Street Artists

NYC’s Dashing Pavement Art

January 21, 2013

Paul Richard

From Paul Richard’s elegant gentlemen to Dceve’s stylish tags, the images that surface on NYC’s pavement intrigue:

Another one by Paul Richard

Paul Richard

The itinerant Swamp Donkey aka Swampy

Swampy

Meres at 5Pointz

Meres

Close-up of extraordinary piece by the wonderfully talented David Ellis

David Ellis

The iconic UFO

UFO

The elusive stikman

stikman-street-art-on-NYC-pavement

And stylish writing by Dceve of the legendary Smart Crew

DCEVE

 Photos by Dani Mozeson, Tara Murray & Lois Stavsky

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Speaking with Rubin

January 16, 2013

Rubin-graffiti-and-street-art-action-in-Bushwick-NYC

Rubin’s exquisite murals surface here regularly in NYC on the streets of Brooklyn and the Bronx.  Each one is a cause for celebration.  We recently had the opportunity to speak with the talented artist.

When and where did you start getting up?

I started tagging in 1985 – age 10.  I was living in Gothenburg, Sweden. I grew up there among the concrete projects. Their walls were my first canvas.

What inspired you?

I watched the movie Beat Street at my friend’s house. That started everything. The movie had a huge impact on me, as did growing up in the projects.

How did your family feel about what you were doing back then?

My mother worried a lot. But she was supportive.

Rubin graffiti

Do you have a formal art education?

No. I never wanted to go to art school. I studied music and played in several bands in my native Gothenburg.

Back in Sweden, did you work alone or with a crew?

I painted with NTA (Night Time Artists) back in Sweden. But I also painted alone.

What about here – in NYC?

I’ve collaborated mostly with 4Burner members:  Sen2, Dasic, Owns, Deem, Gusto and Logek.

Would you rather paint alone or with others?

I like painting alone, but painting with others is important for artistic growth.

Rubin-street-art-and-graffiti-in-NYC

Is there anyone in particular with whom you would like to collaborate?

I would love to collaborate with Futura. That would be something.

Have you any preferred spots and/or surfaces?

I love the concrete walls up in Hunts Point in the South Bronx.

What is the riskiest thing you ever did?

I climbed five or six stories on a drain pipe to get to the top of a building.

Why?

Because it was an impossible spot that no-one had reached before.

Rubin-street-art-and-graffiti-in-Brooklyn-NYC

Your artwork seems to blur the lines between graffiti and street art. How do you feel about the graffiti/street art divide?

We should be on the same side, but we’re not. There is definitely a beef between street art and graffiti. I have always tried to bring these two opposites together in my art. It’s very challenging. There is so much ego in graffiti and street art trends seem to come and go.

How do you feel about the movement of street art and graffiti into galleries?

It’s exciting and interesting. I see it as a natural progression.

Have you exhibited in galleries?

Mostly in Sweden, but I exhibited along with Cope2 two years ago in Nolita.

Rubin-graffiti-action-at-Bushwick-Five-Points

What is your main source of income these days?

My main source of income is photography. I’m also involved with the production of a Swedish/Finnish arts and culture magazine.

How do you feel about the role of the Internet in all this? And do you follow any sites?

I think it’s great. I follow 12ozProphet and StreetArtNYC.

What inspires you these days?

Craftsmanship, Kraftwerk’s minimal electronic music and the contrasts between my two homes: Bushwick, Brooklyn and the gorgeous woods of Lapland, where I spend the summers with my wife.

Are you generally satisfied with your finished pieces?

Never.

Rubin-graffiti-in-Bushwick-NYC

When you look back to what you did two years ago, how do you feel about it?

Two years ago feels like an eternity, especially when living in NYC. I tend to look forward instead of looking back.

How has your artwork evolved through the years?

In the nineties, I was one of the most active writers in Sweden. In the mid-nineties my graffiti took a turn to the geometric. From 1999 to 2008, I took a break and focused on my band, Kingston Air Force. I can’t really describe my usual style. Someone once called it abstract geometry; that’s a pretty good description, but my style is still evolving.

 Of all the cities in which you painted, which is your favorite?

New York City. I love the energy and the mix of people. Nothing beats New York.

 Who are some of your favorite artists?

The Swedish artist Gouge. He’s amazing!  Bates from Denmark, Dondi and Riff 170 from NYC, C215 and Nelio from France, Boaone from Germany and  Sofles and Fecks from Australia.

Rubin-street-art-and-graffiti-with-character-in-NYC

 What advice would you offer young writers and younger artists?

 Work hard. Learn the craftsmanship. Perfect your technique. Practice. Be a good role model to younger writers. Be nice.

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

Every artist is an egoist, and I’m no exception to the rule. I interpret what I see and how I feel through my art. I create for myself, but I’m very humbled every time someone appreciates my pieces. It means that they appreciate my take on what’s going on around us. That’s very flattering.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I don’t even know where I’ll be next week. NYC has taught me how to live right here and now, and I’m really enjoying taking a day at a time.

Interview by Lois Stavsky with Lenny Collado and Tara Murray; photos by Lenny Collado, Dani Mozeson. Tara Murray and Lois Stavsky

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This is the seventh in a series of posts featuring images of girls — and women — who grace New York City’s public spaces:

Toofly on Manhattan’s Lower East Side

Toofly

 French artist Frank Duval aka FKDL in Brooklyn

FKDL

FKDL

Lady Aiko in Bushwick, Brooklyn

Lady Aiko

Hef in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Hef

 Russell King on the Lower East Side

Russell King

Shiro and King Bee in the Bronx

Shiro and King Bee

 Photos by Lenny Collado, Tara Murray and Lois Stavsky; Toofly image courtesy of the artist

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This is the third in an occasional series of artwork on NYC shutters by both local artists and those visiting from abroad:

Phlegm — in from Sheffield, UK — in the East Village

Phlegm

Brooklyn-based Never in Astoria, Queens

Never street art

NYC-based Faust’s tribute to Sure RIP in Greenpoint, Brooklyn

Faust graffiti

Meres at 5Pointz in Long Island City, Queens

Meres

Germany’s Most and Flying Fortress at Welling Court in Astoria, Queens

Most and Flying Fortress

NYC’s Ozbe at Welling Court in Astoria, Queens

Ozbe

Veteran artist Kenny Scharf on the Lower East Side

Kenny Scharf

Grad of Smart Crew in Greenpoint, Brooklyn

Smart Crew

The legendary Tracy168 at West Farms in the Bronx

Tracy168

Photos by Lenny Collado, Dani Mozeson, Tara Murray and Lois Stavsky

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Speaking with Chris Stain

December 19, 2012

Queens-based artist Chris Stain is best known for his splendid stencil images that often reflect his concern with social inequality. We recently had a chance to speak to him following the opening of  Sowing the Seeds of Love at Munch Gallery on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.

Chris Stain

When did you start getting up in public spaces? And where were you living at the time?

In 1984.  I was 11 years old and living in Baltimore.

What motivated you to hit the streets?

The movie Beat Street had a huge impact on me, as did the book Subway Art by Martha Cooper and Henry Chalfant. I also caught Style Wars on PBS.

Were there any particular writers who inspired you back then?

Most of us starting out in Baltimore were inspired by local writers, Zek, JamOne and RomeOne. Zek, considered the king at the time, was a lefty and had a distinct left-handed style that we all borrowed and tried to make our own.  Another writer who influenced us all was Revolt who came down to Baltimore from NYC in the early 80’s.

Chris Stain

Have you a first graffiti memory?

I was 11 when I did my first tag on the last house of a row of houses on my block. The kids on my block would usually find some flat black or white paint lying around somewhere in their fathers’ basement. But I used cherry red spray paint – the Testor spray paint that was bought for plastic car models — to put up my first tag. 

What did you first write?

I wrote Savage. I wanted a name that sounded cool. Later I wrote Stain after hearing it rapped by Rammellzee in his song Beat Bop.

These days we identify you with huge stencils that surface on city streets. When did you first begin working with stencils?

I began in the late 90’s. In the beginning of my artistic endeavors I was into traditional graffiti lettering. Long after I graduated high school, I began stenciling to tell more of a personal story.

Chris Stain

Have you ever been arrested?

Three times…when I was eleven, sixteen and thirty-nine.  I remember being grounded for two months after my first arrest.

We’ve seen your work in a number of galleries here in NYC. Have you exhibited outside of the U.S.?

My work has been exhibited in London, Paris, Amsterdam, Hong Kong, Germany, and Norway.

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

I don’t think about it. Both have their different energies. To me it’s all creativity.

With whom have you collaborated?

Among those with whom I’ve collaborated are:  Josh MacPhee and the Justseeds crew , Billy Mode, Swoon, The Polaroid Kidd, Bill Daniels, Martha Cooper, Skewville, Login Hicks, C215, Armsrock, Know Hope, Nick Walker, Blek Le Rat, and Chris & Veng of Robots Will Kill, Hell Bent, and a host of others.

Chris Stain and Billy Mode

How do you feel about the role of the Internet in all this?

I have mixed feelings. On one hand, it’s taken away from the specialness – the underground secrecy – of the counterculture. But it also allows us to easily share our work with one another. And that is a plus.

Do you have a formal art education?

No. I never attended art school.  Not formally at least. I tried some continuing education classes to build a portfolio after I got out of high school but I had a hard time with the discipline.

Your artwork reflects a strong social consciousness – both in your subject matter and placement.  Could you tell us something about this?

I was brought up to respect other people’s struggles.  It is important that we treat others the way we would like to be treated – regardless of race, nationality or social status.  If there is a message in my artwork, it is that we need to be more aware of each other.

Chris Stain

What do you see yourself doing five years from now?

Teaching art, still painting with Billy Mode and working with JustSeeds. And I’d like to continue to show my work in galleries and create public works as well.

That sounds great! We are looking forward to seeing your artwork anywhere!

 Interview by Lenny Collado; photos of Chris Stain street art by Lois Stavsky; photo of Chris Stain and Billy Mode by Dani Mozeson

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Coordinated by Joe Ficalora and See One, the Winter Mural Project brought over ten artists together this past Saturday to Troutman and Wyckoff at Bushwick Five Points.  The spirited afternoon was a cause for celebration for both the talented artists and the enthusiastic spectators. Here are some images:

London-based Stik and veteran Bronx-born artist Zimad

Stik and Zimad street art

 Queens-based Alice Mizrachi aka AM

Alice Mizrachi

Alice Mizrachi

Col of the legendary Wallnuts  crew– to the left of AM

Col Wallnuts

Brooklyn-based Danielle Mastrion

Danielle Mastrion

Danielle Mastrion

Geobany Rodriguez aka Bowz at work; final image here

Bowz

Iranian artists Icy and Sot

icy and sot

Icy and Sot

Brooklyn-based Gilf! at work

Gilf!

 Brooklyn-based See One

See One

Brooklyn-based LNY at work

LNY

Photos by Lenny Collado and Tara Murray

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We are thrilled that both Dasic Fernandez and Rubin415 are back in town. Earlier this month, they were joined by Madrid’s Okuda as they fashioned  intriguingly captivating murals on White Street in Bushwick.

Chilean artist Dasic Fernandez at work

Dasic

Dasic Fernandez and Okuda

Dasic and Okuda

 Okuda at work

Okuda

Okuda

Okuda

Swedish artist Rubin415 at work

Rubin415

Rubin415

Rubin415

 Photos by Lenny Collado, Tara Murray and Lois Stavsky

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We discovered Federico Massa’s wondrous artwork this past fall on the streets of Bushwick, and we became instant fans. We recently had the chance to speak with him in his Brooklyn studio.

"Federico Massa"

 When did you first start hitting the streets?

Back in 1997. I was 16 years old and living in Milan.  But even earlier, I was writing my name, Fede, all over my house — to my mother’s dismay.

We’ve noticed that you sign your work “Cruz.”  Why “Cruz?”

It is derived from Santa Cruz, one of the most popular skateboard brands.  I was inspired by the skateboard culture back home in Milan. I grew up with it.

Do you have a formal art education?

I studied set design at Academy of Fine Arts of Brera in Milan. I graduated in 2006.

When did you first come to New York City?  And why?

Three years ago. I wanted more of an international experience as an artist.

"Federico Massa"

We have seen your work in Bushwick. Where else have you gotten up here in NYC?

Two years ago, I painted a mural in Williamsburg on Hope and Marcy. I had an exhibit at the nearby Graphite Gallery at the time.

How does the experience of painting in the streets here compare to that in Milan?

It was much easier for me to paint in Milan. Here I need to get permission to paint, or I could face serious penalties.  It is much more casual in Milan.

Did you do anything particularly risky back in Milan?

The riskiest thing I ever did was painting on moving trains. I learned how to run fast!  I loved the adrenaline rush!

Any favorite surfaces?  

No. Nothing in particular. I look for a surface that inspires me. Back in Milan, I loved pasting huge painted papers onto plywood panels on the streets. It was my way of reinventing them.

"Federico Massa graffiti"

What inspires you to continue to work on the streets?

I like sharing my work with lots of different people, and it’s great when people stop and talk to me.

Great! We’ve loved watching you at work, and we’re so glad you’re sharing your art with us here in NYC.  Do you always paint alone? Have you worked with any crews?

I created canvases and installations with The Bag Art Factory collective – a group of artists, including painters, sculptors, and set designers — in Milan.  For eight years we collaborated on a variety of projects and constantly organized exhibitions of our works. I’ve also collaborated and exhibited with Biokip, a group that fuses visual art and electronic music.

What about branding? Any thoughts about it?

I have no problem with; it depends on the project. A number of years back, I customized bags, graffiti-style, for Mark Jacobs. I loved getting paid to do what I love most to do!

"Federico Massa graffiti"

What is your main source of income these days?

I do set design. It is the perfect job for me, because I like to work with all kinds of materials.  

How do you feel about the move of street art into galleries?

I think it’s fine. Just about every artist who works on the streets would like to show in a gallery.  

Any thoughts on the graffiti/street art divide?

Lettering is the art of graffiti. Street art was born from graffiti. Street art has simply taken graffiti to the next level. The graffiti writers feel they are the original ones to claim the streets. And they are.

"Federico Massa graffiti"

How have graffiti writers responded to your street art?

They like and respect it.

We’ve noticed Latin American influences in your art work. Tell us something about that.

The Mexican aesthetic has had a huge influence on my art. It continues to inspire me.

How do you feel about the role of the Internet in all of this?

I think it is great. It is the best way for one to find artists and for artists to get noticed.

"Federico Massa" What’s ahead?

I’m open to all kinds of collaborations. I like to work with different materials and ideas. I’ve collaborated with poets and sculptors, and I look forward to more such collaborations.  I’m also always seeking huge walls. They inspire me!

Great! We are looking forward to seeing more of your murals on our streets here in New York City.

Photos by Dani Mozeson, Stefano Ortega (final image) and courtesy of the artist

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"Icy and Sot"

Iranian artists Icy and Sot have been busy. In addition to gracing the exterior of the First Street trailer last weekend for the Centre-Fuge Art Project, they have been leaving their mark on the streets of Manhattan’s fashionable SoHo neighborhood and transforming walls at Brooklyn’s Nu Hotel into vibrant canvasses.

In SoHo

Icy and Sot street art

 John Lennon

"Icy and Sot in SoHo"

"Icy and sot"

And opening tonight — NUANCE presented by the Couch Sessions and the Nu Hotel, 85 Smith Street in Brooklyn

Icy and Sot at Nu Hotel in Brooklyn

Photos by Lenny Collado

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Artists from across the globe, along with some of our favorite local artists, have been busy this past month gracing Brooklyn’s most elegant, evolving canvas – Bushwick Five Points. Here are some pieces that have recently surfaced:

Brooklyn-based artists See One and Hellbent

"See one and Hellbent street art"

Hellbent, close-up

"Hellbent street art"

 Italian artist Pixel Pancho

"Pixel Pancho street art"

 

Italian artist Never2501

"Never2501 street art"

"Never2501 street art"

 Cuban artist Shie Moreno

"Shie Moreno street art mural"

Australian artist Reka

"Reka street art"

"Reka street art"

Photos by Tara Murray and Lois Stavsky

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