Alexis Duque

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

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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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Curated by Laura James and Eileen Walsh, who work under the name BXNYCreativeLook Closer features deliciously diverse surrealist artworks fashioned by three NYC-based artists: Alexis Duque, Rafael Melendez and Juanita Lanzó. Reflecting such themes as connectedness, kinship, colonial influence, environmental decay and sensuality, the works on exhibit invite us into the subconscious minds of the artists. The image featured above, Dwelling, was fashioned by the Colombian artist, Alexis Duque, whose work I first encountered on the streets of the Lower East Side awhile back. Several more images of artworks on view in Look Closer follow:

Also by Colombian artist Alexis Duque

Puerto Rican native Juanita LanzóUntitled

Chicano artist Rafael Melandez, Order of the New Star, detail

Look Closer

Located at 755 East 133rd Street in the Mott Haven/Port Morris section of the Bronx, Hell Gate Arts , a handsome, welcoming space, is open Fridays and Saturdays, 12PM-5PM or by appointment, For further information, contact Bxnycreative@gmail.com.

Photos of images by Lois Stavsky

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We first came upon Alexis Duque‘s tantalizing aesthetic several years ago, when we discovered a meticulously detailed wheatpaste of his on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. We’ve been huge fans ever since. His rich and inventive sensibility is now on view in Paradise Lost— a solo exhibition opening tonight, March 7, and continuing through March 31 — at Paul Calendrillo New York.  Pictured above is Calaveras X, rendered with acrylic on canvas against a background inspired by post-colonial floor tiles of traditional Latin American homes — as seen by the artist on his many visits to his native country, Colombia. Several more masterfully crafted images, all suggestive of a world in which Paradise is lost, follow:

Truck, Acrylic on canvas, 2017, 16″ x 12″

Diana, Acrylic on canvas, 2017, 24″ x 16″

Slum, Acrylic on canvas, 2013, 31.5 x 23.5

And one of several sculptures on exhibit —

Dwelling, Cardboard, modeling paste, ink and acrylic, 2018, 20″ H x 10″ W x 10″ D

Paul Calendrillo New York is located at 547 West 27th St, Suite 600, in Chelsea and is open 11:00am to 6:00pm Tuesday – Saturday with extended hours on Thursdays that offer an opportunity to meet the artist. Tonight’s opening reception takes place from 6:00 to 8:00pm.

Photos of images: 1-4, Lois Stavsky & 5 Tara Murray

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 New York edition of the Urban Art Fair continues through 3pm tomorrow afternoon at Spring Studios in Tribeca.  The artworks pictured above are collaborative works by NYC graffiti pioneers Revolt and  Lin Felton aka Quik at the Green Flowers Art Gallery booth. What follows are several more images of urban artworks, representative of a range of styles, genres and techniques.

NYC native, Paris-based JonOne with Fabien Castainer

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Lower East Side-based LA2 with Dorian Grey Projects

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Swoon with Taglialatella Galleries

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French artist Swiz with David Bloch Gallery

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NYC-based multi-media artist Alexis Duque with H Gallery

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Nick Walker with Galerie Brugier-Rigail

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Bronx-based graffiti legend John Matos aka Crash for Spring Studios

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The Urban Art Fair continues at 50 Varick Street today until 9pm and tomorrow, Monday, from 11am to 3pm. Ticket information is available here.

Photo credits: 1, 3, 7 & 8 Karin du Maire; 2, 4-6 Sara C Mozeson

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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