Exhibits

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.

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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

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Laura “Lulu” Reich and Koz, founder of SilverTuna Studios, have once again launched a dazzlingly diverse exhibition featuring works by a range of wonderfully gifted graffiti and urban artists. The splendid painting featured above, Subway China, was fashioned with oil-based enamel on canvas by the Australian artist Damien Mitchell. A small selection of images featured in Stay Up on view through November 12 at City Point BKLYN — follow:

NYC-based, Puerto Rico-born artist Epic Uno, “Midnight Blue,” Acrylic and woodcut on panel

Brooklyn-based Colombian artist Praxis, “Make Your Dreams Reality,” Stencils and spraypaint on canvas

The amazingly prolific Staten Island-based artist Chris RWK, “Trusting,” Mixed media on canvas

Dublin born and based artist Solus, “Full,” Spraypaint on canvas

Queens-born and based artist Belowkey, “Interiors Grape Ape,” Acrylic on canvas

The ever-versatile Bronx-based artist Zimad, “Teabag,” Mixed media on canvas

The internationally renowned Bronx-born artist Cope2, “33rd Street Station-6 Line,” Mixed media on subway sign

City Point BKLYN, easily accessible by public transportation, is located at 445 Albee Square West in Downtown Brooklyn. The gallery, located on the first floor, is open Thursday through Sunday 1-7pm and Monday through Wednesday by appointment. You can contact Lulu to make an appointment at lulu@collectwithlulu.com.

Photos: Lois Stavsky

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Currently on view at Brooklyn Art Haus, a new home for innovative arts in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, is “ON THE EDGE,” a group exhibition featuring a delightfully diverse selection of urban art, graffiti, photography and fine art in a range of media by both emerging and established artists.

On a recent visit to the wonderfully welcoming space, I had the opportunity to pose a few questions to its curators, Koz, founder of SilverTuna Studios, and Laura “Lulu” Reich.

This is your third exhibit here at Brooklyn Art Haus. In what ways does it differ from your previous ones held at this space?

There’s a bit of more emphasis on photography, as we are highlighting works by the amazing urban photographer Victor Thomas, known on Instagram as Vic Invades. We are also thrilled to be presenting for the first time four artworks by the legendary Shepard Fairey.

Yes, I love these Obey screen prints, and I love the way he takes a political stance on the critical issues of our time. How did you connect to Shepard Fairey?

I (Koz) was filming Shepard Fairey while he was at work on his Bad Brains mural for the LISA Project. I developed — at the time — a close relationship with his assistant, Rob Zagula aka Eastweed. And then we all met up at midnight and were out on the streets until dawn!

You, two, obviously have a great working relationship. How did you meet? And how do you manage to work so well together?

We are both friends with Easy, and he introduced us to each other. We are both passionate about what we do, and we complement each other in terms of our personal and professional skills. We also tend to share the same friends, who are largely artists and collectors.

In addition to sharing the artworks on exhibit with collectors and the general public, do the two of you have any other mission?

Yes, we want very much to educate those who view the works about the artists behind them. That is why we have included biographical information, alongside each artist’s work.

What’s ahead?

We are planning ahead for a mural festival to take place in Chicago next June. We are currently in the process of curating an exhibition of new work by Al Diaz scheduled to open next month at Brooklyn Made in Industry City. We are also looking forward to exhibiting artworks at the Tribeca Synagogue and again at City Point BKLYN. And Koz will be releasing a film featuring Cape Cod-based pro-skateboarder and artist Zered Bassett — introduced by skater and artist Eli Reed.

You are certainly productive! Good luck with it all! How can folks see your current exhibit here at Brooklyn Art Haus?

The exhibition can be viewed daily from 10am – 10pm through Sunday, September 3rd.  Private viewings are by appointment via lulu@collectwithlulu.com. Brooklyn Art Haus is located at 24-1 Marcy Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Images featured in this post:

1 .Shepard Fairey, “Putin’s Ashes (Pussy Riot),” 2023, Screen print on thick cream speckletone paper, 24″ x 18″

2. Cope2, “Cotton Candy Star, ” Mixed media on canvas, 16″ x 20″

3 Tkid, “Do Not Cross,” Mixed media on subway sign, 18″ x 16″

4. Jessica Kaplan, “Roar,” Mixed media & collage on canvas, 12″ x 12″

5. Chris RWK, “TIL The End.” Mixed media on canvas, 36″ x 24″

6 SNAPKRACKER x RAMBO RAME, “Hip Hop Legends,” Paint marker and aerosol on street sign, 29″ x 29″

7. Curators: Koz and Lulu, — with Koz sporting a Chris RWK hat and SNAPKRACKER sweatshirt

Note: Also on view are tantalizing works by Eastweed, FLASH, Eric Orr and Vic Invades

Interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky; Photo credits:  1, 6 & 7 courtesy of the curators;  2-5, Lois Stavsky

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On view through August 5 at Theatre for the New City is “Solo With Friends.” Curated by Marcus Glitteris, it showcases a delightfully diverse range of artworks by over 60 artists, along with new and recent paintings by Marcus. When visiting the space last week, I had the opportunity to pose a few questions to Marcus.

Could you tell us something about the concept behind this exhibition?

I was interested in showcasing  a mix of established artists along with younger emerging ones. And, as always, I wanted to do a show that reflects and includes our community, the Lower East Side and the East Village.

And what inspired you to see your vision through?

I’m chasing my dream. And that is something that I share with so many other artists. We are all chasing our dreams together.

Dozens of artists are represented here. How did you manage to communicate and coordinate with so many?

With passion and with drive, there is no stopping! I was already connected with many of the artists, and I communicate with them regularly. And nothing here could happen without Crystal Field, the co-founder and Artistic Director of Theatre for the New City.

What would you say was your greatest challenge in curating an exhibit featuring so many artists?

To tell the story of 60+ artists on a salon-style wall.

This space is ideal and its location is perfect. How did you connect with it?

Years ago, I had shown my art there, and then in 2015, I became its “resident curator.” I now curate two shows a year here.

How did the opening reception go?

It was great! There was great energy, and it was well-attended.

What’s ahead for you?

I want to continue to keep hope alive — particularly among us LES and East Village natives.

Note: Located at 155 First Avenue between 9th and 10th Streets, Theatre for the New City is open 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Artists featured in this post

  1. Al Diaz and Jilly Ballistic
  2. Marcus Glitteris in front of the huge, salon-style wall that he curated
  3. Ron Burman
  4. SacSix
  5. AURAxDR
  6. Clown Soldier
  7. Homesick
  8. Y. Rockafella
  9. Marcus Glitteris

Interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky

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Proclaimed by his former partner Keith Haring as the “Graffiti King of the Lower East Side,” Angel Ortiz aka LA2 is increasingly gaining the admiration and acclaim that he deserves. A self-taught artist, he has fashioned a distinct aesthetic that has evolved into a stylishly striking synthesis of graffiti, pop art and fine art.

Ranging in tones from black, white and gray to bright, bold hues, Angel’s new works on exhibit in “Ode 2 NYC” at Chase Contemporary vary from the seemingly simple to the remarkably intricate. Exuding a magical energy, together they are a glowing testament to LA2’s singular intuitive skills, as well as the perfect pean to NYC.

Featured below are several more images captured from the exhibit:

“Shazbot,” 2023, Acrylic and marker on canvas

“Rainbow Swirl,” 2023, Acrylic and marker on canvas

“Tiffany,” 2023, Acrylic and marker on canvas

“Subway,” 2023, Acrylic and marker on canvas

“DJ LES, 2023, Acrylic and marker on canvas

Exhibition curator and gallery co-owner and director Christopher Pusey with “Silver on Blue,” 2022, Acrylic and silver marker on canvas

“Ode 2 NYC” can be viewed through June 18 at Chase Contemporary, 413 West Broadway in Soho: Monday and Tuesday, 10 AM–6 PM; Wednesday and Thursday, 10 AM–7 PM; Friday and Saturday, 10 AM–8 PM and  Sunday, 11 AM–7 PM.

Photos and post by Lois Stavsky and City-as-School intern Antonio Gomez

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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 

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Bronx-based artists John Ahearn and Rigoberto Torres have been fashioning exquisite life-like portraits of their neighbors for over 40 years. At once poignant and majestic, their sculptural portraits are a a visual ode to their community — its resilient spirit and its rich culture.  Continuing through this month at The Bronx Museum is their solo exhibition  “Swagger and Tenderness…,” featuring 65 sculptural portraits created both individually and collaboratively. What follows is a brief sampling:

John Ahearn with Rigoberto Torres, “Janelle and Audrey,” 1983, Acrylic on plaster

John Ahearn, “Joe Conzo at 17,” 2020, Acryic on plaster

Rigoberto Torres, “Daze,” 1998, Acrylic on plaster

John Ahearn with Rigoberto Torres, “Mario and Norma,” 1979, Acrylic on plaster

John Ahearn, “Juanita in Stripes Hugging Carlos,” 2020, Acrylic on plaster

Rigoberto Torres, “Melissa Maycock,” 1997, Acrylic on plaster

John Ahearn with Rigoberto Torres, “Bintou and Anwar,” 1998, Acrylic on plaster

Co-curated by Amy Rosenblum-Martín and literary activist Ron Kavanaugh, “Swagger and Tenderness…” remains on view at The Bronx Museum until the end of this month. Located at 1040 Grand Concourse, the museum is open Wednesday – Sunday from 1 – 6PM. Admission is free.

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

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The following post is by student/intern Samantha Sabatino

On view now at Vanderplas Gallery on Manhattan’s Lower East Side is “Messenger.” Featuring an eclectic selection of works by artists who have been active on the streets of NYC and beyond, the exhibition continues through February 26th. Featured above is an untitled mixed-media work by self-taught artist Will Power. A small sampling of artworks by artists showcased in “Messenger” follows:

The NYC-born graffiti artist and SAMO© collaborator Al Diaz, “In the Future All Art Will Be Fake,” 2023, Mized media on canvas, 23″ x 20″

NYC/Buenos Aires/Miami — itinerant artist Magda Love, “Galaxy Inside 1,” 2023, Painting with Embroidered Frame, 24″ x 19″

Veteran Bronx graffiti artist Cope2, 8th Street R W Lines Subway Sign with blue Cope2 bubble, 2023, Mixed media on original metal subway sign, 27″ x 55″

NYC-based Argentine artist Sonni, “Starman,” 2022, Acrylic on canvas, 60″ x 48″

Located at  156 Orchard Street, the gallery is open Wed-Sat: 11am-6pm and Sunday: 11am-5pm.

Photos of artworks by Samantha Sabatino

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With its fusion of graffiti, comic and fine art aesthetics, ChrisRWK‘s artworks — both on and off the streets — have long captivated us. His beloved robot character has made its way onto just about every surface — from stickers to canvasses to huge vehicles to massive walls. Opening this Saturday evening at Harman Projects is his solo exhibition, “Promise Made. Promise Kept,” showcasing a range of new artworks, including a 3D rendition of his iconic robot.

Featured above is ChrisRWK‘s mixed media painting “Tale Be Told,” one of his 12 x 12 inch artworks on exhibit. Several more images of artworks from “Promise Made. Promise Kept” follow:

True to the Blue, 12 x 12 in.

Lost Amongst Ghosts and Shadows, 12 x 12 in.

Beat the Odds, 6 x 6 in.

At the Top of My Lungs, 12 x 12 in.

For Giving, Bronze Sculpture

A reception for “Promise Made. Promise Kept” will be held this Saturday evening, February 11, at Harman Projects from 6-8pm.  Located at 210 Rivington Street on the Lower East Side, the gallery is open Tuesday – Saturday from 10am – 6pm. “Promise Made. Promise Kept” remains on view until Saturday, March 4th

And be sure to check here to read Gallery Director Raul Barquet‘s illuminating interview with ChrisRWK, published this past week in Juxtapoz.

All photos courtesy Harman Projects

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