New Jersey

Once again, Union Street Park’s magical walls in Hackensack, NJ have been transformed. Pictured above is Washington Heights graffiti legend Totem. Several of these featured images were captured during Rozzy Ken Roz‘s birthday celebration — hosted by Darrius-Jabbar Sollas — two weeks ago. Others were taken when we revisited Union Street Park this past Wednesday.

The superb Sade TCM 

Bronx-based Ricky Montalvo aka Soze527

Flite (L) and Rocky 184 & Gem 13 Collabo

Classic writer Wore IBM at work

The legendary Seen TC5

Graffiti pioneer Part One

Wide view with celebration under way 

Photo credits: 1, 4, 5 & 8 Dani Reyes Mozeson; 2, 3, 6 & 7 Lois Stavsky

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Home to a rotating range of vibrant murals by first-rate, often classic, graffiti writers, Hackensack’s Union Street Park is a treasure. While visiting on Wednesday, I had the opportunity to pose a few questions to its founder and curator, Darrius-Jabbar Sollas also known as Nasty Neo.

When did you first begin curating this spot?  It’s a graffiti-lover’s paradise. We’ve been returning regularly to check it out since we first discovered it — by chance — several years ago.

It’s ten years now. I began curating it in 2007. We are celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.

Congratulations! How did you discover such an ideal spot?  And how did you come to manage its walls?

I used to pass it every day as I took my kid to school.  And it looked like the perfect spot to showcase graffiti. As I went about locating the owners of the adjacent building to secure permission to use the walls, I discovered that a friend of mine was one of the building’s owners. I was given one huge wall.

What was the initial response to your transformation of this space? How did the community react?

The response was wonderfully enthusiastic. The town’s officials couldn’t have been more positive. And soon I was invited to curate the entire space, not just one wall.

Among the many artists who’ve painted here, do any in particular stand out?

Among them: Serve, Bates, Hef, Med, Tats Cru, Poem, Sade, T-Kid, Wane

What have been some of your challenges in managing this space?

The artists themselves! They can be pompous and arrogant. All of the walls are buffed for them, and too many still need to be catered to.

I notice that you guys are buffing the walls now. What’s ahead? Are you getting ready for anything special?

Yes! We have a birthday barbecue coming up Saturday for Roz…our fifth annual one.

Who are some of the artists who will be painting at the birthday barbecue?

FliteServeWore, Jew, Pase, Python, Rocky 184, Gem 13

It sounds great! Have fun! And thanks for bringing so much vibrancy to Bergen County!

Images

1  Union Street Park curator and artist Darrius-Jabbar Sollas aka Nasty Neo

2  Staten Island-based Goal

3  Classic writer Sound7TC5

4  Graffiti legend Part One

5  The masterful Sade TCM

6  Doe of the RTH crew

Photo credits: 1, 4-6 Dani Reyes Mozeson; 2-3 Lois Stavsky; interview conducted by Lois Stavsky

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A strikingly beautiful mural has surfaced across the street from the Jersey City Municipal Court. Spearheaded by the Jersey City Mural Arts Program, it is the work of the incomparable duo, Werc and Gera Luz. Contemplating the theme of justice, it features Maat, the Egyptian Goddess of Justice. Pictured above are the two artists at work. What follows are additional photos — all captured on site by street and travel photographer Karin du Maire.

Gera Luz, posing beneath Maat — the Egyptian Goddess of Justice — whom she remarkably resembles!

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An admirer with a gift for Gera Luz

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Close-up featuring the weighing of the heart with a feather — that determined the fate of the departed soul

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Werc and Gera Luz pose in front of their completed mural

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Special thanks to Karin du Maire for capturing and sharing these images.

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On view in Jersey City through June 16 is DISRUPTION, an exhibit of politically and socially charged artworks by a diverse group of NJ-based artists. While visiting the exhibit at Jersey City Theater Center‘s Merseles Studios last week, I spoke to its curator, Allison Remy Hall .

Can you tell us something about the title of the exhibit — DISRUPTION?

Yes! It is part of a larger series of events and performances presented by Jersey City Theater Center that focus on the theme of rapid change — from the environment and climate to industries and social systems — that has resulted in a sense of “disruption.”  Lucy Rovetto, Jersey City Theater Center‘s Visual Arts Coordinator, invited me to curate this exhibit.

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What has the theme of DISRUPTION come to mean to you — in the course of curating the exhibit?

I originally thought of it as a disruption of norms and expectations — as most prominently evidenced by the results of the November election. But I’ve since been thinking more about the moral and spiritual disruptions that characterize our present times as a result of these changes. We have come to value things solely by their material worth.

How did you get the word out to the artists whose works are on exhibit here? While I’m familiar with Distort, Mr Mustart and Sam Pullin from their work on the streets, others here are new to me.

I reached out directly to some artists whose work I know and like, and Jersey City Theater Center launched an open call.


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Did curating this exhibit exact any changes within you — how you, personally, think about these issues?

I feel now that what we are facing is bigger than just a political challenge. It’s not simply about left and right; it’s about right and wrong.

How have people responded to the exhibit?

They’ve responded really well.  It has brought people together and has started a conversation.

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How do you — as an artist and curator with a strong social consciousness — feel about the role of art in these challenging times?

Art allows us to reclaim the narrative.  It is a means for us to transmit a message: We are humans and this is how we are being affected. Art has an essential role in these times.

How can folks see the exhibit before it closes on June 16th?

They can email me at info@nosucharts.com. And ongoing events are posted here.

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Note:  Merseles Studios, a venue of Jersey City Theater Center, is located at 339-345 Newark Avenue, 2nd floor.

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Several Newark-based graffiti artists, collectively known as The Artchitectz, have been busily transforming the inside of an abandoned football stadium in Newark into a boxing academy and — soon to be — educational facility. Operating in partnership with the City of Newark, the mission of the Ironbound Boxing Academy is: “Build your skills. Build your brand. Build your future.” On Saturday, February 4th, the Ironbound Boxing Academy — a component of Ironbound USA, founded by Gary Bloore — hosted an Open House celebrating the completion of phase one.  Pictured above is the work of Torch Fuego and Risky. What follows are several more images, captured by Rachel Fawn Alban, providing us with a glimpse into the interior of the Ironbound Boxing Academy.

Torch Fuego

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 Remi3 with the Ironbound Boxing Academy‘s mission

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Two young Ironbound Boxing Academy members “building their skills”

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Torch Fuego, as the Ironbound Boxing Academy readies for this year’s Paint for Pink

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Keith Colon, Gary BlooreObalaji Baraka & Torch Fuego

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Located at 226 Rome Street, The Ironbound Boxing Academy is open Monday 4:00 – 6:00pm; Tuesday – Friday: 4:00 – 7:30pm and Sat: 12:00 – 4:00pm.

Photos by Rachel Fawn Alban

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While visiting Hip-Hop Utopia: Culture + Community at Hudson County Community College‘s Dineen Hull Gallery this past Friday, I had the opportunity to speak to Michelle Vitale aka woolpunk who — along with Fred Fleisher — curated the wonderfully eclectic exhibit.

What a fabulous tribute to hip-hop this is! What would you say is the exhibit’s mission?

Its mission is to celebrate the culture of hip-hop. Its four elements —  MCing, Graffiti, DJing and Breakdancing — have had a huge, positive impact on today’s society. This exhibit is our way of paying tribute to these elements and to the community that has nurtured them.

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Did anyone or anything —  in particular — inspire it?

The notion of curating an exhibit on hip-hop was first suggested by Hudson County Community College Vice President Dr. Pando.  It seemed like a great concept, as I love the communal aspect of hip-hop. Among the many inspirations was music industry veteran Tony Drootin who serves on the board of  Hip Hop Public Health.

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Just what is Hip Hop Public Health? I see it is represented in this exhibit.

Based in NYC, Hip Hop Public Health uses music as a message to improve health literacy and encourage positive behaviors among school children.  Its founder and president, Dr. Olajide Williams, MDMS serves as Chief of Staff of Neurology at Columbia University Medical Center.  Among the artists involved in Hip Hop Public Health are: Doug E. FreshEasy A.D Harris and Jordan Sparks.

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Can you tell us something about some of your other partners? There are some great T-shirts on display here!

Among our partners is Chilltown Collective, an apparel and lifestyle brand based here in Jersey City. It was co-founded in 2015 by Lovelisa Dizon as a platform for “passionate creatives.”

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And there are quite a few bikes in the gallery!

Yes! We’ve partnered with both Grove Street Bicycles and Animal BikesGrove Street Bicycles is a nearby full-service shop that sells all kinds of bikes, accessories, clothing and shoes and handles all kinds of bicycle repairs. And Animal Bikes, owned by Ralph Sinisi, supplies bike parts for BMX street riding and also sells gear.

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What are some of the challenges you faced in curating an exhibit as multi-faceted as this one?

Once we knew what direction we wanted to go with the theme of Hip-Hop, everything came together easily. Our Karma has been great! We are showcasing works of noted established artists together with talented younger ones, several who are Hudson County Community College alumni. We have local DJ’s participating, as well as spoken-word artists.  We’ve planned a range of events open to the community.

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How has the response to the exhibit been?

We’ve been open just a few days, and the response has already been great.  We’ve been featured in the Jersey Journal and listed as one of the top 10 current attractions in Jersey City.

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How can folks see the exhibit?

Our opening reception takes place Tuesday evening, January 31, from 6-8pm. The exhibit continues through Tuesday, February 21 at 71 Sip Avenue 6th Floor. Gallery hours are: Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Admission is free and those who attend have a chance to win a graffiti-tagged, fat-tire bicycle donated by Grove Street Bicycles.

Michelle-Vitale

Congratulations! It’s looking great!

Images

1.  Raphael Gonzalez, The Art of the Throw Up! Giz

2.  Alex Melo, Diplomatic Immunity

3.  Yishai Minkin, Biggie

4.  Karlos Carcamo, One, Two Three… 

5.  Mr Mustart with Chilltown Collective, I free myself…

6. Freddy Samboy, two works suspended from ceiling; Grove Street BicyclesDonated Fat Tire Bikes and Videos courtesy  Grove Street BicyclesAnimal & Hip Hop Public Health

7.  Raphael Gonzalez, Danielle

8. Freddy Samboy, Breaking Free

9. Jeremy Coleman Smith, DJ Shrine with Michelle Vitale aka wool punk seated

Photos and interview 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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Recently in the news for setting the Guiness Book of World Records for the “latest spray paint mural by a team” with his Rio Olympic-inspired Ethnicities, self-taught Brzailian artist Eduardo Kobra has brought his extraordinary talents to Jersey City. Kobra’s rendition of pop icon David Bowie is the most recent addition to Jersey City’s more than 86 other public art works as part of the city’s Mural Arts Program launched in 2013 by Mayor Steven Fulop. This past Friday, a dedication ceremony was held at Jersey City’s Cast Iron Lofts where I had the opportunity to pose a few questions to the artist.

When did you first paint in an outdoor venue?

Ten years ago.

What inspired you to do so?

Everything I had seen and read about what was happening in New York City.

Can you tell us something about the first huge mural that you painted?

It was in Lyon, France. It was a tribute piece to immigrants in a building that was about to be dismantled.

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Approximately how many huge murals have you painted since?

Over 30 in more than 20 countries.

The figures you’ve painted range from pop icons like John Lennon and Bob Dylan to historical figures inlcuding Ghandi and Nelson Mandela. What inspired you to paint David Bowie here in Jersey City?

Bowie’s creativity and vision had always inspired me. I’d actually painted this portrait six years ago on a canvas, and I was delighted to have the opportunity to paint it here in Jersey City on such a tall building. It is my way of keeping his memory alive among people who embrace him.

What was the greatest challenge that you’ve faced these past two weeks since you began painting here?

The height of the building is intimidating! And the mural, itself, is 180 feet tall.

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How have folks responded to the mural?

They love it. The response has been overwhelming.

Congratulations! It is wonderful!

Interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky; photos by Sara Ching Mozeson

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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While exploring the streets in the vicinity of the PATH train’s Newport Station, I came upon a series of intriguing murals curated by Green Villain. Featured above is by Greetings Tour with Victor Ving. Here are several more.

Mr. Mustart

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Veer One and Tiper

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Nychos, close-up

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Key Detail

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Clarence Rich

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Jaek El Diablo

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Photo credits: 1, 2, 4-7 Lois Stavsky; 3 Tara Murray

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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mr-cee-and-seoz-paint-for-pink-graffiti-newark-nj

This past Saturday, Paint for Pink brought over two dozen artists and scores of folks of all ages to Abington Ave & 4th Street in Newark, New Jersey.  Here’s what Ironbound founder Gary Bloore and Newark-based Reme3 — his partner in this project, along with Torch Fuego — had to say about the event when I caught up with them on Sunday:

This is the second annual Paint for Pink here in Newark. What initially inspired this project?

We wanted to do something positive for my Lisa who is battling breast cancer.  And so we came up with the idea of painting names of people dear to us who have been affected by the disease.

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What — would you say — is the main mission of this project?

It is to educate and create awareness of breast cancer.

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How does this year’s Paint for Pink differ from last year’s event?  I notice that the location is far more accessible.

Yes. We chose a more visible site for it. And we added an educational and health element to it.

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You seem to have partnered with quite a few resources.

Yes! Newark Tech High School was engaged with the project through Ironbound, and Rutgers School of Nursing (RSN) brought their Children’s Health Project mobile unit to the event. Dozens of folks in the community who don’t have insurance were able to get general health examinations and breast cancer screenings.

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That’s quite impressive! And you seem to have engaged folks of all ages.

Yes. Many children joined in the fun, as well!

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What were some of the challenges presented by Paint for Pink?

Waiting for the permit! And successfully infusing the health and educational elements into it was also a challenge.

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To what do you attribute the obvious success of this year’s Paint for Pink?

That we connected to people who could make things happen!

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And thank you for making such an inspiring project happen!

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Images

1. Mr Cee, Seoz & Chubby Womak

2. Reme3 for Lisa

3. Mocks for his aunt, Tina

4. Ram, Ziren and Chek

5. Twerk for his brother, Alex, and for 17-year-old YaYi

6. Neighborhood kids against backdrop of artist to be identified and Spidee for his high school art teacher

7. Goomba, close-up, for his aunt

8. Torch Fuego and Elrizl

9. Reme3 and Ironbound founder Gary Bloore against backdrop by RamZiren and Chek

Photo credits:  3, 4, 6 & 7 Tara Murray; 1, 2, 5, 8 & 9 Lois Stavsky; interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky

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With their vibrant colors and seductive styles, the rotating walls in Hackensack’s Union Street Park tantalize.  Pictured above is T-Kid. Here are a few more captured yesterday:

Jew BT

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Part One TDS

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Rath

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Pase BT

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 Flite TDS

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Abe BT

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Photo credits: 1, 5 & 7 Dani Reyes Mozeson; 2-4 & 6 Lois Stavsky

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