Williamsburg

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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.

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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

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 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

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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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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.

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 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.

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 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.

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 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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Savior-el-mundo-Frida

Highlighting the impact that Mexican civilization has had on other cultures, The Impact Show, El Momento del Impacto, presents a stunning array of artworks that reflect various aspects of the Mexican experience. Here are a few more images that can be seen in the backyard garden of the lovely Cafe de la Esquina in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Danielle Mastrion

"Danielle Mastrion"

Esteban del Valle, close-up

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Juan Carlos Pinto

"Carlos Pinto"

Albertus Alburg, close-up

"Albertus Alburg"

Ben Angotti

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Curated by Savior Elmundo and Frankie Velez, the Impact Show remains on view for the next several weeks — with a closing party 7-10pm on Thursday, June 25 — at 225 Wythe Avenue, a short walk from the Bedford stop on the L train.  

Note: First image is a close-up from  Savior Elmundo‘s Frida.

Photos: 1 – 6 Dani Reyes Mozeson and 7 Lois Stavsky

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Living and working as a full-time artist in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, Milan native Federico Massa aka Iena Cruz first visited NYC in 2008. He has since moved here, enhancing NYC and beyond with his strikingly stylish aesthetic. This post is the first in a new series of interviews with artists born abroad who have decided to make NYC home.

"Iena Cruz" "Federico Massa"

When did you first visit NYC?

It was the summer of 2008. I stayed here for a month.  At the time, I didn’t know anyone in NYC.

What brought you here? Why NYC?

I was on vacation, and I was interested in exploring other cities. I had begun to feel that Milan is too small for me.  NYC seemed like a logical place to visit.

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What was your first impression of NYC?

I fell in love with it at once.  I didn’t understand it, but I loved it. I felt inspired by the chance to be connected to so many different cultures. I thought everything about NYC is great!

What was your image of NYC back in Milan?

It was out of focus. The only image I had of it came from what I saw in movies and music videos. I really had no idea what to expect.

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When did you decide to return here? 

I knew soon after my first visit that I needed to come back.

How did your family feel about you leaving Milan for NYC?

They were supportive. They know how difficult life is for an artist in Milan. Back home no artist is taken seriously until after he is past 50.

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What were some of the challenges you faced once you decided to make NYC home?

I had to learn a new language. I had to find work to meet basic living expenses. I constantly had to concern myself with visa requirements and paper work. And in order to do all this, I had to put aside my painting. There was a general sense of instability.

Your current living situation is ideal – as your home is also your studio. How did you get so lucky?

I discovered this place on craigslist. When I contacted the owner, he asked me to show him a sample of my artwork! As soon as he saw it, he took me on as a tenant. At the time there were two other artists living here, both Mexican.

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What was that like – sharing the space with these other artists?

It was wonderful at the time! And they’ve had a tremendous influence on my aesthetic. Through them, I discovered Mexican culture, and I’ve since adapted elements of it into my artworks.

Now that the space is all yours, how do you meet all your expenses?

Largely through a variety of commissioned projects. I also sell artworks and do set design.

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Do any particular projects stand out?

The huge mural I did for the Williamsburg Cinemas on the corner of Grand and Driggs was an experience! It was unlike anything I had done before – both aesthetically and in terms of the people with whom I interacted while painting it.  And last month, I had the opportunity to participate in FAAM, Fine Art Auction Miami in Wynwood.

How has your artwork evolved or changed since you came here?

My current works feature and fuse elements of Italy, Mexico and NYC.  And as I’m inspired to push myself here, my art is certain to continue to evolve and develop.

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How receptive have New Yorkers been to your artwork? To you?

It’s been so positive. My sense is that folks here admire my work, and they’ve been so welcoming.

What’s ahead?

Now that I have my green card, I just want to keep painting murals and exhibiting my artwork.

Interview by Lois Stavsky with City-as-School intern Zachariah Messaoud  

Photos: 1. In Miami for the FAAM MAJOR STREET ART AUCTION and 4. In Puerto Rico, courtesy of the artist; 2. In the artist’s studio, Lois Stavsky; and 3, 5-7, In NYC, Dani Reyes Mozeson

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cycle -street-art-graffiti-NYC

Straddling the border between Williamsburg and Greenpoint, the building at 106 Bayard Street was transformed this past spring into a 3,000-square foot outdoor canvas.  The 70’s and 80’s NYC subway and graffiti movement was the theme of the inaugural 106 Bayard mural project, curated by Gee Dajani and Keene Carse.  Here are a few more images from both the exterior and interior of 106 Bayard captured when we recently revisited the spot.

Part One, Dr. Revolt, Wolf 1 AOK and Futura

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Lady Pink

Lady Pink

A wide view from across the street with Part OneDr. Revolt, Wolf 1 AOK, Futura and Team

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And inside — Whisper and Pure TFP, segment of huge mural

Whisper and Pure

Created and sponsored by Cirkers Fine Art Storage & Logistics, 106 Bayard will be transformed once again this coming spring.

Note: First photo features the legendary Cycle with Jackson and artwork by Williamsburg Charter High School students.

Photo credits: 1, 4 & 5 by Dani Reyes Mozeson; 2 & 3 by Lois Stavsky

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