street art

This is the 13th in a series of occasional posts featuring the range of faces that have surfaced in NYC open spaces:

Toofly at the Welling Court Mural Project in Astoria, Queens

toofly street art welling court Faces in NYC Open Spaces, Part XIII: Toofly, David Choe, Cern, Tristan Eaton, See One &  Victor Landeta aka Aum

David Choe, close-up from his all-too-ephemeral mural on Bowery & Houston

david cho street art nyc Faces in NYC Open Spaces, Part XIII: Toofly, David Choe, Cern, Tristan Eaton, See One &  Victor Landeta aka Aum

Cernesto at the Welling Court Mural Project in Astoria, Queens

cernesto street art astoria nyc Faces in NYC Open Spaces, Part XIII: Toofly, David Choe, Cern, Tristan Eaton, See One &  Victor Landeta aka Aum

Tristan Eaton at Coney Art Walls

tristan eaton street art coney island Faces in NYC Open Spaces, Part XIII: Toofly, David Choe, Cern, Tristan Eaton, See One &  Victor Landeta aka Aum

See One in Long Island City for Arts Org

see one street art LIC edited 1 Faces in NYC Open Spaces, Part XIII: Toofly, David Choe, Cern, Tristan Eaton, See One &  Victor Landeta aka Aum

Berlin-based Spanish artist Victor Landeta aka Aum in Bushwick

Victor landeta Bushwick collective edited 1 Faces in NYC Open Spaces, Part XIII: Toofly, David Choe, Cern, Tristan Eaton, See One &  Victor Landeta aka Aum

 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.

en play badge 2 Faces in NYC Open Spaces, Part XIII: Toofly, David Choe, Cern, Tristan Eaton, See One &  Victor Landeta aka Aum

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Lee quinones mural art coney art walls NYC New at <em>Coney Art Walls</em> for Summer 2017: Lee Quinones, Mark Bodé, Chris Stain, Skewville, Ganzeer, Alexis Diaz, Shantell Martin, Jim Drain, Crash with BR 163 and more

Curated by Joseph Sitt and Jeffrey Deitch, Coney Art Walls has officially launched its 2017 season with the addition of ten new murals:  Featured above is the work of the legendary Lee Quinones. What follows are several more:

Noted comic artist, muralist and tattooist Mark Bodé, captured while gated

mark bode mural art coney art walls NYC New at <em>Coney Art Walls</em> for Summer 2017: Lee Quinones, Mark Bodé, Chris Stain, Skewville, Ganzeer, Alexis Diaz, Shantell Martin, Jim Drain, Crash with BR 163 and more

NYC-based stencil artist Chris Stain

chris stain street art mural coney art walls nyc New at <em>Coney Art Walls</em> for Summer 2017: Lee Quinones, Mark Bodé, Chris Stain, Skewville, Ganzeer, Alexis Diaz, Shantell Martin, Jim Drain, Crash with BR 163 and more

Queens-native Skewville, close-up

skewville street art mural coney art walls nyc New at <em>Coney Art Walls</em> for Summer 2017: Lee Quinones, Mark Bodé, Chris Stain, Skewville, Ganzeer, Alexis Diaz, Shantell Martin, Jim Drain, Crash with BR 163 and more

Egyptian artist Mohamed Fahmy aka Ganzeer

Ganzeer New at <em>Coney Art Walls</em> for Summer 2017: Lee Quinones, Mark Bodé, Chris Stain, Skewville, Ganzeer, Alexis Diaz, Shantell Martin, Jim Drain, Crash with BR 163 and more

Puerto Rican artist Alexis Diaz, work in progress

alexis diaz street art mural coney art walls nyc New at <em>Coney Art Walls</em> for Summer 2017: Lee Quinones, Mark Bodé, Chris Stain, Skewville, Ganzeer, Alexis Diaz, Shantell Martin, Jim Drain, Crash with BR 163 and more

UK native multidisciplinary artist  Shantell Martin

 Shantell Martin mural art coney art walls NYC. New at <em>Coney Art Walls</em> for Summer 2017: Lee Quinones, Mark Bodé, Chris Stain, Skewville, Ganzeer, Alexis Diaz, Shantell Martin, Jim Drain, Crash with BR 163 and more

Miami-based Jim Drain

Jim Drain street art mural coney art walls nyc New at <em>Coney Art Walls</em> for Summer 2017: Lee Quinones, Mark Bodé, Chris Stain, Skewville, Ganzeer, Alexis Diaz, Shantell Martin, Jim Drain, Crash with BR 163 and more

 Bronx-based John Matos aka Crash and BR 163

Crash BR163 TatsCru street art mural coney art walls nyc New at <em>Coney Art Walls</em> for Summer 2017: Lee Quinones, Mark Bodé, Chris Stain, Skewville, Ganzeer, Alexis Diaz, Shantell Martin, Jim Drain, Crash with BR 163 and more

Bordered by Bowery Street, West 15th Street and Stillwell Avenue near the Coney Island boardwalk and beach, Coney Art Walls is open daily 12pm – 10pm through September. Throughout the summer, Coney Art Walls – launched by Thor Equities – will host dozens of appearances and live entertainment.

Photo credits: 1-6 & 8 Lois Stavsky; 7 Roy Rochlin & 8 courtesy of Thor Equities

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 New at <em>Coney Art Walls</em> for Summer 2017: Lee Quinones, Mark Bodé, Chris Stain, Skewville, Ganzeer, Alexis Diaz, Shantell Martin, Jim Drain, Crash with BR 163 and more

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marcelo ment close up JMZ Speaking with Rio de Janeiro Based Artist Marcelo Ment

Brazilian artist Marcelo Ment recently brought his infectious, spirited aesthetic back to NYC, where he painted in Bushwick for JMZ Walls, on the Lower East Side for the New Allen and at First Street Green Park for International Hip Hop Day. While he was here, I had the opportunity to interview him.

When and where did you first get up?

It was in 1992 in Rio. I was 15 at the time.

What inspired you back then?

I always loved graffiti. My friends used to bring back graffiti magazines from the States, and I loved what I saw. I wanted to do it too. And from the time I was a young child, my older sister had always encouraged me to draw.

How did it feel at the time – the first time you got up?

It was great! I was so excited, I had butterflies in my stomach. It was love at first touch.

marcelo ment street art jmz Speaking with Rio de Janeiro Based Artist Marcelo Ment

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

My mom didn’t understand it.  She said, “You have talent. So why are you doing this?” But now my entire family is proud of me.  They respect that I can make a living from what I love doing.

Yes, that’s the best! What is the principal source of your income?

Commissions, graphic design and canvasses.

What was the riskiest thing you’ve done?

Painting in high places that were not safe.

So then why did you?

I told myself that I have to.

marcelo ment street art jmz walls bushwick nyc Speaking with Rio de Janeiro Based Artist Marcelo Ment

What about these days? Do you prefer to work in legal spots or in unsanctioned ones?

These days I tend to do more legal work. I’m 40. I’m not a kid anymore, and I have serious responsibilities. But I respect illegal art and I miss the adrenalin rush.

Have you any thoughts about the graffiti/street art divide?

I don’t feel it in Rio. There’s a sense of mutual respect.

Are there any particular cultures that have influenced your style?

My initial and principal influence was classic NYC graffiti. I love letters.

Do you have a formal art education?

No! I’m self-taught.

marcelo ment paints east village nyc Speaking with Rio de Janeiro Based Artist Marcelo Ment

What percentage of your time is devoted to art?

Almost 100%.

Have you any other interests? Passions?

Music is very important to me. I especially love reggae – all kinds of it.

Have you shown your work in galleries?

Yes, I’ve exhibited in Rio and in Amsterdam.

Do you prefer working alone or collaborating with others?

I love collaborating with friends.

marcelo ment bushwick street art nyc Speaking with Rio de Janeiro Based Artist Marcelo Ment

Are there any artists you would particularly like to collaborate with? Artists who have inspired you?

Among them are: Marko 93 from Paris, Germany’s Can2 and the Brazilian artist, Tarm.

What is your ideal working environment?

Anywhere I have access to paint!

Do you work with a sketch in hand or do you let it flow?

It varies. I prefer to freestyle.

Are you generally satisfied with your finished work?

I don’t think I am.  We are all so far from our best.

ment street art lic Speaking with Rio de Janeiro Based Artist Marcelo Ment

How has your work evolved through the years?

It’s evolved from painting letters to painting women. Painting women has been particularly challenging. And as I continue to grow as an artist, I tend to fuse my various styles and skills.

How do you feel about the role of social media in all of this?

It’s good and bad. Some are too eager to share what’s not worth sharing.

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

To share knowledge and awareness.

marcelo ment allen street Speaking with Rio de Janeiro Based Artist Marcelo Ment

Photos: Lois Stavsky; interview conducted and edited 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.

en play badge 2 Speaking with Rio de Janeiro Based Artist Marcelo Ment

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gats art at spoke The Legendary West Coast Artist GATS in Against the Grain at SPOKE ART NYC Through June 25 and on the Streets of Little Italy

A huge fan of the Oakland-based street artist GATS since I first saw his iconic mask imagery across the globe several years ago, I was delighted to view his artwork here in NYC — both in the brilliantly conceived and curated exhibit Against the Grain at SPOKE ART NYC and on the streets of Little Italy. Pictured above is a segment of a huge mural featured in Against the Grain. Here are several more images — all fashioned on found objects — from the exhibit:

Death by Pebble, Acrylic on 1960′s skateboards, 4 of 8

gats skateboards The Legendary West Coast Artist GATS in Against the Grain at SPOKE ART NYC Through June 25 and on the Streets of Little Italy

Traveler, Acrylic on found wooden case (top); Trackside, acrylic on spraycan (bottom)

gats traveler1 The Legendary West Coast Artist GATS in Against the Grain at SPOKE ART NYC Through June 25 and on the Streets of Little Italy

Stripes, Acrylic on found shipwreck

gats stripes The Legendary West Coast Artist GATS in Against the Grain at SPOKE ART NYC Through June 25 and on the Streets of Little Italy

Eliminator, Enamel on vintage sprayer

gats reclaimed fire extinguisher The Legendary West Coast Artist GATS in Against the Grain at SPOKE ART NYC Through June 25 and on the Streets of Little Italy

 And on the streets of Little Italy — with the L.I.S.A Project

gats little italy The Legendary West Coast Artist GATS in Against the Grain at SPOKE ART NYC Through June 25 and on the Streets of Little Italy

 Close-up

gats little italy close up The Legendary West Coast Artist GATS in Against the Grain at SPOKE ART NYC Through June 25 and on the Streets of Little Italy

Against the Grain continues at SPOKE ART NYC through June 25th. The gallery is located at 210 Rivington Street on Manhattan’s Lower East Side and is open Wednesday through Sunday from 11:00 am - 7:00 pm.

Photo credits: 1, 3-7 Lois Stavsky; 2 Karin du Maire

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 The Legendary West Coast Artist GATS in Against the Grain at SPOKE ART NYC Through June 25 and on the Streets of Little Italy

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This is the fifteenth in a series of occasional posts featuring the diverse range of trucks and vans that strike our streets.

Austrian artist Nychos

nychos art truck NYC’s Stylish Trucks & Vans – from the Whimsical to the Wild, Part XV: Nychos, Uta Brauser, Urbanimal, Cash RFC, Mastrocola, Wane & Gorey

Local itinerant artist Uta Brauser

uta brauser art truck NYC’s Stylish Trucks & Vans – from the Whimsical to the Wild, Part XV: Nychos, Uta Brauser, Urbanimal, Cash RFC, Mastrocola, Wane & Gorey

Brooklyn-based Urbanimal

urbanimal art truck NYC’s Stylish Trucks & Vans – from the Whimsical to the Wild, Part XV: Nychos, Uta Brauser, Urbanimal, Cash RFC, Mastrocola, Wane & Gorey

NYC-based Cash RFC

cashrfc graffiti truck NYC’s Stylish Trucks & Vans – from the Whimsical to the Wild, Part XV: Nychos, Uta Brauser, Urbanimal, Cash RFC, Mastrocola, Wane & Gorey

Canadian artist Mastrocola touching up van he painted last year at Welling Court

mastrocola van NYC’s Stylish Trucks & Vans – from the Whimsical to the Wild, Part XV: Nychos, Uta Brauser, Urbanimal, Cash RFC, Mastrocola, Wane & Gorey

NYC- based Wane COD

wane truck NYC’s Stylish Trucks & Vans – from the Whimsical to the Wild, Part XV: Nychos, Uta Brauser, Urbanimal, Cash RFC, Mastrocola, Wane & Gorey

 NYC-based French artist Gorey

gorey graffiti truck NYC’s Stylish Trucks & Vans – from the Whimsical to the Wild, Part XV: Nychos, Uta Brauser, Urbanimal, Cash RFC, Mastrocola, Wane & Gorey

Photo credits: 1, 3, 6-7 Tara Murray; 2 & 5 Lois Stavsky & 4 Nic 707

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see one street art welling court The 8th Annual Welling Court Mural Project Readies to Launch with See One, Queen Andrea, SP One, Bluze, Sinned, Onel with Roberto Castillo, ASVP & Dozens More

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

queen andrea The 8th Annual Welling Court Mural Project Readies to Launch with See One, Queen Andrea, SP One, Bluze, Sinned, Onel with Roberto Castillo, ASVP & Dozens More

 SP One at work

sp one paints The 8th Annual Welling Court Mural Project Readies to Launch with See One, Queen Andrea, SP One, Bluze, Sinned, Onel with Roberto Castillo, ASVP & Dozens More

Bluze

bluze The 8th Annual Welling Court Mural Project Readies to Launch with See One, Queen Andrea, SP One, Bluze, Sinned, Onel with Roberto Castillo, ASVP & Dozens More

Sinned NYC

sinned0nyc The 8th Annual Welling Court Mural Project Readies to Launch with See One, Queen Andrea, SP One, Bluze, Sinned, Onel with Roberto Castillo, ASVP & Dozens More

Onel and Roberto Castillo

onel and robert castillo The 8th Annual Welling Court Mural Project Readies to Launch with See One, Queen Andrea, SP One, Bluze, Sinned, Onel with Roberto Castillo, ASVP & Dozens More

ASVP at work

asvp The 8th Annual Welling Court Mural Project Readies to Launch with See One, Queen Andrea, SP One, Bluze, Sinned, Onel with Roberto Castillo, ASVP & Dozens More

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.

en play badge 2 The 8th Annual Welling Court Mural Project Readies to Launch with See One, Queen Andrea, SP One, Bluze, Sinned, Onel with Roberto Castillo, ASVP & Dozens More

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PAUL RICHARD GENTLEMAN 1 Paul Richard Solo Exhibit Opens at 212 ARTS in the East Village

Opening this evening at 212 ARTS is DRIP, a solo exhibit by the iconic NYC-based artist Paul Richard. An outstanding representational painter, Paul Richard is best known to us street art aficionados for his drip paintings that surface on NYC sidewalks. While visiting the exhibit yesterday, I had the opportunity to speak to 212 ARTS gallerist, Marc Leader.

This is such an elegantly handsome show! What spurred you to feature an exhibit of Paul Richard‘s works?

Paul has been an iconic figure in NYC culture for over 20 years. Although low-key, he is also subtly prolific. And this is his first NYC exhibit in five years.

paul richard art on door Paul Richard Solo Exhibit Opens at 212 ARTS in the East Village

How did you decide which artworks to include in the exhibit?

About one year ago, Paul and I began discussing the concept of an exhibit featuring his work at 212 ARTS. Then Paul ran with it. He created a few dozen new works, and together we decided which ones to feature.

paul richard urban tank1 Paul Richard Solo Exhibit Opens at 212 ARTS in the East Village

How many are included in DRIP?

There are two dozen works of varying sizes.

paul richard commuter Paul Richard Solo Exhibit Opens at 212 ARTS in the East Village

It is always a thrill to glance down to the pavement and come upon one of Paul Richard‘s iconic faces!

Yes! Even before he first moved to New York in 1997, Paul Richard recognized that people constantly scan the ground in front of them — making it the perfect place to find an audience.

Paul Richard pavement art Paul Richard Solo Exhibit Opens at 212 ARTS in the East Village

It’s great to see your gallery continue to bring a diverse range of first-rate artists — who remain active on our streets — to its East Village home. To what do you attribute its success?

It’s the passion we bring to our projects.

Paul richard opening 212 arts Paul Richard Solo Exhibit Opens at 212 ARTS in the East Village

Photos of artworks and interview by Lois Stavsky

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Montreal Mural Festival June 2016 Felipe Pantone Felipe Pantone Presents PLANAR DIRECTION at Station 16 Gallery

As part of this year’s edition of the Montreal Mural Festival, Station 16 Gallery will host PLANAR DIRECTION, a solo exhibition by the wonderfully talented Argentine-Spanish artist Felipe Pantone. Opening this Thursday evening, June 8, PLANAR DIRECTION will showcase a series of Pantone‘s striking works, characterized by distinct geometric shapes that fuse black and white designs with bold florescent colors. Pictured above is the mural that Pantone painted for last year’s Mural Festival. What follows is a brief preview of his new works for PLANAR DIRECTION:

Planar Direction 3

Planar Direction 3 Felipe Pantone Felipe Pantone Presents PLANAR DIRECTION at Station 16 Gallery

Planar Direction 6

Planar Direction 6 Felipe Pantone Felipe Pantone Presents PLANAR DIRECTION at Station 16 Gallery

Planar Direction 4

Planar Direction 4 Felipe Pantone Felipe Pantone Presents PLANAR DIRECTION at Station 16 Gallery

Station 16 Gallery

pantone exhibit Felipe Pantone Presents PLANAR DIRECTION at Station 16 Gallery

Station 16 Gallery is located at 3523 Boul St-Laurent in Montreal.

All images courtesy Station 16 Gallery

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 Felipe Pantone Presents PLANAR DIRECTION at Station 16 Gallery

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ricardo gonzalez aka its a living street art DC POW! WOW! DC in NoMa: Its a Living, Muro, CRI, Kaplan, Madsteez, Martin Swift, Mas Paz, Miss Che Love & KeyHan

POW! WOW!, an international art movement that celebrates culture, music and art in cities throughout the globe, recently returned to Washington DC’s NoMa neighborhood. While down in DC last week, I had the opportunity to check out several recent murals. Pictured above is by Brooklyn-based Mexican artist Ricardo Gonzalez aka It’s a Living. What follows are a few more images I captured:

Spanish artist Muro, segment of larger mural

Muro street art dc POW! WOW! DC in NoMa: Its a Living, Muro, CRI, Kaplan, Madsteez, Martin Swift, Mas Paz, Miss Che Love & KeyHan

DC-based Juan Pinada aka CRI

cri juan pineda street art dc POW! WOW! DC in NoMa: Its a Living, Muro, CRI, Kaplan, Madsteez, Martin Swift, Mas Paz, Miss Che Love & KeyHan

 Hawaii-based Kaplan Bunce aka Kapache1

japlan kapache1 street art dc POW! WOW! DC in NoMa: Its a Living, Muro, CRI, Kaplan, Madsteez, Martin Swift, Mas Paz, Miss Che Love & KeyHan

LA-based Mark Paul Deren aka Madsteez

Madsteez street art dc POW! WOW! DC in NoMa: Its a Living, Muro, CRI, Kaplan, Madsteez, Martin Swift, Mas Paz, Miss Che Love & KeyHan

DC-based Martin Swift, captured near completion

Martin swift street art dc pow wow POW! WOW! DC in NoMa: Its a Living, Muro, CRI, Kaplan, Madsteez, Martin Swift, Mas Paz, Miss Che Love & KeyHan

DC-based Mas Paz at work

mas paz live painting dc POW! WOW! DC in NoMa: Its a Living, Muro, CRI, Kaplan, Madsteez, Martin Swift, Mas Paz, Miss Che Love & KeyHan

DC-based Miss Che Love at work

che love love painting dc POW! WOW! DC in NoMa: Its a Living, Muro, CRI, Kaplan, Madsteez, Martin Swift, Mas Paz, Miss Che Love & KeyHan

Arlington-based KeyHan, one segment of huge mural

KeyHan street art DC POW! WOW! DC in NoMa: Its a Living, Muro, CRI, Kaplan, Madsteez, Martin Swift, Mas Paz, Miss Che Love & KeyHan

Among this year’s man sponsors were: the NoMa BID, neighborhood real estate developers Skanska and Folger-Pratt, Whole Foods and Montana Cans.

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 POW! WOW! DC in NoMa: Its a Living, Muro, CRI, Kaplan, Madsteez, Martin Swift, Mas Paz, Miss Che Love & KeyHan

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rocko and zimer street art nyc Rocko on the Now Iconic <em>Spread Art NYC</em> Biggie KONY Mural on Quincy and Bedford in Bed Stuy

This past Sunday, I had the opportunity to meet up with Rocko, artist and founder of Spread Art NYC. We discussed the Biggie KONY mural that he’d painted with Zimer, the wide attention it has recently attracted and his efforts to preserve it.

When was the mural first painted? And how did you decide on its subject?

Zimer and I painted it back in 2015. As it was our first mural in Bed-Stuy, we decided that it must be of Biggie.

What about the specific site — on Quincy and Bedford? How did that come to be?

I researched Biggie and the neighborhood for about a year.  I picked this site for the mural because Biggie had referenced it in his first demo tape “Microphone Murderer.” I’d also found a video of Biggie freestyling at the age 17 on Bedford and Quincy. I located the site and was put in touch with the building’s owner, who agreed to let us paint a mural. We signed the agreement five minutes after we’d met!  I was impressed by the landlord’s kindness and generosity.

OGB biggie mural bed stuy Rocko on the Now Iconic <em>Spread Art NYC</em> Biggie KONY Mural on Quincy and Bedford in Bed Stuy

What was the initial response to the mural?

Incredible! It was all over the news. And in 2016, when Borough President Eric Adams recognized Biggie’s birthday, May 21, as Official Biggie Day, it received even more attention.

When did you find out about plans to remove it?

About four months ago, the landlord told me that he wished to renovate the property and add windows to it. I asked him to see if it was possible to do so without damaging the mural. He agreed to speak to the architect. But soon after, he asked us to pay $1250 a month to maintain it.

Why $1250 a month?

He told me that advertisers are renting other walls he owns for at least $1250 a month. And that if he didn’t add windows, he would have to charge me the $1250 he would otherwise get.

ogb and artists Rocko on the Now Iconic <em>Spread Art NYC</em> Biggie KONY Mural on Quincy and Bedford in Bed Stuy

How did you respond to that request?

I offered a one-time payment of $5000, but he said he had paid more than that in construction costs and permits, and that our mural is causing him to lose money. At that point, I couldn’t argue with him. I knew that he was telling me the truth.

What spurred you to post about the situation on Instagram?

There are so many people – from DJ 50 Grand to Matty C  to the OGB crew — deeply connected to this mural and all that it represents. We felt that we had to go public with the sad news that our beloved Biggie mural might be put to rest soon.

When did you find out that what you’d put out was going viral?

The next day, I woke up to a load of emails from local news sources wanting to get more info. Zimer and I declined to comment until we knew what was really going on.

quincy and bedford bed stuy Rocko on the Now Iconic <em>Spread Art NYC</em> Biggie KONY Mural on Quincy and Bedford in Bed Stuy

Among the many efforts from community members and organizations was a landmark petition. That was problematic to you. Why?

I don’t have any issue with the people who started the petition. They genuinely care about their community and culture.  But I didn’t want to go the way of a petition. Look at what happened to 5Pointz! On November 19, 2013, the landlord whitewashed the building overnight. I think we all have learned from that tragedy. And we didn’t want that to happen to the KONY Biggie mural.

How did the landlord react to the petition?

The landlord refused to even meet with me because he thought I was the one who’d started the landmark petition. He told me that he would do what it takes to protect his property.  At this point, I knew we were at the edge of losing.

Why do you suppose the landlord had taken such a strong stand?

He is well-known and well-respected in his community, and was most likely upset that he was being portrayed in a negative light.

Tyanna Wallace with Biggie mural Rocko on the Now Iconic <em>Spread Art NYC</em> Biggie KONY Mural on Quincy and Bedford in Bed Stuy

What was your next move in your determination to save the mural ?

I had to convince the landlord that I had nothing to do with the petition.  We were planning to have a huge Block party on Biggie’s birthday, but we had to cancel. There was too much confusion and misunderstanding.

What — do you think — caused him to change his mind and decide to let the mural remain?

During a two-hour meeting last Monday, it became obvious to me that he was not aware who Biggie was or of Biggie’s connection to Bedford and Quincy. I informed him that the Brooklyn Nets, Atlanta rapper TI, and various Mega companies were willing to pay whatever to save the mural, and that the Mayor and Congressman Jeffries are also offering support. Once he understood the significance of the mural, he agreed to keep it. I had also made the point that other landlords were paying thousands of dollars to artists they hire to paint their building’s facades – and that it did not make any sense to remove artwork that was “gifted” to him and the community.

What a happy ending!  So the landlord did not ask for any money?

No! We didn’t have to pay anything. At the end of our meeting, I shook his hand and said, “Thank you, Mr. Berkowitz! You just made so many people happy.”

Images 

1  Rocko in front of the mural

2  OGB Crew

3  Zimer, Deejay 50 Grand and Rocko

4  Deejay 50 Grand with former Source magazine editor Matty C

5  Biggie’s daughter, T’yanna Wallace

Photos: 1 Lois Stavsky, 2-5 courtesy of Rocko; interview 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 Rocko on the Now Iconic <em>Spread Art NYC</em> Biggie KONY Mural on Quincy and Bedford in Bed Stuy

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