santhori wuth youth mural art first green At First Street Green Art Park: Santhori with Community Members, Vedran Misic, Murrz, Peter Missing and Stuart Ringholt

Back in 2008, First Street Green converted a derelict building lot at 33 E. 1st Street in Manhattan’s Lower East Side into an open art space. In collaboration with NYC Parks and Partnership For Parks, it has successfully incorporated the lot into First Park.

These days, First Street Green provides a wide range of cultural activities and programs in First Park by engaging with artists, architects, cultural groups and community members. It has also become a favorite destination for us street art aficionados, as it has evolved into an intriguing outdoor gallery featuring some of our favorite artists and introducing us to others. Pictured above is a segment of a collaborative mural created during #WeSpyNY, a community workshop conducted by Swiss pop artist Santhori. Here is a small sampling of other works that were seen earlier this month:

Bosnian artist Vedran Misic

Vedran Misic mural art nyc  At First Street Green Art Park: Santhori with Community Members, Vedran Misic, Murrz, Peter Missing and Stuart Ringholt

Murrz

murrz street art nycJPG At First Street Green Art Park: Santhori with Community Members, Vedran Misic, Murrz, Peter Missing and Stuart Ringholt

Bronx-born, Copenhagen-based artist, musician and activist Peter Missing, close-up of huge mural

Peter missing mural art nyc At First Street Green Art Park: Santhori with Community Members, Vedran Misic, Murrz, Peter Missing and Stuart Ringholt

Melbourne-based artist Stuart Ringholt

Stuart Ringholt sculpture first street green park  At First Street Green Art Park: Santhori with Community Members, Vedran Misic, Murrz, Peter Missing and Stuart Ringholt

 Photo credits:1-4 Lois Stavsky & 5 Tara Murray

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Nether410 No Frontiers artwork Baltimore Based Nether 410 Brings his Vision to Chicago    in <em>Lets Talk About It</em> at Galerie F and with Pablo Machioli on the Streets of Pilsen

Earlier this summer, Baltimore-based Nether 410 shared his talents and vision with us up in the Bronx with the TAG Public Arts Project. More recently his particular socially-conscious aesthetic made its way to Galerie F’s current show Let’s Talk About It  and to the streets of Pilsen with Pablo Machioli. Pictured above is No Frontiers. Here are several more images with commentary by Nether:

Rising and Raising of the Super Block, close-up, Ink on paper canvas, 30″x22″

Between 1950 and 1969, Chicago’s housing authority built 11 enormous high rise projects for public housing, which isolated most of the extreme poor in “super-blocks.” Cabrini–Green, Henry Horner and Harold Ickes are some of these housing developments.  As the economy suffered, crime rose. Many of the projects in this arguably failed ‘master-plan’ became derelict and were eventually demolished.  This piece clashes an archival photo of the mayor and developers hovering over an architectural model of a super-block, with an image of the demolition one of their planned developments.

nether410 Rising and Raising of the super block Baltimore Based Nether 410 Brings his Vision to Chicago    in <em>Lets Talk About It</em> at Galerie F and with Pablo Machioli on the Streets of Pilsen

Baptized into the Movement, close-up, Digital print, 11″x17″

A young kid pouring a bottle of water over his face following being tear-gassed in Ferguson.

Nether410 Baptized Into The Movement artwork Baltimore Based Nether 410 Brings his Vision to Chicago    in <em>Lets Talk About It</em> at Galerie F and with Pablo Machioli on the Streets of Pilsen

Candlelight Protest, Digital print, 17″X11″

From a photo I took during the first Freddie Gray candle light vigil protest. Three generations of Baltimoreans witnessing the beauty of the struggle. That evening changed the entire trajectory of the movement.

Nether410 Candlelight Protest graphic art Baltimore Based Nether 410 Brings his Vision to Chicago    in <em>Lets Talk About It</em> at Galerie F and with Pablo Machioli on the Streets of Pilsen

And on the streets of Pilsen with Pablo Machioli:

The Taming of the Bull

As part of a collaboration with Pablo Machioli.  Painted from ground with mini rollers, a statue of Hercules wrestling a Bull in Pilsen, a South Side-neighborhood  being redeveloped. The figure taming the bull is blinded by gold while the bull is being pierced by an arrow — shot through the Robert Taylor Homes — into his throat. Between 1950 and 1969, Chicago’s Housing Authority built 11 enormous high rise projects for public housing, which isolated most of the extreme poor in “super-blocks”. Many of the projects in this failed ‘master-plan’ were almost intentionally underfunded, became derelict, were demolished, and now, of course, the surrounding neighborhoods are being redeveloped for a different population

Nether410 and pablo machioli street art chicago  Baltimore Based Nether 410 Brings his Vision to Chicago    in <em>Lets Talk About It</em> at Galerie F and with Pablo Machioli on the Streets of Pilsen

Close-up

Nether taming the bull close up Baltimore Based Nether 410 Brings his Vision to Chicago    in <em>Lets Talk About It</em> at Galerie F and with Pablo Machioli on the Streets of Pilsen

Let’s Talk About It continues through September 18th at Galerie F. Located at 2381 N Milwaukee Ave, it is open Tuesday through Sunday, 11AM – 6PM

Images of artworks courtesy Galerie F

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mr prvrt a visual bliss jorit agoch street art staten island ny1 Staten Island Based NYC Arts Cypher    a  Model of Community Engagement    to Present Its First Annual Street Art Festival

Passionately engaged in promoting the positive values of the cultures of street art, graffiti and hip-hop, the Staten Island-based NYC Arts Cypher is a dynamic ever-evolving venture. For the past few months a host of  local, national and international artists have been busily at work preparing for Cypher Fest, NYC Arts Cypher‘s first Annual Street Art Festival. While visiting I had the opportunity to speak to its founder and president, Charlie Balducci aka Charlie B.

When was NYC Arts Cypher born?

It was founded in 2004, and it became an official 501c3 nonprofit organization in 2007.

What spurred you to create it?

It was a way for me to stay involved in all aspects of the arts and entertainment and –- at the same time — engage the community.  The realization of it was a dream come true. Of the five boroughs, ours had been the least recognized.

L7 matrix street art staten island new york Staten Island Based NYC Arts Cypher    a  Model of Community Engagement    to Present Its First Annual Street Art Festival

How would you describe its mission?

Its mission is to promote positive values through programs and events related to urban art. NYC Arts Cypher also serves as a networking tool for artists in all five boroughs. And with its open-door policy, it introduces many of our local kids to a range of skills from painting and dancing to acting and producing videos.

What are some of the concerns that  NYC Arts Cypher has addressed?

When Amanda Cummings, a local teen, threw herself in front of a bus in 2013, we took on the issue of bullying.  And, tragically, the issue of bullying was in the news once again when 13-year-old Staten Island resident Danny Fitzpatrick took his life leaving behind a note that expressed his pain as a victim of bullying. Among other issues we address are: vandalism, drug abuse and conflict-resolution.

sipros at work mural art staten island nyc arts cypher Staten Island Based NYC Arts Cypher    a  Model of Community Engagement    to Present Its First Annual Street Art Festival

sipros dont be a bully mural art staten island nyc Staten Island Based NYC Arts Cypher    a  Model of Community Engagement    to Present Its First Annual Street Art Festival

Does any particular highlight stand out?

In 2010, we were awarded “best documentary short” at the Staten Island Film Festival for our documentary, M.U.R.A.L

Can you tell us something about it?

Yes. It presents graffiti as an art form – rather than an act of vandalism. It features interviews with a range of people from the youth who are active in our programs to law enforcement officials to such accomplished artists as the members of Tats Cru and Meres of 5Pointz fame.

What are some of the challenges you encounter in overseeing such a multi-faceted space?

Working on sustaining it is the principal challenge, as we continue to expand and offer more programs and networking opportunities.

cheri mural art staten island nyc Staten Island Based NYC Arts Cypher    a  Model of Community Engagement    to Present Its First Annual Street Art Festival

It seems like a monumental task! How do you do it?

We have support from sponsors like SIBOR, Wheel Concepts and Williams Eye Works. But nothing beats the heart of a volunteer — like Cynthia Valle and Tony Spinelli.

What’s ahead for NYC Arts Cypher?

We are utilizing all our resources to beautify not only our block, but — also — neighboring blocks, as artists from across the globe are now painting alongside local artists. We will continue to engage schools in a range of programs promoting positive values –particularly the Don’t Be a Bully initiative that combats bullying with creativity and Pillz Killz that tackles head on the epidemic of drug abuse plaguing our community. We will also be hosting  a pop-up shop and café. And next Sunday, September 10th we will be presenting Cypher Fest, our first Annual Art Festival.

NYC arts cypher block party Staten Island Based NYC Arts Cypher    a  Model of Community Engagement    to Present Its First Annual Street Art Festival

Images

1  Mr. Prvrt & A Visual Bliss with Jorit Agoch at work on the right

2  L7 Matrix

3 & 4 Sipros

5  La Femme Cheri

Photo credits: 1, 2, 4 & 5 Lois Stavsky; 3 Tara Murray; interview with Charlie B 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.

en play badge 2 Staten Island Based NYC Arts Cypher    a  Model of Community Engagement    to Present Its First Annual Street Art Festival

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Phetus mural art close up glen cove The First City Project Transforms 300 Year Old Historic Glen Cove, Long Island Mansion into Spectacular Street Art and Graffiti <em> Museum</em>

A remarkable museum, featuring the artwork of dozens of street artists, muralists, graffiti writers and bombers, is underway in the least likely spot –a 300-year-old historic Glen Cove, Long Island mansion. While visiting this designated city landmark last week, I had the chance to speak to Sean Sullivan aka Layer Cake, who is actively engaged in the transformation of this 9000-square foot site that was once home to one of the five founding families of the city of Glen Cove.

This is remarkable? Whose concept was this?

Joe LaPadula — known among us for his fabulous cutting-edge urban art car projects — knew about this site and saw its potential to serve as a platform to introduce his favorite art form to the public.

Such graffiti glen cove The First City Project Transforms 300 Year Old Historic Glen Cove, Long Island Mansion into Spectacular Street Art and Graffiti <em> Museum</em>

How did you become involved with it?

I did a Ferrari hood for Joe’s project, and we discovered that we share a similar vision. And then I involved Harris Lobel who has done a great job overseeing the Drip Project in Mount Vernon’s Mes Hall.

reaps graffiti glen cove The First City Project Transforms 300 Year Old Historic Glen Cove, Long Island Mansion into Spectacular Street Art and Graffiti <em> Museum</em>

This home is the centerpiece of the First City Project – which has also engaged artists in painting in public spaces. What is the goal of this project?

There are many. The First City Project‘s principal goal is introduce the residents of the City of Glen Cove and surrounding communities to the next generation of urban-themed artists.

Layer cake urban art glen cove The First City Project Transforms 300 Year Old Historic Glen Cove, Long Island Mansion into Spectacular Street Art and Graffiti <em> Museum</em>

When did the transformation of this site begin?

The actual painting began on May 2. I was, in fact, the first artist to paint here.

ellisG urban art glen cove The First City Project Transforms 300 Year Old Historic Glen Cove, Long Island Mansion into Spectacular Street Art and Graffiti <em> Museum</em>

There is such a wildly diverse mix of art here. How were you able to engage such a variety of artists?

At first I reached out to those I know and like. And then it was a matter of word of mouth, as artists connected to one another.

Chris easy zero productivity graffiti glen cove The First City Project Transforms 300 Year Old Historic Glen Cove, Long Island Mansion into Spectacular Street Art and Graffiti <em> Museum</em>

What are some of the challenges you’ve encountered in seeing this through?

Working with such a varied range of artists with so many different personalities is, in itself, a challenge. But immediate ones that come to mind are: artists not showing up on time; having to stay up far too late and the inevitable politics that comes with it all.

Pase graffiti Glen Cove The First City Project Transforms 300 Year Old Historic Glen Cove, Long Island Mansion into Spectacular Street Art and Graffiti <em> Museum</em>

What’s ahead for the First City Project?

Live art events, gallery exhibits, more outdoor mural projects that engage the community — particularly the youth — student art classes and more.

It’s very exciting! Good luck with it all! And we look forward to news about upcoming events.

Images:

1. Phetus

2. Such

3. Reaps

4. Sean Sullivan aka Layer Cake

5. Ellis G

6. Chris RWK, Nite Owl, Zero Productivity and Easy

7. Pase

Photos and interview 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.

en play badge 2 The First City Project Transforms 300 Year Old Historic Glen Cove, Long Island Mansion into Spectacular Street Art and Graffiti <em> Museum</em>

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Mag magrela street art Noted Brazilian Artist Mag Magrela on NYC Streets and at <em>Galeria</em> on Manhattans Lower East Side

Noted Brazilian artist Mag Magrela recently spent a month in New York City. In partnership with AnnexB — a company focused on promoting Brazilian art in NYC — Mag Magrela painted several murals in different neighborhoods and presented her first NYC solo exhibit, Pindorama in Flames, at Galeria, a delightful gallery/cafe located at 43 Clinton Street on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Pictured above is Sem mais. The broken boat: eu tenho sue o pedaço que agora é meu in Long Island City. Here are several more outdoor murals:

“Pequenos atos de contra ataque,” Astoria, Queens with the Welling Court Mural Project

Mag magrela street art welling court nyc Noted Brazilian Artist Mag Magrela on NYC Streets and at <em>Galeria</em> on Manhattans Lower East Side

“Dá a cara à tapa,” Bushwick

Mag Magrela street art Bushwick NYC Noted Brazilian Artist Mag Magrela on NYC Streets and at <em>Galeria</em> on Manhattans Lower East Side

“A paixão das ancas,” Brooklyn Brush X Mural Project

Mag Magrela Brooklyn Bush X Mural Project Noted Brazilian Artist Mag Magrela on NYC Streets and at <em>Galeria</em> on Manhattans Lower East Side

And from her exhibit Pindorama in Flames, at Galeria featuring works created during her NYC residency:

Linha de frente

mag magrela portrait galeria Noted Brazilian Artist Mag Magrela on NYC Streets and at <em>Galeria</em> on Manhattans Lower East Side

“Suadade de sertão encantado” —  with figure painted live to the right

Mag Magrela galeria nyc  Noted Brazilian Artist Mag Magrela on NYC Streets and at <em>Galeria</em> on Manhattans Lower East Side

“Meu murk” – the artist’s signature performance-installation at Brooklyn Brush, Brooklyn, New York

Mag Magrela performane installation Noted Brazilian Artist Mag Magrela on NYC Streets and at <em>Galeria</em> on Manhattans Lower East Side

The exhibit at Galeria – featuring a range of works that address the dichotomy between the ideal Utopian world and the bitter real one — continues through September 15th.

Note: Mag Magrela is a featured artist in Alexandra Henry‘s documentary film Street Heroines

Photos: 1, 3, 4 & 7 courtesy AnnexB; 2, 5 & 6 Lois Stavsky

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pro176 graffiti nyc At the Graffiti Hall of Fame in East Harlem with Pro 176, PFunk, Rath, Quik, Scratch, Hops1, Poet and more

The 15th edition of the NYC Graffiti Hall of Fame, presented by Joey TDS and James Top, was launched this past weekend inside the famed East Harlem schoolyard on 106th Street and Park Avenue. Pictured above is by French graffiti artist Pro176. Here are several more artworks captured yesterday:

Rhode Island-based PFunk at work

pfunk paints graffiti characters nyc At the Graffiti Hall of Fame in East Harlem with Pro 176, PFunk, Rath, Quik, Scratch, Hops1, Poet and more

Local writer Rath

rath graffiti east harlem nyc At the Graffiti Hall of Fame in East Harlem with Pro 176, PFunk, Rath, Quik, Scratch, Hops1, Poet and more

New York City-based graffiti legend Quik

quik graffiti nyc At the Graffiti Hall of Fame in East Harlem with Pro 176, PFunk, Rath, Quik, Scratch, Hops1, Poet and more

NYC-based, Stockholm native Scratch, the sole female to paint this year!

Scratch graffiti east harlem nyc At the Graffiti Hall of Fame in East Harlem with Pro 176, PFunk, Rath, Quik, Scratch, Hops1, Poet and more

NYC-based Hops1

Hops1 graffiti mural art NYC At the Graffiti Hall of Fame in East Harlem with Pro 176, PFunk, Rath, Quik, Scratch, Hops1, Poet and more

NYC-based Poet

Poet graffiti nyc At the Graffiti Hall of Fame in East Harlem with Pro 176, PFunk, Rath, Quik, Scratch, Hops1, Poet and more

Keep posted to our Facebook page for more images of new Graffiti Hall of Fame murals.

Photos 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.

en play badge 2 At the Graffiti Hall of Fame in East Harlem with Pro 176, PFunk, Rath, Quik, Scratch, Hops1, Poet and more

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nether mural art tag project bronx nyc The TAG Public Arts Project in the Bronx with: Nether 410, Damien Mitchell, Barlo, Daze, TOZ & BR Flesh Beck Crew, Sole Rebel, Ralph Serrano and Mr. Prvrt with A Visual Bliss

Founded and curated by SinXero, the TAG Public Arts Project – a A 501(c)3 Not for Profit in NY State — continues to bring a wonderfully diverse range of public artworks to the South Central section of the Bronx. Pictured above is a mural recently painted by Baltimore-based artist Nether 410. Here are a few others — fashioned by local, national and international artists — that I came upon this past Friday while exploring the streets on and off Westchester Avenue along the 6 line.

Brooklyn-based Australian artist Damien Mitchell, close-up 

damien mitchell mural art Bronx nyc The TAG Public Arts Project in the Bronx with: Nether 410, Damien Mitchell, Barlo, Daze, TOZ & BR Flesh Beck Crew, Sole Rebel, Ralph Serrano and Mr. Prvrt with A Visual Bliss

Hong Kong-based Italian artist Barlo, close-up

barlo street art mural bronx nyc The TAG Public Arts Project in the Bronx with: Nether 410, Damien Mitchell, Barlo, Daze, TOZ & BR Flesh Beck Crew, Sole Rebel, Ralph Serrano and Mr. Prvrt with A Visual Bliss

The legendary NYC-based Daze

daze street art mural bronx nyc The TAG Public Arts Project in the Bronx with: Nether 410, Damien Mitchell, Barlo, Daze, TOZ & BR Flesh Beck Crew, Sole Rebel, Ralph Serrano and Mr. Prvrt with A Visual Bliss

With Brazilian artists TOZ & BR from the Flesh Beck Crew to his left, close-up

daze and fresh beck crew graffiti mural art Bronx NYC The TAG Public Arts Project in the Bronx with: Nether 410, Damien Mitchell, Barlo, Daze, TOZ & BR Flesh Beck Crew, Sole Rebel, Ralph Serrano and Mr. Prvrt with A Visual Bliss

 NYC-based Sole Rebel

sole rebel mural art bronx nyc The TAG Public Arts Project in the Bronx with: Nether 410, Damien Mitchell, Barlo, Daze, TOZ & BR Flesh Beck Crew, Sole Rebel, Ralph Serrano and Mr. Prvrt with A Visual Bliss

NYC-based Puerto Rican artist Ralph Serrano

serrano mural art bronx nyc The TAG Public Arts Project in the Bronx with: Nether 410, Damien Mitchell, Barlo, Daze, TOZ & BR Flesh Beck Crew, Sole Rebel, Ralph Serrano and Mr. Prvrt with A Visual Bliss

Rochester-based Mr. Prvrt and NYC-based A Visual Bliss, close-up

Mr prvrt visual bliss mural art bronx nyc The TAG Public Arts Project in the Bronx with: Nether 410, Damien Mitchell, Barlo, Daze, TOZ & BR Flesh Beck Crew, Sole Rebel, Ralph Serrano and Mr. Prvrt with A Visual Bliss

 Photo credits: 1 Courtesy SinXero; 2-8 Lois Stavsky

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michael cuomo recycled art masks Yonkers waterfront With Michael Cuomo and His <em>Heads of State</em> at the Yonkers Waterfront

Working with a motley range of discarded objects, Yonkers-based interdisciplinary artist Michael Cuomo repurposes them into masks that he calls Heads of State. Exhibited in both outdoor and indoor spaces, his unique sculpture assemblages provoke and entertain. This past week, some of his newest smaller masks made their way onto the Yonkers Waterfront.

Pigskin

Michael Cuomo pigskin recycled art With Michael Cuomo and His <em>Heads of State</em> at the Yonkers Waterfront

Rex

Michael Cuomo mask recycled art Rex With Michael Cuomo and His <em>Heads of State</em> at the Yonkers Waterfront

Installation in Progress

Michael Cuomo installs masks With Michael Cuomo and His <em>Heads of State</em> at the Yonkers Waterfront

A master of neo-primitive folk art in all media, Michael Cuomo recently released a coloring book with his original soulfakes drawings. You can purchase it here.

Snowflaes cuomo coloring book With Michael Cuomo and His <em>Heads of State</em> at the Yonkers Waterfront

Photos by Richie DiFrisco

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the London police street art in heroes we trust Neely Shearer on <em>In Heroes We Trust: Street Artists and Their Heroes</em>

Conceived and curated by Native Californian Neely ShearerIn Heroes We Trust: Street Artists and Their Heroes features the musings and artworks of 60 international artists on the theme of heroism. After reading the elegantly engaging book — with its foreword by Ron English and preface by Jef Aerosol – I posed a few questions to Neely.

What inspired this book/project?

One of my clients happens to be the CEO of a publishing company, Knock Knock. After purchasing some artwork, she suggested that I do a book based on the concept of my shop, In Heroes We Trust

Why did you choose to focus on street artists?

I had already been working on projects with artists and decided to make my new shop a mash-up of fashion and street art. Street artists have always had my respect, and they quite amuse me. They are a certain type of character  – bold, independent, determined. That’s inspiring to me. The walls of my shop have been painted, stenciled and wheat-pasted by street artist friends. I had asked them to do their own personal heroes, keeping their own original style.

Jef Aerosol street art In Heroes We Trust Neely Shearer on <em>In Heroes We Trust: Street Artists and Their Heroes</em>

What inspired the particular title — In Heroes We Trust— of both the shop and the book?

I came up with it some years ago driving solitary along an ocean road listening to the David Bowie song ‘Heroes’. It really speaks to me at core level – the idea of being a Hero. Not in a grand gesture way, but in terms of living life daily as a Hero to oneself, and ultimately to others. Being human isn’t always easy, but if we can do our best to be the best versions of ourselves and share that with others, perhaps we can all get along better, live fuller.

How did you decide which artists to include? 

I had my favorites, of course, and I did a lot of research. I looked for the talent, the message behind the work and the artist’s integrity.

Pichiavo street art in heroes we trust1 Neely Shearer on <em>In Heroes We Trust: Street Artists and Their Heroes</em>

Did this project pose any particular challenges to you?   

I had to keep my nose to the wheel to track many of them down, as their contact info wasn’t always easily accessible.

How did the artists respond — as it’s not the usual question posed to them?

Most artists seemed excited about the project right away. In a few cases, an artist had said No at first; however, with more communication between us, we came to understand one another and what this was about. The artists get hit up a lot by various projects and surely it’s not always clear what’s what and who’s who. They need to protect themselves. It was definitely a wonderful learning experience in communication. And I had such a great team at  Knock Knock - my editors Jamie Stern and Erin Conley, who were of great support and positivity behind the scenes. They really trusted me to do my thing, and that meant a lot.

Hula In Heroes We Trust Neely Shearer on <em>In Heroes We Trust: Street Artists and Their Heroes</em>

Did any artist responses particularly surprise you?

Yes, one in particular. One artist’s manager wrote back quite a strict reply saying that the artist would never do such a book for the benefit of promoting my shop. I explained that this was a real gift for all of us that the publisher had offered us. Basically — a book showcasing them and their work on another, more personal, level. Sure, the book will shine light on what my shop is doing – which is to promote artists. And I am thrilled about that! I’m similar to them in that I’m a one-person show… getting by on what I love to do. Collaborating and supporting one another is really IT. It’s how we move forward, follow our passions and live what we are here to do.

What was the outcome? Did you successfully convince this particular artist’s manager?

Yes! That artist did join the project and is featured in the book.

In Heroes We Trust Neely Shearer on <em>In Heroes We Trust: Street Artists and Their Heroes</em>

How has the response been to the book? All of us here who have seen it love it.

From what I’ve seen firsthand, people think it is a beautiful little book of inspiration. And the artists who have seen it have said they are honored to be included with so many other artists whom they admire. For me, that was surely my hope. I wanted to present the best of the best and for all the artists to feel proud of their work in the company of their peers.

Who are some of your personal heroes?

In high school, I kept a photo of Joan Rivers with Boy George on my locker door. I loved that they both caused such controversy by being outrageous. I know Joan got pretty crazy into the insults later in her career.  However, she opened up so many doors for women in the entertainment industry and beyond; in her generation women held back, but she didn’t.  And Boy George just rocked his style and sexuality like no one. He let freaks be freaks! The two of them were good friends and that was also pretty cool – kind of two people you wouldn’t expect together. I’m interested in these kinds of people who don’t give a f*#k about normality. They break barriers for the rest of us. Today we have Martha Stewart and Snoop together – and I love it. It’s a great example of people connecting beyond age, race, upbringing and past lives.

Images

1. The London Police, All Hail Sir David Bowie. From In Heroes We Trust, published by Knock Knock LLC © 2016

2. Jef Aerosol, The Sitting Kid. From In Heroes We Trustpublished by Knock Knock LLC © 2016

3. Pichiavo, Trojan Heroes. From In Heroes We Trustpublished by Knock Knock LLC © 2016

4. HulaKahu. From In Heroes We Trustpublished by Knock Knock LLC © 2016

Interview 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.

en play badge 2 Neely Shearer on <em>In Heroes We Trust: Street Artists and Their Heroes</em>

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Recognized for his folksy outsider aesthetic, Brooklyn native Steven Cogle has shared his talents on public spaces for the past few years at the Welling Court Mural Project.  I recently met up with him.

steve cogle and al ortiz street art welling court Steven Cogle on His Distinct Outsider Aesthetic, His Influences, Welling Court Mural Project, His Upcoming Documentary Film and More

When did you first begin drawing?

I was five or six when I started drawing cartoons.

Any inspirations back then?

I was a big fan of Charles Schultz.’s Peanuts comic strip, and I also loved Bugs Bunny.

Steve cogle artwork close up Steven Cogle on His Distinct Outsider Aesthetic, His Influences, Welling Court Mural Project, His Upcoming Documentary Film and More

Did your family have any response to your early drawings? Did they encourage you?

Not really! But my classmates did. I was always drawing characters for them.

What about your teachers?

I took an art class when I was a student at George Gershwin Junior High School in East New York.  I couldn’t say, though, that my teacher encouraged me.  But when I discovered Lee J. Ames’ How to Draw books in the library, I used them to teach myself how to draw.

Did you go on to study art in a formal setting?

No. I’m self-taught.

Steve Cogle outsider art Steven Cogle on His Distinct Outsider Aesthetic, His Influences, Welling Court Mural Project, His Upcoming Documentary Film and More

How would you describe your particular aesthetic? It’s been referred to as Neo-Expressionism.

My artwork reflects me – tribal Africa crossed with urban blight. Growing up in East New York, I witnessed a lot of tragedy and loss, along with hope and survival. As I layer the painting on the canvas, I am also layering the experiences that I saw.

Have any specific artists influenced you?

Eric Orr became a mentor to me, and explained the business side of art to me.  And I was influenced by Picasso’s versatility, Basquiat’s palette and Clemente’s spirituality. 

steve dogle and art work Steven Cogle on His Distinct Outsider Aesthetic, His Influences, Welling Court Mural Project, His Upcoming Documentary Film and More

What about galleries? When did you first show your work in a gallery setting?

In 2004 my work made its way into two Brooklyn spaces and into an exhibit at the Chelsea Center for the Arts in Manhattan. I’ve since exhibited in several galleries in Brooklyn and in Manhattan, and my work is in collections across the globe. My dream is to see my work in a museum setting.

I first discovered your artwork in Astoria, Queens, where you painted with the Welling Court Mural Project. This year, in fact, you collaborated with Al Diaz.  You don’t generally paint in public spaces. What brought you to Welling Court?

I’m fond of Garrison Buxton, the project’s organizer, and I love the make-up of the neighborhood. I’ve painted there for the past four years.

Steve cogle welling court mural art nyc Steven Cogle on His Distinct Outsider Aesthetic, His Influences, Welling Court Mural Project, His Upcoming Documentary Film and More

Have you any favorite artists among those active on our streets?

I like the way Chris RWK and Joe Iurato bring me back to my childhood. And there are several Staten-Island based artists I especially like: ErinKelli, John Exit and Kwue Molly.

What’s ahead? 

I’ve been working on a film to be released in 2017. It tells my story, while showcasing a range of creative artists. I plan to move to Italy by the end of this summer, and I wanted to document my life here. And, of course, more painting is ahead.

Steve Cogle art Steven Cogle on His Distinct Outsider Aesthetic, His Influences, Welling Court Mural Project, His Upcoming Documentary Film and More

Why the move? 

It’s time for a change!

Yes, change is good! Good luck with it all! 

Photo credits: 1 Lidia Santana; 3, 4-6 courtesy of the artist; 2 Lois Stavsky; interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky

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