Public Art Projects

Underhill Walls — a  model grassroots project in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Prospect Heights —  has once again morphed. This time it is a canvas for 17 diversely enchanting murals reflecting the theme Urban Jungle. While visiting it last week, I had the opportunity to pose a few questions about Underhill Walls— its origins and more — to its indefatigable curator, Jeff Beler.

Underhill Walls continues to bring so much intrigue and beauty to this neighborhood. When did this project first begin?

The first set of murals surfaced here — at St. Johns Pl. and Underhill Avenue — back in the fall of 2015.

How were you able to access these walls? The concept is brilliant. It reminds me of the Centre-fuge Public Art Project that for years transformed an East Village eyesore — a neglected DOT trailer — into a rotating open-air street art gallery.

I live nearby, and I had been eyeing those walls for 10 years. They’d been ravaged by a fire, and they’d been neglected. I eventually contacted the owner of the three-floor abandoned building who was open to the concept of beautifying the property.

And then what? How did the actual transformation take place?

I started to put a team together. The first step was to build panels. And the first artists to participate in the project back in 2015 were: UR New York, Fumero, Badder Israel, Raquel Echanique, Col Wallnuts and Sienide.

Did you collaborate with any organizations at the time?

For our first project, we coordinated with the non-profit Love Heals. Titled “What’s Your Sign? Mural Project,” our first project’s mission was to raise public awareness for the HIV/AIDS crisis among  Black and Latino youth.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced in seeing this project through these past few years?

Selecting artists with the right chemistry to work together. When that happens, everything flows smoothly and beautifully. And this is exasctly how “Urban Jungle” played out.

How often do the murals change?

Twice a year. Every May and October. Since 2015, we’ve had nine rotations.

What’s ahead?

So long as the panels are here, we will be here! And each project will continue to reflect a distinct theme.

Fabulous!

Images

1  Oscar Lett

2  Justin Winslow

Ralph Serrano (L) and Giannina Gutierrez (R) 

4  Jaima and Marco Santini collaboration

5  Nassart

6  Jeff Beler

7  Android and Miishab collaboration

8  Majo

Interview with Jeff conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky; photos by Lois Stavsky

Keep posted to StreetArtNYC Instagram for more recent images from Underhill Walls.

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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For the fourth consecutive year, The Crystal Ship Arts Festival invited over a dozen renowned artists from across the globe to Ostend, Belgium’s largest coastal city. This year’s theme, The Dictatorship of Art, featured a range of tantalizing murals — from the subtly toned to the richly colorful — several overtly political. In the remarkable anamorphic mural featured above, Dutch artist Leon Keer visualizes the impact of climate change.  Several more images — all captured by travel and street photographer Karin du Maire aka Street Art Nomad — follow:

Mexican artist Paola Delfin,”Èèn”

Croatian artist Lonac, “Lost Ticket”

Valencia, Spain-based artist Escif imagines “No Borders”

 Barcelona-based Moroccan native Mohamed L’Ghacham, “Separación De Poderes II”

Frankfurt, Germany-based Case Maclaim

UK native David Walker

Curated by Bjørn Van Poucke, the The Crystal Ship 2019 actively engaged the local community — including students from the local school Ensorinstituut — throughout the festival.

Images 1-7 photographed 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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Venezuelan artist KOZ DOS first made his mark on the walls of his native city, Caracas, where he became identified with his hugely impressive photorealistic portraits. He has since conceived and mastered an infectious aesthetic fusing animal and human elements. Noted for their dreamy colors and geometric patterns, the wonderfully talented artist’s murals — blurring the line between street art and fine art — continue to make their way into a wide array of international festivals and events. Pictured above is El Dia de la Noche painted last month in Ayia Napa on the Southeast coast of Cyprus.

Another view of KOZ DOS‘s recent Ayia Napa mural

And a selection of murals painted by KOZ DOS these past two years and shared with Street Art NYC 

In Bayonne, France for Points de Vue Street Art Fest, October 2018

In Cheste, Spain for Graffitea Cheste, May 2018

In Crans-Montana, Switzerland for Vision Art Festival, September 2017

Close-up

In Civitanova Marche, Italy for Anime Di Strada, June 2017

All photos courtesy 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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While driving from Madrid to Valencia earlier this week, we decided to take a bit of a detour and visit Cuenca, an enchanting walled city in Central Spain that has largely maintained the appearance of a medieval fortress. Among our stops was Barrio San Antón, whose mountainous streets and winding alleyways are home to several hugely impressive murals. The image featured above is the work of the masterful Porto, Portugal-based stencil artist Daniel Eime. Several more images of art we found — with the help of some local teenagers —  on the walls of Barrio San Antón follow:

Daniel Eime, closer up

French artist Chloe Tiravy, close-up

Spanish artists Zeus Sanchez and Sceno,

Zeus Sanchez and Sceno, close-up

Venezuelan artist Koz Dos

Cuenca-based Mr Trazo

Mr Trazo, close-up

All of these artworks — we soon found out — were painted during Zarajos Deluxe, an urban arts festival that took place in the summer of 2015 under the curatorial direction of Cuenca native Mr Trazo.

Photo credits: 1 Sara C Mozeson; 2-8 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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In the first of a series of “happenings,” native New Yorker actor/creator Maia Lorian and Brooklyn-based guerilla street artist Abe Lincoln, Jr. recently hosted an Open House outside Trump Tower. To help “the president” pay his huge legal fees, the duo offered passersby an opportunity to savor, purchase and bask in “Luxury Living For The Morally Bankrupt.”  Perks include: secret service at one’s fingertips; one’s very own personalized FBI file and frequent dumpster fires. What follows are a few more scenes I captured during  “A Presidential Parody’s” thoroughly convincing live ad campaign:

First stop, outside Chanel

Engaging one of many opinionated passersby

With Trump Tower security guard quietly observing it all

For more information about “A Presidential Parody” as performance art, you can contact the wonderfully talented duo at apresidentialparody@gmail.com

Photos by Lois Stavsky

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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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The streets of New Orleans — particularly those in the Marigny and the Bywater neighborhoods — teem with a wide range of public art.  Pictured above is a mural painted by New Orleans-based visual artist and activist, Brandan Bmike Odums. Several other images captured on my recent visit to NOLA follow:

The remarkable Reader aka Booker, OYE & more — one of his dozens of pieces in NOLA

The legendary New Orleans-based You Go Girl aka Hugo Gyrl in a delicate vein

New Orleans-based Mr Balloon Hands 

Seattle-based Craig Cundiff with the NOLA Mural Project

New Orleans-based Havana-born artist Ramiro Diaz

You Go Girl and Reader collaboration

Photos: 1-6 Lois Stavsky; 7 Sara Erenthal

Coming next: the graffiti outside and inside and on the rooftops of the abandoned Bywater naval base

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 mural pictured above was painted by the hugely talented Los Angeles-based painter and designer Tristan Eaton at Wynwood Walls in 2017.  Several more images captured by Houda Lazrak while in Wynwood for the weekend follow:

Spanish artist Deih at Wynwood Walls

Deih, close-up

Crash, Abstrk and Stephen Palladino 

Stephen Palladino, close-up

West Coast-based Hueman at Wynwood Walls

Pez, Kram and Bust collaboration

French artist Pro 176 at Wynwood Walls

Photos by Houda Lazrak

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 7th edition of the Basel House Mural Festival took place from December 7 through December 9 at the RC Cola Plant, 550 Northwest 24th Street, bringing three days of live music and art to the heart of Wynwood, Miami. As in previous years, artists from across the globe, along with local and national ones, restyled the industrial space with dazzling, brilliantly-hued images. Featured above is the work of Brazilian muralist Sipros. Several more artworks — all captured by travel and street photographer Karin du Maire aka Street Art Nomad — follow:

Miami-based, Colombia-born Danny Osorno aka Anonymous

Amsterdam-based Hugo Mulder

Miami-based painter Claudio Picasso

Guatemalan artist Javier España

NY-based See One and Optimo NYC

Bay Area muralists Illuminaries, Kemest 510

Photos by Karin du Maire aka Street Art Nomad

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Presented at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2018 and continuing though March 30 is Red Crown Green Parrot, a public art project by Kashi Gallery — conceived and fashioned by Jerusalem-based artist Meydad Eliyahu, a descendant of Malabar Jews, in collaboration with Dubai-based Thoufeek Zakriya, a Muslim who was born and raised in Kochi. I recently had the opportunity to speak to Meydad about this impressive project.

First, can you tell us something about the project’s title — Red Crown Green Parrot? What is its significance?

The title is inspired by the themes of the crown and the parrot which frequently appear in the  cultural expressions  of Malabar’s Jews — such as women’s folksongs, illuminated Jewish marriage contracts and synagogue decorations.The parrot is also a symbol of the storytelling in ancient local literature and culture.

What is the project’s principal mission? 

The presence of the Malabar Jews has almost completely disappeared — not only from Mattancherry’s physical space, but also from its collective memory. The project’s primary missions are to preserve the memory of Malabar Jews and to shed light on the loss of the unique multicultural dialogue that characterized Mattancherry in the past.

How did you go about trying to accomplish this?

Through a public intervention of a series of paintings and calligraphic wall works in Malayalam, English and Hebrew. The project is a walking route through the neighborhood that the Jews once lived in,  It includes a demolished cemetery with only one tomb left in an abandoned synagogue from the 14th century, along with several other hidden sites.

What were some of the challenges you encountered in seeing the project through?

We were uncertain as to how local residents would react to our reawakening a memory of a chapter that had ended 70 years ago. We did not know if and how they would accept it and whether they would want it to play such a prominent role in their present-day visual lives. That was one challenge.  Another challenge was  securing permission to work on the walls that we wished to use. That was something we couldn’t do until we arrived. But Thoufeek and I were determined to overcome any obstacles that came our way.

How have the city’s residents and visitors responded to the project?

Our most generous partners were the local residents. They welcomed us with great warmth and enthusiasm. When we were hesitant to put the first brush stroke on the first wall, they prodded us to start painting. Some helped us choose the right motifs and helped us secure walls; others helped with ladders and assisted with the clean-up. And we feel that we accomplished our mission.

“I’ve been living in Kochi for over 40 years, and this is the first time I’m seeing and learning about the Malabari Jewish sites,” commented one of the local residents.

Note: Created and performed in ‘Jew Town’, the historical Jewish urban area of Mattancherry, Kochi, India, Red Crown Green Parrot was supported by the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture and curated by Tanya Abraham.

Interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky; all photos courtesy Meydad Eliyahu

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