Two long walls along a parking lot on Těšnov Street in Prague’s New Town – the largest of Prague’s four historic districts — have long served as a legal open-air graffiti gallery. The crisply executed piece pictured above was painted by the prolific Every Tag Counts for the Montana Grafficon jam held earlier this fall. Several more images that I captured along the wall — while visiting Prague last week — follow:

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Spord UFO — painted for the Montana Grafficon jam 

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Turbo

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Photos: Lois Stavsky

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Adding sixteen new murals to Downtown Cincinnati, BLINK, the nation’s largest light and art festival, took place last month for the first time since 2019. The cleverly captivating artwork featured above was painted by Atlanta-based Greg Mike. Several more murals — all captured by by travel and street photographer Karin du Maire aka Street Art Nomad — follow:

Chicago-based Max Sansing portrays two figures “in meditation with their thoughts while looking up to the sky symbolizing the future and limitless possibilities.”

Valencia-born duo PichiAvo at work

PichiAvo, completed mural — inspired by the marble sculpture Laocoön and His Sons

Amsterdam-based  Mr. June presents “an alternative experience of the environment, which has been optically manipulated by form, colors and perspectives.”

Athens native Insane 51 portrays Euthenia, the ancient Greek female spirit of prosperity

Denver-based duo Lindz and Lamb at work on “Who Dey!” referencing the chant that breaks out after the Bengals score touchdowns at Cincinnati’s Paul Brown Stadium

Photos by Karin du Maire aka Street Art Nomad

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I first came upon Brothers of Light’s winsome, witty aesthetic on the streets of Jerusalem several years ago. I was an instant fan. Currently on view at 30 Yefet Street — a stately, atmospheric building in Jaffa — is From Dirt, a delightfully intriguing exhibition featuring dozens of artworks fashioned this past year from metals found outside the brothers’ studio space. Featured above is Crossing the Bridge — fabricated with industrial paint on salvaged metal. Several more images I captured while visiting the exhibition earlier this week follow:

“Everything Is Temporary,” Industrial paint on found metal

“No Pain No Gain” and “Cuchara” to its left, Industrial paint on found metal kitchen utensils

“What Do You Eat?” Industrial paint on found metal kitchen utensil

“Time Sinking,” Industrial paint on found metal

“Suddenly,” Industrial paint on found metal

“Throwback,” Industrial paint on found metal

Segment of exhibition largely featuring small works–

Produced by Brothers of Light — real-life siblings, Elna and Gab — and curated by Hadas Glazer, From Dirt is at once  environmentally conscious and aesthetically engaging. It continues through Saturday evening with a closing party beginning at 6pm. A short film by Amalia Zilbershatz-Banay and Dan Deutsch accompanies the exhibition.

Photos of artworks: Lois Stavsky

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I recently had the opportunity to speak to BedStuy Walls Mural Festival founder and chief curator Miki Mu about the hugely successful community arts festival held earlier this month on Lexington Avenue and Do the Right Thing Way in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.

This is all so wonderful. What was your initial inspiration for this project?

This is my neighborhood. I’ve lived in Bed-Stuy for over ten years. I was interested in celebrating and beautifying my neighborhood. And I know the huge power of art to uplift a community! I also wanted to create a space where people and businesses in my neighborhood could interact. My vision for this particular project began about a year ago.

How did you secure these walls? They are in such a prime spot, and these murals have totally transformed the entire block.

My neighbor introduced me to the owner of one of the the businesses on the block. But there were many challenges to actually securing these walls. It was not an easy task!

What were some of these challenges that you encountered in seeing this project through?

After I did secure the walls, I had to get a permit to close the block for the day of the festival. The walls and sidewalk had to be primed in advance. I had to purchase supplies. The entire project was quite expensive. I set up a Go Fund Me, but I did have to cover most of the expenses myself.

You have here such a wonderful range of artists here — from legendary graffiti writers to noted contemporary urban artists to newer emerging ones. How did you get the word out to the artists?

We started an Instagram account, and the word quickly spread. So many artists expressed interest in participating — far more than I could have imagined. I still get requests!

How did the community respond to the event?

The response was tremendous! The community loved it! Families came out, and there were so many kids…jumping rope, dancing to the hip-hop music, making art and simply having fun! It was wonderful — actually better than I had anticipated! But I never could have done this alone; there were many folks whose generosity made this possible. Among them are: Chateau Brooklyn for serving as our mothership, headquarters and base; Badman Bus aka Cookie Monster Bus for providing music and a sound system; all of the DJ’s for volunteering their talents; Cheryl Foy, a retired teacher and resident of the block, for helping us secure the block permit and Joe Cirano from Rogers & Sons, the owner of the walls; the Blue Bus Project for providing activities for the kids; Radial Park for lending us ladders; Project Barkada, also, for lending us a ladder and scaffolding; Solidarity Movers for helping us move all the equipment from one location to another  and for providing, as well, a fun activity for kids;  Black Men Build, Black Chef Movement and Josiane Lysius for providing free food; Loop Colors for adding extra cans to our order; Frankie Velez, my co-curator, for assisting and supporting my efforts in every aspect of this project, and, of course, all of the artists for generously sharing their skills and visions with us.

What’s ahead?

I would like to make the BedStuy Walls Mural Festival an annual event and eventually attain non-profit status.

That would be wonderful! Congratulations!

Images

1. Carlos Rodriguez

2. Jason Naylor

3. Chelsea Garcia to the left of Manuel Alejandro

4. Will Power

5. Belowkey

6. Andre Trenier to the left of Megan Olson and Olga Correa

7. Nac 143 (left), OG Millie (center),  Bom5 with character by Miki Mu (right)

Photo credits: Lois Stavsky

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A public art and mural festival founded and run by volunteer members of the Jackson Young ProfessionalsBright Walls has brought more than 70 vibrantly intriguing murals to Jackson’s downtown district within the past four years. The remarkable image pictured above — spelling out “REMARKABLE” in reference to Jackson — was painted by the masterly artist Pref, who defines his aesthetic as “Post typography.” It was captured last month at this year’s Bright Walls by travel and street photographer Karin du Maire aka Street Art Nomad, as were the following images:

San Francisco-born muralist Ricky Watts

Greek muralist and 3D art pioneer Insane 51

Colombian artist Ledania in collaboration with Insane 51

Detroit-based artist Joey Salamon

Puerto Rico-native and chrome master Bikismo

UK-based artiist My Dog Sighs with his iconic eye

All photos by Karin du Maire aka Street Art Nomad 

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Tracing the emergence of graffiti from an underground subculture into a legitimate profession, Duality: A Graffiti Story — directed by Ryan Dowling — focuses on the struggles and successes of five noted graffiti artists. In the Buffalo 8 documentary feature film, legendary writers Meres One, Dual, Sloke, Jaber and Never1959 share their challenges and ventures as they reflect on their personal journeys in this ever-evolving culture.

Many graffiti writers — who were initially deemed as vandals for their tagging and illegal interventions — now earn wide recognition and respect for their stirring murals that grace cities across the globe. Their aesthetics have made their way inside and outside a range of upscale properties from luxury hotels to major corporations — who court them to enhance the “coolness” of their brands.

Once working mainly clandestinely, these artists now foster community, as they share their talents openly with others — who are eager to learn from their skills or simply observe and photograph them as they paint. And as their artwork begins to blur the lines between graffiti, urban art and fine art, it also increasingly finds a home in galleries.

Among the film’s recurrent themes is the artists’ addiction to getting up and their deep love for graffiti. “I’ll probably never ever not want to write my name on something. It’s an addiction for sure,” states Dual. “It’s amazing that there’s that opportunity to bridge the gap from doing illegal graffiti to doing commercial work with big companies.”

Among the many highlights of Duality: A Graffiti Story is the account of the vast achievements and horrific demise of Long Island City’s 5Pointz— as related by its curator and founder Meres One and advocate Marie Cecile Flageul.

Several screenshots from the riveting documentary follow:

NYC-based Meres One, founder and curator of the iconic graffiti mecca 5Pointz — whose talents continue to make their way onto walls, huge canvases, lightbulbs and varied corporate settings.

On the site of citizenM New York Bowery hotel where Meres painted this stained glass-inspired piece

Houston, Texas-based Dual, best known for his wheat pastes — whose body of artwork includes everything from meticulously-made tape collages to sign painting to huge commissioned murals that beautify cities

Dual, The Rice Box River Oaks Mural

Austin, Texas native Sloke — who, in addition to painting, curating and mentoring youth — has produced murals for a range of companies including Apple, Facebook, Nike, Google, Red Bull and Time Warner

Sloke mentoring young man on the art of graffiti

West Coast-based Jaber (ala El Ninja Blanco) — who has been making his mark on the streets since the early 9o’s and now does — among other things — design for major fashion companies and film sets

Jaber, Along the tracks

Los Angeles-based Never1959 — who is best-known for his large scale murals on buildings around Los Angeles

Never‘s 50-foot high mural that parodies the 1958 Orson Welles film noir “Touch of Evil” 

The premiere of this splendid homage to graffiti will take place tomorrow, October 19th, in Austin, Texas. And beginning Oct. 21, it will be available on Amazon Prime, AppleTV/iTunes, Google Play, Vudu, and YouTube movies.

And you can check out the trailer below:

All images courtesy Buffalo 8 

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On view concurrently with LeCrue Eyebrows’ solo show at Van Der Plas Gallery is ROYAL FLUSH, a group exhibition featuring delightfully intriguing artworks by ten remarkably creative artists.

The huge mixed-media artwork featured above, Numb, was fashioned by Clown Soldier, whose now-iconic signature character I first encountered on NYC streets over a decade ago. Several more images of artworks — all by artists whose works have also surfaced in public spaces — now on view in ROYAL FLUSH follow:

The ever-inventive Al Diaz presents the wonderfully sardonic philosophical and political musings of SAMO©, the project that began in the late 70’s in collaboration with the now-legendary Basquiat

Brooklyn-based Canadian artist Jason McLean, “Gold Home,” 2022, Acrylic paint and acrylic ink Pental brush pen over found canvas

Legendary Lower East Side documentarian and visual artist Clayton Patterson, “Blue Knife,” 2021, Embroidery on fabric

London, Ontario-based ceramic artist Susan Day, “Untitled Mosaic No. 2,” 2022, Ceramic, glaze and underglaze

Toronto-based multimedia artist Devon Marinac, “Alpha Mantle Peace,” 2022, Acrylic on canvas

ROYAL FLUSH continues at Van Der Plas Gallery‘s  downstairs showroom through October 23. Located at  156 Orchard Street, the gallery is open Mon-Tue: 12pm-5pm, Wed-Sat: 11pm-6pm and Sunday: 11am-5pm. A closing reception will take place on Friday, October 21 from 6-8pm.

Photos of images and artists: Lois Stavsky

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When I first came upon LeCrue Eyebrows‘ artworks on the streets of my city, I was struck at once by its singular authenticity. Each piece intrigues, as it exudes a distinct aura of mystery. Visual meditations on such universal themes as love, loss and longing, the works are subtly strong and strikingly beautiful.

Not to be missed is the Queens-based artist’s first solo exhibition at Van Der Plas Gallery. At once quietly raw and soulfully elegant, each work tells a story – to be freely interpreted by its viewer.  And each piece was created freely and spontaneously, as nothing that Lecrue creates is premeditated. The act of painting, itself, is to the artist “an intense form of meditation.”

The beguiling image pictured above, “Move with Me,” was fashioned this year with acrylic on canvas. Several more images I captured while visiting “Primitive Form” last weekend follow:

“Own Storm,” Acrylic on canvas, 2022

“Stand With Me,” Acrylic on canvas, 2022

“Her Breath in Time,” Acrylic on canvas, 2022

“Just Beyond the Window,” Acrylic on canvas, 2022

And on a somewhat different note — “Together,” Mixed media on cold press paper, 2022

“Primitive Form” continues at Van Der Plas Gallery through October 23. Located at  156 Orchard Street, the gallery is open Mon-Tue: 12pm-5pm, Wed-Sat: 11pm-6pm and Sunday: 11am-5pm. A closing reception will take place on Friday, October 21 from 6-8pm.

Note: You can take a 3D tour of “Primitive Form” here.

Photos of artworks, Lois Stavsky

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From September 15 – 18, an all-female team of urban artists — local, national and global — brought their skills and visions to 49 Wyckoff Avenue in Bushwick, Brooklyn.

The stunning image featured above was fashioned collaboratively by project curator Herakut (pictured) and Miami-based Didi Contreras. Several select images — all captured by by travel and street photographer Karin du Maire aka Street Art Nomad — follow:

Brooklyn-based Lexi Bella, who assisted the project’s curation (top), and local, mixed-media artist Isabelle Ewing

New York-based interdisciplinary artist and educator Alice Mizrachi

The legendary Ecuadorian-American graffiti artist and muralist Lady Pink

London-based Spanish artist Lours

NYC-based graphic designer and muralist Queen Andrea

Brooklyn-based muralist and painter Danielle Mastrion

Bristol, UK-based artist HazardOne

Special thanks to Karin du Maire aka Street Art Nomad for documenting this project and sharing it with us

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While street art is too often used as an avenue to gentrify neighborhoods, it can also serve – as depicted in Spencer Wilkinson’s award-winning documentary film ALICE STREET– as a tool to empower, energize and unite members of diverse communities in their struggle against gentrification.

In 2013, Chilean studio painter Pancho Peskador joined forced with Chicago-born aerosol artist Desi Mundo to create a four-story mural at 14th Street and Alice Street in downtown Oakland.  Painted directly across from Hotel Oakland Village, a facility that provides affordable housing and services to hundreds of Chinese seniors, and the noted Malonga Center, a venue for African drumming, culture and dance performances, the mural — designed with direct input from the folks served by the neighboring sites — represented downtown Oakland’s diverse cultures.

But by then gentrification had aggressively reared its ugly head. Local folks were concerned about being economically and culturally displaced as rents feverishly increased, along with condominiums to house the wealthy. And soon after the hugely impressive mural was completed, the news came that another development would be under way that would block the its view.

ALICE STREET brilliantly documents the people’s fervent and largely successful struggle against unbridled corporate greed, as they fight to preserve their culture and their neighborhood. It is an ode to the power of public art to not only enhance but to transform our lives.

This weekend ALICE STREET will be in NYC with the Architecture & Design Film Festival for two special screenings at Cinépolis Cinemas to be followed by discussions.

Photos courtesy of ALICE STREET

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