New York City

La Maison d’Art, a lovely guesthouse on West 132 Street in Harlem, is also home to some intriguing art.  On exhibit in its indoor gallery through August 28 is “GETTING UP!” — the Evolution of Graffiti. Here is a small sampling of what is on display:

The legendary T-Kid, Back in Da Day, Acrylic spray on canvas

T Kid Back in da day In Harlem at La Maison dArt with T Kid, MRS, Oeno, Royce Bannon, Linus Coraggio and more

 King Trio, Acrylic spray on canvas 

t Kid graffiti king trio In Harlem at La Maison dArt with T Kid, MRS, Oeno, Royce Bannon, Linus Coraggio and more

MRS – whose works we’ve seen on the streets of the Bronx –Contact High, Acrylic and mixed media on canvas

MRS Contact High Mixed Media on canvas In Harlem at La Maison dArt with T Kid, MRS, Oeno, Royce Bannon, Linus Coraggio and more

French artist Oeno, Mechanical Child  Stencil, spray paint,  pencil, markers on canvas

Oeno In Harlem at La Maison dArt with T Kid, MRS, Oeno, Royce Bannon, Linus Coraggio and more

Harlem-based Royce Bannon aka Choice Royce, Everyday Hustle, Acrylic on oak (top left); Alone by Myself, and Ride or Die, Acrylic and spray paint on wood

Royce Bannon acrylic on wood edited 1 In Harlem at La Maison dArt with T Kid, MRS, Oeno, Royce Bannon, Linus Coraggio and more

And in the garden is a huge array of works in different media forged with found objects by the masterful Linus Coraggio.

Harlem sculpture In Harlem at La Maison dArt with T Kid, MRS, Oeno, Royce Bannon, Linus Coraggio and more

Close-up from huge mixed-media installation

La Maison recycled art In Harlem at La Maison dArt with T Kid, MRS, Oeno, Royce Bannon, Linus Coraggio and more

Also on exhibit in the gallery are works by Paul Deo,  Mathametics Patterson, Flygirrl and Ausm.  La Maison d’Art is located at 259 W 132 Street in Harlem.

Photos by Dani Reyes Mozeson  

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abstrk and Miss Reds graffiti street art NYC 2 004 East Coast Tour in Bushwick with Graffiti Artists: Abstrk, Miss Reds, Ewok, Duel, Ticoe, Jick, Aloy & more

Last weekend, the walls in Bushwick on Moore and White Streets became the canvas for Miami-based oo4′s East Coast tour. Here is a sampling of what was seen:

Ewok 5MH

Ewok graffiti letters NYC 004 East Coast Tour in Bushwick with Graffiti Artists: Abstrk, Miss Reds, Ewok, Duel, Ticoe, Jick, Aloy & more

Duel RIS

Duel MCI RIS graffiti Bushwick NYC 004 East Coast Tour in Bushwick with Graffiti Artists: Abstrk, Miss Reds, Ewok, Duel, Ticoe, Jick, Aloy & more

Ticoe

Ticoe graffiti NYC 2 004 East Coast Tour in Bushwick with Graffiti Artists: Abstrk, Miss Reds, Ewok, Duel, Ticoe, Jick, Aloy & more

Jick

Jick graffiti Bushwick NYC 004 East Coast Tour in Bushwick with Graffiti Artists: Abstrk, Miss Reds, Ewok, Duel, Ticoe, Jick, Aloy & more

Jick graffiti NYC 004 East Coast Tour in Bushwick with Graffiti Artists: Abstrk, Miss Reds, Ewok, Duel, Ticoe, Jick, Aloy & more

Miss Reds at work and more

abstrk graffiti Bushwick NYC 004 East Coast Tour in Bushwick with Graffiti Artists: Abstrk, Miss Reds, Ewok, Duel, Ticoe, Jick, Aloy & more

Aloy

Aloy graffitiNYC 004 East Coast Tour in Bushwick with Graffiti Artists: Abstrk, Miss Reds, Ewok, Duel, Ticoe, Jick, Aloy & more

First photo is of Abstrk and Miss Reds. All action photos by Tara Murray; all others by Dani Reyes Mozeson

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Born in Argentina and now based in Brooklyn, Lucia Reissig is a young photographer and artist with a deep passion for street art and documenting the streets. I met her in late spring in Bushwick when I was interviewing the Argentinian artist Cabaio, whom she had photographed at work earlier that day.  We met again last week at Exit Room, and I had the opportunity, this time, to find out a bit about her.

lucia reissig cabaio new york Lucia Reissig on Photography, Street Art, Community and more

When did you first become interested in photography?

I was 12 years old and living in Buenos Aires.  I had told my mother’s friend that I was interested in photography, and he gave me a camera. It was a 35 mm Canon.

And then what happened?

I didn’t know what to do with it. And so I took my new Canon to a camera store, and the shop owner installed film for me and set it on “Automatic.” He said, “Just shoot!” So that’s what I did! And I fell in love with the art form at once.

Did you ever study photography on a formal basis?

Early on, I began visiting photographers’ studios, and I started taking classes with them. The classes were informal – with no more than five students in a class.

cabaio street art NYC Lucia Reissig on Photography, Street Art, Community and more

What — would you say — is photography’s appeal to you? What is it about this art form that so engages you?

With a camera in hand, I feel that I am somewhat in control of my environment. And it allows me to create compelling narratives. I am obsessed with paradoxes – and recording them.

What brought you to New York City?

I felt a strong need to challenge myself and get out of my comfort zone.

How has living here affected you and your passion for photography?

I quickly found myself seeking other Spanish speakers and other immigrants. And the streets became even more important to me. I see public spaces as a reflection of society.

Lucia Reissig Rockaways Lucia Reissig on Photography, Street Art, Community and more

And what about street art?  You’ve documented hundreds of images. When first I met you, you had just finished photographing Cabaio at work over at the Bushwick Collective and you seem to be quite involved over here at Exit Room – one of my favorite spaces. What is the appeal of street art to you?

It serves as both a mirror of society and as a perfect expression of resistance. I love the way the artists take ownership of the streets, and their work on city streets looks amazing. Street art has the power to change a city – visually and psychically. It also makes art accessible to people who wouldn’t otherwise see it. It’s an always-open free museum. And documenting the art I discovered on these streets – along with its people – saved my life!

Have you any favorite artists who work on the streets?

Among my favorite ones are: Cabaio, Iena Cruz, Werc and Ever.

Lucia Reissig Lucia Reissig on Photography, Street Art, Community and more

What’s ahead for you?

Since coming to NYC, I’ve become more aware – than ever – as to the importance of community. There is a lack of community here, and there is a need for more alternative spaces where people can come together to create and to share. I am beginning an informal series of workshops on photography – similar to the ones I attended back in Buenos Aires. They are on a pay- what-you-can basis. I can be contacted at lucia.reissig@gmail.com.  And on a personal level, I am continuing a series I began earlier focusing on immigrant life here in NYC.

Interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky. Photos by Lucia Reissig.

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 Sheryo and the Yok: From the Jungles of Java to Krause Gallery on Manhattans Lower East Side

Two of our favorite artists, Sheryo and the Yok, have been busy — learning the ancient technique of Batik in Indonesia’s jungles of Java. The Yok reports that that he and Sheryo ”rode motorbikes around and spent two months in a small village in Java” creating one-of-a-kind works on fabric.  Opening tomorrow evening, Friday, August 1st, 7-9pm, at Krause Gallery on Manhattan’s Lower East Side is “Nasty Goreng,” featuring  a selection of these hand-made Batik artworks.

 Sheryo at work

Sheryo at work Sheryo and the Yok: From the Jungles of Java to Krause Gallery on Manhattans Lower East Side

Hoodbat Party

 Sheryo and the Yok: From the Jungles of Java to Krause Gallery on Manhattans Lower East Side

 Piña Colada Java Dreams

Sheryo and the Yok Pina Colada Java Dreams  Sheryo and the Yok: From the Jungles of Java to Krause Gallery on Manhattans Lower East Side

Fish Spray Spray

 Sheryo and the Yok: From the Jungles of Java to Krause Gallery on Manhattans Lower East Side

Krause Gallery is located at 149 Orchard Street near Rivington.  And for a more intimate look at it all, check out this wonderful video.

 All images courtesy of the artists.

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Speaking with Tone MST

July 18, 2014

Characterized by bold strokes and a vigorous flow, Tone MST‘s graffiti surfaces mostly in Brooklyn.  Lenny Collado aka BK Lenny had the opportunity to interview him earlier this year:

Tone graffiti mural NYC Speaking with Tone MST

When and where did you start getting up?

I was in the sixth grade back in 1992. I was making my own markers at the time and practicing on 200-page packs of paper that I used to rack from the corner store. I had to make my own markers because I was dead broke.

How did you make your markers?

I took men’s Brute deodorants, popped off the balls and emptied the containers. I then filled the containers with ink.  I cut up my school’s black board erasers to serve as felt tips.  It was markers until ’94. That’s when I started street and train bombing.

Did you have any preferred surfaces back then?

I liked the train ads in the subway stations, because I would write on them smoothly with my home-made markers.

Tone graffiti art Speaking with Tone MST

Any major influence at the time?

My major influence at the time was Ski MST. He was rolling with writers and he got me acquainted. I was a loner for the most part. He got me to rack paint, and we would vibe off each other for style. We would rack cans on Steinway Street and go to the freight yards to empty out the cans.

Any particularly memorable events?

There was nine of us — Ski MST, Dope, Neke, Cloke, Vare, Pane and a couple of others. We all set out to do a lay-up in the tunnel between 36th street and Queens Plaza and video tape it. One of us hid the paint and a video camera in a sandbox where the tunnel workers kept their supplies. We scoped out the station for a while before setting out on the mission.

How did you guys get into the tunnel?

Some of us through the hatches on the streets above and some through the station.  We started catching wreck on the two trains that had parked between the stations. As everybody’s painting them, Pane, Cloke and me went to the other car and started on some bubble letters. Just as we started, one of the train’s lights turned on and began to move into the station. I saw too that the police had made their way down towards us.

Tone graffiti with character NYC Speaking with Tone MST

So what did you do?

We bounced. When I got out of that station, I must have run about a mile before my lungs gave in from the burn. It was a thrill like no other, and I enjoyed it. I loved bombin’!

Were you in any crews at the time?

I only push MST.

What was the attitude of your parents and your friends towards what you were doing?

My mother hated it, so I lied to her. I built a compartment in my closet to keep supplies. She would find my cans and throw them out. My friends would always point out how dirty I was.

Tone tag1 Speaking with Tone MST

Any thoughts on the graffiti/ street art divide?

It’s a thin line. Both project the same language and image, but they take different avenues. It’s like a GPS. All get to the same point, but through different avenues. The concept of graffiti needs to be explained to people who don’t understand it. Street art is a different entity. I like when the two are combined, like what Shepard Fairy and Cope do when they collaborate. I will say that street art is an extension of graffiti. It originated from graff.

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

I think it’s dope! It’s progress — a positive thing. My gallery, though, is the streets. But if a gallery asks, “Hey, Tone, can you put a show together?” I’m flattered and take it as a step forward.

Do you prefer working alone or collaborating with others?

Both! When I started bombing early on, I would do so alone with my Walkman on. I would listen to WKCR with Bobbito Garcia and Stretch and Tag. At one point, I was a vandal. They called me a vandal. But I didn’t get up as much as I wanted to. I didn’t do it to get status. I didn’t go all city, but I love what I did. It was who I was.

tonegraffiti Brooklyn NYC Speaking with Tone MST

Did you have a formal arts education?

I never pursued art school.

What is the source of your inspiration?

I’m inspired by Hip-Hop – rhyming and making beats.

Any particular artists who inspired you?

My influences are Hush, Gaze, Sub 5 and Emit of Sports Crew, MQ and Frantic and Free5. Giz from Queens also made impact on me. And there was Teck BS, Smith & Pink, Ve, Slash and Web13.

ToneMST graffiti Speaking with Tone MST

Do you work with a sketch in hand or do you do free hand?

It’s fifty, fifty. It depends on the situation.

What are your thoughts on the Internet in all of this?

The Internet is a tool, a means to communicate. Someone in Australia can get a look at what you’re doing here in NYC. But I think that graffiti has also been exploited because of it. It wasn’t meant for the masses, and the Internet made it accessible to everyone.

How has your work evolved throughout the years?

I’ve improved and honed my techniques. My pieces have gotten better.

TONE MST graffiti Greenpoint NYC Speaking with Tone MST

Are you generally satisfied with your work?

I’ll say there’s always space for improvement.

Interview conducted by Lenny Collado and edited by Lois Stavsky. Photos 1 (collab w/KA), 3, and 4 (combo) courtesy of the artist;  2 (collab w/UR New York), 5 & 6 by Lois Stavsky; 7  (collab w/Shiro and Yes One) by Dani Reyes Mozeson

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Speaking with Billy Mode

June 10, 2014

A master of bold, abstract graffiti-inspired art that fuses elements of mathematics, science and design, Baltimore-based Billy Mode is a frequent visitor to NYC. Here he has graced walls in Brooklyn and in Queens with his strikingly stylish aesthetic, often in collaboration with fellow Baltimore native Chris Stain. I recently had the opportunity to speak to the talented artist:

Billy Mode Chris Stain street art nyc Speaking with Billy Mode

When and where did you first get up?

It was around 1984-85 in Baltimore. I was 11 or 12.

Who or what inspired you at the time?

Most of my friends at the time were older than me.  My friend Eric Meek and I went to see Beat Street at the Grand Theatre in Highlandtown when it first came out. We were so hyped that we were doing backspins and such in the theatre while the movie was playing! Soon after, Eric got hold of a copy of Subway Art by Martha Cooper and Henry Chalfant. I’ve been grateful for these two introductions to the movement ever since.

Had you any preferred surface or spot at the time?

When I first began, it was mostly alleyways with Pilot markers and spray paint. But I soon moved on to rooftops. It was fun and I quickly became addicted to the adventure of it all.

Billy Mode paints at the Bushwick Collective Speaking with Billy Mode

Were you ever arrested back then?

I was caught bombing a bus. But nothing major happened. I got community service.

How did your family and friends feel about what you were doing?

My folks were cool. I was basically a “good kid.”

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

There is a divide, but I don’t think about it. If it’s good, it’s good. It doesn’t matter whether it’s graffiti or street art.

Billy Mode Chris Stain Brooklyn NYC Speaking with Billy Mode

What about the movement of street art into galleries?

I’m fine with it. I’ve been exhibiting in galleries since the mid 90’s. Galleries offer us artists a different way to share our art.

Why do you suppose graffiti is held in higher esteem in Europe than it is here?

Arts in general are more celebrated there. Plus I think the hip-hop culture is embraced differently In Europe. It is viewed more positively.

Do you prefer working alone or collaborating with others?

I enjoy both. Collaborating is fine — so long as I don’t have to compromise too much and lose too much of my own concept. Collaborations can’t be forced.

Chris Stain and Billy Mode street art at the Bushwick Collective Speaking with Billy Mode

Your collabs with Chris Stain are among our favorite pieces. Is there anyone else with whom you’d like to collaborate?

I’ve thought about collaborating with Joe Iurato and Rubin. To me a good collaboration is when the works balance each other out. One of my favorite exchanges was with one of my best friends, Pat Voke. He always made me want to push my limits and seek out deeper meanings in the work process. I hope to collaborate with him again.

What inspires you these days?

Letter forms continue to inspire me; structures, in general, inspire me. When I sit down to work, I try to expand on what I’m developing — so it continues to grow. My graffiti background influences my desire to be inventive and contribute to the movement.

Are there any particular cultures that have influenced your aesthetics?

They’re not quite cultures, but I’m increasingly influenced by the fusion of mathematics and science.

Billy Mode street art NYC Speaking with Billy Mode

Do you work with a sketch in hand or do you just let it flow?

These days I do have a sketch in hand which helps with the layout. When I do a more traditional graffiti style, I prefer freestyling it.

Are you generally satisfied with your work?

About 80% of the time!  I’m always looking to improve.

What do you think of the role of the Internet in all of this?

We live in the future. Information travels faster than ever which, I think, allows for exponential growth. I do enjoy seeing artistic developments happening daily. But I have noticed that regional styles have been diluted. The grass roots of graffiti culture have been slowly changing, and so have the rules of etiquette.

Billy Mode Outdoor Gallery NYC Speaking with Billy Mode

Do you have a formal arts education?

I do have a BA from Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), but I always credit my graffiti background as my formal training. I’ve been very fortunate to have good friends to learn from and grow with.

What’s the riskiest thing you’ve done?

Bombing in daylight on super visible spots!

What are some of your other interests?

Sleep, and when I’m not injured, skating pools.

What’s ahead?

I intend to do more murals and conjure mathematic visual formulas into reality. I will keep on expanding!

Interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky; photos 1. At Welling Court in Astoria, Queens with Chris Stain by Lois Stavsky; 2. At the Bushwick Collective by Dani Reyes Mozeson; 3. In Cobble Hill, Brooklyn with Chris Stain and Cre8tive YouTH*ink members — based on a Martha Cooper photo by Lois Stavsky; 4. At the Bushwick Collective by Dani Reyes Mozeson; 5. At the Bushwick Collective by Lois Stavsky; 6. At 17 Frost for OutDoor Gallery book launch by Lois Stavsky

Keep posted to our Facebook page for images of Billy Mode’s new mural, done in collaboration with Chris Stain, for the 5th Annual Welling Court Mural Project, opening this Saturday, June 14.

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The following guest post is by Rachel Fawn Alban, a NYC-based photographer, arts educator and regular contributor to untapped cities.

 Meres and Zimad in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn

Yesterday afternoon, Jonathan “Meres” Cohen and Zimad — whose talents graced the walls of 5Pointz for over a decade — were busy at work near the J Train’s Halsey stop painting a mural for 3rd Eye Sol. Founded by artist Jose Castillo3rd Eye Sol hosts exhibits and events and offers free workshops and children’s arts programming. Here are a few images of the artists and their wonderful work:

Meres at work

 Meres and Zimad in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn

Zimad at work

 Meres and Zimad in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn

Meres and Zimad together

 Meres and Zimad in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn

Completed piece

Meres and zimad graffiti NYC Meres and Zimad in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn

All photos by Rachel Fawn Alban

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Located at 5-25 46th Avenue in Long Island City — just minutes from Manhattan — the Fridge Art Fair has much to offer us street art aficionados. Here’s a sampling:

John Matos aka Crash presented by Dorian Grey Gallery

Crash John Matos graffiti on car Fridge Art Fair in Long Island City with Crash, Cosbe, Deps1, Cody, Youth Waste, Alone One and more

Cosbe

Kosbe Fridge Art Fair NYC Fridge Art Fair in Long Island City with Crash, Cosbe, Deps1, Cody, Youth Waste, Alone One and more

Deps1

deps1 painting Frdge Art Fair Fridge Art Fair in Long Island City with Crash, Cosbe, Deps1, Cody, Youth Waste, Alone One and more

Cody and Youth Waste

Cody and Youth Waste at Fridge NYC Fridge Art Fair in Long Island City with Crash, Cosbe, Deps1, Cody, Youth Waste, Alone One and more

Alone One with the The Sticker Social Club aka the Secret Sticker Club

Alone dfm Fridge Art Fair NYC Fridge Art Fair in Long Island City with Crash, Cosbe, Deps1, Cody, Youth Waste, Alone One and more

The Sticker Social Club aka the Secret Sticker Club  – under the curatorial direction of Cosbe

social sticker club Fridge Art Fair in Long Island City with Crash, Cosbe, Deps1, Cody, Youth Waste, Alone One and more

Conceived by Eric Ginsburg, whose portraits of pets are on display at the fair’s Dorfman Projects booth, the Fridge Art Fair  – now in its second year —  presents an eclectic array of art in all media and styles. It continues through Sunday with live art and performances throughout, as well as pets for adoption today and tomorrow!

Photos by Dani Reyes Mozeson and Lois Stavsky

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maya street art mural NYC 2 Maya Hayuk Brings her Sumptuous Visual Rhythms to Houston and Bowery in Lower Manhattan

With luscious colors and spirited strokes, Maya Hayuk has brought her distinct visual rhythms to the wall on Houston Street and the Bowery in Lower Manhattan.

Earlier on

Maya Hayuk street art NYC Maya Hayuk Brings her Sumptuous Visual Rhythms to Houston and Bowery in Lower Manhattan

Maya takes a break

maya Hayuk at Houston and Bowery Maya Hayuk Brings her Sumptuous Visual Rhythms to Houston and Bowery in Lower Manhattan

Close-up of completed wall 

Maya street art mural NYC Maya Hayuk Brings her Sumptuous Visual Rhythms to Houston and Bowery in Lower Manhattan

The completed mural with its delicious drips

Maya Hayuk public art NYC Maya Hayuk Brings her Sumptuous Visual Rhythms to Houston and Bowery in Lower Manhattan

Photos by Dani Reyes Mozeson

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Woodward Gallery launched its 20th Anniversary in early January with the group exhibition Sur-Real, a fantastical foray into the subconscious. And, alongside such notable artists as Margaret Morrison, Robert Rauschenberg, James Rosenquist and Andy Warhol, are some of our favorites who continue to maintain a presence in our streets. Here’s a sampling of what can be seen at 133 Eldridge Street on Manhattan’s Lower East Side through February 22nd:

NoseGo, Daily Spontaneous Excursions

Nosego artwork at Woodward Gallery NYC Sur Real at Woodward Gallery with NoseGo, Kosby, Buildmore, Kenji Nakayama, stikman and more

Kosby, Knee Deep

Kosby painting Woodward Gallery Sur Real at Woodward Gallery with NoseGo, Kosby, Buildmore, Kenji Nakayama, stikman and more

Thomas Buildmore, A Funeral for Both of Us

Buildmore painting at woodward gallery Sur Real at Woodward Gallery with NoseGo, Kosby, Buildmore, Kenji Nakayama, stikman and more

Kenji Nakayama takes us inside Albert Einstein’s mind

Kenji Nakayama stencil art Woodward Gallery NYC Sur Real at Woodward Gallery with NoseGo, Kosby, Buildmore, Kenji Nakayama, stikman and more

And stikman is encaged

stikman street art character at Woodward Gallery Sur Real at Woodward Gallery with NoseGo, Kosby, Buildmore, Kenji Nakayama, stikman and more

Photos of artworks by Lois Stavsky

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