For the past month Brooklyn-based Sara Erenthal has set up base in Tel Aviv. What follows is a brief interview with the intensely committed multi-disciplinary artist:

What brought you to this region? 

It is where I was born, where I had left my religious upbringing and where, six years ago, I had my first art exhibition. And for the past several years, I’d wanted to return to share my art with the ex-Orthodox community and participate in the vibrant, expressive street art culture here.

Can you tell us a bit about the difference between “getting up” here and back home in Brooklyn?

There is more  freedom of expression on the streets here, and because I’m here for a limited amount of time, the experience has been far more intense.

What have been some of the highlights of this trip?

Visiting and painting in Bethlehem, my first time on the “other side,” and having the opportunity to exhibit my artwork here at the Red House Shapira in South Tel Aviv. And the amazing feature article in Haaretz by Tamar Rotem was, also, a highlight.

Can you tell us a bit your exhibit “Re-Cover” here at the Red House Shapira.  How did it happen? 

Shortly after I arrived in Tel Aviv, I visited the Red House Shapira, a unique space — housed in a historic building — known for its commitment to promoting diversity in the arts. There I met Oren Fischer who invited me to showcase an installation of new works created from found materials in the neighborhood.  My intent was to mirror the diversity of the neighborhood in a unified fashion, while giving new life to discarded matter.

What were some of the challenges you faced in making this happen?

The major challenge was the short period of time I had in pulling it all together. Both Tamar Rotem and Max Streetwalker offered me assistance in the logistics of collecting the varied materials and bringing them over to the studio. I am so grateful to them for their help. And, of course, I could not have accomplished this without the studio space that the Red House Shapira provided.

Congratulations! I look forward to seeing your work in similar installations in other cities, including, perhaps, NYC!

Note: “Re-Cover” can still be seen tomorrow, Sunday, from 11:00 to 17:00; Monday 12:00 to 19:00 and Tuesday 10:00 to 19:00 at the Red House Shapira, Israel MiSalant 39 in Shapira, Tel Aviv.

Interview conducted by Lois Stavsky

Photo credits: 1 & 2 Lois Stavsky; 3 Yonatan Ruttenberg and 4-6 Sara Erenthal



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


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


Stripes, Acrylic on found shipwreck


Eliminator, Enamel on vintage sprayer


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




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.

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A self-taught, multi-disciplinary artist, Sara Erenthal has a strong presence on the streets of Park Slope, Brooklyn. We recently spoke.

You’ve established quite a presence here on the streets of Park Slope. What keeps you coming back?

There is a lack of public art in Park Slope, and there seems to be a hunger for it. Folks here have been so receptive to what I am doing. They seem excited to have something interesting and different to look at.  Park Slope is where I am living these days, and so it’s easy for me to get around either by foot or by bike.


With the exceptions of the walls you are commissioned to paint, your canvas is almost always some type of discarded object. Why is that?

Since folks take many of my works home with them, I feel that I am saving trash from ending up in landfills. Also – what I am doing is not illegal. I cannot take the legal risks of doing unsanctioned artworks that could land me with a fine, time in jail or both.


You almost always seem to be drawing faces. Can you tell us something about them?

They are variations of myself – subconscious portraits. Growing up in a cloistered ultra-Orthodox world, I was limited to just one hairstyle. The changes in the hairstyles represent the changes in myself.


I’ve noticed folks stop and often photograph you while you are drawing.  Do any particular interactions with passersby stand out?

Yes! Recently a woman ran after me as I was rushing out of my house — in my pajamas — to the local health food store to buy some ginger. I was sick at the time. She asked me if she could bring her father – a huge fan since he had seen my work on a mattress — to meet me. He showed up almost instantly for his daughter to snap a photo of the two of us  — with me decked in my pajamas!


In addition to your work on found objects, you’ve also painted on a range of sanctioned surfaces this past year. Any particular challenges? Any favorites?

Painting on a shuttered gate was definitely a challenge as I generally paint on flat surfaces. Among my favorites is the artwork that I painted at D’Vine Taste.


Yes! I love the stark simplicity of the white on black. It’s beautiful! And what about the piano? How did that become your canvas?

A local pre-school threw it out last spring with a sign “Free piano.” Six months later it was still there. I asked then for permission to paint it. And I love that it is still there! I feel as though I gave it a new life.


You did! What’s ahead? 

I am now preparing for a solo show to open at FiveMyles Gallery at 558 St Johns Place on March 9 from 6-9pm. And later in the spring, I will be exhibiting my work at Google’s New York site in Chelsea. An outdoor mural in Gowanus is also on the horizon.

I’m looking forward to it all! Good luck!

Photo credits: 1-5 & 7 Lois Stavsky; 6 Tara Murray; interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky

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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While exploring the streets of Mexico City earlier this month, I meandered into Huerto Roma Verde, a huge urban community garden — largely constructed with salvaged materials — in the South Roma colony. Committed to ecological awareness and sustainable consumption, it features a range of workshops and activities for folks of all ages.  It is also rich and varied not only in its offerings and produce, but in its public art, as well. Here is a small sampling:


One of many art pieces on its grounds


And this one capturing its spirit–


As seen from the outside


Photos by Lois Stavsky



NYC’s prolific RAE BK will join forces with the legendary DJ Kool Herc at 99 Bowery on New Year’s Eve for an unprecented event. A brief interview with RAE BK about his new exhibit  and its New Years Eve launch follows:

This sure seems like a fun way to spend New Years Eve! What spurred you to do this? 

After everything that has gone on with this Presidential Election in the US, I decided the best way to bring in a 2017 is with a bang.  I hope it’s a way to at least turn the page for an evening for those who attend. The name of the exhibition is All Systems Go and it centers around the comparison of discarded objects and human beings.

What kinds of works can we expect to see? On the streets we’ve spotted everything from your stickers to your huge installations?

There will be about 40 pieces ranging from ‘found object’ sculptures to large scale canvases to paintings on paper.  These are works I have made over the course of eight months.  And what better way to say goodbye to 2016 than to have a living legend, the Father of Hip-Hop, DJ Kool Herc, to bring some bass and get people moving later on?


Can you tell us something about the found objects that you have been working with? Where did you find them?

A lot of the parts I have collected and used to make the work have come from an area in Willets Point. Queens, NYC.   It’s about a 10- block section full of “chop shops,” huge pot holes and some really weathered people. The feeling is third-world for sure. For someone looking at it from the outside — like me — it’s like the land of the forgotten.  Mechanics look like they’ve put in a week’s straight worth of doing car repairs. Others are selling drugs and looking to turn tricks. The work I have created is as much a reflection of the materials as it is of the environment.  A lot of rusted metals, worn fabrics and scraps of plastics… Think “pop-artifacts.”

What was it like to work with these objects?

While working in my studio, I kept seeing the worn and weary faces of the people I encountered in the weathered parts. I adopted the philosphy of making the best of the materials you are given.  And these materials came from the people of Willets Point. People there do what they have to do to make a living. Whatever it takes. The interesting thing is that for all the rusted, decayed, crushed pieces I found, I also found stuff that had a nice gold or silver shine or burst of color that created a cool high-end, low-end quality to the finished pieces.


How can one attend All Systems Go on New Years Eve?

Opening night will be a ticketed event with open bar and music spun on vinyl by DJ Kool Herc.  I will be giving away a small original piece of work just before midnight too. You can get tickets here.

And if we can’t make it to the New Years Eve opening, will we still be able to see your show?

Yes! The show will run for at least another week after that. Check my Instagram for updates.

Interview by Lois Stavsky; photos 2 & 4 from NYC streets, 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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UK-based artist My Dog Sighs hits New York City this week with the London Ibiza Collective. Presented by Imagination in Space, the exhibit opens tomorrow, October 6th, and runs until the 16th at S Artspace Gallery, 345 Broome Street, in Lower Manhattan. What follows is an interview with the widely-acclaimed artist who has come to New York for the first time:

When did you begin hitting the streets? 

I’ve been leaving some sort of mark on the streets for about 15 years now.  I’d tried the gallery route a few years before and I failed.  It was so elitist. I began to realize that what you saw on gallery walls was dictated by curators. Not representative of the artists out there. I tried painting what I thought galleries would like, and that was a disaster. Watered down drivel.

So was it the democratic nature of street art that appealed to you?

Yes!  Having stumbled across some early street art — and then Wooster Collective — I loved the way street art engaged a truly democratic audience. The interaction it offered… It had such aesthetic too, so often working with the beauty of  urban decay. I started taking a piece of my work out with me on the way to catching the train to work on a Friday. I would find a nice quiet spot and leave it there for someone to spot and possibly take home. It was liberating.  I got excited as I walked away from the piece.


What were some of your thoughts at the time?

A million questions ran through my head.  Who would see it?  What would they think?  Would they take it?  Would they feel wrong to take it?  Would they feel it’s right to take it? Would they carry the thought around with them all day? Might it encourage them to do the same? Imagine hundreds of little pieces of art hidden around the city! I started posting images online with the tag line Free Art Friday, and I started to get a good response…not just from the street artists and graffiti writers but also from lots of people who just liked the sentiment of the altruistic act.

And so that was the beginning of the Free Art Friday movement! How were you able to afford to do this?

Yes! Little did I know that it would explode across the globe! Working without funds meant I used what I could find. So scraps of cards, junk and crushed food tins became my canvas.


Can you tell us something about your name? It is certainly distinct!

When I started working on the street, there were no street artists. There was just the art. There was no celebrity status like there is today. No one was interested in the artist. Just the art. And I loved that. I was never interested in being recognised for producing the work. I just liked the fact it was going to be seen. It was going to force people to question their everyday existence. It was going to confuse them and allow them to just break the monotony of the daily grind. With that in mind, I didn’t really want a ‘name’. It wasn’t necessary. I just wanted something easy to remember and that might add a layer of confusion to the viewer. The phrase My dog sighs had been sitting in my head for decades after seeing it scrawled on a fence in Biro as a kid. I remember looking at it for just a split second, but its melancholy and surreal nature just embedded itself in my brain. I can’t remember things one minute to the next, but I could not forget this phrase.  When I was trying to think of  something to write next to my work, it seemed to make complete sense to use this random phrase.  I never, for a moment, imagined that 15 years later I’d walk into a bar and get referred to as My Dog or Mr Sighs.


Much of your work focuses on eyes. Can you tell us something about that?

That developed from a can. I’d started painting cans with eyes that were closed, but then I thought I’d try one with eyes open. I nailed the eyes but messed up the nose. Feeling frustrated, I threw the can aside. A week or so later, I walked past a woman in a full burka. Everything was hidden except these beautifully made-up eyes. There was something so alluring and mysterious about seeing just eyes. I was completely captivated. I immediately came home and painted everything black on the cans except for the open eyes. Just like the burka. That can was one of my favorites. I then began to think about the power of seeing so little, and I started to explore the image of a pair of eyes in a narrow aperture. Initially, it was just a window the eyes looked through, but later I began exploring  that letterbox aperture in different formats; tags, drips, paint splashes. And I started to notice how when you look into someone’s eyes, you can see your own silhouette in the reflection. And as I continued to explore this, I began to hide narratives in the reflection. Little hidden stories that may at first be completely overlooked but — once discovered —  could be intriguing! It’s a huge cliche, but the saying The eyes are the window into the soul is often thrown at me. And I suppose I’m exploring that idea. Maybe it’s that I’m not very good at painting noses!


What can we expect to see in your upcoming exhibit — here in NYC?

For this show I went right back to one of the key moments in my life that shaped my interest in art. As a kid at school, art was about viewing traditional English landscapes and endlessly drawing cross sections of fruit and dead house plants in boring art classes. Then one day I saw a Lichtenstein print in a shop window. It blew me away. This bold brash comic book image was something I completely related to. And here it was masquerading as art. Unsettling and infiltrating the art world! Lichtenstein was my gateway into Pop — the shock of the new and the idea that art could be unsettling and naughty and ultimately very powerful. I’ve been exploring the burka stripe behind eyes in different formats and when the opportunity to show in NY came up, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. To pay homage to a hero.

When we were in London last year, we came upon your collab with the Brazilian artist Cranio. We loved it!  Have you collaborated with others? Do any of these collaborations stand out? Would you rather work on your own or collaborate with other artists?

Oh yeah. I love a good colab. It really gets you thinking outside the box. When you rock up to a wall on your own, you have a good idea about what the end result will be. But working with someone else is like cooking. When it works well, the sum of the two parts can be more than the ingredients. Among the artists I’ve collaborated with are: Snub23, Farkfk and Julian Kimmings. But I think my favorite was with Toasters in Bethnal Green last year. I was painting with a true hero, and the whole piece just seemed to work so well. We both had really in-tune ideas about what we wanted to achieve and it all just flowed so well.


For the past several years, your works have also made their way into galleries and art fairs across the globe.  How do you feel about that – the move of street art into galleries? And of your work, in particular, in this setting? 

I always feel like I’m juggling with hot coals a little with this question. Street art is such a pure art form. Maybe not quite as pure as graffiti but up there. It is so democratic. Art by anyone for everyone. It offers so much but asks for so little. And to do it makes my heart soar. But by its nature, it does not pay your rent or feed your kids. For a good while, I had a day job and kept art and money completely separate. But this drastically limited how much time I had to do it. After ten years of putting work out on the street I began to be approached by people to buy my work. Initially this funded the purchasing of new art resources, but eventually I began to see it as an opportunity to paint and create more. A few years ago I found myself in a position where I could paint full time. All day everyday. To get paid for something you adore doing…for something that makes your heart sing is an incredible thing. My work, both for the gallery and the street, has developed and evolved into so much more with all the time I’ve been able to dedicate to it. Showing in galleries across the globe gives me opportunities to paint and leave free art across the globe. In that way it’s the perfect symbiotic relationship.


Your work exudes a social and political consciousness. Have you any thoughts about the increasing link between corporations and street artists? Have you done any corporate work? Would you consider doing so?

I have a social and political conscience, and I have a family to support. There is always a balance. I have been approached, but — as yet —  haven’t worked on any corporate projects. I can completely understand, though, why artists do choose to work with corporations. They have rent to pay, and I’d never judge anyone for doing so.

How has your work evolved since you first started sharing it with others in public spaces?

For over ten years nothing I painted was ever over a few feet in diameter; it was often only an inch or two. Then ‘muralism’ seemed to arrive in full force and all of a sudden my contemporaries were painting huge walls. And it’s getting bigger and bigger: 16-18 story buildings. And part of what I now do is painting murals around the globe. But that to me is a different form of  street art. Many of today’s mural artists have never run around the streets at night, working at speed, considering placement or finding ways to convey a message in creative shorthand. Look at Anthony Lister. With just few quick paint splashes, a thousand pages of prose appears on a street corner. Sublime! People often comment about how quickly I work. It’s about finding the simplest way to convey the message.  Huge murals  have their place, but we mustn’t forget that there’s also something special about discovering a tiny paste-up or hidden piece that you might stumble across or completely miss if you’re not looking carefully.


Absolutely!  What brings you to New York? 

It’s New York! Do I really need to explain? It’s the draw of that energy that NYC exudes. It’s the history of public mark making. It’s the melting pot of creativity. How can I not want part of my creative journey to take place in New York?

What’s ahead?

I’m not a great planner. Once the show is over and the downer of leaving NYC is over, I’ll wake up, go to the studio and find something that I can paint. If I’m lucky, the piece will come to life, and I’ll find a way of sharing it with the world.

Good luck with it all! And welcome to NYC!

Interview by Lois Stavsky

Photo credits 1, 2, 4 & 7 courtesy of the artist; 3 & 5 Lois Stavsky & 6 Tara Murray



A renovated industrial complex that how houses some of Lisbon’s coolest shops, design firms and restaurants, the FX Factory is also home to an eclectic collection of first-rate street art. Pictured above is a bee fashioned by Bordalo II from discarded objects. Bordalo II has the following to say about his work: …I belong to a generation that is extremely consumerist, materialist and greedy. With the production of things at its highest, the production of “waste” and unused objects is also at its highest. “Waste” is quoted because of its abstract definition: “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”.  I create, recreate, assemble and develop ideas with end-of-life material and try to relate it to sustainability, ecological and social awareness.

Here are several other artworks I saw last week while visiting the FX Factory:

Miguel RAM


French artists Noty & Aroz


Mário Belém, close-up from huge mural


Mariana Dias Coutinho, close-up


MaisMenos, one of his “streetments”


Photos by Lois Stavsky