Graffiti

Curated by Kate Storch, “Landmark” is both aesthetically stirring and culturally enriching. Featuring artworks in a range of media by Joe Conzo, Charlie Doves, Bluster One, Peter Paid, Jeff Henriquez and Danny Cortes, the exhibition continues through this Sunday, January 29 at One Art Space in Tribeca. While visiting yesterday afternoon, I had the opportunity to pose a few questions to Kate.

This exhibition is a wonderful homage to hip-hop and to its iconic locations. What spurred you to curate it?

I’d been wanting to curate an exhibition on this theme for awhile. And the beginning of 2023, the year that celebrates the 50th anniversary of hip-hop, seemed like the ideal time to make it happen.

How did you decide which artists to feature?

I chose artists whom I admire as professionals and as people. They are all different, yet all are related to the culture in their own distinct ways. Joe Conzo photographed hip-hop from its early days in the South Bronx. His contributions to the culture are invaluable. I’ve been a huge fan of Charlie Doves for years. He is a master of the craft. I love Bluster One‘s signature style. Music runs through it. Peter Paid brilliantly captures the aesthetics of graffiti in his signage. I had a wonderful experience working with Jeff Henriquez several years ago at the Summer Classics Block Party For National Hip Hop Day at First Street Park. And Danny Cortes‘s expertise, energy, patience and humility increasingly impress me.

What were some of the challenges that curating this exhibit presented?

There are always challenges when curating, but in this case, they were limited. Everything has gone remarkably smoothly. All of the artists are great people — and easy to work with!

The exhibition is so beautifully installed. Can you tell us something about that?

The installation is entirely my vision. I had given the placement of the art considerable thought, and I had the artistic freedom here at One Art Space to make it happen. I wanted it all to come to life! I wanted it to be an experience.

How can folks see the exhibit?

One Art Space is located at 23 Warren Street in Tribeca. The exhibit continues through Sunday from 1:00 PM – 6: 00 PM daily. Easily reached by just about every subway line, the gallery can be contacted at 646-559-0535.

Congratulations, Kate!

Featured images:

1 Peter Paid

2 Bluster One

3 Charlie Doves

4 Jeff Henriquez

5 Joe Conzo

6 Danny Cortes

7 Kate Storch, curator; typography by Peter Paid to the right of miniature art by Danny Cortes

Interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky; photos 1-4, 6 & 7 Lois Stavsky; photo 5, courtesy One Art Space

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In this eighth post in our new series, PUSHING IT FORWARD — featuring ILLicit creatives claiming space on NYC streets — we return to the Bronx. Pictured above are Mustard and Taboo — as captured in Woodlawn, while riding the Metro North Harlem Line. Several more Bronx images by ILLicit creatives follow:

Ovie and Tye

Cous, Edo, Loose, Noe, Trac and more-

Rep2

Ansotto

MTNW

VSK

Scoo

Post by the Pushing It Forward Collective

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Opening this evening, Friday, January 13 and running through February 5 at City Point in Downtown Brooklyn is POSITIVE VIBRATIONS. Curated by Collect with Lulu and Silvertuna Studios, it is an exhilarating exhibition featuring an eclectic scope of works by a range of contemporary artists from legendary graffiti writers to pro skaters.

The image featured above was fashioned by the wonderfully talented Bronx-based Zimad, who also painted a huge, brightly-hued mural at City Point’s Flatbush Atrium as a tribute to the approaching Chinese New Year, the Year of the Rabbit. A limited-edition of Year of the Rabbit coloring book calendar will be also available for purchase at the gallery.

A small selection of images of additional artworks on exhibit in POSITIVE VIBRATIONS follow:

Bronx-based Eric Orr

American Pro skater Christian Hosoi

NYC-based Australian artist Damien Mitchell

Bronx-based legends Cope 2 (top) and T-KID 170

Greek artist Andreas Rousounelis

Chicago-based Rubén Aguirre

The gallery is welcoming to children, as well. Among the exhibition’s highlights are classes scheduled for children by the legendary Al Diaz on “How to Create Your Own Graffiti Alphabet.”

Located at 445 Albee Square West, the gallery is open Monday – Wednesday by appointment and Thursday – Sunday 12-7pm. Gallery contacts are lulu@collectwithlulu.com and silvertunastudios@gmail.com

Photos of images: Lois Stavsky

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Rigorously researched and handsomely presented, City of Kings celebrates the rich graffiti culture that began on the mean streets of  NYC in the late 60’s and has since evolved into a worldwide phenomenon. Curated by first generation graffiti artist and SAMO© partner Al Diaz, along with graffiti archivist and artist Eric ‘DEAL CIA’ Felisbret and graphic designer and arts educator Mariah Fox, City of Kings appeals not only to us graffiti aficionados, but to anyone curious about the history of an illicit art form that has not only become legitimized in the “art world,” but has impacted just about every aspect of our culture — from advertising to fashion design to education.

Spanning over six decades, a comprehensive illustrated timeline traces the history of NYC graffiti beginning in 1967 with JULIO 204, whose tag and street number captured the attention of his peers in Washington Heights/Inwood. Four years later, when fellow Washington Heights tagger TAKI 183 was profiled in The New York Times, graffiti went on to gain the attention of a wide, diverse audience.

By the mid-70’s, graffiti had evolved into a “firmly established cultural movement with clear principles.”  Whole-car train pieces began to roll by and the publication of Norman Mailer’s The Faith of Graffiti lent validation to the art form.  But by the early 80’s, Mayor Koch waged outright war against graffiti writers, accusing them of “destroying our lifestyle and and making it difficult to enjoy life.”

Yet despite the war against graffiti, key talented and passionate photographers, documentarians, filmmakers and curators increasingly began to celebrate the culture which continues to make its way not only onto public space but into galleries and museums worldwide.

In addition to the exhibition’s graffiti timeline,  there is also a timeline of “Key Current Events,” such as the assassination of Martin Luther King in 1968, the election of NYC Mayor David Dinkins in 1989 and the outbreak of COVID-19. – all lending socio-political context to the graffiti movement. And homage is given to the many “Fallen but not Forgotten Players in the Game.”  Included among those many writers are such noted ones as: A-One,  Don 1, Dondi, Iz the Wiz, Sane 182, and Stay High 140.  On view too are black books, graffiti paraphernalia and varied tools of the trade, along with videos, documentaries, recordings and first-person accounts.

Accompanying Part I of the exhibition is an invaluable catalog — published by Howl Arts — that includes: both the graffiti and the current events timelines; key essays by Al Diaz, Eric Felisbret, Mariah Fox and Chris Pape; a glossary of graffiti terms by Eric Felisbret, and learning tools and resources for educators by Mariah Fox.  The catalog can be purchased at the gallery or by emailing books@al-diaz.com.

On view in Part II of the exhibition at the nearby Howl! Arts/Howl! Archive are original artworks of largely of graffiti tags by such pioneers as Coco 144, Lava 1 & 2, Noc 167, Snake 1 and Futura, along with photographs by several noted documentarians of the culture including Martha Cooper, Henry Chalfant, Charlie Ahearn, David Gonzalez and Flint Gennari.

Among those on exhibit by the legendary photojournalist Martha Cooper is her 1982 Bronx capture, DUSTER/LIZZIE: 2 top to bottom whole cars in straight letters and wild style.

While Part I — located at 6 East 1st Street — closes this coming Sunday, the 15th, Part II of the exhibition continues through January 29 at 250 Bowery. Both spaces are open Wednesday-Sunday, 11am-6pm.

Photo credits:  1 & 2 Lois Stavsky; 3 & 4 Rachel  Fawn Alban, 5 © Howl Arts Inc & 6 © Martha Cooper

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In this seventh post in our new series, PUSHING IT FORWARD — featuring ILLicit creatives claiming space on NYC streets — we return to Brooklyn. Featured above is Jarp  beneath the subway platform alongside the tracks

Snuze

Fame, Dest, RS, Ajes and Pure

Des and Nilo, All City Crew

Dip

Keazy

Stack, ZigZag and varied tags

Unidentified fragment spotted in Bed-Stuy

Post by the Pushing It Forward Collective

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Despite the many changes in Philly’s West Kensington neighborhood, the walls along North 5th & Cecil B Moore continue to host a huge range of  striking, first-rate graffiti murals. The image pictured above is the work of the gifted Philly-based Colombian artist Busta. Three more adjacent murals — all on the theme of the greek myth “Jason and the Argonauts” — follow:

Veteran graffiti writer Sew

Philly-based Spanish artist Saoka

Philly-based Spanish artist Imse

And a newly-fashioned nearby wall by Philly graffiti stylist Esteme

Photos: Lois Stavsky

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Since 2015, the annual SHINE Mural Festival has been transforming St. Petersburg, Florida’s coastal “Sunshine City,” into an intriguing open-air museum featuring local, national and international artists. Travel and street photographer Karin du Maire aka Street Art Nomad was there to capture this year’s festival which had taken place in mid-October.

The distinctly dramatic image pictured above was painted by Berlin-based James Bullough, who is posed in front of his mural. The artist explains his choice of colors as “a subtle shoutout” to Amsterdam-based Joram Roukes whose artwork was previously on this wall. Several more images from this year’s SHINE Mural Festival follow:

LA-based, French duo 123KLAN in front of their mural

Tampa-based Sydney Prusso

German native MadC and Montreal-based Haks 180 at work

 Florida-based Tasko in front of his mural

Toronto-based Ben Johnston

Local artist Dreamweaver in front of her mural in progress

All photos by Karin du Maire aka Street Art Nomad 

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After a hiatus of several weeks, we are back with our documentation of ILLicit creatives claiming space on the streets of NYC. Pictured above is MFK, the Metal Fingers Krew; what follows are several more graffiti bombs and throwies captured as we revisited Queens.

Angr

Boni and Sykoe

Unidentified

Mono

Someone

Sie and Mer

Post by the Pushing It Forward Collective

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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:

To be identified

Spord UFO — painted for the Montana Grafficon jam 

To be identified

Turbo

To be identified

To be identified

Photos: 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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