Queens

Pictured above is Ecuadorian artist Toofly, captured at work this past Saturday, the official launch of the 9th Welling Court Mural Project. What follows are several more images captured by travel and street photographer Karin du Maire aka Street Art Nomad this past Friday and Saturday at this model community-driven mural project conceived and curated by Ad Hoc Art.

Brooklyn-based See One at work

The legendary Daze, standing in front of his mural, produced with Crash

Swedish artist Carolina Falkholt at work      

The nomadic Never Satisfied at work

Multi-disciplinary artist Ryan Seslow, huge segment of completed mural

Cambridge, MA-based Caleb Neelon with Boston-based Lena McCarthy, close-up

The murals are on view 24/7 on and around Welling Court in Astoria, Queens.

Photos:Karin du Maire aka Street Art Nomad

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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

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Painted collaboratively by Queens-based Diego 127, FCEE and Whisper aka Chip Love, a fantastical alphabet mural has made its way onto a huge wall on 78th Street adjacent to the Garden School in Jackson Heights. While visiting the site as the mural was near completion, I spoke to classic graffiti writer, Diego 127, who had secured the space.

What an ideal spot for such a striking mural! 

Yes! I’d been eyeing this wall since I moved into this neighborhood in 2004.

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And how did you go about securing it for this mural?

I eventually connected with Dudley Stewart, an active member of the local community and the president of the Jackson Heights Green Alliance. And he was able to get us the support that we needed to make this happen.

How did you come up with this concept — this amazing alphabet?

Lots of text messages between Chip and me! And we loved the idea of playing with the letters of the alphabet — as we so often do — on a big wall.

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Why did you choose to work with white, black and grey? I love the effect. The impact of this mural is tremendous.

As an illustrator, I often work in black and white. And Chip, in particular, loves black and white.

Did you guys work from an initial sketch or did it all happen on site?

We had developed a loose plan. But the mural, itself, evolved organically. We free-styled, continually revising it and adding to it.

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How long have you guys been working on this mural?

We started in May; so it’s been two months.

How have the kids responded to it?

They love it and they’ve loved watching the process.

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Congratulations on this! I’m so glad I got to see it!  What a fantastical alphabet!

Interview with Diego 127 by Lois Stavsky; all photos by Lois Stavsky; photo #1 features FCEE; seated in final photo are: Whisper aka Chip LoveFCEE & Diego 127.

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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Curated by Ad Hoc Art, the Welling Court Mural Project is once again bringing a diverse range of intriguing murals to Welling Court and its neighboring blocks in Astoria, Queens. Many artists have already begun painting in anticipation of tomorrow’s Block Party. A few have already finished. Pictured above is a completed mural by See One. Here are several more images I captured today:

Queen Andrea

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 SP One at work

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Bluze

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Sinned NYC

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Onel and Roberto Castillo

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ASVP at work

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Tomorrow’s Block Party begins at noon at 11-98 Welling Court at 30th Avenue & 12th Street in Astoria, Queens.

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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Louie-KR.ONE-Gasparro-kolorstorm-book

Born in East Harlem and raised in Astoria, Queens, Louie “KR.One” Gasparro has been sharing his vast creative talents — both as an artist and as musician — with us for decades.  “Louie was an original,” Sacha Jenkins writes in the introduction to the recently-released KOLORSTORM: The Art of Louie “KR.One” Gasparro. “KR was a master of paint at a time in graffiti when there were more court jesters than kings, more tags and throw ups than masterpieces.”  Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to catch up with the impassioned artist while visiting his studio.

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It’s been almost three years now since your first book Don1: The King from Queens was launched with a panel discussion at the Museum of the City of New York. How has the response to that book been?

The response has been overwhelming. I put a light on a NYC graffiti master who had been forgotten.  He had influenced so many of us, but was living in obscurity. I was determined to uncover his story and share it with others. I spent nine years doing that. But my persistence paid off.  I had folks from Italy writing to me after the book was released.

Louie-KR.ONE-Gasparro-the-lost-art-of-the-tag-graffiti

And what about your current book? It’s quite impressive! How did that come about?

While working on Don1: The King from QueensI developed a relationship with its publisher, Schiffer Books. And when I proposed a book of my own works, I was encouraged to see it through.

I love the way your new book is organized into distinct chapters on different themes — such as The Early Days, Black Books, Model Trains, Abstracts, Walls and more. There is such an amazing variety of works and styles represented here, as well as a documentation of your journey as an artist — from subway graffiti pieces dating back to the early 80’s to contemporary urban art. How long did it take you to get it all together?

I spent two years working on it.  The greatest challenge was deciding which works to include. Originally, I had 600 images. I then had to cut that down to 400.

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Kolorstorm is also an amazing foray into your inspirations and passions.  Can you tell us something about your influences?

There are many. Comic books, cartoons, graffiti art, rock & roll, heavy metal…

Who were some of your favorite musicians back then?

Among them are: Jimi Hendrix, Rush, Yes… For me — and for many of us — graffiti was never related to hip-hop. The connection was largely an illusion that was accepted by many as “fact.” Graffiti transcends all concepts of race, religion, culture and class. That’s what makes it so great.

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In what ways has your work evolved through the past few years?

The entire process has become easier. My artwork is more detailed, and my line works are better.

Your Abstrakts are on a whole different level! What inspired them?

I was just experimenting with colors and shapes. The Abstrakts evolved from the experimentation. I’ve been told that they are “informed by graffiti.” And so they may be!

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What’s ahead?

More art, of course! And opening Saturday (tomorrow) night is Art As An Answer, a one night only pop-up show with new works, presented by The Astoria Boyz and The Urban Foundation Gallery, at 208 East 73rd Street in Manhattan.

Congratulations!  It’s certain to be wonderful!

Images:

1. Cover of KOLORSTORM: The Art of Louie “KR.One” Gasparro, published by Schiffer Books

2. Louie “KR.One” Gasparro in his studio

3Louie “KR.One” Gasparro, The Lost Art of the Tag, True York

4. KR.One and Fome 1, IRT #2 Line, Bronx, 1982, Photo © Martha Cooper

5. Louie “KR.One” Gasparro, Abstract, Greyburst3

6Louie “KR.One” Gasparro, Band Member, Keyboardist

Interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky; images 1, 4, 5 & 7 courtesy of the artist; 2, 3 & 6 photographed by Lois Stavsky in Louie’s studio

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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While attending the Street Art Expo NYC this past May in Elmhurst, I met the legendary Queens graffiti writer Alski. Struck by his passion and devotion to the graffiti culture, I was delighted to have the opportunity to interview him. We met up late last month at All the Right — a hip-hop clothing and graffiti art store — on the corner of 92nd Street and Corona Avenue in Elmhurst.

When did you first get up?  

It was back in 1979 in Corona. I was in the 6th grade at the time.

What were your main spots?

Street corners and the 7 train.

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What inspired you back then?

It was the incredible pieces I saw on my walks from Roosevelt Avenue to Junction Boulevard – works by Dondi, Fuzz, Flame. I remember being struck by their phenomenal colors. And I liked the idea of becoming popular — of getting known.

Did you paint with any crews back in the day?

I was mostly solo. The kids from school wouldn’t put me down because I was White.

How did your family feel about what you were doing back?

My father couldn’t understand why I was doing what I was doing! He yelled at me, but he was always good to me.

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What were some of the dangers you encountered doing what you were doing?

Running as I was getting chased and dodging bottles that were thrown at me.

Can you tell us something about your name — Alski?

I’ve actually had lots of names. But the Al is my tribute to Raskal; I like his handstyle. And ski signifies homie.

These days — would you rather work alone, or do you prefer to collaborate with others?

I generally like working alone, but collaborating with others allows me to get to know other writers.

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Any thoughts about the graffiti/street art divide? Do you — personally — feel it?

There’s definitely resentment among some graffiti writers towards street artists. Many street artists come from privileged backgrounds, and they’ve gone on to earn degrees in Fine Arts. Most graffiti kids can’t spend money the way many street artists can to promote their careers. The writers also feel that much of street art is a sell-out. But, no, I don’t feel it personally. I’m neutral! I’m open to interviewing street artists for my podcast, as well as graffiti writers.

Have any particular cultures influenced your aesthetic?

The B-Boy culture and hip-hop were my main influences.

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I’ve been checking out The Alski Show. I love it.  It’s so much fun, and I’m learning so much. You’ve interviewed quite a few legends.

Yes. Among them are Ces, Moody Mutz, Fade AA Mobb, DusterDuel, Ket, Giz & Easy

You’ve been doing this weekly now for almost a year. I know that you work full time. That’s a lot of love and a lot of devotion.

It’s my way of giving back, of keeping the culture alive and pushing it forward.

The Alski Show certainly seems to be doing that!

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You can check out Alski’s website, Out to Crashhere.  And you can meet him tomorrow, Sunday, at the Street Art Expo NYC where he will be selling a range of merchandise — from canvases to his  OTCITY Truckbooks — and signing black books.

Photos: 1 Lois Stavsky; 2-4 courtesy the artist. Interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky.

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James-Kusel-at-work-graffiti-ar

While visiting the incredible Living Museum housed at the Creedmoor Psychiatric Center in Queens Village earlier this week, I unexpectedly came upon a graffiti artist at work.  He introduced himself as James Kusel, and when I shared my passion for graffiti with him, he spoke about his experiences back in the day and his current mission to give back.

When did you first get up?  

It was during my sophomore year of high school. I was 16 years old.

What inspired you back then?

I was working in a luncheonette in Woodhaven, and I saw the black books of the kids who were also working there. It was love at first sight! And getting up was a great outlet for me. I was a troubled kid – almost always alone – and graffiti gave me something to live for at the time…and a sense of belonging. I was passionate about it.

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What were your main spots?

I started hitting the trains immediately. Among the lines that I hit were: the M, J, 7, the E and F and the 2 line. My favorites were the BMT flats. I bombed the outsides of the trains with Krylon and Rust-Oleum, and the insides with Pilots, Unis and Flow Markers. I also hit yards and rooftops. I wrote Aero.

What is the riskiest thing you ever did back then?

Everything I did was risky. Here I was a white kid – piecing at 3 in the morning in the M and J yards while ducking from the cops. It’s not where I should have been. But the riskiest thing I ever did was bombing while I was high on angel dust.

How did your family feel about what you were doing back?

My mother hated it. When she couldn’t take any more of me, she shipped me away to High Point Hospital.  I spent 2 ½ years there, and since 1988, I’ve been coming here. I’ve been sober now – free of drugs and alcohol – for 28 years. If I hadn’t been locked up during the height of the crack epidemic, I’d be dead now – like so many of my friends from back in the day.

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Have you ever shown your work in galleries or museums – besides the Living Museum?

Yes. I painted a gigantic mural at the Queens Museum in 2002 for its exhibit In the Flow: Artists From the Living Museum. By then I had changed my name to Insane. And I’ve painted and shown murals in alternative spaces when I worked as a DJ.

Have you ever studied art in a formal setting?

No. Why should I? I like to do things my way. I’m too cool for art school!

Did any particular cultures influence you?

Black culture. Most of my friends have been Black. I’ve been raised by that culture.

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What’s your favorite place to create art these days?

Right here! I love the Living Museum. The people are wonderful, and I feel as though I am a part of a community of artists. There’s a great sense of camaraderie.

Have you any other particular interests and passions?

Yes! I love music, all music. And I am also a culinary artist and ex-surfer.

Are there any graffiti artists whose works have inspired you?

Yes! Among the artists who’ve inspired me are: Dondi, Zephyr, Duster and Lee.

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Any shout-outs?

T-Kid! I identify with him and all that he’s overcome.

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

To keep his talent, the artist must give it away. That is his role. To share it with others.

What’s ahead for you?

I’d like to create more art expressing positive messages and I want to interact more with members of the community.

Interview conducted by Lois Stavsky with Bonnie Astor and edited by Lois Stavsky; photos 1 & 2 Lois Stavsky

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lady-pink-paints

Engaging a wide range of artists and art lovers of all ages, along with members of the local community, the Welling Court Mural Project celebrated its 7th anniversary with a huge block party on Saturday. Pictured above is the legendary Lady Pink at work. Here are several more images captured from the Welling Court Mural Project‘s annual event organized by Garrison & Alison Buxton.

Caleb Neelon at work on collaborative mural with Katie Yamasaki

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Fumero at work on tribute mural to Muhammed Ali

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Mike Makatron and Caroline Caldwell aka Dirt Workship at work on a collaborative mural

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Cre8tive YouTH*ink, close-up of huge mural painted by youth under the direction of  Jerry Otero aka Mista Oh

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Erasmo

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Chris Cardinale at work

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

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Pyramid Guy

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Joseph Meloy, Ellis G and Abe Lincoln, Jr

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Photos by 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.

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This past Sunday, the 5Pointz family continued its transformation of August Martin HS with some of the finest international, national and local artists adding their talents and visions to the extraordinary indoor gallery the school has become. Here’s a small sampling of more of the works that now grace the hallways and doors of the Jamaica, Queens high school:

El Niño de las Pinturas in from Spain

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NYC-based Ben Angotti

"Ben Angotti"

Queens-based Nicholai Khan with August Martin student Justin Price (interviewed by Street Art NYC) and project co-curator Marie Cecile Flaegul

"Nicholai Kahn"

Trace, New Wave Crew at work

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Skio in from Paris and Brooklyn-based Elle

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Bronx-native Andre Trenier at work

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NYC’s ZaOne

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5Pointz curator Meres One

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Note: The school will be open to the public on Thursday, June 11, from 4-8pm.

Keep posted to the StreetArtNYC Facebook page for many more images of the amazing artworks.

Photo credits: 1, 3, 6 & 8 Lois Stavsky; 2, 4, 5 & 7 Tara Murray

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Wallnuts

One of the most dynamic graffiti productions in town can be found in Long Island City off Queensboro Plaza.  Showcasing the talents of the Wallnuts, UK-based artists SHYE131 and Trans1, the murals exude an exuberant, infectious energy. Here are a few close-ups from the pride of the neighborhood:

Manny Muse, Wallnuts

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Chester Wallnuts

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Been3 Wallnuts

"Been3 wallnuts"

Col Wallnuts

"Col wallnuts"

SHYE131

Shye

Trans1

"Trans1"

 Photos by Lois Stavsky

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