Events

Back in 2019, Amsterdam Street Art organized a street art festival, If Walls Could Speak, that produced ten captivating murals painted on a row of large apartment buildings in Platanenweg in East Amsterdam. We had the opportunity to visit these hugely impressive murals while in Amsterdam earlier this month. The alluring image featured above  — representing Amsterdam’s free spirit — was fashioned by Netherlands-based Niels van Swaemen and Kaspar van Leek, known collaboratively as  Studio Giftig. Several more murals painted during this groundbreaking street art festival follow:

German artist Case Maclaim

Australian artist Smug One

UK-based Dan Kitchener

  Netherlands-based Sjem Bakkus & IVES One 

Netherlands-based Leon Keer

German artist HERA of Herakut

Photo credits: 1 Sara C Mozeson, 2-7 Lois Stavsky

{ 0 comments }

The following guest post was submitted by street art enthusiast, arts writer and photographer Kristy Calabro 

A delightfully versatile and accessible form of artistic expression, sticker art is documented and celebrated in the groundbreaking, AXS Film Fund-winner, “Sticker Movie.”  Spanning 23 countries and over 80 artists, “Sticker Movie” offers an intimate glance into this beloved graffiti/street art subculture.

In anticipation of its East Coast premiere this weekend — January 12, 13, and 14 — at Brooklyn Art Haus, I had the opportunity to talk to its director, Will Deloney aka Chilly Willy’s Igloo and producer/writer Sha-Risse Smith aka Agent5Smith.

When did you first come up with the idea of making a documentary on sticker culture?

Will: The idea for “Sticker Movie” started during a serendipitous sticker trade with Sha-Risse Smith aka Agent5Smith. As we chatted, I discovered that she had written a feature film, “Strive,” starring Danny Glover. In pitching the idea of the documentary to her, instantly it became clear – we were the dream team for ““Sticker Movie.”  Sha-Risse not only possessed exceptional writing skills, but also proved to be an outstanding producer with an extensive network in the sticker community. Agent and I embarked on a journey that felt truly magical.

Sha-Risse: The idea was swirling around in my head for some time. I knew the work it would take, and I could not do it alone. After trading stickers and vibing over Hendrix, Will messaged me about a collaboration, and I agreed. That was January 3rd, 2021.

What do you think is the main appeal (‘appeel’) of stickers?

Sha-Risse: Stickers appeal to different people for different reasons, but the common factor is that they are low-risk. When getting up, stickers are quick and easy. People are less likely to get caught. But risks can also be financial. Stickers are relatively inexpensive. Someone may not be able to afford a canvas or print, but they can buy a sticker. Artists may not have money for spray paint or supplies, but they can grab a handful of label 228s for free. With stickers, there is less at stake.

Will: First, there’s the nostalgia factor – taking us back to the simpler joys of childhood, getting a gold star sticker for an achievement. I’ve never thought about this until now, but gold stars in video games awarded must have come from that same achievement concept. Also, the compact nature of stickers means artists can transform any surface — bringing creativity to unexpected places. Their accessibility and ease make them the democratic go-to’s of street artists. Collecting and trading stickers fosters a sense of connection and don’t forget their DIY spirit – stickers are the punk rock of the art world: rebellious, personal, and extremely contagious.

Stickers are an escape; they’re therapy, and a way to mark a spot to say, “I was here.”   What do you see as  the primary advantage of stickers?

Sha-Risse: Stickers are a form of art therapy. When getting up, I exercise, breathe fresh air, and interact with my environment. I often walk for hours around the city putting up stickers and photographing street art. It’s cathartic. The best use of stickers is to simply enjoy them.

Abe Lincoln Jr once said, “Stickers are little bite-sized civil disobedience.” Are stickers the answer to all the capitalist propaganda out there?

Sha-Risse: All street art is the answer to capitalist propaganda. However, stickers are unique. You can put one image in many places fairly quickly. But you can also fit several in one space. Their small size is an advantage. You can send them around the world and get up in places you have never been. Stickers are unmatched when it comes to coverage.

How was it like to experience the “Sticker Movie” premiere in Portland? And why did you choose to show it there first?

Will: From day one, we wanted “Sticker Movie” to be a cinematic experience, and Cinemagic, the magical independent theater in Portland where we screened, was flawless. The city’s vibrant and supportive community of artists, coupled with its thriving street art scene, made it an obvious choice. Portland embraces creativity, and we knew that our film would feel right at home among the eclectic and open-minded residents. Witnessing the genuine enthusiasm was the ultimate reward for the time and energy invested in the documentary. Portland not only hosted our premiere, but it became an integral part of the story we were telling.

Sha-Risse: Overall, my experience in Portland was incredible. There were tears of overwhelming joy and relief. We pulled off three screenings and four events in one weekend. We worked hard. I am grateful to the community of sticker heads and normies who came out to support us. I am thankful for the old and new friends who welcomed me. There was so much love in Portland; I will never forget that experience.

I loved when Slappy says, “When you have stickers, you’re never alone.”  Have you any thoughts regarding how stickers bring people together?

Sha-Risse:  I encourage others to discover the community organically on their own. Attend a show, make sticker trades, and find individuals you connect with. Do what works for you. Like the art we create, each person’s experience is uniquely theirs. I am not countering Slappy’s line. I wrote it because I believe it. But it is important to know that not everyone’s participation looks the same. That is the beautiful thing about our community. The sticker scene is diverse, and there is something for everyone.

Will: The communal nature of sticker culture is like an unspoken invitation to join a vibrant and inclusive creative tribe. Artists, collectors, photographers, and enthusiasts, drawn together by their love for this pocket-sized art form, share a unique bond that transcends geographical boundaries. The act of trading and sharing stickers becomes a language of its own, connecting individuals who might never have crossed paths otherwise. It’s a beautiful collision of creativity and camaraderie, proving that in the world of stickers, the adhesive that binds us is as strong as the art itself.

Do you want to give shoutouts to anyone who helped make this movie possible?

Sha-Risse: Shoutout to Niceo CM. He supported me throughout this journey, and I want to thank him publicly. Making “Sticker Movie” was challenging, and I vented to Niceo weekly and sometimes daily over the last three years. He listened while motivating me to toughen up and keep going. Also, shout out to Chris Robots Will Kill. He was the first artist to say, Yes, to being in the movie. Without his recommendations and help, we would not have this New York premiere.

Will: I really want to give my shoutout to Agent5Smith. Without her, none of this is possible. She has worked tirelessly with the mantra of “whatever is best for the film.” She has put over three years of her life into this film, and her love and passion for stickers is why we are here. Thank you, Agent. I love you. Also, shoutout to Dazey Phase, our Executive Producers on this journey.

Will there be a Sticker Movie 2?

Sha-Risse: There are some exciting things in the works. Stay tuned!

Produced by Emmy-winning creative studio Pixelated Ideas, it all started with a sicker trade…three years in the making of bringing small stickers to the big screen. When artists see their stickers displayed in diverse communities and in urban spaces, they feel a sense of pride. Connections are fostered locally and globally. Messages and ideas are shared, as mundane objects — like doors, lampposts, and mailboxes — are transformed into mini art galleries. An effective medium for self-expression, stickers, ultimately, unite us, as they bring like-minded people together.

Note: Friday night and Saturday’s screenings are sold out. Tickets can be purchased here for Sunday, January 14, 3 pm matinee, to be followed by a live podcast with City Kitty.

And running concurrently with the movie’s East Coast showing will be an art exhibit at Brooklyn Art Haus curated by SilverTunaStudios.

Note: This guest post was submitted by Kristy Calabro and edited for brevity by Lois Stavsky; all photos courtesy Kristy and Sticker Movie.

{ 0 comments }

This past Thursday, the wonderfully welcoming and elegant Blue Gallery NYC hosted Wall 2 Wall. Curated by the designer John Herbert Wright, it features an eclectic range of work by six artists, four of whom maintain a huge presence in public space.

Pictured above in front of two of his canvases is Meres One of 5Pointz fame — whose principal work space these days is his studio. Several more images of artworks on exhibit by artists who are also active on the streets follow:

Also by Meres One

Queens-based See TF in front of his photorealistic portraits on jacket

NJ-based Albertus Joseph alongside his expertly-rendered skull

Veteran graffiti writer Mike 171 standing alongside work by Question Marks– also tagged by SJK 171 and the legendary Taki 183 — with a copy of the seminal Wall Writers in his hand

Question Marks and Dirt Cobain

Located on the first floor of the Blue Building, 222 E. 46th Street, Wall 2 Wall can be viewed today through Wednesday, 1-5pm and at its Closing Reception, Dec. 21. 6-10pm.

Photo credits: 1 & 2 Rachel Alban, 3-6 Lois Stavsky

{ 0 comments }

The Grandscale Mural Project is once again transforming the streets of East Harlem into an oasis of beauty and intrigue. While visiting this past Sunday, I came upon dozens of completed walls, along with dozens of works in progress representing a wide range of styles and themes. Featured above is the lovely Colombia-born, East Harlem-based artist Gia Gutierrez — standing to the right of her newly-completed mural. Several more images captured this past Sunday follow:

South Bronx-raised, Puerto Rican artist Olga Correa

East Harlem-based, Stockholm-born artist Scratch

New York-based, Chilean artist Cekis

NYC-based Caryn Cast diligently at work on her portrait of the legendary singer, songwriter & guitarist Sister Rosetta Tharpe

NYC-born and based artist Cram Concepts

NYC-based, New Jersey-bred illustrator Anna Lustberg

BC1 and Al Ruiz collaborative mural featuring the late, legendary Tito Puente

Note: Keep posted to Street Art NYC Threads for more images from this year’s Grandscale Mural Project curated by Uptown Grand Central.

Photos: Lois Stavsky

{ 0 comments }

Celebrating 50 years of women spraypainting NYC, the NYC Graffiti Women’s Festival brought flavor and flair to Hunts Point’s performance and event venue, Bronxlandia, and its surroundings earlier this month. While visiting the site, I had the opportunity to speak to Bronx-based artist, curator and arts educator Lady K Fever who – along with Bronxlandia owner Majora Carter – spearheaded the event.

Can you tell us a bit of the backstory? How did this event come to be?

I had painted a mural earlier this year at Bronxlandia, and when its owner, Majora Carter — who’s very supportive of the arts — offered the space to me to curate, I came up with the idea of inviting women to paint this spot and its neighboring gates in honor of hip-hop’s 50th anniversary.

And what was the festival’s particular mission?

We wanted to reflect and enhance the flavor of the neighborhood, while honoring hip-hop. We also wanted to provide a space for women artists to come together with the community and celebrate one another. This festival was somewhat of a fusion and an extension of two of my previous projects: The Bronx Graffiti Art Gallery and Her Story

What were some of the challenges you faced in seeing the event through?

The cost of insurance — especially when it involves graffiti and hip-hop — was a major business concern. Other challenges included: finding several additional nearby spaces; painting on shutters and gates, as those were our primary surfaces, and securing funding to pay for essential supplies. We are extremely grateful t0 Peter and JP at Burton NYC and to Low Brow Paint & Supply for coming through.

How did the event go? What was the day like?

It was wonderful. There was so much positive energy. Dozens of folks of all ages came through and hung out. We had great female deejays and spontaneous breakdancing. There was a wonderful group of volunteers and delicious food. And Bronx-native Mrs. had the opportunity to make her mark on the roof!

And what’s ahead for you?

Along with Andre Trenier, I will be featured in a show next year at Bronx Art Space. I will also be visiting a range of universities as a guest artist. And I’m working on a curriculum and varied educational programs related to graffiti. I don’t want the history of women in graffiti to be lost.

Note:  If you reside in the Tri-state area, you can win a Burton snowboard, a selection of street art books and more from Low Brow, when you enter the 2023 Art Raffle to support the arts and education. You can either submit artwork on a custom art template with a $20 entry fee or purchase a raffle ticket for $30. Email NYCgraffitiwomenfestival@gmail.com for more information on how to enter. Deadline is Nov 7th 2023.

Images:

  1. Lovenotes
  2. Lady K Fever
  3. Nasa One
  4. Chare and Flô
  5. Kstar
  6. Alice Mizrachi
  7. Mrs
  8. Miki Mu, Lexi Bella and Claw Money
  9. Flyer designed by Zori4

Photo credits: 1-6 & 8 Lois Stavsky; 7 courtesy Lady K Fever; interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky

{ 0 comments }

Founded and curated by Miki Mu and Frankie Velez, the BedStuy Walls Mural Festival has once again transformed Lexington Avenue between Stuyvesant and Lewis Streets into a delectable visual feast, while actively engaging the local community and beyond.

The sumptuous image featured above was painted collaboratively by members of Mz. Icar, a collective of primarily Black female interdisciplinary artists “creatively taking up space.”  Several more images captured this past Sunday follow:

Brooklyn-based Vince Ballentine paints the Nigerian-American singer and composer Mary Akpa

Brooklyn-based Jeff Henriquez captured at work

Chicago-based Caesar Perez

Long Island-based master of monsters Phetus88

Brooklyn-based Question Marks at work with Alana Tsui above Matt Siren’s iconic character

Manhattan-based Funqest

Bronx-born and bred Andre Trenier at work

As it “takes a village” to launch such a remarkable event, among the many who helped make it possible are: NYC Thrive Collective, The Philos Project, Philos Latino, Jesse Rojo, Good Times Deli, Pastor Robert Waterman and Atiba Edwards.

Keep posted to the Street Art NYC Instagram and Threads for more images from this year’s edition of the BedStuy Walls Mural Festival. And you can help sustain this model of community engagement by contributing to the fundraiser, organized by Miki Mu.

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

{ 0 comments }

Founded and curated by the veteran Bronx writer WEN COD, Boone Avenue Walls now brings an alluring array of vibrant graffiti and mural art by local, national and international artists to two locations in the Bronx. This first of a two-part post focuses on the walls that have surfaced along Boone Avenue during its recent Beautification and Artists Festival.

Featured above is Philly-based, Spanish artist Saoka at work. Several more images of both artworks in progress and completed murals follow:

Philly-based, Spanish artist Imse captured at work

BedStuy Walls founder and curator Miki Mu

Veteran uptown writer Kron

Sao Paulo-based muralist and tattoo artist Bits PMA

The legendary Tats Cru member BG 183

Bronx-based Sebar7 in collaboration with Oslo, Norway-based artist Mucho

Photos by Sara C Mozeson and Lois Stavsky

{ 0 comments }

Under the curatorial direction of Sharif Profit, this past weekend’s Graffiti Hall of Fame — located on 106th Street and Park Avenue in East Harlem — teemed with tantalizing talent. Among the featured pubic artworks in this event’s 43rd annual edition were walls and cubes fashioned in a wide range of styles by legendary writers and noted urban artists from NYC and beyond. The scintillating piece pictured above was painted by graff master Skeme, also known as 3 Yard King. Several more images of artworks captured this past Sunday afternoon follow:

BedStuy Walls founder and curator Miki Mu at work

Veteran writer and aerosol artist Renard Kelley aka Vens adding the final touches to his mural

 Delta 2’s masterful mural complemented by an adorable passerby who instantly poses!

The wildly prolific Cope 2

French artist Louis Vicius aka Jaek El Diablo

Will Power‘s tribute to the late writer and DJ Dez aka Kay Slay— with Al Diaz‘s iconic tag finding its way to the bottom!

Barcelona-based artist and tattooist Phen

  Bronx-native NAC 143 at work

 Stockholm-born, East Harlem-based Scratch

Note: Keep posted to the Street Art NYC Instagram and Threads for more images of artworks that surfaced in this year’s Graffiti Hall of Fame .

Photographs by Lois Stavsky and Dani Reyes Mozeson

{ 0 comments }

Celebrating NYC’s iconic Hip Hop landmarks – with live painting, artworks, DJ’s, performers and more — the Landmark Festival make its mark this past weekend in East Harlem. A sequel to the hugely popular Landmark exhibit that debuted in January, it was spearheaded and curated by Kate Storch.

Featured above is Japanese native artist Shiro One at work. Several more images — focusing largely on the artworks — captured when I visited on Sunday afternoon follow:

Queens-based Jerms and Topaz 

Brooklyn-based “Miniature Artist” Danny Cortes recreates “Disco Fever,” a dance club that operated from 1976-1986 in the South Bronx and featured legendary hip-hop artists such as Lovebug Starski, Grandmaster Flash, Kurtis Blow & Run-DMC

Manhattan-based Doves and Bluster, Title mural  and backdrop for MC’s

Bronx-based artist and activist KayLove with black book in hand — in which she has made her mark

The legendary hip-hop rapper, producer and DJ Large Professor to the left of Landmark curator Kate Storch

Photos 1-3, 5 & 6: Lois Stavsky; 4 courtesy Landmark Festival

{ 0 comments }

Currently on view at ACA Galleries in Chelsea, “PHASE 2: Myth Conception…” traces the development of the late visionary stylemaster’s distinct aesthetic from 1972 through 2019. Among the artist’s wide-ranging works included in this hugely comprehensive survey are: PHASE 2‘s hip-hop flyers, IGTimes graphics, varied works on paper, embossed aluminum plates and tantalizing sculptures — in addition to his works on canvas and plywood.

A first generation writer and hip-hop pioneer, PHASE 2 evolved into an astonishingly innovative contemporary artist, blurring the lines between style writing, urban art and fine art. Intricate and immensely intriguing, the works that he created in the last decade of his life exude a distinctly esoteric beauty.

“Don 101,” the image pictured above, was rendered back in 2008 with with ink marker on IGTimes, vol.4. What follows are several of PHASE 2‘s later works on canvas and plywood — all elegantly displayed at ACA Galleries.

“Interplanetary Deity 2,” ca. 2016, Paint marker, spray paint and acrylic on canvas

“Untitled,” Paint marker, spray paint and acrylic on plywood

“Implosion 2.” 2015, Paint marker, spray paint and acrylic on canvas

“Chromatic Implosion,” ca. 2016,  Paint marker and spray paint on canvas

“Untitled 3,”  2010, Mixed media on plywood

“Another Time and Space,” ca 2013, Paint marker, spray paint and acrylic on canvas

T.O.N.Y Oy/Not/Vehme/Yeldi, 2016, spray paint and acrylic on canvas

T.O.N.Y Oy/Not/Vehme/Yeldi, 2016, spray paint and acrylic on canvas, detail

Curated by ACA Galleries curator Mikaela Sardo Lamarche and IGTimes founder David Schmidlapp, “PHASE 2: Myth Conception…” can be viewed Tuesday – Saturday, 11:00am – 6:00pm at ACA Galleries, 529 West 20th Street,

Note:

Thursday May 11th @ 7pm
“Funky Nous Deco” and Beyond
Special presentation of PHASE 2 graphic works from his seminal hip hop fliers, IGTimes and album covers to his digital installations and backdrops with Pete Nice, Co-Curator, Universal Hip Hop Museum and David Schmidlapp, founder of the IGTimes and special guests.

Photos of artworks by with City-As-School intern Antonio Gomez and Lois Stavsky 

{ 0 comments }