public art

On his first visit to NYC, Barcelona-based Pejac created two mesmerizing artworks reflecting environmental concerns. With his distinctly provocative aesthetic, he graced walls in both Bushwick and Chinatown celebrating the beauty and power of nature amidst the bustling metropolis. The image featured above, entitled Fossil, suggests a frightful future in a gentrifying neighborhood in which the only memory of nature is the fossilized appearance of a tree on a brick wall.

 Pejac at work on Fossil 

The completed piece

In  Pejac‘s second piece, Inner Strength, nature triumphs over the hand of man and all that the neighboring Wall Street represents, as the artist alludes to traditional Chinese imagery.

Inner Strength

Inner Strength, close-up

Fossil is located at 27 Scott Ave. in Bushwick, Brooklyn and Inner Strength — in coordination with The L.I.S.A Project NYC  — is at 2 Henry Street in Chinatown, Manhattan.

Photo credits: 1 Raphael Gonzalez aka zurbaran1  2 & 3 Ben Lau aka just a spectator 4 Pejac and 5 Rey Rosa aka the DRiF of  The L.I.S.A Project NYC

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Dreyk the Pirate — whose street art character captivated me on my recent visit to Athens — has just completed a huge mural commissioned by E.KE.A., the National Blood Donor Center of Greece, for World Blood Donor Day 2018. What follows are several more images of the completed work, along with progress shots, as photographed by Nikos Pekiaridis and Kostas Kallipolitis of Phifactor Photograpy.

The other side of the mural

In the beginning

In progress

With a message to convey

Located in Thrakomakedones, Athens, the mural was sponsored by Kraft Paints Greece.

Photo credits: 1, 2  & 3 Kostas Kalipolitis 3 & 4 Nikos Pekiaridis

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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Best-known for his interactive performance art and visual art that have been featured in a range of galleries, art fairs and museums, Miami-based artist David Rohn has recently taken his vision to the streets. In his new series, Street Peeps, he focuses on raising awareness of the issue of homelessness. While in Miami, I had the opportunity to speak to him:

When did you begin this project– with its focus on wheatpasting images of  yourself in various disguises representing street peeps?

I started three months ago.

Had you ever gotten up on the streets before you began working on this project?

Back in the 90’s, I did a series of boys’ heads based on an image that I had seen. I got them up in Miami – mostly on lampposts – Downtown and on the beach. One even made it into the bathroom of the Perez Art Musem, back when it was the Miami Art Museum. I painted the heads in different colors mixing guache paint with wallpaper paste.

What inspired you to do so back then?

I’d seen graffiti and wheatpastes up in NY, and I wanted to be out there.

What spurred you to hit the streets this time around? 

Between 2008 and 2014, I was represented by a gallery in Miami. After that ended, I wanted a way to share my vision — and concerns — with others. Things had tapered off. Getting up in the public sphere seemed like the most sensible way to accomplish this.

And why this particular project?

I feel very strongly about homelessness. I’ve seen it explode in recent years. It is appalling! And the income disparity is continually increasing. I’ve been interested in these two issues for awhile.

Each of your portraits is another rendition of you as someone who is homeless!

Yes! I’ve been doing portraits of myself since 2008 as part of my performance art.

Who exactly are these characters you are portraying?

They are inspired by homeless folks and street people I see when I’m out on the streets. The ones who are the casualties of gentrification. This city is changing so rapidly.

And what about the characters with the masks? Who are they?

They represents the power structure. The eilite – those who control our economic assets. The developers who can easily evolve into a monsters.

What about your relationship with the homeless?

For awhile, I was bringing them sleeping bags and cots. But these days, I bring loaves of day-old bread and bottles of water. And socks – white socks and gray socks. They choose which ones they want. These items are what they seem to need and want the most.

And how has this project – getting your portraits out there in public space — impacted you?

It’s been very liberating! It’s fun! And I like the idea of short circuiting the gallery system.

What’s ahead?

Creating and getting up more images suggestive of the homelessness crisis.

Interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky with photos by Lois Stavsky.

Special thanks to Andrew Ringler for introducing me to David.

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Featured above — in this second post documenting the range of faces that have surfaced in Athens public spaces — is the work of the noted Greek artist Ino. Several more seen last week follow:

Athens-based Achilles

Unidentified artist(s)

Athens-based Exit

Montreal-based Waxhead

Athens-based Neid

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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Whereas street art makes its way onto a range of public surfaces in Tel Aviv, it is far less prevalent in Jerusalem.  But hidden alleyways and spaces off the main roads, along with Mahane Yehuda — Jerusalem’s marketplace — host a range of intriguing pieces. The image pictured above was fashioned by Haifa native Maayan Fogel. Several more images I recently encountered while wandering the streets of West Jerusalem follow:

The itinerant Jerusalem-based Elna of Brothers of Light   

Brazilian artist Manoel Quiterio

The prolific British-Israeli muralist Solomon Souza

Solomon Souza‘s rendition of  Amar’e Stoudemire — as seen at the Mahane Yehuda Marketplace, as it was closing

Random installation in the art-friendly Nachlaot neighborhood

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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Representing a huge spectrum of styles, faces seem to surface everywhere on Tel Aviv’s public spaces. The image pictured above is the work of Tel Aviv-based Boaz Sides aka UNTAY. Several more I came upon these past few days follow:

Montreal-based Adida Fallen Angel

The increasingly present Yarin Didi

Daniel Liss aka Monkey Rmg

Tel Aviv-based MUHA Ack

Tel Aviv-based Dioz, close-up from block-long wall

 Israel-based UK native Solomon Souza

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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The faces featured above were fashioned byMadrid-based Okuda. Here are several more recently captured in Madrid:

Barcelona-based Uri Martinez aka Uriginal

NYC-based Puerto Rican artist Sen2

Argentine artist Barbara Siebenlist

Madrid-based Keru de Kolorz

Photo credits: 1, 3-5 Lois Stavsky; 2 Sara C Mozeson

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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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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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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