Billy Mode


On our recent visit to Baltimore, we revisited several older murals, discovered some newer ones and came upon some of our favorite artists at work.  Pictured above is Gaia with Pablo Machioli to his left, taking a break from working on their now-completed mural for Open Works.  Here are several more images that we captured:

Peruvian artist Daniel Cortez aka Decertor for Open Walls Baltimore


Baltimore-based Ernest Shaw, Jr for Open Walls Baltimore


Baltimore-based Jessie Unterhalter & Katey Truhn, close-up from huge mural for Open Walls Baltimore


Newark-based LNY / Layqa Nuna Yawar, close-up for Open Walls Baltimore


Philadelphia native Betsy Casanas for Open Walls Baltimore


Baltimore-based Nanook for Open Walls Baltimore


Baltimore-based Billy Mode at work


Baltimore-based Michael Owen, close-up 


Photo credits: 1, 2 & 7 Tara Murray; 3-6, 8 & 9 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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Organized by Garrison & Alison Buxton, the Welling Court Mural Project is back gracing Welling Court and its neighboring blocks in Astoria, Queens with a wonderfully diverse array of artworks. Here is a sampling of some of the completed murals, along with others in progress, as artists ready for tomorrow’s official launch and block party.



Mr June


Billy Mode and Chris Stain


Daze and Crash


Vagabonddom at work


Tamara Heller for Crisis Text Line


OneL NYC checking out his mural


Magda Love, with her assistant Jamie, at work


You can view the murals, meet the artists and join the festivities tomorrow — Saturday — from 12-8 along 30th Ave and 12th Street and neighboring blocks.

First image features Toofly, work in progress to be completed tomorrow, Saturday

Photo credits: 1, 2 4-9 Tara Murray; 3 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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While in Baltimore earlier this month, I stumbled upon an intriguing medley of murals just a few steps from Station North. I soon discovered that they were sponsored by Section 1, an ambitious urban art project aimed at transforming an adjacent abandoned 3.5-acre site into a huge urban art park with over 70,000 square feet of paintable surfaces. Here are a few more murals I sighted that day, some of which are certain to have been repainted in this open-air revolving canvas.

Baltimore native Nether


New Orleans native Adam Estes


Baltimore-based Adam Stab


La Anarchy


Baltimore-based Colombian tattoo artists Kike Castillo and Jesse Kuzniarsk


 Note: The first image pictured is a collaborative mural by Werc, Rubin and Billy Mode

Photos by Lois Stavsky


With Sheryo and the Yok completing the missing letter — S — , the B-U-S-H-W-I-C-K mural at the Bushwick Collective is now complete. Here are some images:

Sexer at work after completing the letter ‘B.’ Letter ‘U’ by David Louf aka June1 to its right

"seder and David Louf"

 Sheryo and the Yok, the letter ‘S’

"Sheryo and the Yok"

Dasic Fernandez at work on the letter ‘H’


Billy Mode at work on the letter ‘W’

"Billy Mode"

Eelco ’Virus’ Van den Berg, the letter ‘I’, with Bushwick Collective founder and curator Joe Ficalora to its right


John Matos aka Crash, the letter ‘C’ 


Zimad at work on the final letter, ‘K’


With some additions


 Photo credits: 1, 4 & 7 by Dani Reyes Mozeson; 2, 3, 5, 6 & 8 by Lois Stavsky


This is the sixth in a series of occasional posts featuring images of children that surface on NYC public spaces:

Jerkface in the East Village


Axel Void in East Harlem

"Axel Void"

Billy Mode and Chris Stain at the Bushwick Collective

"Billy Mode and Chris Stain"

Damien Mitchell at the Bushwick Collective

"Damien Mitchell"

Enzo and Nio in Williamsburg

Enzo and Nio in Williamsburg

Banksy on the Upper West Side


Jef Aerosol at the Bushwick Collective

"Jef Aerosol"

Razo and Dead Rat on the Lower East Side


Photo 1, 3 – 6 by Dani Reyes Mozeson; 2, 7 & 8 by Lois Stavsky

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Under the curatorial direction of Tag Public Arts Project founder, SinXero, the walls on and off the 6 line in the South Central section of the Bronx have become one of the borough’s visual highlights.  Loved by both local residents and passersby, these murals, in fact, are now incorporated into an official tour of the Bronx. Here is a small sampling of what can be seen:

Marthalicia Matarrita and Raquel Echanique 


Marthalicia Matarrita, close-up

"Marthalicia Matarrita"





See TF


Col Wallnuts




Daek William — in from Australia 

"Daek William"

Damien Mitchell

"Damien Mitchell"

Billy Mode and Chris Stain

"Billy Mode and Chris Stain"

Zimad — close-up 


Keep posted to our Facebook page for many more Tag Public Arts Project images and check here for piece painted by the legendary John Matos aka Crash.

Photos by Lois Stavsky


Speaking with Billy Mode

June 10, 2014

A master of bold, abstract graffiti-inspired art that fuses elements of mathematics, science and design, Baltimore-based Billy Mode is a frequent visitor to NYC. Here he has graced walls in Brooklyn and in Queens with his strikingly stylish aesthetic, often in collaboration with fellow Baltimore native Chris Stain. I recently had the opportunity to speak to the talented artist:

"Billy Mode and Chris Stain"

When and where did you first get up?

It was around 1984-85 in Baltimore. I was 11 or 12.

Who or what inspired you at the time?

Most of my friends at the time were older than me.  My friend Eric Meek and I went to see Beat Street at the Grand Theatre in Highlandtown when it first came out. We were so hyped that we were doing backspins and such in the theatre while the movie was playing! Soon after, Eric got hold of a copy of Subway Art by Martha Cooper and Henry Chalfant. I’ve been grateful for these two introductions to the movement ever since.

Had you any preferred surface or spot at the time?

When I first began, it was mostly alleyways with Pilot markers and spray paint. But I soon moved on to rooftops. It was fun and I quickly became addicted to the adventure of it all.

"Billy Mode"

Were you ever arrested back then?

I was caught bombing a bus. But nothing major happened. I got community service.

How did your family and friends feel about what you were doing?

My folks were cool. I was basically a “good kid.”

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

There is a divide, but I don’t think about it. If it’s good, it’s good. It doesn’t matter whether it’s graffiti or street art.

"Billy Mode and Chris Stain"

What about the movement of street art into galleries?

I’m fine with it. I’ve been exhibiting in galleries since the mid 90’s. Galleries offer us artists a different way to share our art.

Why do you suppose graffiti is held in higher esteem in Europe than it is here?

Arts in general are more celebrated there. Plus I think the hip-hop culture is embraced differently In Europe. It is viewed more positively.

Do you prefer working alone or collaborating with others?

I enjoy both. Collaborating is fine — so long as I don’t have to compromise too much and lose too much of my own concept. Collaborations can’t be forced.

"Billy Mode and Chris Stain"

Your collabs with Chris Stain are among our favorite pieces. Is there anyone else with whom you’d like to collaborate?

I’ve thought about collaborating with Joe Iurato and Rubin. To me a good collaboration is when the works balance each other out. One of my favorite exchanges was with one of my best friends, Pat Voke. He always made me want to push my limits and seek out deeper meanings in the work process. I hope to collaborate with him again.

What inspires you these days?

Letter forms continue to inspire me; structures, in general, inspire me. When I sit down to work, I try to expand on what I’m developing — so it continues to grow. My graffiti background influences my desire to be inventive and contribute to the movement.

Are there any particular cultures that have influenced your aesthetics?

They’re not quite cultures, but I’m increasingly influenced by the fusion of mathematics and science.

"Billy Mode"

Do you work with a sketch in hand or do you just let it flow?

These days I do have a sketch in hand which helps with the layout. When I do a more traditional graffiti style, I prefer freestyling it.

Are you generally satisfied with your work?

About 80% of the time!  I’m always looking to improve.

What do you think of the role of the Internet in all of this?

We live in the future. Information travels faster than ever which, I think, allows for exponential growth. I do enjoy seeing artistic developments happening daily. But I have noticed that regional styles have been diluted. The grass roots of graffiti culture have been slowly changing, and so have the rules of etiquette.

"Billy Mode"

Do you have a formal arts education?

I do have a BA from Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), but I always credit my graffiti background as my formal training. I’ve been very fortunate to have good friends to learn from and grow with.

What’s the riskiest thing you’ve done?

Bombing in daylight on super visible spots!

What are some of your other interests?

Sleep, and when I’m not injured, skating pools.

What’s ahead?

I intend to do more murals and conjure mathematic visual formulas into reality. I will keep on expanding!

Interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky; photos 1. At Welling Court in Astoria, Queens with Chris Stain by Lois Stavsky; 2. At the Bushwick Collective by Dani Reyes Mozeson; 3. In Cobble Hill, Brooklyn with Chris Stain and Cre8tive YouTH*ink members — based on a Martha Cooper photo by Lois Stavsky; 4. At the Bushwick Collective by Dani Reyes Mozeson; 5. At the Bushwick Collective by Lois Stavsky; 6. At 17 Frost for OutDoor Gallery book launch by Lois Stavsky

Keep posted to our Facebook page for images of Billy Mode’s new mural, done in collaboration with Chris Stain, for the 5th Annual Welling Court Mural Project, opening this Saturday, June 14.

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"Outdoor Gallery NYC"

Currently on view at 17 Frost is an exhibit of artwork by artists featured in Yoav Litvin’s remarkable book, Outdoor Gallery NYC. While visiting the exhibit on Thursday afternoon, we had the opportunity to speak to Yoav: 

This exhibit is in many ways a reflection of your book. It is wonderfully eclectic.

Yes, like the book Outdoor Gallery NYC, it celebrates the diversity of the incredible range of street art that surfaces in NYC’s public spaces.

"Enzo and Nio"

How did you connect with all of these artists – whose works are featured in your book and in this Outdoor Gallery NYC exhibit?

I initially met most of them through encountering their works on our streets. I further connected with them via Facebook or Instagram.


Can you tell us something about the process from the time you had your resources – your photos and interviews — to the actual production of the book?

Working with the designer, Steve Mosier, I created a template for a book. I then presented my concept to about 30 publishers. In late summer, I signed a contract with Gingko Press, my first choice.  The first copies of the book became available last week.

Billy Mode

The book looks wonderful, and your book launch party was quite remarkable. We’ve heard that folks waited on line for hours to get in.

Yes, that was quite humbling. And I feel grateful to everyone.

"Alice Mizrachi"

To what do you attribute the incredible success of the book launch?

My sense is that folks appreciate my particular approach. I have deep respect for all of the artists who share their works with us in public spaces. I admire their visions and their skills. I particularly love the way they challenge conventions.

"Chris Stain"

You are a scientist, as well as a photographer and street art documentarian. Has your background as a scientist affected the way you approach street art?

I suppose it has. It is essential that my research and findings remain “clean” and unbiased. I am interested in presenting something that is important not only on a local level, but on a global one, as well.


In what ways has this project impacted you?

I feel that I’ve developed a distinct personal style and approach to documenting street art.

"Icy and Sot"

If you had the opportunity to spend time in another city and work on a similar “Outdoor Gallery” project, which city would you choose to visit?

I’d probably choose São Paulo, Brazil.


The exhibit, curated by Yoav Litvin with Royce Bannon, continues through March 8 at 17 Frost Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Yoav can be contacted at; for updates, visit the book’s Facebook page.

Interview with Yoav Litvin conducted at 17 Frost by City-as-School intern Anna Loucka with Lois Stavsky; photos of artworks by Lois Stavsky. 1. Exterior of 17 Frost painted by Bishop203, elsol25 and Royce Bannon; 2 .Enzo & Nio, Retro Bomba; 3. Cern, Jardim Electrico; 4. Billy Mode, Love; 5. Alice Mizrachi, Queen, close-up; 6. Chris Stain, Up in the Bronx; 7. Bishop203, Jesus Christ Superstar;  8. Icy and Sot, Race and 9. ÑEWMERICA, small segment of collaborative mural 


One of NYC’s most spirited public art events celebrates its fourth year tomorrow with a huge block party at Welling Court in Astoria, Queens. For the past week, dozens of artists have been busy at work for this dynamic project, curated by Ad Hoc Art. Following is a glimpse of what we saw earlier this week:

Billy Mode and Chris Stain

Billy Mode and Chris Stain

Toofly at work with Fumero to the left

Fumero and Toofly

Lady Pink at work

Lady Pink

 Alice Mizrachi  and Olek

Alice Mizrachi and Olek

 The Royal Kingbee at work


Logik One at work

Logik one

Dan Witz

Dan Witz

Dennis McNett, close-up

Denis McNett

Keep posted to our Facebook page for many more images in the week ahead.

Photos by Tara Murray


The walls at the Bushwick Collective continue to showcase a range of masterful artistic expressions. In addition to the wonderful mural featured here earlier by Sheryo & the Yok, an astonishing variety of new works —  by  local, national and international artists —  have found a home here. A sampling follows:

Puerto Rico-native David RIMX Sepulveda


Baltimore-based Billy Mode at work earlier in the month

Billy Mode

The final mural by Billy Mode and Chris Stain

Chris Stain and Billy Mode

Baltimore-based artist Mata Ruda at work

Mata Ruda

South Carolina-based Patch Whisky

Patch Whisky

The prolific Fumero


South Africa-based Nard Star



 Atlanta-based Trek Matthews

Trek Matthews

South Carolina-based Ishmael


Keep posted to our Facebook page for the latest news on the Bushwick Collective and for photos of Gaia’s new piece.

Photos by Dani Mozeson, Tara Murray and Lois Stavsky