Andre Trenier

I recently had the opportunity to speak to BedStuy Walls Mural Festival founder and chief curator Miki Mu about the hugely successful community arts festival held earlier this month on Lexington Avenue and Do the Right Thing Way in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.

This is all so wonderful. What was your initial inspiration for this project?

This is my neighborhood. I’ve lived in Bed-Stuy for over ten years. I was interested in celebrating and beautifying my neighborhood. And I know the huge power of art to uplift a community! I also wanted to create a space where people and businesses in my neighborhood could interact. My vision for this particular project began about a year ago.

How did you secure these walls? They are in such a prime spot, and these murals have totally transformed the entire block.

My neighbor introduced me to the owner of one of the the businesses on the block. But there were many challenges to actually securing these walls. It was not an easy task!

What were some of these challenges that you encountered in seeing this project through?

After I did secure the walls, I had to get a permit to close the block for the day of the festival. The walls and sidewalk had to be primed in advance. I had to purchase supplies. The entire project was quite expensive. I set up a Go Fund Me, but I did have to cover most of the expenses myself.

You have here such a wonderful range of artists here — from legendary graffiti writers to noted contemporary urban artists to newer emerging ones. How did you get the word out to the artists?

We started an Instagram account, and the word quickly spread. So many artists expressed interest in participating — far more than I could have imagined. I still get requests!

How did the community respond to the event?

The response was tremendous! The community loved it! Families came out, and there were so many kids…jumping rope, dancing to the hip-hop music, making art and simply having fun! It was wonderful — actually better than I had anticipated! But I never could have done this alone; there were many folks whose generosity made this possible. Among them are: Chateau Brooklyn for serving as our mothership, headquarters and base; Badman Bus aka Cookie Monster Bus for providing music and a sound system; all of the DJ’s for volunteering their talents; Cheryl Foy, a retired teacher and resident of the block, for helping us secure the block permit and Joe Cirano from Rogers & Sons, the owner of the walls; the Blue Bus Project for providing activities for the kids; Radial Park for lending us ladders; Project Barkada, also, for lending us a ladder and scaffolding; Solidarity Movers for helping us move all the equipment from one location to another  and for providing, as well, a fun activity for kids;  Black Men Build, Black Chef Movement and Josiane Lysius for providing free food; Loop Colors for adding extra cans to our order; Frankie Velez, my co-curator, for assisting and supporting my efforts in every aspect of this project, and, of course, all of the artists for generously sharing their skills and visions with us.

What’s ahead?

I would like to make the BedStuy Walls Mural Festival an annual event and eventually attain non-profit status.

That would be wonderful! Congratulations!

Images

1. Carlos Rodriguez

2. Jason Naylor

3. Chelsea Garcia to the left of Manuel Alejandro

4. Will Power

5. Belowkey

6. Andre Trenier to the left of Megan Olson and Olga Correa

7. Nac 143 (left), OG Millie (center),  Bom5 with character by Miki Mu (right)

Photo credits: Lois Stavsky

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Bringing a touch of the 1920’s to First Street Green Art Park on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, the prolific Brooklyn-based muralist Lexi Bella painted the image featured above last month on the occasion of FSG’s 2nd annual New Year New Murals & Clothing Drive.  What follows are several more faces fashioned by artists in NYC open spaces that I’ve encountered in recent meanderings around the city:

Moscow-born, NYC-based Urban Russian Doll in Manhattan’s Chinatown

Brooklyn-based self-taught Haitian American artist Alan Aine in Park Slope, Brooklyn

Bronx-native Andre Trenier in East Harlem with the 2021 Grandscale Mural Project

British-Israeli artist Solomon Souza in Crown Heights, Brooklyn

Photos: Lois Stavsky

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Bold and engaging, the murals that surface in Trenton, New Jersey are largely site-specific, many paying homage to those who call Trenton and its neighboring towns home. The image featured above — painted collaboratively in 2014 by Will Kasso, Luvonesta, Andre Trenier and Lank — looms large over a colorful playground, a short distance from the Trenton Transit Center. Several more artworks, far more recent, captured earlier this week on my first visit to Trenton follow:

Trenton-based legendary artist Leon Rainbow — two of four murals paying homage to frontline workers

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Trenton artist Dean ‘Ras’ Innocenzi pays homage to the late New Jersey skateboarder Brendan Wilkie —  one of several murals featured in the 2020 “Murals on Front Street” project, coordinated by Leon Rainbow

Philly-based Spanish artists Saoka and Imse  for “Murals on Front Street”

Austin, Texas-based masterly graffiti writer Sloke One  for “Murals on Front Street”

And Luvonesta and Lank bringing it inside to Trenton’s Starbucks, close-up from huge mural

Photos by Lois Stavsky

Special thanks to James J Kelewae for introducing me to the streets of Downtown Trenton

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The Audubon Mural Project, a collaboration between the National Audubon Society and  Gitler & ____ Gallery, continues to enhance Hamilton Heights — the late John James Audubon’s upper Manhattan neighborhood — with a range of public artworks featuring images of of climate-endangered birds. Since I’d last documented this project, dozens of new murals have surfaced. The image pictured above features a pinyon jay, painted by Vermont native Mary Lacy. Several more follow:

Brooklyn-based Frank Parga, Gyrfalcon

Bronx-native Andre Trenier, Black-Billed Magpie

Kristy McCarthy aka DGale and Pelumi Khadijat Adegawa, Glossy Ibis    

London-based ATM, Townsend’s Warbler

Brooklyn-based George Boorujy, Yellow-Throated Warbler

Tel Aviv-based Klone, Brewer’s Blackbird

If you are an artist and you would like to participate in this project, you can e-mail amp@gitlerand.com. And to find out how to help sponsor a mural, check here.

Photos by Lois Stavsky

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To the delight of us graffiti lovers, First Street Green Park has been showcasing artwork by a range of first rate, often legendary, graffiti writers and muralists. The image featured above was painted by Andre Trenier  and Zaone. What follows are several more murals that surfaced at last month’s Summer Classics Block Party hosted by DJNY Art:

Albertus Joseph and Jaylo YNN, tribute to the late Sean Price

Jeff Henriquez at work on tribute mural to the late Guru of Gang Starr

Wore IBM does Rakim

Graff masters T Kid and Doves at work

T Kid‘s completed piece

Completed Doves piece

And on Friday — September 8th — DJNY Art will be hosting “Welcome To The Lab,” a Pop Up event for Nike and Sneaker Lab at Van Der Plas Gallery, 156 Orchard Street on the LES.

Photos: 1, 2, 4, 6 & 7 Lois Stavsky; 3 & 5 courtesy Kate Storch

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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Splendidly curated by Laura James and Eileen WalshBronx Now showcases a wide range of artworks in different media by some of the best artists working in the Bronx. Among these are several whose works also enhance public spaces. While visiting the exhibit on Sunday, I had the opportunity to speak to both curators and pose a few questions to Laura James, the co-founder of BX200.

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Just what is BX200? And when was it launched?

BX200 is a directory of 200 artists, all of whom live or work in the Bronx. It was officially launched at the Bronx Museum of the Arts in March 2015.

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 What is its mission? And what spurred you to launch it?

Its mission is to connect our borough’s best artists to as wide an audience as possible from curators to collectors to other artists. My initial incentive in launching it was to get to know other artists living and working in the Bronx.

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You and  Eileen Walsh have, obviously, accomplished so much working together. The directory looks great, and this exhibit is wonderful. How did you two initially meet?

Awhile back, Eileen had invited me to participate in an exhibit she was curating elsewhere. Then when she read about BX200, she was eager to partner with me.

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The art here is spread across two rooms, and it all looks amazing. How did this great space come your way?

Eileen introduced me to it, and I thought it would be an ideal setting to introduce a selection of Bronx artists to folks who frequent Brooklyn spaces, particularly in Bushwick where so much is happening.

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How did you decide which artists to include in Bronx Now?  Some of the artists are quite young and relatively unknown, and others have established reputations and have exhibited in renowned museums.

We were interested in presenting a snapshot of the Bronx featuring works that we love — in a variety of styles and media — from a wide range of artists.

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The exhibit opened with a reception Saturday evening How did the opening go?

It was fantastic! About 300 people came and we had Andre Trenier painting live

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What are some of the other events we can look forward to this week? 

This Thursday, May 5, there will be a Bronx Now Artist Talk from 6-8pm. Participants will include Tats CruJohn Ahearn, Rebecca Allan, Danny Peralta and Alicia Grullon. And this Saturday there will be a closing reception from 5-8pm with a performance by Paco Cao. From Wednesday through Saturday’s closing, the gallery — located at 119 Ingraham Street — opens at noon. Enter through Terra Firma.

Congratulations on BX200 and this wonderful exhibit! I’m looking forward to more.

Images

1. John Ahearn with curators Laura James and Eileen Walsh

2. Bio, Tats Crew

3. Eric Orr

4. Crash

5. Nicer, Tats Cru

6. Andre Trenier, close-up

7. MRS

Photo credit: 1, 2, 4-7 Lois Stavsky; 3 courtesy Laura James; interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky

Note: Hailed in a range of media from 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 past Sunday, the 5Pointz family continued its transformation of August Martin HS with some of the finest international, national and local artists adding their talents and visions to the extraordinary indoor gallery the school has become. Here’s a small sampling of more of the works that now grace the hallways and doors of the Jamaica, Queens high school:

El Niño de las Pinturas in from Spain

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NYC-based Ben Angotti

"Ben Angotti"

Queens-based Nicholai Khan with August Martin student Justin Price (interviewed by Street Art NYC) and project co-curator Marie Cecile Flaegul

"Nicholai Kahn"

Trace, New Wave Crew at work

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Skio in from Paris and Brooklyn-based Elle

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Bronx-native Andre Trenier at work

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NYC’s ZaOne

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5Pointz curator Meres One

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Note: The school will be open to the public on Thursday, June 11, from 4-8pm.

Keep posted to the StreetArtNYC Facebook page for many more images of the amazing artworks.

Photo credits: 1, 3, 6 & 8 Lois Stavsky; 2, 4, 5 & 7 Tara Murray

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Babe Ruth, Derek Jeter, Roberto Clemente and Satchel Paige are among the legendary baseball players whose faces now grace a range of storefronts on and off River Avenue from 158th Street to 162nd Street. A partnership between the 161st Street Business Improvement District and 501 See Streets, this particular project is one of several initiated by 501 See Streets founder and director, Noah Sheroff. I recently met up with Noah to find out more about him and his Paint New York project.

danielle-mariano-street-art-Bronx-NYC

You are on a mission to bring public art to neighborhoods in NYC and beyond. What spurred your interest in street art?

I grew up in a neighborhood that was largely void of art. When I first visited 5Pointz in 2011, I was struck by the beauty and energy of it all. The following year I went on a tour of the Bushwick Collective, and soon after that, I discovered the Welling Court Mural Project in Astoria, Queens.  By then I was hooked!  I knew that I wanted to bring art murals to communities that wouldn’t otherwise have them. 

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We are familiar with the murals you facilitated that have transformed the blocks around Yankee Stadium.  Have you engaged other neighborhoods?

Yes. Danielle Mastrion painted a mural on Flatbush Avenue and Avenue H in Brooklyn; Miss Zukie collaborated with John Paul O’Grodnick on Benson Street.across from the Lewis & Clark School, and Marthalicia painted on Jerome Avenue and East 198th Street.

Lexi-Bella-Derek-jeter-street-art-Bronx-NYC

What are some of the challenges you’ve encountered?

It’s been a daunting learning experience!  The community members are often apprehensive. Artists tend to question my motives. And the funders are hesitant to fund “a new kid on the block.” 

Andre-Trenier-roberto-Clemente-street-art-Bronx

What seems to be the main concern of the community?

They are concerned about the content – about offending the sensibilities of the folks who live in the neighborhood.  That is one of the reasons artists are often asked to submit a sketch first. 

Lexi-Bella-501-See-Streets-street-art-Bronx-NYC

You are in the process of forging alliances with several Business Improvement Districts. Are they generally receptive?

Yes, the BIDs are generally receptive. They see the art as a way to highlight their businesses, bring commerce to their neighborhoods and attract tourists. I am also forging partnerships with civics and other neighborhood organizations.

Andre-Trenier-Satchel-Paige-Bronx-NYC

What’s ahead?

I’m interested in expanding Paint New York into more neighborhoods and working with a range of community groups. And at this point, fundraising is essential to cover expenses and to pay the artists for their talents and time.

Good luck! And we are looking forward to 501 See Streets bringing more art to our streets!

Note:  Find out how you can help support Noah’s project here

Interview by Lois StavskyImages 1 & 2 Danielle Mastrion; 3 & 5 Lexi Bella; 4 & 6 Andre Trenier; photo credits 1 & 2 Lois Stavsky; 3-6 City-As-School intern Diana Davidova

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In an eclectic range of visual styles and themes, music makes it way to NYC walls. Here  is a small sampling:

Zeso, close-up from huge mural in Bushwick

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Andre Trenier, lead artist, in the Bronx

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 Kingbee, Pose2 and Chemis in East Harlem

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MeresSloneSee TFShiroIZK and more in Bushwick

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Close-up

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Manny Vega in East Harlem

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Sonni in Bushwick

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Mike Brown on the Lower East Side

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Unidentified artist in Bedford-Stuyvesant

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Photo credits: 1, 2, 5 – 9 Lois Stavsky; 3 Dani Reyes Mozeson; 4 Tara Murray

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This is the 15th in an occasional series of posts featuring images of girls — and women — who grace our public spaces:

David Cooper in Bushwick

David-Cooper-Bushwick-street-art-nyc

Cern in Greenpoint, close-up 

Cernesto

Mag Magrela on the Lower East Side

"mag Magrella"

Caratoes in Bushwick

caratoes

Andre Trenier in the Bronx

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Dasic Fernandez at Welling Court in Astoria, Queens

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Photos: 1 and 5 by City-as-School intern Zachariah Messaoud; 2-4 and 6 by Lois Stavsky

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