Public Art Projects

The wonderfully talented Menace Two and Resa Piece have merged their sensibilities and skills to fashion a captivatingly stunning array of murals that have made their way not only throughout NYC, but across the country. I was delighted to have the opportunity meet up with them in their Bushwick home that they’ve aptly titled “Street Art Sanctuary ” — a spacious  graffiti/street art haven that Menace and Resa also host as an Airbnb. 

When and where did you first get up? And what inspired you to do so?

Resa: I started in 2015. The first wall I ever did was in the Bronx, but I painted mostly in Brooklyn at the time – often in Bushwick. What inspired me to? While I was living in Flushing, I used to regularly ride past 5Pointz on the 7 train. I thought it was all so amazing. I remember thinking, “Why would someone do this?” But it was awhile before I actually did it!   The sense that I had something to prove – that a female could create artwork on the same level as any established male artist — also drove me.

Menace: I was in the 7th grade in a local Queens public school. I was always drawing on my desk — anime at the time. One of the kids sitting next to me said I’d be good at graffiti. He introduced me to graffiti, encouraged me and invited me to join his crew, BTC. That was the beginning. I was 12 years old.

You’ve both painted in both illegal and in sanctioned places. Which do you prefer?

Illegal. Painting “without permission” is far more validating!

Have you exhibited your work in gallery settings?

The streets are our gallery.

What about the increasing engagement of street artists and graffiti writers with the corporate world? Would you consider such a collaboration?

It depends. No one can dictate to us what can or cannot do.

Have you any thoughts about the graffiti/street art divide?

Our job is to bridge it! It’s all about respect.

What is your main source of income?

Painting commissions.

Did you have you a formal art education?

Resa: I did not attend a specialized art college, but at Binghamton, I majored in both Art History and Studio Art. I will always remain grateful to the late Professor George Dugan for his support and encouragement.

Menace: I studied Graphic Design in college, but I never graduated.

How does your family feel about your passion for art?

Resa: My mom initially fostered it. She enrolled me in art classes when I was eight years old. But then when I wanted to go to an art college, her response was, “You’re too smart to be an artist.” And so she encouraged me to go into the art business. But after interning at Christy’s and working for a collector, I came to understand that the art market is driven by billionaires. I know now that I want to focus on creating my own art and not marketing other artists to the richest 1 per cent. And at this point, my mom understands and respects what I’m doing.

Menace: They intensely disliked my passion for graffiti. I was often getting into graffiti-related trouble in school, and any time my parents saw me writing graffiti, they’d scream at me.  They couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t just “draw something pretty.” My father and I fought just about every day. But my parents have since come to accept me. It helped that in honor of our mothers we painted a mural featuring a tiger mom embracing her cub for the Boogie Down event at the Bronx Zoo for Mothers Day, 2018.

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

We generally work with Photoshop mock-ups.

Are you generally satisfied with your finished piece? 

Generally, we are.

What percentage of your time is devoted to art?

100 %.

Have you any other interests or passions?

Resa: Not many.

Menace: Video games.

Are there any particular cultures that have inspired your aesthetic?

Hip-hop and New York flavor, in general.

Who are some of your favorite artists? Artists who have inspired you?

Resa: There are so many – BK Foxx, Royyal Dog, El Mac, Meres, Jerms, Topaz, Seen, Skeme

Menace:Reach Eight, Glossblack, Revok, Saber, MSK

How has your work evolved in recent years?

It’s gotten much better. While touring the country, we felt we had to prove something at each stop!

In your cross-country venture — #paintloveacrossamerica — you hit several key cities from Philly to LA painting a range of spectacular murals — some with permission and others without. Does any particular memory stand out?

When we had reached LA, we asked an established street art organization to help us find a legal wall. When assistance didn’t come our way, we found — on our own — one of the largest walls in the heart of the LA  arts district. When the cops rolled up, we didn’t know what to expect, but they expressed appreciation for our work. And when the owner came by, we convinced him that we are in the process of beautifying his property. The final mural — one of our favorite ones — is a visual representation of our collective prayers.

No doubt that what hat you painted was a gift  — however ephemeral — to the city!  What’s ahead?

More painting, of course! And our ultimate goal is to create a community center that serves as a base for us to teach painting and mural-making skills to others.

That sounds wonderful! And thanks for sharing your talents and visions with so many of us.

Images:

1 “Madonna Menace” in Bushwick, JMZ Walls

2 Close-up of Resa and Menace captured at work in Bushwick, JMZ Walls

3 “What a Wonderful World,” portrait of Louis Armstrong, in Esst Harlem, GrandScale Mural Project

4 “When the whole world is silent/Even one voice becomes powerful,” portrait of Malala in Bushwick

5 “Believe in the Reality of Your Dreams,” in Bushwick

6 “Real Eyes Realize Real Lies,” portrait of Tupac in Wynwood

7 “Protect,” Unsanctioned mural in LA’s arts district

Interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky

Photo credits: 1-3 Lois Stavsky; 4 & 5 Ana Candelaria; 6 & 7 Courtesy of  Menace and Resa

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From October 10 to October 14, BLINK Cincinnati  — a light and art event featuring large-scale projection mapping, light-based sculptures, interactive art, live performances and mural art — attracted close to 1.5 million people. Spanning over 30 city blocks from the banks of Northern Kentucky to downtown Cincinnati, it was the region’s largest event ever. While much of BLINK Cincinnati was ephemeral, the 16 murals produced are expected to be part of the region’s visual landscape for quite some time. Pictured above is the hugely talented Beau Stanton in front a segment of his mural depicting the Greek God Atlas “carrying the burden of the earth represented as a fragile object, a glass rose window sourced from the nearby Cincinnati music hall.”  Several more images — all captured by  travel and street photographer Karin du Maire aka Street Art Nomad — follow:

The German duo Herakut, “The Young Can Learn From The Old Can Learn From The Young…”

LA-based Chris Chan Shim aka Royyal Dog

The Amsterdam-based The London Police; pictured here are Bob, Chaz, Chinny Bond and Chaz’s brother, Douglas.

The Amsterdam-based Colombian artist Chinny Bond, captured with Vintage Polaroid  SX-70 camera provided by B&H Photo

Puerto Rican artist Bikismo and his flying pig

 New York City-based Logan Hicks standing in front of his mural

LA-based South African artist Keya Tama sitting in front of his mural

Photos by Karin du Maire aka Street Art Nomad with sponsorship by B&H Photo

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A free four-day event taking place from the banks of Northern Kentucky to downtown Cincinnati, BLINK Cincinnati is one of our nation’s largest light and art festivals. Under the curatorial direction of  BLINK partner The AGAR, over a dozen new murals are currently underway or near completion. Featured above is the increasingly itinerant ELLE at work. Several more images — all captured by  travel and street photographer Karin du Maire aka Street Art Nomad — follow: 

Polish artist Natalia Rak

Miami-based Tatiana Suarez

LA-based Chris Chan Shim aka Royyal Dog, captured with Vintage Polaroid  SX-70 camera provided by B&H Photo

NYC-based Logan Hicks and son with work-in-progress

Portuguese artist Vhils

South African artist Faith 47  (center) with her son, Keya Tama, and Tyler B Murphy — captured with Vintage Polaroid  SX-70 camera provided by B&H Photo

BLINK Cincinnati continues through this Sunday, October 13.

Photos by Karin du Maire aka Street Art Nomad with sponsorship by B&H Photo

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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This is the 15th in a series of occasional posts featuring the range of faces that have surfaced in NYC open spaces. The image above featuring Lauryn Hill was painted by the Brooklyn-based “dynamic duo,” Menace Two and Resa Piece with JMZ Walls.  Several more images of captivating faces that I’ve come upon in my relatively recent meanderings follow:

San Juan, Puerto Rico-based Son Coro in Bushwick

Mexican-born, NYC-based Maria De Los Angeles, painted on glass at Pratt Institute on West 14th Street

Netherlands-based Michel Velt at the Bushwick Collective

Asian-Canadian multi-media artist Jess X Snow, curated for Art in Ad Places by Dusty Rebel in the Village

Sicilian duo Rosk & Loste at the Bushwick Collective

UK-based Dreph at the GrandScale Mural Project in East Harlem

Photos by Lois Stavsky

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In its mission to “continue to grow and propel Kansas City into a mural-laden town that promotes creative expression and exploration,” SpraySeeMO  recently invited over three dozen artists to share their talents and visions on the streets of the Crossroads Arts District in downtown Kansas City. The magical mural featured above was painted by the wildly inventive Houston, Texas-based artist Tarbox. Several more distinctly diverse murals follow — all captured by travel and street photographer Karin du Maire aka Street Art Nomad:

Local artist Samuel Hale

Texas-based Emily Ding

LA-based Lauren YS

North Carolina-based Dustin Spagnola

Florida-based  Zulu Painter

Bulgaria-based duo Arsek & Erase

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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For three weekends this past month, dozens of artists were at work transforming three blocks of fencing located adjacent to the 125th Street Metro-North into a vibrant, intriguing outdoor gallery. While visiting last weekend, we had the opportunity to pose a few questions to its dynamic curator, Ayana Ayo.

This project is wonderful. We love the way it transforms the neighborhood, while bringing so many folks together to celebrate its renewal. How did you come to curate it?

I work with Carey King, the Executive Director of the Uptown Grand Central — a nonprofit dedicated to transforming East 125th Street and enriching life in East Harlem. I had earlier curated the 100 Gates Project in this neighborhood, and I loved the idea of bringing life to a space that has been vacant for the past ten years.

In addition to beautifying the neighborhood and uplifting its spirit, how would you define this project’s mission?

I was interested in giving an opportunity to artists — many who live uptown – to come together share their visions in a public space. Several of these artists have never painted outdoors before. Others have international reputations. All feel a strong connection to the neighborhood.

Over 50 artists have participated in this project. It’s an amazingly eclectic group. How did you connect with so many talented artists to see this project through?

I sent out a call to artistst describing the project’s mission of transforming “1,500 feet of green construction fencing into a vibrant gateway to Harlem.”  And I spoke to artists I know who, I thought, would be interested in participating in the project. The word got around!

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

Coordinating the schedules of over 50 artists; winning over the local people, so that they felt engaged with the project and having to turn down artists who wanted to participate.

How are you feeling now — that it’s just about complete in time forUptown Grand Central’s third annual street festival, Party on Park?

Over the moon! I am so happy.

What’s ahead?

More opportunities for Uptown Grand Central, as it continues its transformation of East Harlem!

So exciting! And congratulations on the Grand Scale Mural Project! 

Images

1  Ralph Serrano and Anjl at work

2  Curator Ayana Ayo. standing in front of mural by Dister

Anna Lustberg at work

Toofly

Alexis Duque with Shiro to his right

6  Funqest at work

Chris Ayala and Rob Ayala

Interview conducted by Lois Stavsky with Ana Candelaria and edited by Lois Stavsky

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

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A public art and mural festival, founded and run by the Jackson Young Professionals, Bright Walls is transforming Downtown Jackson, Michigan into a vibrant, alluring outdoor museum. The captivating mural pictured above — featuring the wonderfully generous Jackson resident Wanda Beavers aka “Mama Tu-Tu” — was painted by Australian artist and designer Claire Foxton. What follows are several more artworks captured earlier this month by travel and street photographer Karin du Maire aka Street Art Nomad:

Brooklyn-based Brazilian artist Arlin

Texas-based muralist Emily Ding

Detroit-based Louise Jones aka Ouizi

Rochester, NY-based Justin Suarez aka Mr. Prvrt and Sarah C. Rutherford aka Ms Shaftway, “Keepers of the Light”

Australian illustrator and muralist George Rose

New York-based Key Detail

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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Brimming always with color, craft and attitude, the walls that surface at Hackensack’s Union Street Park — under the curatorial direction of Darrius-Jabbar Sollas — are a graffiti lover’s heaven. The mural featured above was painted by the hugely talented Sade TCM. Several more images captured last week follow:

The legendary Part One

Bronx-based Sienide

Graffiti master Soze 527

The prolific Wore One

Brooklyn-based Johnny Samp

And fellow Brooklynite Fargo

Wide view — as dusk approaches

Located at 97 Union Street in Hackensack, NJ, Union Street Park is a 30 minute drive from NYC.

Photos by Dani Reyes Mozeson

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During the past several weeks, over a dozen intriguing murals have surfaced at First Street Green Art Park. Fashioned by local, national and international artists, they reflect a huge range of styles and sensibilities, The now-iconic image featured above is the work of the nomadic Nite Owl. Several more recent additions to First Street Green Art Park follow:

Brazilian artist Panmela Castro at work

NYC-based Marzipan Physics

Brooklyn-based K-NOR 

Cram Concepts and Ratchi NYC

Brazilian artist Binho

Madrid-based Ramón Amorós

First Street Green Art Park is located at 33 East 1st Street, where the Lower East Side meets the East Village.

Photo credits: 1, 3-7 Lois Stavsky; 2 Ana Candelaria

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In its mission to “promote diversity through artistic expression” and to share public art with a wide audience, Wide Open Walls recently added 40 new murals to Sacramento’s visual landscape. The mural featured above was fashioned by the LA-based artist Lauren YS. Several more images captured during the fourth annual art festival of Wide Open Walls by travel and street photographer Karin du Maire aka Street Art Nomad follow:

Sacramento-based artist Molly Devlin

California-bred, Colorado-based Kirileigh Jones

LA-based David Puck

 San Francisco-based Mario Martinez aka Mars-1

Sacramento-based John Horton

Argentine artist Mabel Vicentef

Baltimore-based Jessie and Katey

And Karin du Maire aka Street Art Nomad in front of Jessie and Katey mural segment, as captured by David Puck

Photo credits: 1-8 Karin du Maire aka Street Art Nomad & 9 David Puck

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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