RAE

Curated by Robert Aloia, along with VNA Magazine, Beau, Todd Masters, NY St. Gallery and Suzuki Capital LLC, 21st Precinct opens this evening at the former space of the 21st Precinct at 327 East 22nd Street. Reminiscent of this past winter’s Surplus Candy – although on a much larger scale – dozens of artists have transformed five stories into an expressive, inventive canvas charged with unfettered energy. What follows is a small sampling of close-ups from larger installations:

Esteban Del Valle

Esteban del valle painting 21st Precinct Art Exhibit NYC 21st Precinct Art Exhibit to Open Tonight with Esteban Del Valle, Sheryo and the Yok, N. Carlos Jay, Nepo, Chris Soria, RAE, Ghost, GIZ and Duel,  Pixote, Lorenzo Masnah APC and more

Sheryo and the Yok

sheryo yok installation 21st Precinct Art Exhibit NYC 21st Precinct Art Exhibit to Open Tonight with Esteban Del Valle, Sheryo and the Yok, N. Carlos Jay, Nepo, Chris Soria, RAE, Ghost, GIZ and Duel,  Pixote, Lorenzo Masnah APC and more

N. Carlos Jay

N Carlos Jay close up 21st Precinct Art Exhibit NYC 2 21st Precinct Art Exhibit to Open Tonight with Esteban Del Valle, Sheryo and the Yok, N. Carlos Jay, Nepo, Chris Soria, RAE, Ghost, GIZ and Duel,  Pixote, Lorenzo Masnah APC and more

Nepo

Nepo installation 21st Precinct Art Exhibit NYC 21st Precinct Art Exhibit to Open Tonight with Esteban Del Valle, Sheryo and the Yok, N. Carlos Jay, Nepo, Chris Soria, RAE, Ghost, GIZ and Duel,  Pixote, Lorenzo Masnah APC and more

Chris Soria

Chris Sora 21st Precinct Art Exhibit to Open Tonight with Esteban Del Valle, Sheryo and the Yok, N. Carlos Jay, Nepo, Chris Soria, RAE, Ghost, GIZ and Duel,  Pixote, Lorenzo Masnah APC and more

RAE

RAE edited 1 21st Precinct Art Exhibit to Open Tonight with Esteban Del Valle, Sheryo and the Yok, N. Carlos Jay, Nepo, Chris Soria, RAE, Ghost, GIZ and Duel,  Pixote, Lorenzo Masnah APC and more

Ghost, GIZ and Duel with a message

Ghost GIZ Duel 21st Precinct Art Exhibit NYC 21st Precinct Art Exhibit to Open Tonight with Esteban Del Valle, Sheryo and the Yok, N. Carlos Jay, Nepo, Chris Soria, RAE, Ghost, GIZ and Duel,  Pixote, Lorenzo Masnah APC and more

Pixote

Pixote 21st Precinct Art Exhibit NY 21st Precinct Art Exhibit to Open Tonight with Esteban Del Valle, Sheryo and the Yok, N. Carlos Jay, Nepo, Chris Soria, RAE, Ghost, GIZ and Duel,  Pixote, Lorenzo Masnah APC and more

Lorenzo Masnah, APC

Lorenzo Masnah 21st Precinct Art Exhibit to Open Tonight with Esteban Del Valle, Sheryo and the Yok, N. Carlos Jay, Nepo, Chris Soria, RAE, Ghost, GIZ and Duel,  Pixote, Lorenzo Masnah APC and more

Presented by Outlaw Arts, Savior Elmundo and Pesu, the exhibit opens this evening at 6pm. It will be open again tomorrow from 1-6pm and next Saturday and Sunday 1-6pm.

exhibit outlaw arts 21st Precinct Art Exhibit to Open Tonight with Esteban Del Valle, Sheryo and the Yok, N. Carlos Jay, Nepo, Chris Soria, RAE, Ghost, GIZ and Duel,  Pixote, Lorenzo Masnah APC and more

Photo of Nepo by Lois Stavsky; all others by Sara C. Mozeson

Note: Keep posted to the StreetArtNYC Facebook page for more images from this landmark exhibit.

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Rae street art Ethiopia Brooklyn based RAE Is Back from Africa

Brooklyn-based RAE – whose folksy sculptures, stickers, paste-ups and paintings on NYC streets always delight us — recently returned from Ethiopia.  And we had some questions for him:

What took you to Ethiopia?

I had connected with the non-profit organization H2 Empower Inc that had recently completed construction of the first community library in the town of Hosanna.

 Brooklyn based RAE Is Back from Africa

What was your role there?

I worked with kids building sculptures out of found objects and painting the walls outside.

RAE street art Ethipia Africa Brooklyn based RAE Is Back from Africa

Those of us who follow you on Instagram had the opportunity to witness an exhibit, as well – with goats in attendance!

Yes, we staged an exhibit in the living room of the home of a local family we met in town.

RAE Ethiopia art opening Brooklyn based RAE Is Back from Africa

How did it all culminate?

We successfully raised funds to furnish an empty, unused wing of the Alemu Woldehanna Community Library with tables, chairs and a computer station.  That financial goal has been met, and the furniture making will soon be in production.

RAE SHACK MURAL ethiopia Brooklyn based RAE Is Back from Africa

Who will be involved in the next step?

The students at the nearby School For The Deaf in Hosanna, Ethiopia will be making the furniture.

RAE stickers Ethiopia Brooklyn based RAE Is Back from Africa

It all sounds great! Welcome home!

Photos courtesy of the artist

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BackgroundNoise1 Roycer  Bomarr Presents the Background Noise Podcast Series with Roycer, RAE, Enzo & Nio, OverUnder, Tony Depew, Futura and more

Do you ever wonder what music your favorite street artists listen to?   Well, Bomarr has the answer!  And in addition to presenting first-rate podcasts that share this music with us, the Bomarr Blog also features brief interviews with these artists and selections from their artworks. We love what Matt is doing and recently posed some questions to him:

Tell us something about yourself – your background.  

I grew up in a small town in New Hampshire.  When I was 21, I moved to Oakland to put out records and tour with my friends on a label called Anticon.  We were a very art-focused group of creative and inspiring people. After spending 10 years in the Bay Area, I moved with my now-wife back to the East Coast and have been in NYC ever since.

What spurred this project?

The Background Noise project grew out of my interest in the New York art world. Initially, it was going to solely focus on NYC-based street artists. The NYC art scene in particular has a completely different energy and feel than the Bay Area one, and I sensed it as soon as I landed here. Don’t get me wrong!  There’s some great art out there in galleries and on the streets, but again, just a completely different feel.  I had seen a few ASVP wheatpastes in San Francisco before I moved, but when I got here, I saw them all over the place, and they seemed to make more sense here. Soon after, I discovered Jim Joe and started, with two friends, a Jim Joe-dedicated site called Cult of Joe, which is now just an Instagram account that I maintain (@cultofjoe) .  It was this general interest in what was going on, and a curiosity I had about what sort of music gets the creative juices flowing for artists whose work I enjoy that really started the project.

RAE Background Noise  Bomarr Presents the Background Noise Podcast Series with Roycer, RAE, Enzo & Nio, OverUnder, Tony Depew, Futura and more

How do you decide which artists to interview? 

It pretty much comes down to people whose work I personally am drawn to and have some sort of respect for. Whether it’s a legend like Futura or the guy who writes Spring Break everywhere, it’s all stuff that I like. It can be mindblowing art, political, or humor-based. It’s all art to me, and if it’s something that sparks my curiousity, I will try to reach out to them to see if they’re interested.

How have the artists responded to this project?

Everyone has responded with great enthusiasm so far. I think what helps is that I’m providing yet another way for these artists to express themselves, which is what artists do.  So when given another avenue to do this, they often jump on it right away.  Some take longer than others, but they always come through. It’s also great for the artists who have maintained anonymity for quite some time. This still allows them to remain anonymous. I’m not meeting up with them in person, talking to them on the phone, or anything like that. It stays strictly through email, so I think the feeling of safety has really allowed people to be willing to participate. I’ve met quite a few of these people since starting the project because I think it’s built a bit of trust, which is great.  But if I never meet some of these people, I’m completely fine with that.

Enzo Nio Background Noise1  Bomarr Presents the Background Noise Podcast Series with Roycer, RAE, Enzo & Nio, OverUnder, Tony Depew, Futura and more

 Have any particular responses to your questions surprised you?

I think the only response that has surprised me so far is one from last week’s Futura episode, where I asked him how important he thinks music is to his creative process.  I was surprised when he, a legend — who has appeared on a Clash song, recorded music himself, and worked with musical artists such as UNKLE — replied, “Not that important.”  But, we all get inspiration in different ways. He has great taste in music, regardless.

Who are some of the other artists you’d like to interview?

I have a laundry list. There are a few I’m actively trying to get, to the point where I might be annoying them. And some of them are long shots, but my wishlist in no particular order: Judith Supine, Jim Joe, ASVP, Paul Insect, Ron English, Neckface, Erik Yahnker, How & Nosm, Icy and Sot,  Sheryo + The Yok, Adam Wallacavage, Skullphone, Raymond Pettibon, Cameron Gray, Asger Carlsen, ElSol25, Douglas Kolk, Swampy, David Shrigley, Stinkfish, Theo Rosenblum, Maurizio Cattelan, Trustocorp, Olek, Jean-Paul Malozzi, Faile.  If anyone can help me out with any of these, please message me!

OverUnder Background Noise  Bomarr Presents the Background Noise Podcast Series with Roycer, RAE, Enzo & Nio, OverUnder, Tony Depew, Futura and more

What kind of music do you like to listen to?

I literally listen to it all. I’m a bit fan of 80’s synths, whether it’s synth pop or obscure minimal synth music — Gary Numan/Tubeway Army, all that stuff.  I love 60s psych rock, hip hop, metal, John Fahey, Fennesz….I’m all over the map.

What do you think of New York City’s current street art scene? 

I think it’s great! It’s really starting to gain some momentum too lately. Maybe I wasn’t as in tune with it a couple of years ago, but it seems like there’s a lot going on right now. It’s great seeing things like Hanksy’s Surplus Candy show, another Jim Joe solo show at the Hole, all these shows that Royce Bannon is curating, the Yoav Litvin Outdoor Gallery book. The New York City current street art scene is really bustling, and I think people are going to start to notice even more very soon.

Tony Depew Background Noise1  Bomarr Presents the Background Noise Podcast Series with Roycer, RAE, Enzo & Nio, OverUnder, Tony Depew, Futura and more

What’s ahead for you?

I’m having a baby girl in a few weeks, so that’s first and foremost on my mind right now.  But outside that, I just want to keep this project going for as long as I can. I have a lot of great artists lined up: Jilly Ballistic, Elle, Left Handed Wave, Don Pablo Pedro, C215, Beau, Cash 4, Hellbent, Joseph Meloy, Hanksy, N’DA….all very exciting. Stay tuned!

Congratulations! It all sounds great!

Images with links to their podcasts

1. Roycer  2. RAE  3. Enzo & Nio  4. OverUnder & 5. Tony Depew

Questions for Bomarr by City-as-School intern, Annie Loucka; interview edited by Lois Stavsky. 

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This is the fourth in a series of occasional posts showcasing sticker art that surfaces on an array of NYC public surfaces:

Screwtape’s homage to Army of One

screw tape sticker art NYC NYC Sticker Art — Part IV: Screwtape, Skullphone, Kosby, Fling, RAE, Faust, RealAbstract, CB23, Zato and Sticker Nerds 3 Call for Stickers

Skullphone goes small

skull phone sticker NYC Sticker Art — Part IV: Screwtape, Skullphone, Kosby, Fling, RAE, Faust, RealAbstract, CB23, Zato and Sticker Nerds 3 Call for Stickers

One of Kosby‘s many musings

Kosby NYC Sticker Art — Part IV: Screwtape, Skullphone, Kosby, Fling, RAE, Faust, RealAbstract, CB23, Zato and Sticker Nerds 3 Call for Stickers

Fling’s curious creature

Fling street art stciker character NYC NYC Sticker Art — Part IV: Screwtape, Skullphone, Kosby, Fling, RAE, Faust, RealAbstract, CB23, Zato and Sticker Nerds 3 Call for Stickers

RAE’s lovable, zany character

RAE street art sticker NYC NYC Sticker Art — Part IV: Screwtape, Skullphone, Kosby, Fling, RAE, Faust, RealAbstract, CB23, Zato and Sticker Nerds 3 Call for Stickers

Faust‘s calligraphic handstyle

faust NYC Sticker Art — Part IV: Screwtape, Skullphone, Kosby, Fling, RAE, Faust, RealAbstract, CB23, Zato and Sticker Nerds 3 Call for Stickers

Milwaukee-based RealAbstract‘s magnetic sticker

real abstract street art sticker NYC NYC Sticker Art — Part IV: Screwtape, Skullphone, Kosby, Fling, RAE, Faust, RealAbstract, CB23, Zato and Sticker Nerds 3 Call for Stickers

CB 23′s now-iconic character in the rain

CB 23 NYC Sticker Art — Part IV: Screwtape, Skullphone, Kosby, Fling, RAE, Faust, RealAbstract, CB23, Zato and Sticker Nerds 3 Call for Stickers

Zato’s much-loved fellow

Zato street art sticker NYC NYC Sticker Art — Part IV: Screwtape, Skullphone, Kosby, Fling, RAE, Faust, RealAbstract, CB23, Zato and Sticker Nerds 3 Call for Stickers

And for those stickerheads who’d like to participate in the upcoming Sticker Nerds 3, organized by the inimitable Skam Sticker, the deadline to get your slaps in is this Friday, March, 14th.  Send them to Sticker Nerds 3, Post Office Box 13492, Portland, Oregon 97213.

sticker nerds 3 NYC Sticker Art — Part IV: Screwtape, Skullphone, Kosby, Fling, RAE, Faust, RealAbstract, CB23, Zato and Sticker Nerds 3 Call for Stickers

Photos of NYC sticker art by Lenny Collado, Dani Reyes Mozeson and Lois Stavsky

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This is the sixth in an ongoing series featuring the wide range of faces that surface in NYC’s open spaces:

Reka at the Bushwick Collective

Reka street art NYC 2 Faces in NYC Public Spaces, Part VI: Reka, RAE, JMR, Raquel Eschinique, Royce Bannon and Russell King

RAE in Bedford-Stuyvesant

RAE street art NYC Faces in NYC Public Spaces, Part VI: Reka, RAE, JMR, Raquel Eschinique, Royce Bannon and Russell King

JMR in Williamsburg

JMR street art NYC Faces in NYC Public Spaces, Part VI: Reka, RAE, JMR, Raquel Eschinique, Royce Bannon and Russell King

Raquel Eschinique in Bushwick

Raquel Echanique street art NYC Faces in NYC Public Spaces, Part VI: Reka, RAE, JMR, Raquel Eschinique, Royce Bannon and Russell King

Royce Bannon in Midtown West

RoyceFaces Faces in NYC Public Spaces, Part VI: Reka, RAE, JMR, Raquel Eschinique, Royce Bannon and Russell King

Russell King in Bushwick

Russell King street art NYC Faces in NYC Public Spaces, Part VI: Reka, RAE, JMR, Raquel Eschinique, Royce Bannon and Russell King

Photos of Reka and JMR by Lois Stavsky; of RAE, Raquel Eschinique and Russell King by Tara Murray; of Royce Bannon by Dani Reyes Mozeson

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RAE BK Food Center LES RAE on Grocery Stores, the RAE BK Food Center and Word of Mouth

Brooklyn-based artist RAE recently transformed an abandoned East Village bodega into an extraordinary pop-up show. Word of Mouth, features dozens of his works on a range of media, alongside items one would expect to find in a bodega. We visited last week.

This is amazing! How did you come up with the idea?

I started working in grocery stores when I was seven. First just stocking milk; people bought a lot of milk back then. Later I became a delivery boy and deli worker. Some of the spaces I worked in were not always on the up and up… if you know what I mean. They were pretty colorful, and I never forgot that. To me they seemed to have art everywhere — from the neon sale labels on the packagings to the misspelled graphics on the signs. Everything was more interesting to me than maybe it should have been.

RAE faces on canvas RAE on Grocery Stores, the RAE BK Food Center and Word of Mouth

How did you find this space? It’s ideal.

Through a series of connections with life-long East Village folks, this place opened up for me. It was closed down just before Hurricane Sandy hit, and after the flood, it never reopened. All that was left behind was two shelves and two inches of dust.

There’s so much of your art here. What a treat! Everything from stickers to huge sculptures. When did you begin preparing for this exhibit?

About two years ago. And for the month before the opening, I was here day and night. We wanted to get the store just right for our grand opening.

RAE St0re RAE on Grocery Stores, the RAE BK Food Center and Word of Mouth

How has the response been?

My store worker tells me people are really enjoying the products and sale specials we put on. This week there is a sale on lima beans and sugar wafer cookies. Please spread the word.

Word of Mouth remains open through November 16, Thursday through Saturday, 2-7pm on the corner of Avenue C and 12th Street. It’s a must-see!

RAE interviewed by Lois Stavsky with Tara Murray; photos by Dani Reyes Mozeson. 

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A range of faces surface daily on NYC’s public spaces — from RAE’s offbeat, endearing characters to JR’s remarkable Inside Out NYC project. Here are a few:

RAE in Manhattan

RAE street art in NYC Faces in NYC Public Spaces: RAE, Youth Waste, Veng, The Yok, Ewok, Joseph Meloy, Aimee Cavazzi & JRs Inside Out NYC

Youth Waste in Brooklyn (with Werds on top left)

youth waste street art in NYC Faces in NYC Public Spaces: RAE, Youth Waste, Veng, The Yok, Ewok, Joseph Meloy, Aimee Cavazzi & JRs Inside Out NYC

Veng at Welling Court in Astoria, Queens

Veng street art in NYC Faces in NYC Public Spaces: RAE, Youth Waste, Veng, The Yok, Ewok, Joseph Meloy, Aimee Cavazzi & JRs Inside Out NYC

The Yok in Brooklyn

The Yok street art face in NYC Faces in NYC Public Spaces: RAE, Youth Waste, Veng, The Yok, Ewok, Joseph Meloy, Aimee Cavazzi & JRs Inside Out NYC

Ewok in Bushwick

Ewok street art in Bushwick Brooklyn NYC1 Faces in NYC Public Spaces: RAE, Youth Waste, Veng, The Yok, Ewok, Joseph Meloy, Aimee Cavazzi & JRs Inside Out NYC

Joseph Meloy in Manhattan

Meloy street art in NYC Faces in NYC Public Spaces: RAE, Youth Waste, Veng, The Yok, Ewok, Joseph Meloy, Aimee Cavazzi & JRs Inside Out NYC

Aimee Cavazzi in Manhattan

Aimee Faces in NYC Public Spaces: RAE, Youth Waste, Veng, The Yok, Ewok, Joseph Meloy, Aimee Cavazzi & JRs Inside Out NYC

JR’s Inside Out NYC Project in Times Square

JR street art photography in Times Square NYC Faces in NYC Public Spaces: RAE, Youth Waste, Veng, The Yok, Ewok, Joseph Meloy, Aimee Cavazzi & JRs Inside Out NYC

JR Inside Out Faces in NYC Public Spaces: RAE, Youth Waste, Veng, The Yok, Ewok, Joseph Meloy, Aimee Cavazzi & JRs Inside Out NYC

 Photos by Dani Mozeson, Tara Murray and Lois Stavsky

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Boasting first-rate hand styles, cunning commentary and intriguing characters, the stickers that surface on NYC streets are among the best anywhere. Here is a brief sampling:

Australian born painter and installation artist Anthony Lister

Anthony Lister street art on sticker in NYC NYCs Stylish Sticker Art    Part l: Anthony Lister, Alice Mizrachi, Curly, RAE, Katsu, Billi Kid, Street Grapes & more

First-rate hand stylist(s) Aidge and Serch

Aidge graffiti handstyle on NYC sticker NYCs Stylish Sticker Art    Part l: Anthony Lister, Alice Mizrachi, Curly, RAE, Katsu, Billi Kid, Street Grapes & more

Queens-based artist, curator and educator Alice Mizrachi aka AM

Alice Mizrachi sticker art in NYC 4b NYCs Stylish Sticker Art    Part l: Anthony Lister, Alice Mizrachi, Curly, RAE, Katsu, Billi Kid, Street Grapes & more

One of Curly’s playful statements — though usually handwritten

Curly sticker in NYC NYCs Stylish Sticker Art    Part l: Anthony Lister, Alice Mizrachi, Curly, RAE, Katsu, Billi Kid, Street Grapes & more

Brooklyn-based artist RAE

Rae sticker art in NYC NYCs Stylish Sticker Art    Part l: Anthony Lister, Alice Mizrachi, Curly, RAE, Katsu, Billi Kid, Street Grapes & more

NYC’s prolific Katsu

Katsu sticker in NYC NYCs Stylish Sticker Art    Part l: Anthony Lister, Alice Mizrachi, Curly, RAE, Katsu, Billi Kid, Street Grapes & more

The legendary NYC-based artist Billi Kid in collaboration with the Russian-born graphic designer and illustrator Street Grapes

street grapes and Billy the kid sticker art in NYC NYCs Stylish Sticker Art    Part l: Anthony Lister, Alice Mizrachi, Curly, RAE, Katsu, Billi Kid, Street Grapes & more

 Photos by Lenny Collado, Dani Mozeson, Tara Murray and Lois Stavsky

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Speaking with RAE

January 31, 2012

Rae streetart in Red Hook2 Speaking with RAE

A master of transforming everyday found objects into a range of intriguing characters, Brooklyn-born RAE is known throughout his borough and Manhattan for his three-dimensional folksy installations and for his striking, abstract characters.   Last week, Street Art NYC had the opportunity to visit Rae’s studio and speak with him.

When did you first begin hitting the streets?

That’s tricky because as kids, we always carried markers with us everywhere we went.  So taking tags was always a part of our daily lives.  But, officially — where I could show off and say, “Look at me, Mom! I’m doing street art now!” — I would say about a year ago.  Back in the 80′s, I was more into mischief, beat-boxing and girls than I was into graffiti, but they all go hand in hand in my book.  I was always making characters in other people’s black books, and then other guys would put wild style letters to them.  Man, did I love those damn Design markers! When I painted outside, it was mostly done for murals of friends who’d died with the occasional train yard run or dead tracks tagging.  I remember doing a huge 20 foot roller tag on the back of Edward R. Murrow High School in the 90′s, along with some of today’s well-known street artists. We rode the train the next day with cheap cameras, all excited to see it, but there were so many leaves on the trees, you couldn’t see crap.

What inspired you to do so now?

What else am I going to do with all this art I make?  It’s like when you make a huge pot of spaghetti and meatballs and at the last minute your guests cancel on you — How are you gonna eat all that pasta and meat by yourself? You’ll get sick. Gotta offer it out to the neighbors.  It’s the same thing with my art.

About how many pieces have you installed?

Probably about 60, but in my head more like 150.  Some still running, others dissed and others stolen or taken down in less than 24 hours.

Rae installation in Bushwick Speaking with RAE

Any favorite spots?

Not really.  I try and keep it as random as possible and not always be in the usual “Look at me!” spots. Sometimes I blindfold myself and spin in a circle holding a donkey tail in one hand and my art in another.  Other than that, I enjoy spending quality time in the Lower East Side and Chinatown.

Your artwork is in some places that are quite inaccessible.  And your installations require some serious skills just to install. How do you do it?

I’m what they call a “spot stalker.”  Instead of stalking people, I stalk spots while sipping hot tea.  Also I got a whole new set of tools a few years back. Someone broke into a van I had and stole everything.  Even my Isotoner gloves.  So when I bought new stuff, I went all out.  I bought tools I didn’t even know existed.  Sometimes I pick up a new tool and say, “Today I’m going to make something using this new tool.”  Crazy thing is sometimes the tool winds up being a Creusot steam hammer.

Have you ever been arrested or had any confrontations with the police while installing your art?

Like a fool, the first pole piece I ever put up almost got me busted.  I didn’t even slide the bolt completely in when this cop car comes whipping around the corner and out rolls T.J. Hooker.  He asked what the hell I was doing to which I quickly replied, “I’m taking this lovely piece of art down because I just had to own it for myself.”  After his brow-beating, I suggested I’d put the work back “where I found it” (wink, wink) to which he replied, “Yeah.  You do that.”  So at this point, I’m standing there bolting in my art while two cops made sure I did so.  People are passing by looking at me as if to say, “Do you not see these two cops next to you?”  My friend later called it “sanctioned street art”.

That’s a great story! What materials do you like to work with?

I love metal scraps and shiny things.  I like walking the shoulder lanes of highways to find parts that fell off cars.

What is it about numbers in your work?

Numbers are everything in this world…age…money… lottery tickets…curves.  Biz Markie once sang “36-24-36” — need I say more?

Rae mural in Brooklyn1 Speaking with RAE

Your installations are so much fun and teeming with so many concepts. Where do your ideas come from?

Usually, I set out to make one thing, and in the end, it becomes something totally different.  I know that going in, but I still try to pretend to myself that I don’t.  I’ll cut a head off of one piece and join it to the body of another piece or fingers from this guy become a hat for this one.  Who knows really?  You just hope for the best.  However, I can honestly say that I’ve come a long way from slicing tennis balls in half with a rusty steak knife in my mom’s basement and hot gluing them to things.

Have you any favorite pieces of your own? Why?

No real favorite pieces,  just parts used to make the pieces.  Right now I’m heavily into roller skates. The old school kind.  Maybe because as a kid, my mom once forced me to try roller skating in a rink in Coney Island.  I was so scared of falling I held onto the shag carpet fibers that were covering the walls for dear life as I went around herky-jerky a few times. But today if you ever bump into me at a roller rink, don’t walk away from your skates.

Any influences on your particular style – the bold shapes and bright colors?

Little bits of everything influence me.  Everyday products like laundry detergent bottles, discarded metal and motors, candy canes.  I never know what will strike a chord.  You’re gonna think I’m lying, but I was on the train one day and couldn’t believe how shiny this guy’s forehead was.  Seriously.  I could see myself in it from across the train — including my pimples.  I was so fascinated by it, I tried sneaking a picture.  It came out really blurry —but what I took away from it was the use of incorporating different shines and varnishes to my work.  No joke.  So you never know.

When did you first become interested in art?

I’ve been interested in art and making things from as far back as I can remember, but the first real chance I got to take something apart and experiment was at the age of 4 when my mom gave me a Phillips head screwdriver, sat me in front of a broken record player, and said “Have fun!”  In a few hours I had the thing in a million pieces and was creating little sculptures.  Crazy thing is towards the end of the process my mom realized it was still plugged in.

Do you have any formal art training or are you self-taught?

I am proud to say I have a BA in Fine Art.  And I do still plan on framing my diploma at some point.  Nothing says “I’m a professional artist” like a framed and mounted piece of printed paper from an institution.

Any favorite artists?

My favorite artists are people who don’t actually call themselves “artists.” The person who makes the misspelled signs at the corner deli, people who produce really bad local tv commercials, fashionable homeless men.  I take my cues from them.

What percentage of your time do you spend on your art?

Every waking and sleeping hour.  I don’t think it’s something you can turn on or off.  I go to sleep chewing gum while thinking about making art.  When I wake up, I put the gum back in my mouth and continue where I left off.

Rae mixed media in studio1 Speaking with RAE

Any other hobbies? Interests?

I’m into politics and actually might run for office one day.  Seriously.  But the truth is I get a lot of unwanted hobbies forced upon me like babysitting adults and moving furniture.

Can you expand on that?

The babysitting adults part is sort of self-explanatory, but the moving furniture part stems from the fact that I often wake up in the middle of the night to find people’s bedroom or living room furniture sets tossed out in front of my house for some reason.  Maybe my place used to be a Goodwill donation drop spot or something.  Sucks because I have to get dressed and got out to move the stuff in front of my neighbor’s house.

How do you feel about the role of the Internet in getting street art to a wider audience?

The Internet is great.  It’s helped give exposure to every sorry artist who’s walked into a gallery with a portfolio in hand and left with their tail between their legs.  It’s a way to create your own buzz.  I have to say though, I can’t for the life of me understand why more people aren’t Photoshopping their art onto walls, claiming they make street art and popping images on the web.  Maybe they are, and we just don’t know it?  Think about it.  They use Photoshop to make their work anyway? Right?  Makes sense.

Rae character installation in Brooklyn Speaking with RAE

What about the street artists? What do you see as their function in society? Do they have any particular one?

Sure, they have a function.  To come and bring art and creativity to run-down areas, live in places where they shower in sinks and drag home other people’s trash to paint on. All these actions help build up the real estate market for developers who eventually kick them out so they could turn the place into a Benihana Restaurant.  Street artists are sort of in the lower half of the food chain just above plant life.

What do you see yourself doing in five years?

I’d love to take a course on becoming a pet detective.  Probably a tough field to break into, but rewarding — I’m sure.  Second choice would be to drive the car with the “Wide Load” sign on it that rides in front of the truck transporting pre-built homes.  How does someone even begin to apply for that job?  Third choice would be to fly one of the planes that display advertisement banners over beaches.  I like being in the spotlight.  All three are tricky I know, but ask anyone who knows me and they’ll say I’ve always been known to reach for the stars.

Photos by Street Art NYC, Tara Murray  & RAE

 

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