Roycer and Matt Siren — two of my favorite native New York artists — have been making their mark on the streets of my city for as long as I can remember. It is always a treat to view their playfully alluring works in gallery settings, as well. And for the next few weeks, a range of their artworks continues to be on view at ilon Art Gallery in Harlem.

The title image featured above was painted with acrylic on canvas by Roycer in 2021. Several more images of artworks showcased in the exhibition by both artists follow:

Matt Siren, Diamond Dust, 2021, Acrylic screen print

Roycer, Garcon de Feur pt 3, 2021, Acrylic on canvas

Matt Siren, 25 Cents, 2021, Mixed media

Roycer, Other Worlds, 2021, Acrylic on canvas

Matt Siren, Planet XXX, 2021, Acrylic on canvas

Roycer and Matt Siren collaboration, Untitled, 2021, Acrylic on canvas

Open most afternoons, ilon Art Gallery is located at 204 West 123rd Street in the heart of Harlem. To schedule a visit, contact: Loni Efron at loni@ilon.com or 917-270-4696.

And for an opportunity to learn the basics of  NFTs and for early access to NFTs by Matt Siren and Roycer, be sure to check out the following workshop, hosted by ilon Art Gallery director Loni Efron and led by Georgia Andre.

DATE: Wednesday, February 9th
TIME: 7pm
LOCATION: Zoom 

Photo credits: 1-3, 5-7 Lois Stavsky; 4 and 8 courtesy ilon Art Gallery

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Third-generation New Brunswick native RH Doaz fuses folk art imagery — inspired by Hungarian folk art patterns — with the aesthetics of street art to create beautifully crafted, poetic images both on the streets and in his studio. I was delighted to feature his work in  On and Off the Streets: Urban Art New Jersey, a group exhibition of NJ-based artists that continues through February 27 at the Morris Museum in Morristown, New Jersey. A brief interview with him follows:

When and where did you first get up?

In the late 1990’s – with stickers and tags in New Brunswick and in NYC.

Had you any preferred surface back then?

The backs of street signs. That was always the best! Newspaper boxes. Anything with a surface that I could stick something onto that would stay up!

Did anyone or anything in particular inspire you at the time?

Yes! Among my early inspirations were: the handmade posters I saw in New Brunswick advertising basement shows; Shepard Fairey’s Andre the Giant image, and the simplicity of Michael DeFeo’s flower image.

Do any early graffiti-related memories come to mind?

Taking the NE Corridor train into Manhattan and seeing different graffiti crews at every stop.

Have you any thoughts about the street art/graffiti divide?

They’re two mediums competing for real estate. Graffiti always wins!

How do you feel about the movement of graffiti and street art into galleries and museums?

The more people who see your art, the better!

What about the corporate world? How do you feel about street artists and writers collaborating with corporations?

As long as the artist is given full credit, I don’t have a problem with it.

How do you feel about the role of social media in this scene?

It allows me to connect with other artists, and that helps me feed my kids.

Have you a formal art education?

Yes. I minored in Art at Defiance College, located in northwest Ohio.

How would you describe your ideal working environment?

Any huge outdoor wall in October.

What inspires you these days?

Nature, folk art, nostalgia….

Are there any particular cultures that have influenced your aesthetic?

Skateboarding, Hungarian, folk art, punk rock and hip-hop.

Is there a central theme that ties your work together?

Telling stories that haven’t yet been told through folk art.

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

These days I usually do have a sketch-in-hand.

Are you generally satisfied with your finished piece? And how do you know when it’s finished?

Absolutely! I know I’m finished when there’s no more space left. The pattern feels complete. I’ve reached the sense of saturation where nothing needs to be added.

How important are others’ reactions to you?

I’m honored when others like my work. I like knowing what others think. I feel like I need to know.

How has your work evolved through the years?

I’m better at storytelling, and my patterns and palette are more refined.

Have you any preferred colors?

As I’m color-blind, I need to work with colors that strongly contrast one another with bold black outlines.

What media do you currently most enjoy working with?

Aerosol.

How has the work you’ve done on the streets impacted your studio work?

I’m more willing to experiment with patterns and palates on the streets, and this experimentation has impacted my studio work.

How long do you generally spend on a studio piece? On a street art work?

I spend anywhere between 5-10 hours on a piece I do in my studio. An outdoor mural generally takes about 60 hours, 6-7 10-hour days.

How important is it to you to maintain a presence in the public sphere?

It’s everything!

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

It is to tell visual stories that no one else is telling. Our most beautiful aspect is our aesthetic expression.

Note: You can view RH Doaz‘s talents in  On and Off the Streets: Urban Art New Jersey through February 27 at the Morris Museum in Morristown, New Jersey and at Woodward Gallery‘s current exhibition New in 22.

Photos and interview by Lois Stavsky

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The Grandscale Mural Project, one of my favorite public art projects in town, brings vitality, color and intrigue to East Harlem. Since this past summer, I’ve revisited its current reiteration several times, always delighted by its diversity and charm.

The mural captured above — a portrait of public art administrator and producer Ayana Ayo — was painted by muralist and teaching artist Kristy McCarthy aka D. Gale. A few more images — almost certain to refuel your spirits in these uncertain times — follow:

Multidisciplinary Ecuadorian artist and educator Toofly

NYC-based visual artist and arts educator Lola Lovenotes

Multidisciplinary Brazilian-American artist Phes

    Mexico-born artist Sandy Perez

Bronx-based artist and arts educator Lady K Fever

Bronx-bred style master Image

Photos: Lois Stavsky

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While many of us were pondering the world’s fragile state in the early months of the pandemic, the brilliantly inventive and socially conscious Spanish artist Pejac was busy creating art in response to it. And this past fall, he shared his vision in APENA, a ten-day exposition held in a former train manufacturing site in Berlin. Over 40 new artworks — addressing such themes as environmental pollution, climate change, the refugee crisis and inequality —  were displayed in eight different rooms and spaces. Several play on classical paintings; all are at once poetic and unsettling,

The image featured above, “Counterweight,” was fashioned in 2020 with oil, acrylic and spray paint and mounted on a wooden stretcher. Several more images of Pejac‘s artworks — all painted since the early days of the pandemic — follow:

“Urban Albatross,”  Oil, acrylic, spray paint and charcoal on paper mounted on wooden stretcher

“H20,”  Charcoal, Pencil, conté, and gold leaf on paper mounted on wooden stretcher

“Bad Time for Lyrics,”  Brass, bronze and wood

“Swirling,” Oil, acrylic and spray paint on paper mounted on wooden stretcher

“Oppressed IV,” close-up; Chalk and pencil on paper

And you can view the remarkable APNEA Exhibition here:

All images courtesy Majka Tkacik – Project Manager, Suben Art

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This past fall, under the curatorial direction of veteran graff writer Wen Cod, over two dozen artists once again brought their blazing talents to Boone Avenue in the Bronx. The vibrant image featured above was painted by the hugely talented Blame1, a member of both FX and the Slaughter House Krew. Several more exhilarating images follow:

Stylemaster Doc TC5

Queens native graffiti writer and fashion designer Claw Money

The inventive graff pioneer Cycle

Veteran writer and illustrator Wore One

The delightfully imaginative Long Island-based Phetus

The hugely skilled artist and typographer Queen Andrea

The ever-deft Bronx-native Yes One

Photo credits: 1, 2, 4 & 7 Ana Candelaria; 3, 5, 6 & 8 Lois Stavsky

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On December 2, the long-awaited inauguration of Canal Gallery — Barcelona’s new contemporary urban art gallery — was celebrated with the opening of the group exhibition Ceremony. Under the curatorial direction of its founder, Barcelona-based artist Balu, and art critic Teresa Arroyo de la Cruz, Ceremony showcases over 50 established and emerging artists working in a wide range of media. Among these are several New York City-based pioneers. The image above features — from left to right — the talents of NYC legends Coco144 and Al Diaz aka SAMO, alongside the pioneering Spanish urban artist Germán Bel aka Fasim. Several more images from the groundbreaking exhibition follow:

Its handsome entryway located  in the city’s Gothic Quarter at Carrer del Palau, 4; Barcelona-based Kram on left

Spanish artists Birdie, Kamil, Javier Mariscal and Art Is Trash (from left to right)

Spanish artists Canal Gallery founder BaluCarlos Magone and Ira Torres

Paris-based Popay (L) and Berlin-based Rallitox

Front view: Coco144, Al Diaz aka SAMO, Germán Bel aka Fasim, Laia, Ramón Maiden, Flint, Tayone, Gerard Fernández, Vanesa Muñóz and Grito

Germán Bel aka Fasim interviewed by BTV

Flyer for exhibition that continues through Thursday, December 30

Special thanks to Germán Bel aka Fasim for providing the contents and photographs for this post. First featured photo is by Teo Vázquez

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When LISA Project NYC co-founder Reynaldo Rosa aka The Drif was 10 years old and living in the foster care system with a critical illness, he wished he could visit the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. Thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, a 501 nonprofit organization that that helps fulfill the wishes of children with serious illnesses, Rey had his wish come true – an adventure that sparked his imagination, allowing him “to see color again.”

Inspired by this experience, Rey has been bringing color to our streets for over a decade, and his brain-child, the Make-A-Wish Mural Project, has launched a variety of spirited murals in a range of NYC spaces from the Brookdale Hospital in East Brooklyn to the streets of Nolita in Manhattan.

Last month, under The Drif’s curatorial direction, the exterior of the huge Macy’s Department Store, housed in Queens Center, was magically transformed as part of Macy’s annual Believe campaign. The image featured above was a collaboration among: the Drif, Zero Productivity, Chris RWK and Veng RWK. Several select close-ups from the huge mural project follow:

Zero Productivity and Chris RWK

Indie 184 and Zero Productivity

Veng RWK

Indie 184, Chris RWK & Veng RWK

And a reminder from Chris RWK to send your letter to Santa — as for every letter received, Macy’s will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million. You have until Friday to write your letter here or drop it off at Macy’s.

Note: Earlier this month six murals were also unveiled outside the Macy’s in downtown Brooklyn.

Photo credits: 1 Shalom Stavsky, 2-6 Lois Stavsky

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Since 2002, Meeting of Styles has been sponsoring and organizing first-rate graffiti festivals throughout the world. Earlier this fall, the first Newark NJ Edition of MOS — under the curatorial direction of  Get Lost Alot — brought local, national and international artists together to celebrate and share their talents in Brick City. Last week, photojournalist and arts educator Rachel Alban and I visited one of its key locations along Raymond Boulevard.

The stylish, colorful writing featured above was spray painted by the seemingly nomadic John Connor aka All About Letters.  And the bold image to its right was fashioned by the masterly Mexican tattoo artist Yeer THC.

Several more artworks we came upon on and off Raymond Boulevard follow:

West Coast-based artist and curator Espy

 German/Croatian artist Kosmik One

Bronx-bred artist El Souls 

Graffiti writer Tense One in collaboration with multimedia artist YN ART/Art by Prop

Graffiti stylemaster Revenge

The prolific NYC-based artists Wane One and Adam Fu

We look forward to coming upon more walls painted during Brick City’s “Meeting of Styles” in future graffiti- hunts within Newark!

Photo credits: 1-4, 6 & 7 Lois Stavsky; 5 Rachel Alban 

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Launched by Street Theory — a creative agency founded by Victor “MARKA27” Quinonez and Liza Quinonez in 2020 as a response to police brutality —  Murals for the Movement is intent on rebuilding communities with “uplifting large-scale murals and public art by Black artists and artists of color.”

Under the curatorial direction of Street Theory, several large, inspiring public artworks by Marka27, Cey Adams and Sophia Dawson recently surfaced in DUMBO, Brooklyn. The image featured above is one segment of a huge, boldly colored neoindigenous mural celebrating “the African Diaspora and contemporary Afro Futurism” painted by the multidisciplinary international artist MARKA27.

A close-up from another segment of Marka27‘s huge mural, “Back to the Essence,” 195 Gold St

NYC’s legendary Cey Adams brings a message of LOVE to Prospect + Adams St. with two murals

And directly facing it–

Brooklyn-based, socially conscious visual artist Sophia Dawson“Standing in the Gap,” Front St. between Pearl St. & Adams St.

Close-up

This project was funded by Downtown Brooklyn Partnership and DUMBO Improvement District utilizing NYCDOT property. The murals will remain on display through spring, 2022.

Photos: Lois Stavsky

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After viewing ONe Rad Latina‘s solo exhibition at Village Works, I was eager to find out more about the self-taught multidisciplinary artist. And on Sunday, I had the opportunity to visit her Bushwick studio and speak to her about her exhibition that remains on view at Village Works through December 2.

I first came upon your infectious aesthetic last fall on the streets of Soho. I then encountered it on the exterior of the New York Public Library, on the walls of Bushwick and in East Harlem’s Grandscale Mural Project. And this past Friday, I visited your solo exhibition One Rad Latina at Village Works in the East Village. What an amazing range of studio art on view!  How did you decide which works to include in this current exhibition?

Most important are my faceless portraits. It is how I express my identity. As a first generation American, I almost always felt invisible. The faceless portraits also reflect my Dominican heritage, as handcrafted faceless dolls made out of terra cotta are unique to it. Another important representation of my culture that I wanted to include in this exhibition are my Skeletrex, the skulls that I draw. When my dear friend Kev RWK saw them several months ago, he urged me to continue to develop them.

And what about your designs? I love their flow.

They’re a reflection of my brain — the distinct way it works. When I was five years old, I learned that particular technique of drawing loosely and freely from my kindergarten teacher. And I love the patterns that emerge when I just let it flow!

Your works range in style from whimsical abstract graffiti to serious meditative portraiture. Is there a particular mode, medium or style that you prefer? That you feel most comfortable working with?

I love each of the styles. I can’t say that I have a preference. As far as the tools I employ, I like working with a palette knife and heavy acrylic medium.

Have you any personal favorites among the artworks on exhibit?

Among my favorites are: Primo Hermanos (First Cousins) — inspired by a 1987 family photo — and People Are Strange that I designed last year with acrylic, oil marker and ink. In both images, the figures are faceless.

Village Works is such a handsome space, and your artwork looks so wonderful there. How did you hook up with this East Village venue?

It was through Kurt Boone, a huge fan and documentarian of NYC culture. I’d known of him for years because he’s part of the bike messenger culture that I follow, but it wasn’t until last year that I met him. I was painting a mural at the New York Public Library in Midtown, and he was in the neighborhood photographing a protest at the time. Kurt noticed what I was doing, stopped by, and became interested in my work. He knew Joe Sheridan, the creative director of Village Works, and approached him about curating an exhibition of my studio work.

How did opening the opening reception go? How did folks respond to your works on exhibit?

It was awesome! And I was thrilled that so many old school writers attended. Among these pioneers were Mike 171, Butch 2 and SJK171 — guys who have contributed so much to the culture, but have yet to receive the recognition they deserve.

How can folks still see your exhibition?

It remains on view through December 2 at the Village Works Art Gallery, located at 90 East 3rd Street. Check here for opening hours. A q&a with curator Kurt Boone and me will be held on Tuesday (tonight) evening from 8 to 9:30. And there will be a closing event on Thursday, December 2, 7 to 10PM. A limited edition signed catalog is also available in the gallery.

Images of artwoks

1 “Untitled,”  Mixed media

2 “Primo Hermanos,” Acrylic on canvas

3 “El Sueño de la Carbonera,” Acrylic and ink on cotton stretched canvas

4  “Untitled,” Mixed

5 “People Are Strange,” Acrylic, oil marker and ink

Photos and interview by Lois Stavsky

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