BG 183

This past Thursday, Tats Cru members BG 183, Bio and Nicer — along with CrashNick Walker and Daze — once again transformed their wall at East Harlem’s Graffiti Hall of Fame. Featured above are BG 183 and UK native Nick Walker at work. What follows are several more photos of the artists in action– all captured Thursday by travel and street photographer Karin du Maire aka Street Art Nomad.

BG 183

Crash

Nick Walker 

Daze

Bio

Nicer

The artists — Nick WalkerDaze, BG 183, Crash, Bio and Nicer

And the wall

Photos by Karin du Maire aka Street Art Nomad

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On view through July 12 at South Bronx gallery WALLWORKS NEW YORK is Memorias en Arte. Curated by South Bronx photographer Gloria Zapata, it features photos captured by Gloria while visiting her homeland, Honduras, along with renderings of them by a range of NYC artists.

Images of memories  from her childhood capture the essence of her native country, while the accompanying artworks further explore the notion of “home.” After visiting the brilliantly conceived and handsomely curated exhibition yesterday, I had the opportunity to speak to Gloria.

I love your passion for photography, along with your devotion to documentation. Can you tell us something about its beginnings?

I first studied photography while I was a student at Washington Irving High School. That was back in the nineties. While studying Multimedia Video Arts at the Borough of Manhattan Community College a bit later, I started writing scripts and producing films. I  wanted to be next Stephen Speilberg! After graduating from BMCC, I wrote and directed an award-winning short film “A Mirror of Me,” but I soon discovered that pursuing that passion would require funds and an investment of time that I didn’t have. Then for my 27th birthday, my mother bought me a professional camera. That was a turning point! Currently, while pursuing my passion, I am studying Art and Photography at Lehman College.

Do you remember what you first documented once you had that camera that your mother had bought you?

Early on it was nature and architecture. I especially liked photographing landscapes.

And what about street art and graffiti? When did you first start photographing the walls in your neighborhood?

I’d always loved murals. For years I’d seen works on the street by Tats Cru and Crash, but I had no idea who these artists were. Then one day — about five years ago — I met Crash when he was painting on the streets, and he invited me to WALLWORKS NEW YORK. Nothing’s been quite the same since!

And how did you meet all the street artists and graffiti writers — among the other artists —  whom you included in your show? I assume you met many here at WALLWORKS NEW YORK?

Yes! And I met several while I was volunteering as a teaching assistant with ICP (The International Center of Photography) at the Point.

I love the conversation between your photos and the artists’ interpretations of them. How did you decide which artists to include in Memorias en Arte? Its concept is brilliant.

I included artists whose works speak to me and who responded enthusiastically to my concepts of “home” and “memories.” A few of the artists I approached had too many other commitments at the time to participate in Memorias en Arte, but I hope to collaborate with them in the future — perhaps in an expanded version of the project.

What were some of the challenges you faced in seeing such an ambitious project through?

Following through with the artists to make sure that their pieces would be completed in time and sufficiently believing in my vision to see it though. But working with WALLWORKS NEW YORK has made any challenges so much easier to overcome.

How have folks reacted to this show?

The response has been great. And people tell me all the time how much they love the exhibition’s concept.

I first saw your work several months ago on exhibit at the Point’s Riverside Campus for Arts and the Environment. Where else have you exhibited? What were some some of the key shows?

I participated last summer in Through A Feminine Lens, a group show — curated by Juanita Lanzo and Kimberly Vaquedano-Rose — that featured photography and mixed media works exploring motherhood, immigrant perspectives, equity and race at the Longwood Art Gallery at Hostos Community College. Earlier, I showed in a group exposition, Exposure, here at WALLWORKS NEW YORK.  And in 2017, I participated in The Next Generation of Bronx Photographers at the Andrew Freedman Home.

Have you any particular favorite subjects as of late?

Yes, I’ve been focusing on portraits – especially of dancers — and sunsets.

Wow! You certainly have a wide range of interests! Have you any favorite photographers? Photographers who have inspired you?

Yes! Among them are: Martha Cooper, Joe Conzo and Ricky Flores. I love their commitment to community. I love Martha’s photography —  from the images she started shooting in the 80’s through those she currently captures  — and I love her story, along with the stories her photos tell. I was so happy to have an opportunity to work with her. In terms of photographers who capture dancers, my favorite is Andrea Mohin, a staff photographer for the New York Times, whom I’ve also had the chance to meet and work with.

How can folks see your current exhibit, Memorias en Arte?

It will be on view through next Friday, July 12, at WALLWORKS NEW YORK, 39 Bruckner Blvd. in the South Bronx. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday 11am – 5pm and weekends by appointment.

Featured images:

1 Zimad and Gloria Zapata

2 Photo of Gloria Zapata

3  Gloria Zapata and Lady jDay

4 NicerGloria Zapata and BG183

5 YesOne and Gloria Zapata

Eric Orr and Gloria Zapata

7 Installation close-up, Gloria Zapata

Photos by Lois Stavsky; interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky

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Scrupulously researched and splendidly presented,  From the Streets: An Exhibition of Urban Art at ArtsWestchester is the perfect homage to the graffiti culture and the modern street art movement it spurred.  Curated by Marc Leader of 212 ARTS and Melissa McCaig-Welles of Curator 19.90, it presents murals, paintings, photography, sculpture and installations from graffiti writers who first made their mark on our subways to contemporary multi-disciplinary artists. Picture above is by the legendary TKid 170.  Here are several more images I captured while visiting the landmark exhibit.

The wonderfully prolific Wane COD

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Legendary NYC artists Chris Ellis aka Daze and Carlos Mare aka Mare 139

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BG 183, close-up from huge mural by the Mural Kings, Tats Cru

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Damon Johnson, close-up

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Chilean muralist Dasic Fernandez

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Multidisciplinary artist Li-Hill,  “Time Marches On”

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Among the many special events in association with From the Streets: An Exhibition of Urban Art is the upcoming July 14 screening of Saving Banksythe story of one art collector’s attempts to save a Banksy painting from destruction and the auction block.  ArtsWestchester is located at 31 Mamaroneck Ave, a short walk from the White Plains Metro North station. The exhibit ends Sunday, July 15 at ArtsWestchester. It would be great if it could then travel, as it deserves a wide audience.

Photos by 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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Opening tomorrow — Saturday evening — and continuing through March 29, BG 183′s new solo exhibit — aptly titled The Wall — is on view at Wall Works NY, a contemporary art gallery in the South Bronx.  A brief interview with the legendary artist — one of the founding members of the famed Tats Cru – The Mural Kings  — follows:

Your exhibit is titled The Wall. Can you tell us something about the theme of this solo exhibit?

Yes! It’s about bringing images that are on huge walls outside onto canvases inside.

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What inspired it?

People would often suggest that I paint on canvas what I paint on the streets. This way they could bring an image of what’s outdoors home with them.

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About how many works can we expect to see in the exhibit?

I’ve completed close to 25.

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And how can folks meet you?

They should come to the opening — Saturday, the 25th from 5-8 — where they can meet me, take photos and get autographs! Many other artists will also be there!

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Congratulations!

Thank you! When Wall Works reached out to me last year to do my own solo show, I felt honored. I hope to see you there!

Interview conducted by Karin du Maire and edited by Lois Stavsky; photos 1 & 3 courtesy Jenny Norberg aka Scratch; 2 & 4 Karin du Maire

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Launched and coordinated by the West Harlem Art Fund, Fusion NY presented a series of panels, tours, performances and pop-up exhibits earlier this week – Armory Week 2016 – in various venues throughout Harlem.  Of special interest to us graffiti and street art aficionados were the panel discussion,  Basquiat Still Fly @ 55, moderated by Jeffrey Deitch and the pop-up exhibit, Street Art Gone Fusion Crazy, curated by Lady K Fever and Savona Bailey. What follows are a few more images by artists — who also use the streets as their canvas — that we captured on our visit to Street Art Gone Fusion Crazy this past Wednesday.

Bind

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Brim, Tats Cru and Share 37

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BG 183

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Ree

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Curators Lady K Fever and Savona Bailey

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First image is close-up from huge piece by Lady K Fever

Photo credits: 1-5 Dani Reyes Mozeson; 6 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 here for Android devices.

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Produced by Sade TCM for Nasty, Neo FC, the Blaze of Hackensack has refashioned the always-brilliant graffiti walls in Hackensack, New Jersey’s famed open-air gallery. Here’s a sampling of what surfaced last month:

Bronx-based Pase

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NYC artists Per One and Hef

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Bronx-based John Matos aka Crash

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Bronx-based Ces

Ces

The Blaze of Hackensack curator Sade TCM

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Bronx-based Bio, Tats Cru

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Bronx-based Zimad

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Bronx-based BG 183, Tats Cru

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Veteran graffiti writers Sonic and Part One, Dedicated to the Victims in Paris

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Photos by Dani Reyes Mozeson

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A founding member of the legendary Bronx-based Tats Cru, the masterful BG 183 recently met up with us at his solo exhibit, Autumn Spray, in Hunts Point.

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When did it all begin?

Actually, my big sister got me started. I used to watch her draw all the time, and I was amazed! I wanted to try it too! So when I was about four — and she was nine — she noticed me drawing and encouraged me. I never stopped!

What inspired you to hit the streets?

Graffiti was all around me. I loved its bright, bold colors. But I had to begin by practicing my tag, the real element of it all. And then after hitting up stacks of paper, I began bombing on public surfaces. I was about 16 at the time. I wanted the fame!

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Any early memories that stand out?

Bombing the inside of James Monroe High School and hitting the trains riding back and forth from school.

Any particularly risky moments?

Getting chased while painting trains and dealing with other crews.

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

My mother was cool – until Michael Stewart’s death. Then she became very uneasy about what I was doing.

I can understand that. What percentage of your day is devoted to your art these days?

100%. I’m either doing commissions or working on my own body of work.

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What keeps you painting after all these years?

I love it, and I want to be the best.

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

It’s a natural progression.

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Do you prefer working alone or collaborating with others?

Both. Working with my crew – Tats Cru – helps me keep my skills on a high level.

You’ve painted throughout the globe. Why do you suppose graffiti is more respected as an art form in Europe than here in the U.S.?

There is a huge respect there for anything from New York.

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And yet the European writers have largely taken graffiti to another level – beyond what we see here in NYC. Why do you suppose that is so?

Many of the writers here don’t really try to. They simply don’t feel the need to evolve.

Interesting! How you feel about the role of the Internet in this scene?

It’s great! It gets my name out there.

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Do you have a formal arts education?

None! Just the Major Art class I took in high school. That’s where I got to know Bio.

Are you generally satisfied with your work?

Yup!

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What about your name? How did you get the name BG 183?

When I was in high school, I was the one to BrinG the bats to the baseball team. And 183 refers to the number of my styles – as I have so many!

Yes! You certainly are versatile. The work in this exhibit is so different from most of your work that I’ve seen on the streets. What inspired it?

The life I live! The images represent my life.

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And what about the colors. They are wonderful!

Fall was on my mind, and my wife suggested these particular colors.

What’s ahead?

I’d like to focus more on creating a body of work that can be shown in galleries and museums.

Note: Curated by Sien and Eric Orr, Autumn Spray remains on view through November 15th at More Points Bx, 727 Faile Street in Hunts Point.

Photo credits: 1, 2, 6, 7, 9 & 10 Lois Stavsky; 3 (with Crash on the left) Dani Reyes Mozeson; 4, 5 & 8 Tara Murray; interview by Lois Stavsky

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The Bronx Graffiti Art Gallery, a new outdoor public art space located in the courtyard of Gustiamo at 1715 West Farms Road, officially opens tomorrow, Saturday, October 18, 1-5pm.  Committed to preserving and celebrating the culture of graffiti in NYC, its first exhibit features works by such Bronx legends as Ces, Kingbee, and Tats Cru, along with artwork by its curators, Lady K Fever and Scratch.

Here’s a sampling of what’s been going down:

Tats Cru‘s Bio, BG 183 and Nicer

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Ces

CES

Kingbee

Kingbee

Lady K Fever

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BG 183 and Scratch

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Hush Tours will provide free transportation from Manhattan to tomorrow’s event. For further information, contact Hush Tours at 212-714-3527.

All photos courtesy Scratch.

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