public art project

Underhill Walls — a  model grassroots project in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Prospect Heights —  has once again morphed. This time it is a canvas for 17 diversely enchanting murals reflecting the theme Urban Jungle. While visiting it last week, I had the opportunity to pose a few questions about Underhill Walls— its origins and more — to its indefatigable curator, Jeff Beler.

Underhill Walls continues to bring so much intrigue and beauty to this neighborhood. When did this project first begin?

The first set of murals surfaced here — at St. Johns Pl. and Underhill Avenue — back in the fall of 2015.

How were you able to access these walls? The concept is brilliant. It reminds me of the Centre-fuge Public Art Project that for years transformed an East Village eyesore — a neglected DOT trailer — into a rotating open-air street art gallery.

I live nearby, and I had been eyeing those walls for 10 years. They’d been ravaged by a fire, and they’d been neglected. I eventually contacted the owner of the three-floor abandoned building who was open to the concept of beautifying the property.

And then what? How did the actual transformation take place?

I started to put a team together. The first step was to build panels. And the first artists to participate in the project back in 2015 were: UR New York, Fumero, Badder Israel, Raquel Echanique, Col Wallnuts and Sienide.

Did you collaborate with any organizations at the time?

For our first project, we coordinated with the non-profit Love Heals. Titled “What’s Your Sign? Mural Project,” our first project’s mission was to raise public awareness for the HIV/AIDS crisis among  Black and Latino youth.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced in seeing this project through these past few years?

Selecting artists with the right chemistry to work together. When that happens, everything flows smoothly and beautifully. And this is exasctly how “Urban Jungle” played out.

How often do the murals change?

Twice a year. Every May and October. Since 2015, we’ve had nine rotations.

What’s ahead?

So long as the panels are here, we will be here! And each project will continue to reflect a distinct theme.

Fabulous!

Images

1  Oscar Lett

2  Justin Winslow

Ralph Serrano (L) and Giannina Gutierrez (R) 

4  Jaima and Marco Santini collaboration

5  Nassart

6  Jeff Beler

7  Android and Miishab collaboration

8  Majo

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

Keep posted to StreetArtNYC Instagram for more recent images from Underhill Walls.

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.

en-play-badge 2

{ 0 comments }

Presented at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2018 and continuing though March 30 is Red Crown Green Parrot, a public art project by Kashi Gallery — conceived and fashioned by Jerusalem-based artist Meydad Eliyahu, a descendant of Malabar Jews, in collaboration with Dubai-based Thoufeek Zakriya, a Muslim who was born and raised in Kochi. I recently had the opportunity to speak to Meydad about this impressive project.

First, can you tell us something about the project’s title — Red Crown Green Parrot? What is its significance?

The title is inspired by the themes of the crown and the parrot which frequently appear in the  cultural expressions  of Malabar’s Jews — such as women’s folksongs, illuminated Jewish marriage contracts and synagogue decorations.The parrot is also a symbol of the storytelling in ancient local literature and culture.

What is the project’s principal mission? 

The presence of the Malabar Jews has almost completely disappeared — not only from Mattancherry’s physical space, but also from its collective memory. The project’s primary missions are to preserve the memory of Malabar Jews and to shed light on the loss of the unique multicultural dialogue that characterized Mattancherry in the past.

How did you go about trying to accomplish this?

Through a public intervention of a series of paintings and calligraphic wall works in Malayalam, English and Hebrew. The project is a walking route through the neighborhood that the Jews once lived in,  It includes a demolished cemetery with only one tomb left in an abandoned synagogue from the 14th century, along with several other hidden sites.

What were some of the challenges you encountered in seeing the project through?

We were uncertain as to how local residents would react to our reawakening a memory of a chapter that had ended 70 years ago. We did not know if and how they would accept it and whether they would want it to play such a prominent role in their present-day visual lives. That was one challenge.  Another challenge was  securing permission to work on the walls that we wished to use. That was something we couldn’t do until we arrived. But Thoufeek and I were determined to overcome any obstacles that came our way.

How have the city’s residents and visitors responded to the project?

Our most generous partners were the local residents. They welcomed us with great warmth and enthusiasm. When we were hesitant to put the first brush stroke on the first wall, they prodded us to start painting. Some helped us choose the right motifs and helped us secure walls; others helped with ladders and assisted with the clean-up. And we feel that we accomplished our mission.

“I’ve been living in Kochi for over 40 years, and this is the first time I’m seeing and learning about the Malabari Jewish sites,” commented one of the local residents.

Note: Created and performed in ‘Jew Town’, the historical Jewish urban area of Mattancherry, Kochi, India, Red Crown Green Parrot was supported by the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture and curated by Tanya Abraham.

Interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky; all photos courtesy Meydad Eliyahu

{ 0 comments }

Today, Saturday, June 9th, marks the ninth anniversary of the extraordinary community-driven Welling Court Mural Project, conceived and curated  by Ad Hoc Art. While visiting yesterday, travel and street photographer Karin du Maire aka Street Art Nomad captured several artists at work, as well as a few completed murals. Pictured above is the wonderfully talented Queen Andrea at work. Several more images follow:

John “Crash”  Matos — posing in front of his mural, based on a painting of his from 1980

Lmnopi

Joel Artista and Marc Evan at work on collaborative wall with Chris Soria

Netherlands-based Michel Velt at work

Cey Adams

KingBee at work

Peat Wollaeger aka Eyez

Herb Smith aka Veng, RWK, alongside his mural

Celebrate the launch of this model community-based mural project from 12pm – 8pm today at 11-98 Welling Court in Astoria, Queens. Check here for directions.

Photos by Karin du Maire

{ 0 comments }

Since 2015, Wooden Walls has been bringing a diverse range of first-rate local, national and international artists to the boardwalk of Asbury Park, a small — but vibrant — seaside city on the Jersey shore. The image pictured above was designed and painted by West Coast-based artist Mike Shine. What follows are several more Wooden Walls murals recently captured by arts educator and photographer Rachel Fawn Alban:

The mysteriously beguiling NYC-based Dee Dee

Asbury Park-based multidisciplinary artist Porkchop

Brazilian artist Thiago Valdi

With West Coast native Beau Stanton painted above

Beau Stanton, up close

Photos by Rachel Fawn Alban

{ 0 comments }

made-street-art-nyc

The intersection of Underhill Avenue and St Johns Place was the place to be these past two weekends. Under the curatorial direction of Frankie Velez and Jeff Beler, over a dozen artists shared their talents, while delighting and engaging hundreds of passersby. The mural pictured above is the work of MADE.  Here are several more:

Another Biggie, this one by SacSix, with co-curator Frankie Velez to the right

sac-six-street-art-nyc

Allison Ruiz and Vanezza Cruz at work

soledad-art-and-byducon-street-art-nyc

Albertus Joseph at work

albertus-joseph-street-art-Brooklyn

 JT Liss

JTLiss-photo-art-street-art-nyc

Ariana Febles

Ariana-Febles-street-art-nyc

Chris RWK

ChrisRWK-street-art-nyc

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.

en-play-badge 2

{ 0 comments }

nether-street-art-baltimore_edited-1

While visiting Baltimore, we met up with Richard Best aka Xxist over at the Creative Labs — a DIY incubator for artists and creative entrepreneurs housed in a huge warehouse designed from up-cycled materials. There we had the opportunity to find out a bit about the city’s SectionI Project that he had founded.

Can you tell us something about the SectionI Project? Just what is it?

It is a non-profit dedicated to utilizing urban art to enrich our lives.  Among its missions is to provide artists with opportunities to produce and promote vibrant, progressive and creative forms of urban art, while serving and enriching their communities. 

How do you go about accomplishing this?

To do this, we seek vacant, underutilized and derelict sites and we work on transforming them into vibrant venues and cultural centers.  Among the key projects we are working on is the development of a huge urban art park in the heart of Baltimore, between Station North Arts and Entertainment District. This Section1 Urban Art Park will not only provide nearby communities with a much-needed recreational park, but also serve as a cultural center for the entire city of Baltimore.

nether-street-art-mural-baltimore

When and how did this project first begin?

It began in September 2012, while I was enrolled in Design Leadership — a dual masters program between Johns Hopkins Carey Business School and Maryland Institute College of Art. Upon graduation, I was provided with $10,000 in seed funding from Maryland Institute College of Art’s LAB Award. This seed funding was utilized to establish Section1 Inc.

This huge space we are visiting now — the Creative Labs — is a wonderful showcase for urban art — both outdoors and indoors — and provides space for artists to work, as well.

Yes. There are a range of work spaces, including those for woodworking and photography. One of our missions is to provide artists with studio space. Space of this kind is essential in meeting the growing needs of today’s multidisciplinary artists. Upon completion, the Labs will feature a wide variety of resources including a green screen, cyclorama, fab-lab, art gallery, design studios, conference room, paint booth, dark room, washout booth, art storage and over 5,000 sq. ft. of communal space.

corban-lundborg-mural-art-baltimore

That’s quite impressive! How do you get the word out on what you have to offer artists?

It’s largely organic. Artists speak to one another and let each other know. We also advertise on Craigslist.

What you’ve done here is quite amazing. What are some of your biggest challenges?

One of our greatest challenges has been identifying the property owners of potential spaces. It is often quite difficult to track down who owns a space.

pablo-machioli-alfredo-segatori-street-art

And what about funding all of this? How do you do it?

We are always looking to expand our team by engaging talented volunteers.

On the grounds here there is work not only by local artists such as Nether and Pablo Machioli, but by international artists, as well.

Yes! And through a partnership with Urban Walls Brazil, several Brazilian artists — including Mateu Velasco and Mateus Bailon — have painted here.

mateu-velasco-street-art

How can folks contact you? To obtain more information? To visit? To become engaged in Baltimore’s SectionI Project?

They can reach me at Richard@section-1.org. They can also check us out on Instagram and visit our site online.

It’s looking great! Good luck with it all!

bailon-streetl-art-baltimore

Note: The Creative Labs is located at 1786 Union Ave in Baltimore, MD.

Images

1. & 2. Baltimore-based Nether, close-up from huge mural on the grounds of the Creative Labs

3. South Africa-based Corban Lundborg painted inside the Creative Labs

4. Baltimore-based Pablo Machioli and Buenos Aires-based Alfredo Segatori, close-up from mural on the grounds of the Creative Labs

5. Brazilian artist Mateu Velasco on the grounds of the Creative Labs

6. Brazilian artist Mateus Bailon on the grounds of the Creative Labs

Photo credits: 1-4 & 6 Lois Stavsky; 5 Tara Murray; interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky with Tara Murray

{ 0 comments }

fathima-Mohiuddin-aka-fats-live-art-nyu-Abu-Dhabi

Earlier this month, five UAE-based street artists: Fathima Mohiuddin aka Fats, Gary Yong aka Enforce1, Justin MacMahon aka JustOne, Steffi Bow and SyaOne participated in NYU Abu Dhabi’s first Live Painting Event.  Students, faculty members, staff and visitors were also invited to share their visions and talents with the NYU Abu Dhabi community . Curated by Houda Lazrak, an M.A. Candidate in Museum Studies at NYU, the Live Painting Event began at noon on December 7 and continued through 7pm.

Fathima Mohiuddin aka Fats 

Fathima-Mohiuddin-aka-Fats-street-art-Abu-Dhabi-NYU

Steffi Bow in action

Seffi-Bow-live-street-art-NYU-Dubai

Steffi Bow, completed mural

Steffi-Bow-street-art-NYU-Abu-Dhabi

SyaOne in action

SyaOne-Live-street-art-NYU-Abu-Dhabi

SyaOne, completed mural

SyaOne-graffiti-NYU-Abu-Dhabi

Enforce1 at work

Enforce-one-live-street-art-NYU-Abu-Dhabi

Enforce1, completed mural

Enforce-One-street-art-Abu-Dhabi

Just1 at work

Just1-live-street-art-NYU-abu-dhabi

Just1, completed mural

Just1-street-art-mural-NYU-Abu-Dhabi

Photos 1-3, 5, 6, 8-10 Michelle Loibner; 4 & 7 Houda Lazrak

{ 1 comment }