Graffiti

I was delighted to have the opportuity to meet up with the multi-talented Bogota-based artist Andres Osuna aka Bochica who is currently visiting NYC — ready and eager to share his vision with us.

When and where did you first start painting on the streets?

I began ten years ago while I was studying filmmaking in Buenos Aires, The first mural I ever painted was a Tree of Life in Palermo.

What inpired you to do so? Why did you choose to hit the streets?

Because the streets belong to everyone. It is our collective home. Working on the streets enables me to communicate with and share knowledge with a wide community. I see painting on the streets as a revolutionary act.

Do you paint with any crews?

I’m a member of the art collective Renova. Our mission is to transform deteriorated or abandoned urban areas into pedagogical platforms using art as a tool.

Do you generally work in illegal or legal spaces?

I’d say 90% of what I do is illegal.

What is your family’s attitude towards what you do?

They are so supportive! My mother is a warrior. She was the first fire-woman in Colombia. She has always taught me to follow my passion.

What percentage of your time is devoted to art?

All of it!

What is the source of your income?

It’s all art-related. Commissions…set design…festivals…video shoots.

That’s quite impressive! Have you a formal art education?

I’m self-taught.  I studied filmmaking, but not visusal arts.

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

I think it’s a good tool; it helps us artists connect with each other.

What is the riskiest thing you’ve ever done on the streets? And why did you do it?

Painting in very dangerous neighborhoods — where I had to worry about both the police and the local gangs.Why did I do it? Because it was necessary–

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

I do both. It depends on the circumstances. But I do best when I work from my head.

Are you generally satisfied with your finished piece?

Sometimes!

Are there any particular artists out there who inspire you?

I’m inspired by Diego Rivera and the entire school of social realism. As far as living artists, Obey is a personal favorite. I like his aesthetic of resistance. I also love Banksy‘s sarcasm. And I’m a huge fan of Bordalo and the way he uses trash to create amazing public artworks. My stencil art has been inspired by the Bogata-based collective Excusasdo.

What about cultures? Do any specific ones inspire you?

Indigenous cultures inspire me. I’ve been hugely influenced by many native civilizations, particularly the Chibcha one.

How has your work evolved since you first started painting on the streets over a decade ago?

I feel that everything I’d done up until now was experimentation. My style is far more developed and my ideas are far more synthesized.

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

I see the artist as a model for transformation. Just as an artist can show us how a surface can be transformed, the artist can teach us how to transform the world.

What’s ahead?

I’d like to continue to grow as an artist to help transform myself and the world. Hopofully, I have a few decades ahead.

Interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky; all photos courtest of the artist

Note: Hailed in a range of media from WideWalls to the Huffington Post to the New York Times, our Street Art NYC App is now available for Android devices here.

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Based in Bari in the South of Italy, Nico Skolp is a masterful designer, graffiti writer and muralist with a particular passion for working in public spaces. As he readies to visit and share his talents with us in New York City, I had the opportunity to pose a few questions to him:

You began painting on the streets as a graffiti writer while still a teenager. How has your style evolved since?

I still paint graffiti, but I am always searching for new inspiration. I’m interested in the possibility of communicating with a larger audience — one outside of the graffiti community. My murals blend shapes and colors into elaborate site-specific abstractions. Although graffiti is composed of  letters, it is more difficult to understand and more abstract than some other types of art. It is an interesting paradox!

You’ve been increasingly collaborating with other artists. What is that experience like? Is there any artist — in particular — with whom you’d like to collaborate?

I like collaborations. I like sharing visions and methods. It helps sharpen skills. If I could choose anyone with whom to collaborate, I would definitely say MOMO. His works are so interesting!  I admire his research and his experimentation.

Have you a formal art education? 

I graduated  with a degree in Industrial and Communication Design. In fact, I feel more like a designer than an artist. In 2006, I set up a visual arts and design agency, Ff3300.

Do any particular graffiti/street art memories stand out?

There is no one memory — in particular — that stands out. But I feel that my crew — Sorry Guys — contributed to the growth of a new generation of writers. Younger writers often enthusiastically tell me how much we have influenced them, as they grew up following us. It is an honor to think that I have inspired other writers, as  others — who came before me — inspired me.

When you paint in public spaces, do you work with a sketch-in-hand or just let it flow?

It depends. If the work is a commission, frequently I must first produce a sketch. Otherwise, I don’t, but I do seek inspiration beforehand. I used to work spontaneously, but recently, I’ve been using a method based on the rules that represent my style. It was from my style that the software open-source — based on shapes that are controlled by certain variables — was conceived. With these, you can make infinite compositions. You can download the software here. I designed it with Piero Molino, a close friend — an engineer who works for UBER in San Francisco.

Are you generally satisfied with your finished piece?

In general, yes! I’m satisfied, but I’m always striving to improve. Technically, I think I’m at a good level, The skills I have acquired have boosted my self-confidence. I’m happy with my life choices.

Have you exhibited your work in gallery settings? 

I’ve never had a solo exhibition. I’ve just contributed canvases to some graffiti exhibitions such as the one held at the 2010 Meeting of Styles in Tessalonica, Greece.  I’ve been thinking recently about showing in a solo exhibition and hopefully start with one in Bari. I love this city and it is where it all started for me. It has recently become a hub for tourism, and I love the idea of making a cultural contribution to it. 

What’s ahead?

I just finished my latest work in Matera, the 2019 Capital of Culture in Europe, and I’m heading now to  New York City, where I’d like to explore its urban art culture and make a contribution — why not a wall? — to the city! I will make myself available for any opportunities.

Yes! That would be wonderful!

Note: Nico Skolp can be contacted via his Instagram or his email nicoff3300@gmail.com.

Interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky; all images courtesy of the artist

Featured images:

  1. Matera, Italy
  2. Bari, Italy
  3. Bari, Italy
  4. Corato, Italy
  5. Matera, Italy

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Showcasing a huge range of aerosol art, the walls in Hackensack’s Union Street Park brim with bold hues and swooping patterns. Under the curatorial skills and direction of NJ-based Darrius-Jabbar Sollas aka Nasty Neo, they frequently rotate — especially during the spring and summer months. While visiting on Friday, I captured the artworks that had been painted over Memorial Day weekend. Pictured above is a segment of one wall — featuring Wore One, TSK, Close, 2 I’ll and Buc 1. Several individual pieces — as seen throughout the park — follow:

Veteran writer Wore One — in honor of his son who is serving in the military

Buc 1 goes bold

Bronx legend Terrible TKid

The masterful Sade TCM

The legendary Part One

Special thanks to Darrius for identifying all of the artists and for maintaining Bergen County’s lone graffiti Mecca! Since my visit on Friday, the Bronx Team has graced the ever-ephemeral walls of Union Street Park.

Photos by Lois Stavsky

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Comprised of interviews with 17 American and European artists who use the stencil technique as their principal means of expression, STENCILISTS POCHOIRISTES, by art and culture enthusiast Serge Louis, has arrived in New York City! Featuring 444 pages and 273 illustrations, along with an introduction by stencil art connoisseur Samantha Longhi, it is Serge Louis’s second book devoted exclusively to stencil art. I recently had the opportunity to speak to Serge:

What spurred your interest in stencil art?

I’ve always been passionate about alternative forms of expression and how and why they surface. Why do folks create stencils? And how do they go about sharing them with others? And stencil art particularly appeals to me because it’s an ideal way to translate and share a message.

Yes. Stencils are quite an accessible means of communication. When did you begin working on this book?

I’ve been interested in stencil art for over a decade, and I had already published one book on the theme. Pochoirs et Pochoiristes à Bruxelles specifically focuses on Brussels’ rich stencil art scene. Three years ago, I began this book of interviews and images produced by artists in both America and in Europe.

Have you any early memories related to stencil art? Or any that stand out?

My earliest memory is of a very simple black and white one. Every stencil stands out in some way. Each one is something new. Each one is a surprise. Since I started paying attention to stencils, the way I view my environment has changed. Each city is distinct. And when I visit someplace new, I feel as though I’m on a “hunt.”

I can certainly relate to that! What were some of the challenges you encountered in producing this book?

The main challenge was convincing the artists to give me the time I needed to interview them in depth. Their time is precious, and they had to feel that taking the time to share their experiences was worthwhile and would interest others.

How can folks get a copy of STENCILISTS POCHOIRISTES?

Along with several of the artists, I will be at 212 Arts — 523 East 12th Street — on Saturday afternoon, June 1, and I will be signing copies of the book. You can also order the book through the publisher.

What’s ahead?

I’ve begun sorting through photos for my next book, and I have already interviewed six artists.

Good luck with it all! And Saturday’s book signing at 212 Arts is certainly a cause for celebration!

Interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky; photos courtesy of Serge Louis

  1. Cover of book featuring stencil art by those artists interviewed for STENCILISTS POCHOIRISTES:  Ben Spizz, Billi Kid, Crisp, Dave Lowell, Dipo, Docteur Bergman, ENX, Jaune, Jinks Kunst, Logan Hicks, Nice Art, Niz, Praxis, Raf Urban, Spencer, Stew and Tripel
  2. Austin, Texas-based Peruvian native Niz
  3. Brooklyn-based Colombian native Praxis
  4. New York-based Colombian native Billi Kid
  5. Austin, Texas-based Dave Lowell
  6. Brooklyn-based, Baltimore-raised Logan Hicks

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Late last year — when I was out of the country — the Painting Center presented Symbols, Totems and Ciphers. Curated by acclaimed artist Scot Borofsky, who had been active on the streets of the East Village back in the 80’s, the exhibit featured works in a range of media by those artists who had pioneered the street art movement. As I had missed that historical exhibit, I was delighted to discover that a variation of it is now on view at the National Arts Club on Gramercy Park South. Featured above is one of the legendary Keith Haring‘s subway drawings, photographed by Fernando Natalici. It was Keith Haring, noted Borofsky, who brought “the idea of street-art into the consciousness of every New Yorker.” What follows are several more images I captured while visiting Studio in the Street: Symbols – Totems – Ciphers at the National Arts Club.

The noted Italian multi-media artist Paolo Buggiani, Street Hanging Sculpture, Mixed media

The late Chicano stencil artist Michael Roman — captured by  Scot Borofsky

Multi-media artist and writer Bob Dombrowski, Thirteen, Silkscreen on paper

The prolific Florida-based artist R.V. (Robin Van Arsdol), RV’s Images, Acrylic on canvas, 1985

Artist and curator Scot Borofsky, whose site specific works on local ruins often referenced Pre-Columbian patterns

Other pioneering street artists featured in Studio in the Street: Symbols – Totems – Ciphers include: AVANTRichard Hambleton, Ken Hiratsuka, SAMO and Kevin Wendall.  The exhibition continues at the National Arts Club, 15 Gramercy Park South, through June 14 and is open to the public Monday to Friday, 10am – 5pm. Admission is free.

Photos of artworks (and photos) by Lois Stavsky

Note: Hailed in a range of media from WideWalls to the Huffington Post to the New York Times, our Street Art NYC App is now available for Android devices here.

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The first exhibition ever dedicated to the legendary Basquiat‘s Xerox’s works, Jean-Michel Basquiat: Xerox, continues through this coming Friday, May 31, at Nahmad Contemporary on the Upper East Side. Curated by Basquiat scholar Dieter Buchhart, who had also curated Basquiat’s recent exhibition at the Brant Foundation, Xerox presents over 20 of Basquiat’s key Xerox works from 1981 to 1987, many shown publicly here for the first time. Featured above is King of the Zulus, fashioned with acrylic, oilstick and Xerox collage on paper mounted on canvas. Several more images from this significant exhibition follow:

Untitled, Acrylic and Xerox collage on wood, 1981

Peter and the Wolf, Acrylic, oilstick and Xerox collage on canvas, 1985

Brother’s Sausage, Acrylic, oilstick and Xerox collage on canvas, 1983

Natchez, Acrylic, oil, wood and Xerox collage, 1985

Red Joy, Acrylic, oilstick and Xerox, 1984

Wide view, segment of installation

Nahmad Contemporary is located at 980 Madison Avenue, off 76th Street, on the Upper East Side and is open Monday – Saturday, 10AM – 6PM.

Photo credits: 1 Courtesy Nahmad Contemporary 2-6 Lois Stavsky

Note: Hailed in a range of media from WideWalls to the Huffington Post to the New York Times, our Street Art NYC App is now available for Android devices here.

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Rich with intrigue, the streets of Madrid showcase a tantalizing array of public artworks. The image featured above was fashioned from discarded matter by the wildly imaginative Portuguese artist Bordalo, Several more images I came upon on my recent visit to Madrid follow:

With Spanish artist Okuda to his left

French artist Pro 176

Spanish artist ZetGraff

Spanish artist Antonyo Marest

Spanish artist Ruina R64

Photos by Lois Stavsky

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The Spanish city of Móstoles — just several miles from Central Madrid — is home to a wild array of stylishly striking graffiti walls. Featured above are the works of  the hugely talented Spanish photorealist and tattooist Theo Magma and the masterful Italian graffiti artist Made514. Several more images painted by members of the DMC Rock Crew, along with their guests, in honor of their 33rd Anniversary follow:

DMC Rock Crew member Soda One

DMC Rock Crew members Eloy Fernandez and Ed-Mun

DMC Rock and FX Crew member Mataone

DMC Rock Crew member Roy

 Local artist Rosk and Spanish painter David Villaécija

The Crime Kings -TCK member Tsug and local artist Andres

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

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Inaugurating its New York space with a sprawling, hugely impressive exhibition of a broad range of works by the late Jean-Michel Basquiat, the Brant Foundation has brought the spirit of the legendary artist back to the East Village. Curated by Brant Foundation founder Peter M. Brant with Basquiat scholar Dieter Buchhart and organized in collaboration with the Fondation Louis Vuitton, the exhibition, itself, is a cause for celebration. The image featured above, “Untitled,” was fashioned by the artist in 1981 with acrylic, oilstick, and spray paint on wood, A few more images featuring Basquiat’s raw and largely irreverent aesthetic, captured at this splendid exhibition, follow:

Museum Security (Broadway Meltdown), Acrylic, oilstick and paper collage on canvas, 1983

Big ShoesAcrylic, oilstick and collage on canvas, 1983

Hollywood Africans, Acrylic and oilstick on canvas, 1983

Irony of a Negro Policeman, Acrylic and lipstick on wood, 1981

Arroz con Pollo, Acrylic and oilstick on canvas, 1981

Boy and Dog in a Johnnypump, Acrylic on canvas, 1982

The exhibition continues at the Brant Foundation, 421 East Sixth Street, through May 15. Although admission is free, reservations are necessary.

Photos of images by Lois Stavsky

Note: Hailed in a range of media from WideWalls to the Huffington Post to the New York Times, our Street Art NYC App is now available for Android devices here.

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A non-profit arts organization that creates opportunities for local and international artists to showcase their talents and share them with others, HKwalls recently held its sixth annual street art festival — in collaboration with Design District HK — in Wan Chai, HK. With sponsorship from Vans — along with other brands including the environmentally-friendly eicó paint — live painting, arts workshops, exhibitions and guided street art tours took place from March 23-31.

The delightfully playful image pictured above was painted by Richmond-based artist Wingchow. Following are several more images of artworks that surfaced largely during HKwalls 2019 — all captured by travel and street photographer Karin du Maire aka Street Art Nomad.

French artist Tim Marsh, segment of larger mural painted this past fall, organized by L’Epicerie Fine HK; tram painted by Tim Marsh for HKwalls 2019 here

UK-based Insa

Chinese crew KwanClansegment of larger mural

Berlin/Hamburg based duo Low Bros

Montreal-based artist Fluke to the left of his stunning mural

Canadian artist Priscilla Yu

Spanish artist Muro at work

Photos by Karin du Maire aka Street Art Nomad

Note: Hailed in a range of media from WideWalls to the Huffington Post to the New York Times, our Street Art NYC App is now available for Android devices here.

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