Williamsburg

Two brilliantly conceived and beautifully executed murals – one by Sonny Sundancer and the other by ASVP – surfaced last month on the exterior walls of IS 318 in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Sonny’s mural– at the corner of Lorimer Street and Throop Avenue – depicts a Yawanawa girl from Acre, Brazil, along with a jaguar, representative of a species that is sacred to the indigenous peoples and at risk of extinction. ASVP‘s black and white tower mural — painted on the opposite wall — features an elephant, bear, tiger and more, all interdependent and threatened or endangered in some capacity.

While visiting the school last week for the murals’ dedication and ribbon cutting, I had the opportunity to pose a few questions to Greenpoint Innovations founder Stephen Donofrio, who had organized the The Point NYC project.

These hugely impressive murals are one component of The Point NYC initiative. Just what is The Point NY?

It is a collaborative venture — among Comics Uniting Nations, Greenpoint Innovations, Hypokrit Theatre Company, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater and UNICEF — that brings together artists, producers, educators and local environmentalists for a series of artistic productions and events. Among these are: a comic book, public murals, a theatrical experience, open dialogue and an educational toolkit.

What is its ultimate mission?

Its mission is to respond to the human impact of climate change and to exercise the power we all have, particularly the youth, to take action for a better future.

And what inspired the direction that this project has taken?

It was inspired by a comic book story —Tre, by Sathviga ‘Sona’ Sridhar — about a climate change superhero. Sona had become passionate about climate change when her town in Chennai, India was flooded and when she heard about the Climate Comic Contest by UNICEF and Comics Uniting Nations, she decided to submit her art.

How did you connect with Sonny Sundancer and ASVP? Their murals are perfect for this project, as they are exquisite and brilliantly reflect environmental issues.

Karin du Maire introduced me to Sonny, and I met ASVP at the Moniker Art Fair in Greenpoint this past spring. Both Sonny and ASVP were ideal to work with, as they are not only wonderful artists, but caring people.

Were you presented with any particular challenges in seeing the project through?

Coordinating with the Department of Education was somewhat of a task. And then discovering that a segment of the wall that Sonny had completed had been coated to protect it from any lasting paint was another challenge. But – with considerable effort — we overcame them both!

How have the members of the local community responded to these two murals?

The response has been overwhelmingly positive. They love them.

And thank you for initiating this project!

Photo credits: 1 & 2 Lois Stavsky; 3 Karin du Maire aka Street Art Nomad; interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky; 

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I stopped by HG Contemporary‘s impressive new gallery space in Williamsburg, Brooklyn yesterday as several artists were busy at work preparing for tonight’s official launch.

After checking it out, I had the opportunity to speak with Sean Sullivan who, along with Harris Lobel, has curated the gallery’s opening exhibit:

This space is ideal, and the artwork looks wonderful! How did the opportunity come your way to curate this exhibit for HG Contemporary‘s grand opening here in Williamsburg?

Last month, Philippe Hoerle-Guggenheim, the founder of HG Contemporary in Chelsea, approached me and asked me if I would be interested in curating an exhibit along the lines of First City, the one I’d curated awhile back in Long Island.  I saw it as a great opportunity to give artists I admire a chance to exhibit alongside the fine artists who generally show at HG Contemporary.

How did you decide which artists to include?

That was difficult, as I would have liked to include many more. I chose artists with whom I’ve successfully worked with in the past, along with five others whose artwork I’ve admired, but with whom I’ve never worked. The final selection was a joint decision between me and Harris Lobel, who was involved in curating, along with me, the First City project. We were interested in showcasing the works of artists whom we believe deserve wide exposure.

I’m familiar with several of the artists — especially those whose work I’ve seen on the streets. Several, though, are new to me. Who are the artists that you both agreed to include in this grand opening?

Our final selection included: Albertus JosephZimer, Gumshoe, Jenna Krypell, Jason AckermanFridge, Jenna Morello, OG Millie and Reso 914.

There’s quite a diverse range of styles here. Had you a specific theme in mind?

We were interested in representing the various elements associated with street art and graffiti.  And so we sought a mix of images, words, letter technique, characters, color and flow.

What were some of the challenges you faced in seeing this through?

As an artist who doesn’t like taking directions, I wasn’t all that comfortable giving directions to others. But it was something that I had to do. And it was difficult asking artists to put a halt to all that they were doing for two to three day, so that they could devote themselves for hours on end to this project.

I’m certain that many artists who worked with you in the past were disappointed that they weren’t included in such a significant exhibit.

Definitely! I was getting too many nasty direct messages. Dealing with that was another huge challenge. Of course, I would have loved to include more artists, and I do hope to include many others in future exhibits that I look forward to curating in this space.

In addition to the works painted directly onto the walls here, what else can visitors to the gallery expect to see?

All of the artists who are partipating will also exhibit works on canvas that are for sale. And in addition to the artists that Harris and I have brought in, HG Contemporary will be presenting a special installation by Franz Klainsek and works by Tim Bengel and Carl McCrow.

And how can folks who can’t make it to the official grand opening see the exhibit?

The gallery is conveniently located at 66 North 3rd Street off Wythe Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn .All are invited to visit the gallery during its regular opening hours.

Images

  1. Albertus Joseph
  2. Layer Cake
  3. Zimer
  4. Gumshoe
  5. Jenna Krypell
  6. Jason Ackerman & Fridge
  7. Jenna Morello
  8. OG Milli
  9. Reso 914

Interview and photos by Lois Stavsky

Note: Hailed in a range of media from WideWalls to the Huffington Post to the New York Times, our Street Art NYC App is now available for Android devices here.

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Since its launch in 2008, 17 Frost has emerged as one of NYC’s most intriguing and innovative creative spaces. Warm and welcoming, it is intent in its mission to“provide the best platform possible to showcase the talents of artists worldwide.” And during this past year of extensive renovations, it has continued to host its weekly Family Night, where artists meet to fashion individually and collaboratively a wondrous range of sticker art.

Pictured above are: Love from NYCJason Mamarella aka dwkrsna, Alex Itin, Sara Erenthal and 17 Frost Creative Director Javier Hernandez-Miyares. What follows are several more images captured at 17 Frost’s informal Family Night.

Jason Mamarella aka dwkrsna and Alex Itin

Sara Erenthal and Javier Hernandez-Miyares

Javier Hernandez-Miyares

Love from NYC and  Alex Itinwith Lenny Collado aka BK Lenny checking it all out

Alex Itin and Javier Hernandez-Miyares collaborate

Poster BoyJavier Hernandez-Miyares, Dummy Tree, Arek Jungle, Net, Ninja Status & more

A random finding in the huge space — soon to reopen

Note: 17 Frost is planning a grand reopening exhibition  — curated by Ellis Gallagher — in late February. Information will follow.

Photo credits: 1-5 Lois Stavsky; 6 & 7 Javier Hernandez-Miyares and 8 Lenny Collado 

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I discovered David Hollier‘s distinctly provocative aesthetic a few years back when I came upon his huge murals of such luminaries as Nelson Mandela and John F Kennedy on the streets of Brooklyn.  Earlier this year, I saw his intriguing work on the 69th floor of the World Trade Center. And, yesterday, I had the opportunity to visit his solo exhibit, Ladies and Gentlemen, at Sideshow Gallery in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and pose a few questions to him.

When did you first start integrating text into your artwork?

I began in 2010.

What inspired you to do so?

Before incorporating text into my artwork, I was working with lines. I then started repeating words within the works. And when a friend commissioned me to create a portrait of her husband using words, I incorporated a brief biography into the portrait. The response was so positive that I continued working in this style. By 2012 I’d given the collection the name Imago Verbosa, meaning a picture made of words in Latin.

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What media or tools do you use in fashioning these portraits?

I sometimes use a vintage typewriter. I also use acrylic paint. Huge photographic images are often projected and copied onto a range of surfaces.

How do you choose the subjects of your work? Ranging from Susan B. Anthony to Jay Z, they cross generations, nationalities and sensibilities. Among them are many musicians and politicians. 

Yes! I generally select icons. But some are commissioned, and those are selected for me.

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We’ve come upon quite a few of your works on the streets of Brooklyn. Do you prefer working in your studio or working on the streets?

They’re different experiences, and I like both. But the streets can be more challenging.

Do you have a formal art education?

Yes. I studied Visual Art and Public Art at the University of Northumbria in Newcastle, and I earned a Masters degree in Computer Imaging and Animation from London Guildhall University.

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I’m fascinated by your choice of text infused into each portrait, as many have strong social implications. This exhibit is quite impressive. Do you devote yourself full-time to your artwork?

I divide my time between painting and teaching. I’ve taught at Parsons since 2006.

Congratulations on this! And we especially look forward to seeing more of your public artworks on the streets of NYC.

Note: A CLOSING RECEPTION takes place, tonight, Friday from 6 until 9pm. The show ends of Sunday, July 16th. Sideshow Gallery is located at 319 Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Images

1 Taylor Swift, Text: “Never Grow Up,” Acrylic on board, 48″ x 48″

2 Jimi Hendrix, Text: “Fire,” “Voodoo Child” and “Are you Experienced?” Acrylic on canvas, 60″ x 60″

3 Star Stuff, Text: from Carl Sagan’s “Cosmos,” Acrylic on canvas, 72″ x 60″

4 The artist with Susan B. Anthony, Text: from “Women’s Rights to the Suffrage,” Acrylic on board, 27″ x 40″

Photos by Lois Stavsky; interview by Lois Stavsky with Bonnie Astor

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Currently on view at Okay Space at 281 North 7th Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn is Philly VS New York: A Declaration of Co-Independence. Featuring works — fashioned both individually and collaboratively — by legendary Philly rapper Schoolly D and New York-based multi-disciplinary visual artist Pablo Power, this exhibit is a follow-up to their 2013 exhibition, Am I Black Enough?  Presented by Okay Space and Black Swan Projekt, Philly VS New York: A Declaration of Co-Independence continues through April 1. Pictured above is Gay Science and Joyous Wisdom by Pablo Power. What follows are several more images on display:

Schoolly D, Smoke Some Kill, Ink on paper

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 Pablo Power, Crack Another 40, A Birthday on Chrystie, Mixed media

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 Pablo Power, Dekalb Didactic, Mixed media

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Schoolly D,  Cheeba, Cheeba, Mixed media

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Schoolly D and Pablo Power, Philly Vs New York, Giclée Prints, edition of 30. Release and Exhibit Reception Tonight

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And on this coming Wednesday evening, a series of short films will be screened:

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 Photos of images 1-5 by Tara Murray

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Back in NYC, in the place he calls “home,” Bisco Smith — the first artist in residency at Okay Space — has been busy!  At work during one of the most tumultuous weeks in the history of our country, the artist proposed that creating his newest body of work, MANIFEST, helped “center” him, as he strives to find “the goodness amidst the chaos.”  This past Friday, MANIFEST was unveiled at Okay Space at 281 North 7th Street.  Here are several images captured shortly before it officially opened to the public:

Bisco Smith adding info to Methods, serigraph on paper, edition of 111

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 Manifest Moments #9, acrylic & spray paint on canvas

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Manifest Moments, the series — each, 18 x 18 — acrylic & spray paint on canvas

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Gratitude for all things past, service for all things present, responsibility for all things future

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 And as seen at night from the outside, shortly before it opened

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Okay Space is open Monday through Friday, 11-6, and on Saturday 12-5.  For further info, you can contact the space at 929-250-2388.

Photos by Lois Stavsky

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lamkat

This past summer, a distinctly elegant mural surfaced on the streets of Williamsburg by Brooklyn-based artist LAMKAT. Last week, I had the opportunity to meet up with the talented artist and find out a bit about her.

When did you first share your vision in a public space?

The very first time I painted outdoors was this past June in Krakow, Poland.  It was in collaboration with Marcin Kowalik and sponsored by Galeria Dystans.  I loved the experience, and was instantly inspired to continue painting outdoors.

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 Were you always conscious of street art? Have you any favorite street artists?

Yes! I was always aware of it and I’ve always loved it! Among my favorite street artists are Bogota-based Gauche — whom I met in Berlin — and Li-Hill.

Can you tell us something about your particular aesthetic? What inspires it?

My father’s black and white photography has been a huge inspiration. He’s the one that taught me the importance of perspective and depth, both visually and as a way of observing life.  And I’m inspired by math.

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Are there any particular cultures that have influenced it?

My Chinese heritage plays a role, and growing up in Texas, I was influenced by Mexican culture.

Do you prefer working alone or collaborating with others?

Both! I like working alone, and I love collaborating. This summer I collaborated with One Thousand Birds, a commercial sound studio. We created interactive sound murals that were featured at Likeminds Camp, a creative and tech conference set in the middle of the woods in Beacon, NY.

lamkat-interactive-sound-mural

Have you a formal art education?

I started with Fine Arts, but I then studied Advertising and Art Direction at The University of Texas at Austin. And I earned a degree in Communication Design from The University of North Texas.

Do you feel that your formal education benefited you?

It did when I worked in advertising. It taught me about the relationship between art and business…how to turn art into a business.

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Now that you are now longer focused primarily on advertising, what is the main source of your income? 

My art still is — through commissions — in such venues as restaurants — and also through my work as an illustrator.

Your illustrations — as evident in the gate you recently painted for the 100 Gates Project — certainly exude a different feeling than your huge abstract murals!

Yes! I’ve always loved drawing birds, robots and goofy characters!

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

I do have an initial sketch.

How do you generally feel when your piece is finished?

I feel happy and sad at the same time! I’m happy, of course, that it’s completed, but I love painting so much that I feel sad that it’s over!

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

It is to bring a sense of vibrancy to our environment.

What’s ahead?

The interactive sound mural from Beacon will be at the Art Mart, 395 Johnson Avenue, at Bushwick Open Studios (ed.note: beginning today through Sunday); I will also be selling my smaller-scale works there. On October 20th, I will be participating in a skate deck show at Fillin Global, 160 Bowery. I’m also scheduled to paint next month up in the Bronx at the BMX Park. And in late October, I’m heading to Austin.

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It sounds great! Good luck with it all!

Photo credits: 1 Tara Murray; 2-8 courtesy of the artist; 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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Splendidly curated by Ellis Gallagher, Collaborations features selected works by Crash fashioned collaboratively with both local and global artists. The mural pictured above was painted by Crash in collaboration with Stash. What follows is a sampling of works — representing the diverse range of collaborative styles and sensibilities — inside the gallery at 17 Frost Street in Williamsburg:

Crash with Nick Walker and Bio, Tats Cru

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Crash with KAWS

crash-and-kaws-graffiti-on-canvas

 Crash with Remi Rough

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Crash with Bio

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Crash with BR163

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 Crash with James Choules aka She One

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Collaborations remains on exhibit through June 26 at 17 Frost by appointment only.

Photo credits: 1 & 7 Lois Stavsky; 2, 4, 5 & 6 City-as-School intern Sol Raxlen and 3 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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Fusing symbols of Latino Catholicism with elements of a pop sensibility, the Holy Art Show showcases the works of over a dozen artists, including many whose works surface on our streets. Curated by Frankie Velez and Savior Elmundo, the exhibit remains on view at Williamsburg’s Cafe de la Esquina through Sunday. Here is a sampling of the intriguing works on exhibit:

Marc Evan, The Lady of Guadalupe Appears

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RockoArt Is My Religion

Rocko

Savior ElmundoArt Is My Religion

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Ben Angotti, Sacred Heart

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Carlito 624!, Purple Reign: Units in the City

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Will Power, Crucified My Passion

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 Curators, Savior Elmundo and Frankie Velez

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The exhibit continues through this weekend at the lovely Cafe de la Esquina at 225 Wythe Avenue between Metropolitan and North 3rd Street.

Photo credits: 1, 3, 5 & 6 Tara Murray; 2 & 4 City-as-School intern Sol Raxlen and 7 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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Jily-Ballistic-and-JPO-art-17-Frost

SOLD Magazine launched this past Thursday evening with an exhibit — co-curated with Ellis Gallagher — and party at 17 Frost. When I stopped by early in the evening, I had the opportunity to speak to John Paul O’Grodnick, who — along with Greg Frederick and BD White — made it all happen.

 Just what is SOLD Magazine?

SOLD Magazine is a free magazine by artists for artists and art lovers. Among its features are: artists interviewing each other, studio visits, artist and photographer profiles, a travel section and much more.

What motivated you thee to launch it?

A sense that artists need a new platform for exposure. Our mission is to provide that platform.

chris-rwk-art-17-frost

 When did you guys first begin working on SOLD Magazine? And how did you fund it?

We began working on it at the beginning of October, and we funded it via a Kickstarter campaign.

It’s great that your campaign was so successful! What has been your greatest challenge in seeing this through?

Rounding up the artists whom we wanted to participate in our venture.

raquel-echanique-17-Frost-exhibit

 Was it an open call? How did you decide which artists to include?

No! It was artists we’ve known and worked with in the past. Some of them suggested others.

How often do you expect to publish SOLD Magazine?

Once every three months. It is intended as a quarterly.

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How will folks be able to get hold of it?

We plan to make it available in galleries and museums throughout the city, as well as in local businesses here in Williamsburg.

I notice that this premier issue focuses on female artists, with your first cover featuring Gilf and Elle. What can we expect in future issues?

Every issue will have a theme. Our next one will focus on collaborations.

Ramiro-Davato-art -at-17-Frost

 That sounds great! Congratulations!

Note: The above images of are of works that were on exhibit and for sale at Thursday evening’s SOLD Magazine‘s launch:

1. Jily Ballistic and John Paul O’Grodnick aka JPO

2. Chris RWK

3. Raquel Echanique

4. Elle

5. Ramiro Davaro

Interview by Lois Stavsky and photos by Tara Murray

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