based artist Chor Boogie, the 156-page publication features fascinating interviews with ten talented artists, along with dozens of photos.

Tapping into graffiti history, the term Modern Hieroglyphics was first coined by San Diego-based Blame One. The term was then popularized by Chor Boogie to define his personal style. Finally, it was re-adapted to serve as the title and theme for this magazine’s spirit – a belief in the inherent power of visual communication through pictures and pictographs.

Meres-One-5-Pointz-Modern-Hieroglyphics

The interviews, conducted by McKain, are first rate. Meres One, for example, recounts his experience as curator of Long Island City’s 5 Pointz, along with his tenuous fight against gentrification and the whitewash of the iconic legal graffiti space. In another interview, Noah Scalin describes his Skull-A-Day project. To challenge his creative capacity and test his commitment abilities, the artist embarked on a one-year venture to fashion a skull image from different materials every day. Scalin describes how he garnered an online following and transformed what was a personal project into a public one – a creative commitment that, he confesses, became addictive. 

All of the interviews are accompanied with strikingly beautiful images and end with links to relevant social media.  To promote the role of photographers in the creation process of Modern Hieroglyphics, the publication also includes clear photo credits and devotes the final page to photographers’ contact information.

Shaka-Modern-Hieroglyphics

Certain to appeal to us street art and graffiti aficionados, Modern Hieroglyphics is a widely creative platform that exposes the talents of international artists through captivating imagery and engaging text. 

Note: In addition to its website and Facebook page, you can also follow Modern Hieroglyphics on Instagram as it readies for the release of its second issue.

Photos: 1. cover and 3. Shaka (close-up) courtesy of the publisher; 2. Meres One by Dani Reyes Mozeson as featured in Modern Hieroglyphics

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Meres One on Life after 5Pointz

September 18, 2014

Meres

It’s been almost a year now since we awoke to the horrific news that our beloved 5Pointz had been whitewashed overnight. What has life been like since for Meres, its founder and director, who had devoted just about every waking hour to this world-renowned aerosol art Mecca?  Yesterday, I had the opportunity to speak to Meres.

We miss 5Pointz so much. I’m eagerly awaiting its rebirth! Is that likely to happen?

Time will tell. It’s an open option.

"Meres One"

What do you miss most about it?

I loved having a space where I could bring all the elements of hip-hop together. And I loved having so many opportunities to educate others.

Were there to be a rebirth of 5Pointz, how would you approach it differently?

I would want to work with a landlord who embraces what 5Pointz represents and is committed to collaborating with me in assuring its long-term success and survival.  I would, also, want to establish enduring relationships with art-friendly politicians.

"Meres One"

Is there any specific neighborhood or borough that you would prefer as a potential site for a new venture?

Some place that is accessible to folks from all boroughs. I’m open. Anywhere but Long Island City!

In what ways has your life been different since the demolition of 5Pointz?

I never used to have time for myself.  Lately I’ve had.

"Meres One"

What’s that like?

Very weird! At first I just felt very angry, and I was trying to come to terms with my anger. Now I’m looking forward to painting in my new Brooklyn studio in the months ahead.

Anything specific in mind in terms of your own work?

Yes, I’m interested in recreating the Old New York, the New York I once knew that has disappeared.

"Meres One"

Although you may not feel all that busy, your last few months certainly seem to have been quite productive! We’ve seen your work both on the streets and in galleries. What have you been up to?

I participated in WALL WORKS: The Art of Graffiti at Great Neck’s Gold Coast Arts Center and in W H I T E W A S H: A Requiem to 5Pointz , curated by Marie Cecile Flageul, at the Jeffrey Leder Gallery and several other exhibits both here and abroad. At the Galerie Rue de l’art in Lyon, France, I exhibited — along with ShiroAuksPoemSee TF Cortes and Just One — in NYC Subway Map – 5Pointz, I’ve also painted in several festivals and events including: Living Walls in Atlanta, Georgia; the Jersey Fresh Jam in Trenton, NJ and this past weekend at the Allentown ArtsFest. I’ve had numerous commissions, including a gym in Long Island  and a new restaurant opening in Brooklyn.

"Meres One"

It sounds like you’ve been quite busy! What’s ahead?

In addition to preparing work for an upcoming solo show focusing on the NYC in which I grew up, I’m working on involving 5Pointz artists in a number of events — including a festival in West Africa.  On November 3, Marie and I will be the recipients of the Arts & Activism Award at the Gold Coast Arts Center Gala 2014. And one of my artworks is featured in STRADA VELOCE, an exhibit featuring Italian automotive-inspired art and furniture, opening tonight at the Dorian Grey Gallery in the East Village.

Wow! Good luck with this all!

Interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky; photos 1, 5 and 6 by Lois Stavsky; 2, 3, and 4 by Dani Reyes Mozeson

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"Zimad and Meres"

On exhibit through February at Great Neck’s Gold Coast Arts Center is WALL WORKS: The Art of Graffiti featuring works by 5Pointz (Rest in Power) curator and CEO Jonathan “Meres” Cohen and other artists who found a home at 5Pointz. Here’s a small sampling:

Meres

Meres

Shiro

Shiro

 See TF

"See tf"

Kid Lew

Kid-Lew

Hunt Rodriguez and daughter, close-up from sculpture, “Rest in Power, 5Pointz” (Click on link for video clip with full view)

"Hunt Rodriguez"

John Paul O’Grodnick

"John-Paul-O-Grodnick"

Zimad

Zimad

 First image of Zimad and Meres, close-up from photo by Richard Alicia; all others by Lois Stavsky

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