NYC

Maya Gelfman & Roie Avidan have been working in public spaces, museums and galleries for more than a decade. Maya’s works have been featured in international art books in Germany and France, and in 2015 Paper Magazine named Maya among the top ten street artists in Israel. Roie has produced documentaries and music videos and published photographs in dozens of newspapers and magazines, print and online. Their collaborative worldwide public-art project Mind the Heart! is entering its tenth year. This past fall, their project brought them to New York City, where I had a chance to meet up with the inspiring, talented couple.

Can you tell us a bit about your backgrounds?

Maya: I’ve always been doing art. I graduated from the Shenkar College of Engineering and Design in 2006. My main mediums are installation, painting and street art.

Roie: I am self-taught. I’ve been engaged with visual art for the past 14 years, and nine years ago, I began doing art on the streets. Our work is collaborative, as I generally choose the materials, the concept and the location.

What about your current project Mind the Heart!? What is its mission?

Its principal aim is to promote mindfulness – to ourselves, to our surroundings and to the moment. Many of us – especially those of us who live in the same place for a long time — no longer see the beauty and tend to ignore the ugliness. Too often we become disconnected from one another and miss out on the present.

A little red heart has been surfacing in cities you’ve visited. What does it represent?

This tangled red heart – crooked and messy with dripping ends — is the core of our project. We began by using it on the streets of Tel Aviv to mark the beauty in decay and neglect, the order in chaos, the magic in the ordinary, the soul in things. We’ve since handed out thousands of red yarn hearts along with a simple mission: to go and put it out there, to mark your own spots of significance and share them with the world.

Why did you both choose to use the streets as your principal gallery?

We had both shown in galleries, and we wanted to exhibit in a different way. In 2009, we printed hundreds of posters and placed them on the streets. Within 12 hours, everything was gone. We immediately fell in love with the connection we made with those who viewed our art. We love that street art is completely free.

You are now visiting cities throughout the US. Which cities have you previously visited to share your artwork and to engage people in your project?

We’ve visited various cities throughout Israel. Among the 40 cities we’ve collaborated in are: Florence, London, Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam and Bangkok. We were also invited to orphanages in Kenya and Uganda.

What is the riskiest thing you’ve ever done in the course of executing your project? And why were you willing to take that risk?

Standing on a wobbly 15 foot ladder at a hotel in Florence. The ladder could have fallen at any moment. There was no sense of security. Why did we do it? We just didn’t think about it. It was something that we had to do…something that we needed to do at this time and place.

Are there any particular cultures that have influenced your aesthetic, particularly this project?

The culture of the American Beat Generation; the notion of “the open road,” and its sense of freedom; Japanese motifs; texts inspired by Taoism; major Russian literature; rock & roll; Kurt Cobain and Leonard Cohen.

What inspires you these days?

Anything and everything!

Have you ever been arrested for your public work?

When we are caught in the act, it becomes a conversation.

What is the attitude of your families and friends towards what you are doing?

They are supportive.

What percentage of your time is devoted to art?

100%

In addition to your tangled red heart, what other media do you use in Mind the Heart!

We use yarn, shoe-box lids, duct-tape and foam.

Are you generally satisfied with your finished product?

The vast majority of the time.

What do you see as the role of the artist in society?

To evoke an emotion…to make someone feel something…to invite people to reflect…to make them mindful.

And how can folks become involved in your project?

They can contact us with ideas for places, people, collaborations, events, murals, and any creative or serendipitous idea they may have.

Locations of  featured images:

1 Bushwick, Brooklyn

2 East Village, Manhattan

3 & 4 Decatur, Georgia

5 Tel Aviv, Israel

6 Jekyll Island, Georgia

7 Easton, Pennsylvania 

Interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky.

Photo credits: 1 Lois Stavsky; 2-7 courtesy Maya Gelfman & Roie Avidan.

Note: You can follow the Mind the Heart! project here and on its Instagram account here; you can, also, support the project here.

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My latest adventures with Nic 707‘s famed InstaFame Phantom Art project had me riding the 1 train from the Bronx to the Financial District with several NYC graffiti veterans, along with some newer talents. Pictured above is an image of Salvador Dali fashioned by veteran writer Gear One. Several more images captured on this ride follow:

The legendary Taki 183 in collaboration with Nic 707

Brazilian artist Micheline Gil and Nic 707

Canadian artist Stavro and the renowned Easy

Legendary writers Al Diaz and Taki 183

Bronx graffiti veteran Tony 164

Photos by Lois Stavsky

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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Among the most intriguing walls in Manhattan’s Chelsea are those on 28th Street between 7th and 8th Avenues. Fashioned by members of the FIT community, they can be viewed 24/7. The alligator pictured above was painted by FIT Illustration Professor Dan Shefelman and the mysterious character to its right by Victor A. Saint-Hilaire. Here are several more images captured this past week on that block:

 Charles George Esperanza and Victor A. Saint-Hilaire

Aesopslucy

Yuchen Zhao, close-up

Avocadot and Victoria White

Sandrine KT StLouis aka Lady Brown

Photos by Lois Stavsky

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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This is the twelfth in a series of occasional posts featuring the art that has surfaced on NYC shutter and gatess:

The legendary Greg Lamarche aka SP.ONE up in East Harlem with the 100 Gates Project

Brooklyn-based multidisciplinary artist Omer Gal in Bushwick

Brooklyn-based muralist Danielle Mastrion in Hamilton Heights

Brooklyn-based Matthew Stavro on the Bowery

Queens-based Free5 at Welling Court Mural Project

Photos by Lois Stavsky

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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This is the fourth in a series of politically and socially conscious images that have surfaced on NYC streets:

Chilean artist Otto Schade takes on gun violence in Chinatown — with East Village Walls

Shepard Fairey aka Obey Giant on the High Line

Colombian artist Praxis on the Lower East Side

Brooklyn-based Adam Fu and Dirty Bandits in Bushwick

Myth NY takes on Thanksgiving in Bushwick

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

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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Representing a diverse range of styles and sensibilities, several new murals have surfaced at First Street Green Art Park on the corner of Houston & 2nd Avenue.  The image pictured above was painted by Bangkok native Gongkan. What follows are several more:

NYC-based Sean Slaney and Angry Red

NYC-based Ryan Consbruck aka Special Robot Dog

Queens-based Brittany

Alexandra Evans (L) and Poem One (R)

Will Power at work on LOVE YOUR SELFie

Photos by Lois Stavsky

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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Launched in 2015 by SVA graduates Justin Aversano and Travis Rix, the non-profit SaveArtSpace has already transformed 66 advertising spaces into sites for public art in New York City, Miami, Los Angeles, Louisville and now Golden, Colorado.

Located at 650 West 46th Street in Hells Kitchen, the billboard featured above was designed by Brooklyn-based illustrator Feifei Ruan.  And, along with original artworks by local artist Sadie Starnes and NYC-based Israeli visual artist Meytar Moran, it can, also, be seen in Street Smart, an exhibition currently on view at the SVA Chelsea Gallery — with a special reception next Thursday, November 30th, 6-8pm.

Beginning December 4th SaveArtSpace will be bringing more public art to New York City, showcasing artists on advertising spaces throughout the area. Works by the selected artists will also be exhibited at The Living Gallery Outpost, with an opening reception on December 13, 2017. What follows is a sampling of what you can expect to see there:

 Brandon Sines — known to us street art aficionados as Frank Ape, Social Media Isn’t Always Social

Brooklyn native Angela Alba, Pink Pool

Brooklyn-based Felipe Posada, ‘Can’t Wear My Mask…

And if you are interested in submitting your art for future Save Art Space projects, check this link out.

All images courtesy SaveArtSpace

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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Featuring music, art, video and performance, Women To The Front is an immersive experience celebrating and showcasing women in the art world. Curated by Zoe Croci and Sara Catalan, it presents a range of works in a variety of media by over 30 female artists, many who are familiar to us street art aficionados. Pictured above is by Brooklyn-based multidisciplinary artist Gigi Bio. Other featured artists include:

Philadelphia-based digital artist Makeba Laurent does Lauryn Hill

Japanese painter Mina Hamada

Paris-based Daniela Yohannes, Oculus Sea

NYC-based performance artist Terry Lovette

FAITH XLVII and Dane Dodds, directors, AQUA REGALIA HONG KONG 2017, still from video 

The event — whose mission is “to inspire and empower new female-identified generations and anyone who enjoys good art” — takes place this Thursday evening, November 16, at Superchief Gallery, 1628 Jefferson Ave. in Ridgewood, Queens. There will also be a special premiere of “Dumb Dumb” music video featuring talented female rapper Cipherella directed by Zoe map, along with live art and complimentary drinks. Free to Arts Club members, admission is $10.

All images courtesy Zoe Croci

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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In his wonderfully handsome and poignant exhibit, Too Young for Type One, Appleton has created an alternative universe in a range of media that not only delights us aesthetically, but provides us with an entry into the world of a diabetic.  Currently on view from 1-9pm at the Tenth Avenue Gallery, 287 Tenth Avenue at 26th Street, Too Young for Type One ends with a closing reception this Wednesday, November 15th from 6-10pm. What follows are several images I captured on my recent visit:

Appleton with one of his many perturbingly powerful installations

The End, Part One, Photographic transfer / Archival 27″ x 27″

A New Hero Emerges (the Tin Man as Diabetic), Mixed media / Found work 40″ x 28″

Appleton with his Insulin Tree

A small segment of “Too Young for Type One”

Photo credits: First image courtesy Appleton; 2-6 Lois Stavsky

Note: The exhibit is open today, Sunday, until 9pm.

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When Don Rimx began painting his portrait of Nuyorican poet Jesús “Tato” Laviera last month, I had the opportunity to speak to the poet’s sister, Ruth Sanchez Laviera. “Don Rimx represents my spirit and my brother’s spirit,” she said. “As soon as I met him, I knew he was the one to paint a mural honoring my brother.” And last Saturday, Oct. 28th, after the mural was officially unveiled at Taino Towers and 123rd Street was renamed for Jesús “Tato” Laviera, I posed a few questions to Rimx:

Your mural depicting Jesús “Tato” Laviera is wonderful. When were you first offered the opportunity to paint his portrait?

I was contacted about a year ago.

Can you tell us a bit about your process? What steps did you take to make this happen?

I began by reading or watching every interview I could find that had been conducted with Jesús “Tato” Laviera. I spent time at Hunter College’s Centro: The Center for Puerto Rican Studies reading Jesús “Tato” Laviera‘s poetry and whatever literature and criticism I could find by him and about him. I came to understand and appreciate just how important a voice he was in the Nuyorican movement. I even had the opportunity to  live in the same apartment in Taino Towers that Jesús “Tato” Laviera lived in and to speak to many folks who knew him.

How about the painting itself? How long did it take you?

I worked 12 hours a day for five days.

And the mural unveiling, along with the renaming of this corner? What was the experience like for you?

It was wonderful! I feel so blessed to have experienced it all. Among the speakers were City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Maria Cruz, executive director of Taino Towers. There was also a poetry reading, along with reminiscences by family and friends.

Congratulations!  We are so happy that this opportunity came your way. It’s great to have your vision and talents shared with us — once again — here in NYC.

Photos: 1 & 2 Lois Stavsky; 3 & 4 courtesy of the artist; featured in the third photo are: Ruth Sanchez Laviera to the left of  Don Rimx and Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito to his right

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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