NYC

BXFoxx JMZ Walls Bushwick street art nyc Speaking with <em>JMZ Walls</em> Founder and Curator Alberto Mejia

“Helping to make the JMZ lines more colorful one wall, one gate, one space at a time,” JMZ Walls continues to bring a diverse range of first-rate street art and graffiti — by both local and global artists — to South Bushwick. I recently had the opportunity to speak to its founder, Alberto Mejia.

When was JMZ Walls first launched?

In the fall of 2014.

What spurred you to initiate it?

I’d been living in Bushwick – off the JMZ lines – for 20 years. In the past several years, I saw positive changes in in other parts of Bushwick that I didn’t see happening here.

Thia govaldi and 17 matrix jmz walls bushwick nyc Speaking with <em>JMZ Walls</em> Founder and Curator Alberto Mejia

And many of these changes are directly related to the art that had begun surfacing on the streets.

Yes! My vision was to bring street artists, graffiti writers and muralists to my end of Bushwick. And I didn’t think that these genres should be kept separate from one another.  Why shouldn’t graffiti writers share space with street artists and muralists?

I agree! And the visual impact of JMZ Walls has been great. How did you go about getting walls for artists?

I know many of the building owners. At first I started asking for gates, and soon the owners were offering walls to me.

for jmz walls bushwick street art nyc Speaking with <em>JMZ Walls</em> Founder and Curator Alberto Mejia

Who were some of the first artists to paint for JMZ Walls?

The first piece was by a German graffiti writer, Byond.  He was followed by Queen Andrea, Claw Money and Dasic Fernandez.  I was inspired by Queen Andrea, in fact, to dedicate an entire block — Lawton Street — to female artists!

How do you decide which artists to include?

I’m interested in giving opportunities to local graffiti artists who haven’t had all that many occasions to paint in legal spots. And I love hosting talented artists from abroad who are seeking a space to paint.  I also like giving opportunities to artists who don’t generally paint in public spaces.

kes jmz walls graffiti bushwick Speaking with <em>JMZ Walls</em> Founder and Curator Alberto Mejia

Yes! I was introduced to several artists – including BK Foxx – through JMZ Walls. How has the local community responded to JMZ Walls?

Families have been very appreciative, and the kids love the art. I often hear them saying, “That’s cool!” when they pass by.

Yup! You have certainly enlivened this end of Bushwick! It’s worth a ride on the J, M or Z line out here just to see these walls you’ve curated! I’ve done it often! What – would you say – has been your greatest challenge?

My greatest challenge has been financing it. Supplies and paints are expensive, and artists’ budgets are often limited. You can find out here how you can help support us through our recently launched GoFundMe Campaign.

spraycam street art jmz walls Speaking with <em>JMZ Walls</em> Founder and Curator Alberto Mejia

Thank you for all that you’ve done for the community and for all of us street art and graffiti aficionados. We look forward to what’s ahead for JMZ Walls.  And good luck with your GoFundMe Campaign.

Images

1. BK Foxx

2. Brazilian artists Thiago Valdi & l7m

3. Rio de Janeiro-based  Marcelo Ment

4. Kesta 

5. Montreal-based Philippe Mastrocola aka Spraycam

Photo credits: 1 & 2 Tara Murray; 3-5 Lois Stavsky; interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky

Note: Hailed in a range of media from Wide Walls 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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Sticker art NoLita NYC NYC Sticker Art — Part V: Rx Skulls, Chris RWK & K Nor, Todd Colby, Nany Coy, Bines, RAE BK and more

This is the fifth in a serious of occasional posts documenting the range of stickers — from the playful to the political — that surface on NYC public spaces. The one pictured above by Rx Skulls was spotted on the Lower East Side. Here are several more:

Unidentified artist on the Upper West Side

Upper west side sticker art nycjpg NYC Sticker Art — Part V: Rx Skulls, Chris RWK & K Nor, Todd Colby, Nany Coy, Bines, RAE BK and more

Chris RWK and K-Nor on the Lower East Side

robots will kill sticker art nyc NYC Sticker Art — Part V: Rx Skulls, Chris RWK & K Nor, Todd Colby, Nany Coy, Bines, RAE BK and more

Todd Colby with a question in Chelsea

Todd colby sticker nyc NYC Sticker Art — Part V: Rx Skulls, Chris RWK & K Nor, Todd Colby, Nany Coy, Bines, RAE BK and more

Colombian artist Nany Coy in East Harlem

nanny Coy rat sticker East Harlem NYC Sticker Art — Part V: Rx Skulls, Chris RWK & K Nor, Todd Colby, Nany Coy, Bines, RAE BK and more

Bines on the Lower East Side

Bines sticker art NYC Sticker Art — Part V: Rx Skulls, Chris RWK & K Nor, Todd Colby, Nany Coy, Bines, RAE BK and more

RAE BK in Bushwick

rae sticker bushwick NYC Sticker Art — Part V: Rx Skulls, Chris RWK & K Nor, Todd Colby, Nany Coy, Bines, RAE BK and more

Trump — with creative Nazi insignia — spotted on the Lower East Side; artist to be identified 

trump as nazi NYC Sticker Art — Part V: Rx Skulls, Chris RWK & K Nor, Todd Colby, Nany Coy, Bines, RAE BK and more

A political statement on the Upper West Side

political sticker NYC NYC Sticker Art — Part V: Rx Skulls, Chris RWK & K Nor, Todd Colby, Nany Coy, Bines, RAE BK and more

Photos by Lois Stavsky

Note: Hailed in a range of media from Wide Walls 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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Hektad and Urbanimal Repurposed art Fat Free Art <em>Bizarre Bazaar</em>: A Found Art Exhibit at Fat Free Art with Hektad, Urbanimal, Raphael Gonzalez, Tomaso Albertini, What Will You Leave Behind, Icy and Sot, Bianca Romero, SacSix, JPO, Suckadelic & more

An extraordinary array of found objects have been transformed into intriguing repurposed art for Fat Free Art‘s first annual Bizarre Bazaar.  Pictured above is Hektad‘s American graffiti flag looming over Urbanimal‘s table. Here are severel more works from this stylishly imaginative exhibit.

Raphael Gonzalez, An Ciana

raphael gonzalez photo repurposed fat free art <em>Bizarre Bazaar</em>: A Found Art Exhibit at Fat Free Art with Hektad, Urbanimal, Raphael Gonzalez, Tomaso Albertini, What Will You Leave Behind, Icy and Sot, Bianca Romero, SacSix, JPO, Suckadelic & more

Tomaso Albertini, Butterfly Effect, huge segment of framed piece

Thomas albertini repurposed fat free art segment <em>Bizarre Bazaar</em>: A Found Art Exhibit at Fat Free Art with Hektad, Urbanimal, Raphael Gonzalez, Tomaso Albertini, What Will You Leave Behind, Icy and Sot, Bianca Romero, SacSix, JPO, Suckadelic & more

What Will You Leave Behind, Worth Nothing

What will you leave behind repurposed fat free art <em>Bizarre Bazaar</em>: A Found Art Exhibit at Fat Free Art with Hektad, Urbanimal, Raphael Gonzalez, Tomaso Albertini, What Will You Leave Behind, Icy and Sot, Bianca Romero, SacSix, JPO, Suckadelic & more

Icy and Sot, Let Her Be Free

icy and sot repurposed fat free art <em>Bizarre Bazaar</em>: A Found Art Exhibit at Fat Free Art with Hektad, Urbanimal, Raphael Gonzalez, Tomaso Albertini, What Will You Leave Behind, Icy and Sot, Bianca Romero, SacSix, JPO, Suckadelic & more

Bianca Romero, The Muse Says — to the right of  Hektad‘s spray cans — and shoes designed by SacSix on shelf below

hektad bianca romero and sacsix repurposed art <em>Bizarre Bazaar</em>: A Found Art Exhibit at Fat Free Art with Hektad, Urbanimal, Raphael Gonzalez, Tomaso Albertini, What Will You Leave Behind, Icy and Sot, Bianca Romero, SacSix, JPO, Suckadelic & more

JPO, 3 of a Kind

JPO repurposed fat free art <em>Bizarre Bazaar</em>: A Found Art Exhibit at Fat Free Art with Hektad, Urbanimal, Raphael Gonzalez, Tomaso Albertini, What Will You Leave Behind, Icy and Sot, Bianca Romero, SacSix, JPO, Suckadelic & more

Suckadelic, Pussy Grabs Back

suck lord repurposed fat free art <em>Bizarre Bazaar</em>: A Found Art Exhibit at Fat Free Art with Hektad, Urbanimal, Raphael Gonzalez, Tomaso Albertini, What Will You Leave Behind, Icy and Sot, Bianca Romero, SacSix, JPO, Suckadelic & more

The exhibit continues through March 4 at Fat Free Art, 102 Allen Street on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. It is open Tuesday – Saturday 11AM-7PM & Sunday 12PM-5PM,

Photos by Lois Stavsky

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

en play badge 2 <em>Bizarre Bazaar</em>: A Found Art Exhibit at Fat Free Art with Hektad, Urbanimal, Raphael Gonzalez, Tomaso Albertini, What Will You Leave Behind, Icy and Sot, Bianca Romero, SacSix, JPO, Suckadelic & more

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Dasic Fernandez and Rubin415 street art Yoav Litvin on <em>2Create: Art Collaborations in New York City</em>

Penned by photographer, writer, neuroscientist and street art aficionado, Yoav Litvin, 2Create: Art Collaborations in New York City is a distinctly elegant ode to the art of collaboration. Recently released by Schiffer Publishing, it was formally launched last month at the Bronx Museum of the Arts alongside a collaborative photography exhibit, 2gether: Portraits of Duos in Harlem and the South Bronx by Litvin and Tau Battice. A textual and visual documentation of the creative and collaborative process among nine pairs of artists, 2Create also presents first-hand accounts of each one’s early life and work.

Dasic Fernandez and Rubin415 paint Yoav Litvin on <em>2Create: Art Collaborations in New York City</em>

Featuring such duos from NYC-based Al Diaz and Jilly Ballistic to the Iranian brothers Icy and Sot, 2Create: Art Collaborations in New York City showcases a broad range of styles, sensibilities and processes. It also introduces us to the specific locale — from Manhattan’s Union Square Subway Station to a Greenpoint, Brooklyn rooftop — of each of the collaborative works featured. With its astute insights and superb design, it stands out among the dozens of street art-related books published last year.

bunnyM and Square paint street art Yoav Litvin on <em>2Create: Art Collaborations in New York City</em>

bunnyM and Square street art Yoav Litvin on <em>2Create: Art Collaborations in New York City</em>

After reading the book, I posed a few questions to Yoav:

Your first book, the highly acclaimed Outdoor Gallery: New York City, focused largely on individual artists. Why did you decide to focus on duos in this book? 

In contrast to other art forms, such as music or dance, the visual arts involve a more solitary practice. Painters are famous for being hermits: closing themselves off from the world in their studios where they paint their masterpieces. At least, that’s the popular narrative. I feel that because the visual arts are easily commodified and objectified, they have evolved in such a way.  While I was working on Outdoor Gallery, which focuses on 46 individual artists, I noticed several duos of street and graffiti artists who produced incredible works, and I was fascinated by their practices. In 2Create I seek to investigate the art and practice of collaboration in different mediums — collage work, screen printing, stenciling, graffiti and mural making. My goal with 2Create is twofold: to present the behind-the-scenes processes of these artists and to investigate the secrets of collaboration, with the ultimate aim of encouraging others to create together. Just like any skill, collaboration needs to be practiced!

Dain and Stikki Peaches Yoav Litvin on <em>2Create: Art Collaborations in New York City</em>

How did you decide which duos to feature in 2Create?

My process with 2Create was mostly democratic. I was looking to present a diversity of styles, messages, mediums and locales. I am cognizant and weary of the politics involved in the arts and attempted to focus on artists that I felt were doing radical, innovative work and were constantly challenging themselves. Throughout my research on collaborations, I discovered there were two major categories that lie on a continuum — from complementary collaborations – individual works presented side by side – to integrative, a single piece that seamlessly integrates the work of two artists. I chose nine duos that present the full spectrum.

Icy and Sot Yoav Litvin on <em>2Create: Art Collaborations in New York City</em>

Icy and Sot paint Yoav Litvin on <em>2Create: Art Collaborations in New York City</em>

What insights did you, yourself, gain into the collaborative process, particularly among visual artists?

Collaboration is a skill that should be practiced by any visual artist as part of his/her development. Collaboration is an exciting and stimulating process that can produce immense growth if approached correctly, but can be very challenging at times. An artist needs to respect and trust his or her collaborator and be willing to be adaptable and open to critique. The collaborative process can open new doors for an artist  – in techniques, messages, ideas and human connections that can be useful moving forward.

ASVP 2Create Yoav Litvin on <em>2Create: Art Collaborations in New York City</em>

The book, itself, is masterfully designed. Can you tell us something about that? 

For the design I worked with the designer Dan Michman, who is also an excellent childhood friend. It was important for me that every aspect of this project be collaborative. Dan is the best designer I know, plus I like him a lot and knew from experience that we’d collaborate well. Our process was incredible. Dan took my materials — images and texts — along with my notions on the artistic process and on collaboration, and created a stunning design “language” for the book. It was a truly integrative collaborative process. I could not be happier with the way it turned out. Plus, the cover design is simply stunning. Lastly, Schiffer Publishing did a great job in the book’s production.

2Create cover Yoav Litvin on <em>2Create: Art Collaborations in New York City</em>

How has the response been to 2Create?  Is there any particular readership you’d like to reach?

The response has been overwhelmingly positive. In addition to appealing to the street art and graffiti fan crowd, my hope is that 2Create will integrate as a text book for art schools, colleges and universities. I believe the behind-the-scenes process shots, the revealing interviews and the insight into the art of collaboration make it a unique resource for artists in general, and visual artists in particular. But 2Create is more than a book on art. It is a document that presents the collaborative duo as the basic unit of a collective humanity in which empathy and collaboration trump disregard and domination. In an era of the cult of celebrity, war and climate change, collective action is not only beneficial, it is necessary. 2Create expresses these radical notions and I hope it will serve to inspire activists fighting for the greater good.

For more listen to Yoav speak on Counterpunch Radio here.

Images

1 & 2 Rubin and Dasic 

3 & 4 Bunny M and Square 

5  Stikki Peaches and Dain

6 & 7 Icy & Sot

ASVP

All images © Yoav Litvin

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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sara erenthal art on piano Sara Erenthal Gives New Life to Discarded Objects on Park Slope Streets

A self-taught, multi-disciplinary artist, Sara Erenthal has a strong presence on the streets of Park Slope, Brooklyn. We recently spoke.

You’ve established quite a presence here on the streets of Park Slope. What keeps you coming back?

There is a lack of public art in Park Slope, and there seems to be a hunger for it. Folks here have been so receptive to what I am doing. They seem excited to have something interesting and different to look at.  Park Slope is where I am living these days, and so it’s easy for me to get around either by foot or by bike.

sara erenthal street art nyc Sara Erenthal Gives New Life to Discarded Objects on Park Slope Streets

With the exceptions of the walls you are commissioned to paint, your canvas is almost always some type of discarded object. Why is that?

Since folks take many of my works home with them, I feel that I am saving trash from ending up in landfills. Also – what I am doing is not illegal. I cannot take the legal risks of doing unsanctioned artworks that could land me with a fine, time in jail or both.

sara erenthal upcycled art nyc Sara Erenthal Gives New Life to Discarded Objects on Park Slope Streets

You almost always seem to be drawing faces. Can you tell us something about them?

They are variations of myself – subconscious portraits. Growing up in a cloistered ultra-Orthodox world, I was limited to just one hairstyle. The changes in the hairstyles represent the changes in myself.

sara erenthal mural art Sara Erenthal Gives New Life to Discarded Objects on Park Slope Streets

I’ve noticed folks stop and often photograph you while you are drawing.  Do any particular interactions with passersby stand out?

Yes! Recently a woman ran after me as I was rushing out of my house — in my pajamas — to the local health food store to buy some ginger. I was sick at the time. She asked me if she could bring her father – a huge fan since he had seen my work on a mattress — to meet me. He showed up almost instantly for his daughter to snap a photo of the two of us  – with me decked in my pajamas!

sara erenthal public art work park slope nyc Brooklyn Sara Erenthal Gives New Life to Discarded Objects on Park Slope Streets

In addition to your work on found objects, you’ve also painted on a range of sanctioned surfaces this past year. Any particular challenges? Any favorites?

Painting on a shuttered gate was definitely a challenge as I generally paint on flat surfaces. Among my favorites is the artwork that I painted at D’Vine Taste.

sara erenthal street art Park Slope Sara Erenthal Gives New Life to Discarded Objects on Park Slope Streets

Yes! I love the stark simplicity of the white on black. It’s beautiful! And what about the piano? How did that become your canvas?

A local pre-school threw it out last spring with a sign “Free piano.” Six months later it was still there. I asked then for permission to paint it. And I love that it is still there! I feel as though I gave it a new life.

sara erenthal make art from your heart NYC Sara Erenthal Gives New Life to Discarded Objects on Park Slope Streets

You did! What’s ahead? 

I am now preparing for a solo show to open at FiveMyles Gallery at 558 St Johns Place on March 9 from 6-9pm. And later in the spring, I will be exhibiting my work at Google’s New York site in Chelsea. An outdoor mural in Gowanus is also on the horizon.

I’m looking forward to it all! Good luck!

Photo credits: 1-5 & 7 Lois Stavsky; 6 Tara Murray; interview conducted and edited 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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Viajero mixed media 2016 A Visit to <em>Home, Memory, and Future</em> at Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institutes (CCCADI) New East Harlem Home

While visiting CCCADI’s inaugural exhibit in its new East Harlem home, I had the opportunity to speak to one of its curators, Regina Bultron-Bengoa

Just what is CCCADI?

The Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute is a multi-disciplinary arts center that showcases and promotes the distinct contributions of African Diaspora cultures.

How would you define its mission?

Through arts, education and activism it strives to advance change by uniting the various cultures of the African Diaspora, while promoting their value.

Viajero installation close up A Visit to <em>Home, Memory, and Future</em> at Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institutes (CCCADI) New East Harlem Home

When was it originally established?

Dr. Marta Moreno Vega founded it in 1966 as a center where African and Native cultures of Caribbean and Latin American countries could be recognized and honored. Its first home was on East 87th Street and its last home was in a brownstone in Hell’s Kitchen.

Can you tell us something about its present locale here in this landmark space on East 125 Street in East Harlem?

A few years back, several shuttered landmark firehouses were offered to cultural institutions. With city and state support, nine million dollars were raised to renovate this particular historic one for CCCADI, and on September 16, 2004, we broke ground.

Scherezade Garcia Sea of Wonder 2016 A Visit to <em>Home, Memory, and Future</em> at Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institutes (CCCADI) New East Harlem Home

Who is its audience?

We have a wide audience from students and educators to arts professionals to families. We offer a huge range of free or low-cost exhibits, workshops and activities.

Your inaugural exhibit, Home, Memory, and Future is quite impressive. It is divided into three distinct parts.

Yes. Part I: Harlem: East and West features the works of three acclaimed photographers who have been documenting Harlem since the 70’s. Part II: Harlem and Home in the Global Context showcases artworks that suggest how cultural traditions are used to establish “home” in distant places. And Part III: Mi Quirido Barrio (My Beloved Community) – focusing on the social history of El Barrio — takes place outdoors and in cyberspace, using augmented reality. Among its themes are: migration, nostalgia for the past. gentrification and looking to the future.

che memorial wall east harlem nyc A Visit to <em>Home, Memory, and Future</em> at Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institutes (CCCADI) New East Harlem Home

Can you tell us some more about the outdoor element of the exhibit?

Yes. It features locations of importance within the social history of El Barrio. Among these are memorial walls painted on the streets – whose history is documented on a free mobile app, Blippar. Through augmented reality, the app allows us to bring the past to life.

That is quite amazing! How has the response been to CCCADI‘s new home and inaugural exhibit?

The response has been great. There were long lines for the fall opening, and folks who see it love the art and identify with it.

Chino Chan Memorial Mural El Barrio NYC A Visit to <em>Home, Memory, and Future</em> at Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institutes (CCCADI) New East Harlem Home

How can folks contact CCCADI if they would like to visit or become involved?

They can email: info@cccadi.org

Images 

1 & 2 Adrian “Viajero” Roman, Mixed media, 2016

3  Scherezade Garcia, Sea of Wonder, Mixed media, 2016

4 & 5 Oliver Rios & Luis Martinez, Memorial Walls, as seen on the Blippar app while on site

Photo credits: 1-3 Lois Stavsky; 4-5 Courtesy CCCADI

Interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky

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bio tats cru the art of peace <em>The Art of Peace</em> Opens Tonight at Avant Garde with Bio, Jerms, Danielle Mastrion, Murj, Hef, Stem and more

Curated by Lady K Fever and Kate StorchThe Art of Peace opens this evening from 6-10pm at Avant Garde on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. An art show and benefit in celebration of the NY Peace Coalition’s 6th Annual Peace December, it features the visual reflections of 31 artists on the theme of peace. Pictured above was painted by Bio, Tats Cru. Here are several more:

Jerms

jerms art of peace <em>The Art of Peace</em> Opens Tonight at Avant Garde with Bio, Jerms, Danielle Mastrion, Murj, Hef, Stem and more

Danielle Mastrion

danielle mastrion <em>The Art of Peace</em> Opens Tonight at Avant Garde with Bio, Jerms, Danielle Mastrion, Murj, Hef, Stem and more

Murj, close-up

murj the art of peace <em>The Art of Peace</em> Opens Tonight at Avant Garde with Bio, Jerms, Danielle Mastrion, Murj, Hef, Stem and more

Hef

Jamie Hef the art of peace <em>The Art of Peace</em> Opens Tonight at Avant Garde with Bio, Jerms, Danielle Mastrion, Murj, Hef, Stem and more

And Stem, YNN on a political note

stem political art <em>The Art of Peace</em> Opens Tonight at Avant Garde with Bio, Jerms, Danielle Mastrion, Murj, Hef, Stem and more

Curators Lady K Fever and Kate Storch in the gallery window — where there will be live painting tonight

Lady K Fever Kate storch curators <em>The Art of Peace</em> Opens Tonight at Avant Garde with Bio, Jerms, Danielle Mastrion, Murj, Hef, Stem and more

And if you can’t make it tonight or would like to return, the exhibit continues through New Years Day.

Peace Decembeer flyer <em>The Art of Peace</em> Opens Tonight at Avant Garde with Bio, Jerms, Danielle Mastrion, Murj, Hef, Stem and more

Photos: 1-4, 6 & 7 Lois Stavsky; 5 courtesy of Lady K

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.

en play badge 2 <em>The Art of Peace</em> Opens Tonight at Avant Garde with Bio, Jerms, Danielle Mastrion, Murj, Hef, Stem and more

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dain portrait 1 DAIN Solo Exhibit Continues at <em>Fat Free Art</em> on the Lower East Side

Showcasing established artists, as well as emerging ones, Fat Free Art recently opened in an elegantly gritty space on the corner of Allen and Delancey on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. A dazzling solo exhibit presenting new works by the ever-ingenious Dain has inaugurated the space. Here is a sampling:

dain gallery 1 DAIN Solo Exhibit Continues at <em>Fat Free Art</em> on the Lower East Side

Several more of Dain‘s distinctly beguiling women

dain collaged figure DAIN Solo Exhibit Continues at <em>Fat Free Art</em> on the Lower East Side

dain portrait 720 1 DAIN Solo Exhibit Continues at <em>Fat Free Art</em> on the Lower East Side

dain gallery wide viewJPG 2 DAIN Solo Exhibit Continues at <em>Fat Free Art</em> on the Lower East Side

 And on the street — Allen and Delancey — with Cost & more

dain street art nyc  DAIN Solo Exhibit Continues at <em>Fat Free Art</em> on the Lower East Side

Closer-up

dain closeup slant 1 DAIN Solo Exhibit Continues at <em>Fat Free Art</em> on the Lower East Side

The exhibit – produced in partnership with Street Art Direct — remains on view at 102 Allen Street through January 9.

All photos by Tara Murray

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rae bk new years eve  New RAE BK Exhibit, <em>All Systems Go</em>, to Launch New Years Eve with DJ Kool Herc at 99 Bowery

NYC’s prolific RAE BK will join forces with the legendary DJ Kool Herc at 99 Bowery on New Year’s Eve for an unprecented event. A brief interview with RAE BK about his new exhibit  and its New Years Eve launch follows:

This sure seems like a fun way to spend New Years Eve! What spurred you to do this? 

After everything that has gone on with this Presidential Election in the US, I decided the best way to bring in a 2017 is with a bang.  I hope it’s a way to at least turn the page for an evening for those who attend. The name of the exhibition is All Systems Go and it centers around the comparison of discarded objects and human beings.

What kinds of works can we expect to see? On the streets we’ve spotted everything from your stickers to your huge installations?

There will be about 40 pieces ranging from ‘found object’ sculptures to large scale canvases to paintings on paper.  These are works I have made over the course of eight months.  And what better way to say goodbye to 2016 than to have a living legend, the Father of Hip-Hop, DJ Kool Herc, to bring some bass and get people moving later on?

rae couple  New RAE BK Exhibit, <em>All Systems Go</em>, to Launch New Years Eve with DJ Kool Herc at 99 Bowery

Can you tell us something about the found objects that you have been working with? Where did you find them?

A lot of the parts I have collected and used to make the work have come from an area in Willets Point. Queens, NYC.   It’s about a 10- block section full of “chop shops,” huge pot holes and some really weathered people. The feeling is third-world for sure. For someone looking at it from the outside — like me — it’s like the land of the forgotten.  Mechanics look like they’ve put in a week’s straight worth of doing car repairs. Others are selling drugs and looking to turn tricks. The work I have created is as much a reflection of the materials as it is of the environment.  A lot of rusted metals, worn fabrics and scraps of plastics… Think “pop-artifacts.”

What was it like to work with these objects?

While working in my studio, I kept seeing the worn and weary faces of the people I encountered in the weathered parts. I adopted the philosphy of making the best of the materials you are given.  And these materials came from the people of Willets Point. People there do what they have to do to make a living. Whatever it takes. The interesting thing is that for all the rusted, decayed, crushed pieces I found, I also found stuff that had a nice gold or silver shine or burst of color that created a cool high-end, low-end quality to the finished pieces.

RAE Red Hook Receyled edited 1  New RAE BK Exhibit, <em>All Systems Go</em>, to Launch New Years Eve with DJ Kool Herc at 99 Bowery

How can one attend All Systems Go on New Years Eve?

Opening night will be a ticketed event with open bar and music spun on vinyl by DJ Kool Herc.  I will be giving away a small original piece of work just before midnight too. You can get tickets here.

And if we can’t make it to the New Years Eve opening, will we still be able to see your show?

Yes! The show will run for at least another week after that. Check my Instagram for updates.

Interview by Lois Stavsky; photos 2 & 4 from NYC streets, 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.

en play badge 2  New RAE BK Exhibit, <em>All Systems Go</em>, to Launch New Years Eve with DJ Kool Herc at 99 Bowery

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 SVA invite handball Roger Gastman on <em>Wall Writers: Graffiti in Its Innocence</em> and Its December 9th NYC Premiere  at SVA

Focusing on legendary writers of 1967 – 1972, Wall Writers is a comprehensive, feature-length documentary on graffiti “in its innocence.”  Conceived and directed by Roger Gastman and narrated by legendary filmmaker John Waters, its NYC premiere will take place this Friday evening at SVA Theatre.  A brief interview with Roger Gastman follows:

You’ve authored several key books on graffiti and have been deeply involved in its culture. What spurred your initial interest in graffiti? And how old were you at the time?

I was 13 years old and living right outside of Washington DC. A lot of my friends all had tags, and I needed to have one also. It was all around me. Everyone was doing it, and if you went downtown, you saw it everywhere. Names like COOL “DISCO” DAN covered the streets and the metro walls.

Your current project — Wall Writers – is an extraordinarily comprehensive documentation of the early days of graffiti. What motivated you to undertake this project?

I was working on the History of American Graffiti book with Caleb Neelon and I honestly got sick of everyone BSing the year they started writing. I knew enough about the history to know when I was talking to legit people and not. I figured so many of these people have never told their stories I might as film them. I had no intention of this film. I was just documenting.

ROCKY 184 and STITCH 1. Circa 1972. Photo courtesy of ROCKY 184 Roger Gastman on <em>Wall Writers: Graffiti in Its Innocence</em> and Its December 9th NYC Premiere  at SVA

Can you tell us something about the process? How long did you work on it? What were some of the challenges you encountered?

I worked on the film on and off for 7 years. But it feels like my entire life. On projects like these some of the hardest part is finding photos and footage and other pieces of the puzzle that help you tell your story. The process would usually be to let it take over my life for 2-4 weeks at a time then go back to real life for a few months and dive back in. I could still be digging – but had to call it at some point. I know there is more out there and I hope someone discovers it.

How has the response to Wall Writers been?

So far we have had packed theatres everywhere. It’s been awesome. People have really enjoyed the film. We are even doing a show at the MCA Denver in February where we bring the book and film to life.

BAMA poses in front of his painting Orange Juice at the Razor Gallery. 1973. Photos by Herbert Migdoll. Roger Gastman on <em>Wall Writers: Graffiti in Its Innocence</em> and Its December 9th NYC Premiere  at SVA

Wall Writers is premiering here in NYC at SVA Theatre Friday night. What can we expect? 

Friday is the big NYC premiere. I am very excited to finally show NYC the film. We will have most all of the NYC cast from the film there including TAKI 183, SNAKE 1, MIKE 171, SJK 171 and so many more. Come out and support!

It sounds great! And, yes, we’ve been waiting for it here in NYC!

Note: A pre-signed 350+ page companion book will be available for purchase. Tickets to Friday’s NYC premiere are still available here.

wall writers at SVA Roger Gastman on <em>Wall Writers: Graffiti in Its Innocence</em> and Its December 9th NYC Premiere  at SVA

Interview by Lois Stavsky; featured images include:

2. Rocky 184 and Stitch 1, circa 1972, courtesy Rocky 184

3. BAMA posing in front of his painting “Orange Juice” at the Razor Gallery, 1973, photo by Herbert Migdoll

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