The following guest post is by Houda Lazrak

While in Vienna, I had the chance to meet and talk with Jakob Kattner, founder of Calle Libre, the impressive mural festival that has been enlivening Vienna’s 6th and 7th district walls since 2014.

How would you describe Calle Libre? And why the Spanish name?

I would describe Calle Libre as a festival of urban aesthetics. My doctoral thesis focused on urban art in South America. I researched it there for 14 months, and this festival is my way to give back to the artists who helped me — who let me live with them and document their lives.

Where in South America did you do your street art research?

Colombia was the first country I visited. Stinkfish became a friend. He introduced me to the local scene, which really paved the way for me to explore further. I then went to Brazil, where I found a unique urban art style whose history is unfamiliar to most people. And, finally, Argentina. There I could feel how the weight of dictatorial history had impacted the street art scene but, also, how artists finally found their freedom.

How has Calle Libre evolved since 2014?

 We have broadened the programing every year. It started with live painting at the Danube Canal, along with an exhibition. We then added workshops at mumok. And the following year, we hosted film screenings, organized performances and presented artist talks. We also started doing annual signed screen print editions in collaboration with Limited Edition Art Prints aka LEAP. Among the artists we work with are Millo, Alfalfa, Inkman, Rodrigo Branco and Stinkfish. And in 2017, we launched guided tours.

What would you say is your main mission?

Intercultural exchange through art. We always include South American and local artists.

Is this your full time job?

I run a creative advertising agency called Warda Network. We produce creative, video and digital content. Actually, the agency does the documentation for Calle Libre, but the festival is its own separate nonprofit entity.

That’s why your online documentation is so great! Can you tell us something about your background?

I studied fine art and cultural theory. I am also a rapper. I’ve always wanted to work with moving images. I directed my own music video and that’s how I met my current partner at Warda Network.

Who is your team? Who helps you produce Calle Libre?

We are a team of seven. My fiancé, Laura, and I are the curators. When we started, it was just the two of us — and we still can’t believe how we managed to create an entire festival! Today, we rely on our team.

How many murals have you produced so far? 

 More than 35 but I am not sure how many are still up.

How have people reacted to Calle Libre?

It has been all positive feedback, especially from people who live near the walls that are painted during the festival. There is always a person from the team at each wall, and we have heard great things. We’ve also had funny incidents.

Such as?

When Mantra painted his 3D butterflies, someone asked us how he was able to put glass over such a big wall. And when Nychos painted a naked woman with a parrot on her shoulder in his signature Jugendstil-inspired style, a woman — whose house window faced the mural — asked why he was drawing her.

Do you focus on specific neighborhoods?

Each year we try to include new districts, but the 6th and 7th are where we have the most walls. It’s also where most of us live. These districts like the impact we’ve had, so we have good relationships with them. We try to pair artists with walls in relevant contexts. For example, the mural by Stinkfish — featuring a father carrying his child — is located on a kindergarten school property.

Have you collaborated with any museums in Vienna aside from mumok.?

The Albertina Museum contacted us about a possible collaboration on a Keith Haring exhibition. When we received the news, it was like we were knighted!

How do you get the funding to produce such a significant festival?

We get public funding from the city. We also received money from the European Union our first year. We apply for project grants, and we collaborate with local partners, based on where the walls are. It’s like playing the lottery! We never know how the next festival will be funded. We work for free and we love what we do, but it’s nice when the city and citizens give back. Every time we walk past the walls, we feel a sense of gratification.

Who are some of your favorite local artists?

Perk Up, Skirl, Frau Isa

What has been your biggest challenge since you first launched Calle Libre?

Convincing building owners to let us paint the walls! That’s definitely the hardest part.

Are there any artists on your wish list?

Inti, Pixel Pancho, Herakut, Os Gemeos. I also want to bring talented artists from South America who are not yet well-known in Europe.

I’m looking forward to seeing what’s next!

Images

1 Stinkfish

2 Kashink

3 Mr Woodland

4 HNRX

Mantra

6 Millo

7 Koz Dos

Interview and images by Houda Lazrak

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

en-play-badge 2

{ 0 comments }

For the past several years, a huge array of  first-rate street artists and graffiti writers have designed dozens of stylish skatedesks to raise funds for Learn and Skate. But just what is Learn and Skate? What is its mission? And what are its goals for 2019? Jean Claude Geraud, its principal founder, has some answers:

Just what is Skate and Learn? 

It is a skateboard association that I created back in 2012 with the help of Richard Schenten. Passionate skaters ourselves, one day we came upon a video featuring skaters practicing skateboarding in Africa’s Ugandan countryside. We were struck at once by its bad state and its obvious lack of materials. We wanted to do something!

What was your goal at the time?

Our initial goal was to develop the practice of skateboarding in disadvantaged places throughout the globe. We wanted to provide opportunities for young people who are curious about the sport to develop their skills. It soon became obvious to us that their passion for skateboarding — and the discipline that it demands — evolved into a passion for living a meaningful, productive life. And so our initial mission evolved!

How would you define your present goals?

We would like to be able to provide new and used skateboarding materials — such as boards, wheels, screws and shoes — to children who need them. We would also like to provide them with skating lessons. We are engaged in raising funds for the construction of skateparks, schools and additional classrooms — where needed. And we want to send school materials — such as books, pens, notebooks — to needy schools every trimester.

How do you go about engaging the communities — parents, teachers, the public, in general? I imagine that is essential to accomplishing your mission.

Yes. Key to our mission is the notion of sharing, and that involves an ongoing dialog with the community. To involve generations beyond those interested in skateboarding, painting workshops are organized to start the dialogue with young and old.

How do you raise money to support your projects?

Since 2014, the association has been producing skateboard exhibitions every year. The skate boards — customized by urban artists recognized throughout the world — are auctioned on the Paddle8 platform, and all the income they generate are used to create our projects. We’ve exhibited in: Toulouse at Agama Gallery; Paris at the Quartier General; Madrid at the Swinton Gallery and at the Urvanity Art Fair; Zurich at the Kolly Gallery; NYC at The Made Hotel; Denver at Crush Walls and last month at Miami Art Basel.

Among your many remarkable accomplishments was the establishment of a skate park in Uganda. What’s ahead? What is your principal goal for 2019?

Our main goal to build a skate park in Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia, by September of this year. We are also considering constructing school classes, where necessary, in close collaboration with local authorities. And we are working to connect with new donors, patrons, and foundations cause to ensure the sustainability of the project and have the chance to extend it on a global scale.

Good luck with it all! StreetArtNYC is delighted to partner with you in realizing your current project.

Note: You can help support Learn and Skate by purchasing its products here or making a donation by contacting roulepetitougandais@hotmail.fr

All images courtesy Jean Claude Geraud

{ 0 comments }

A brilliant community-based arts and health collaborative, Martinez Gallery / Pediatrics 2000 is codirected by longtime associates Hugo Martinez and Juan Tapia, MD. Its current exhibit, Methodology, featuring a broad range of global artists, is an exuberant visual ode to my favorite art genre. Several images I captured while visiting yesterday follow:

French artist Bob 59

Amsterdan-based Bortusk Leer, segment of paste-up installation of his signature monsters

 Bulgarian artist MazeOne

French artist Fake

Spanish artist Roice

Bulgarian artist Glow, center 

And outside Staze and Super 158

According to the Martinez Gallery Instagram, the exhibit continues through March 10 with gallery hours 10-5,  Monday through Friday. Martinez Gallery / Pediatrics 2000 is located at 3332 Broadway and 135th Street.

Photos by Lois Stavsky

{ 0 comments }

The following guest post is by Houda Lazrak

Since the International Public Art Festival (IPAF) produced the first mural and street art festival on Isla Holbox in 2014, the island — an off-the-beaten-path tropical destination located on the north coast of the Yucatán Peninsula — has been home to several dozen public artworks. The image featured above is the work of  the celebrated Mexican artist Edgar Saner. Several more murals that greeted me during a recent trip to Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula follow:

Mexican artist and musician Ekza One

Peruvian artist Jade Rivera

The Mexican graffiti and street art collective Pinta o Muere

As part of the protected nature reserve Yum Balam, the island’s local culture is deeply connected to its nonhuman inhabitants and Isla Holbox makes special efforts to follow environmentally conscious practices. The island’s diverse wildlife life and some of its marine folklore are reflected on the walls of its sandy car-free streets. Below is a small selection of these murals scattered throughout Holbox:

Canadian artist Labrona

Mexican artist Luna Vega

Montreal-based artist and IPAF Festival co-founder Ruben Carrasco 

Photos by Houda Lazrak

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

en-play-badge 2

{ 0 comments }

For the second consecutive year Meeting of Styles has brought dozens of gifted artists to Miami, gracing Wynwood walls with intriguing images, inventive styles and bold colors.  Pictured above is the work of Chilean native Fiorella Podesta aka FiO. Several more images painted last month by artists from across the globe during the week of Art Basel follow. All were captured by travel and street photographer Karin du Maire aka Street Art Nomad.

Brazilian artist Jotapê Pax

German artist Norm Abartig

Brazilian artists .Leo Dco and Dell Ribeiro

Guadeloupe-based Steek

Brazilian artist Sipros

LA-based AngelOnce and Miami-based GoopMassta

Photos by Karin du Maire aka Street Art Nomad

{ 1 comment }

Celebrating the 90th anniversary of Walt Disney’s iconic Mickey Mouse and his influence on popular culture throughout the globe, Mickey: The True Original Exhibition is an exuberant tribute to the beloved, famed mouse. Featuring artworks in a range of media — including: painting, comic art, yarn bombing, sculpture and installation art — in a labyrinth-like setting, the pop-up exhibition continues through February 10 at 60 10th Avenue in the Meatpacking District. Pictured above is Keith Haring‘s rendition of Mickey Mouse. Several more images from Mickey: The True Original Exhibition follow:

The legendary Kenny Scharf, Cosmic Cavern, close-up, inspired by Mickey Mouse watch

Brooklyn-based Katherine Bernhardt, 99Cent Hot Dog, close-up 

Japanese Pop Art pioneer Keiichi Tanaami, Mickey’s Japan Tourism

LA-based multimedia artist Michael John Kelly, Toon Town

Brooklyn-based fiber artist London Kaye

Mickey: The True Original Exhibition is open Tuesday-Sunday from 10am – 8pm. To enter  you must have a ticket purchased in advance. Tickets can be purchased online here.

Photo credits: 1, 2 & 6 Lois Stavsky; 3, 4 & 5 Houda Lazrak

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

en-play-badge 2

{ 0 comments }

Under the masterful curatorial direction of Orit Mizne aka myhovercraft, an abandoned factory building in South Tel Aviv has been transformed into a strikingly stylish street art Mecca. The image pictured above was painted by Tel Aviv-based Solomon Souza, who has recently left his mark here in NYC. Several more artworks that I recently captured from the former factory’s exterior follow:

Mexico City-based Libre 

Shimon Wanda and Shir Lamdan

Elad Greenberg and Yarin Didi

Ana Kogan

Zivink and Erezoo

Other artists who participated in this project include: Michal Rubin, the MisSK, Imaginary Duck and Revzzz.

Photos by Lois Stavsky

{ 2 comments }

This is the third in a series of occasional posts showcasing the range of faces that surface on Tel Aviv public spaces. The image pictured above– sighted in Jaffa’s Greek Market — was painted by Tel Aviv native Tal Shetach. Several more images of faces captured during my recent meanderings through the streets and alleyways of Tel Aviv and Jaffa follow:

Tel Aviv-based visual designer Mayu La

Tel Aviv-based Eli Revzin aka Revzzz

The prolific Tel Aviv-based Dioz

Multi-disciplinary artist Roman Kozhokin aka Kot Art

Tel Aviv-based Yarin Didi

Tel Aviv-based graphic designer Gili Levin aka Asaro Design

Photos by Lois Stavsky

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

en-play-badge 2

{ 0 comments }

The following guest post is by Houda Lazrak

On the facades of high-rise Parisian apartment buildings near the southern bank of the Seine are beautifully painted walls by some of our favorite local and international street artists. Paris’s 13th municipal arrondissement, a multicultural residential neighborhood — adjacent to Chinatown and home to France’s National Library — has become a street art destination in its own right, with a distinctive mural-driven identity. The 50+ walls works erected since 2009 are curated by Street Art 13, an initiative of Galerie Itinerrance‘s founder and director Mehdi Ben Cheikh, in collaboration with the local Mayor’s Office. The project has not only been fully embraced by local residents, but also officially celebrated by city’s government. The 13th municipal arrondissement Mayor Jérôme Coumet was awarded the distinguished Marianne d’Or in 2016 for his contribution to the city’s culture.

On a particularly frisky Parisian morning, I explored these streets to capture some of these works. Featured above are murals by the NY-based duo Faile, And I Held My Breath, and French artist Seth.

Seth, closer up

French artist Maye, Thau Pond

Austrian-French couple Jana and JS, Self-Portrait

West Coast-based Shepard Fairey, Delicate Balance

UK-based D’Face, Turncoat

French artist C215, The Cat

All photos by Houda Lazrak

{ 0 comments }

In a nation where the American dollar seems to matter more than the American life, native New Yorker creative Maia Lorian in collaboration with veteran NYC street artist Abe Lincoln Jr. have released A Presidential Parody, an ad campaign addressing our nation’s misplaced priorities

A variety of advertisements — reflecting Trump’s “all American” values — can be found throughout NYC from the Lower East Side to the Upper West Side. Featured above is a satirical ad for Trump Tower. Several more follow:

Ivanka’s Sweatshop

Trump’s Bistro

On the streets or Manhattan

The Miss Oligarchy Pageant

On the street

All four posters have been added to the permanent collection of Poster House, the first museum in the nation dedicated to the art of the poster. 

With a background in comedy and improv, Maia Lorian has been featured in a range of productions including: Flight of the Conchords (HBO), The Onion News Network (IFC), a plethora of college humor videos that have gone viral and a series of films by cult filmmaker Mike Kuchar.  She has also worked as a performance facilitator for Marina Abramovic’s piece Generator and has been featured on Saturday Night Live.

Abe Lincoln Jr. is a veteran street artist whose work has been featured in the Cooper-Hewitt Design Triennial. He is also a co-founder of the Resistance is Female art collective which was featured in Milton Glaser’s latest book The Design of Dissent. His work has been shown alongside other early street art contemporaries such as Swoon, Michael Defeo, and Ron English. He has collaborated with such brands as: Star Wars, Converse, Mad Magazine, and Kid Robot. 

You can contact the talented duo at apresidentialparody@gmail.com

All photos courtesy the artists

{ 0 comments }