Buff Monster

Home to such projects as 100 Gates and Market Surplus, the streets and venues of Manhattan’s Lower East Side have introduced us to new talents, while showcasing some of NYC’s most prominent graffiti artists and muralists. Artists are now invited to submit ideas for an entire mural — or a segment of it — to be painted on the western façade of Essex Crossing‘s site at 145 Clinton Street that will be home to 107 market-rate apartments and 104 below-market-rate units. Check the Request for Proposals (RFP) for all the details and requirements. You have until December 15th to submit it.

The image featured above was painted by Gera Luz. Here are several more that have surfaced on the Lower East Side within the past year:

Hanksy

Flood

Buff Monster for Market Surplus

Claw Money

Lexi Bella

Photo credit:  QuallsBenson

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 streets of Toronto — particularly on and off Queens Street West — teem with curious characters. The image pictured above was painted by Canadian native Troy Lovegates. Several more follow:

NYC-based Buff Monster

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Toronto-based Poser ABM

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The Toronto-based PA System artists Alexa Hatanaka and Patrick Thompson

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Atlanta-based Greg Mike (on right) & artist to be identified

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Montreal-based en masse

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

Note: Hailed in a range of media from Wide Walls 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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This past Sunday, we had the opportunity to meet up with Joshua Geyer, one of the curators of the current installation on the 69th floor of 4 World Trade Center. Curious about it all, we posed a few questions to him:

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We’ve been seeing more artwork by street artists indoors these past few months — in a wide range of unlikely settings — than on the streets. Whose concept was it to turn this floor into a showcase for street art and graffiti?

Several executives who work in this building had visited the World Trade Gallery awhile back, and they loved the art that was exhibited there. It was their idea to invite street artists to paint on this floor.

And how did you become involved with this project?

Last March, I had curated an exhibit at the World Trade Gallery that featured works by over a dozen street artists. And so I was invited back to work on this project.

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Which of these artists did you, personally, engage in this project?

The artists I invited to paint here include: Icy and Sot, Sonni, Cern, Fanakapan, Rubin, Hellbent, Buff Monster, Chris RWK, Jackfox, UR New York, Erasmo and Basil Sema.

How did you decide which ones  to invite?

I chose artists I know — whom I’ve worked with in the past — whose art would work in this particular setting.

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Did this project present any distinct challenges?

This was the first time I’d ever worked with other curators. That was a definite challenge, as we didn’t all have the same vision, and each one of us worked independently. I generally curate on my own. And when I work with Centre-fuge Public Art Project, every decision is made collaboratively, and we are all pretty much on the same page.  But I did learn about different approaches to curating a space and navigating my way through different visions.

Who were some of the other curators?

Among them are: Caitlin CrewsSean Sullivan and Bobby Grandone

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Within the past few weeks, there have been quite a few discussions about the need to financially compensate all artists for work they do within corporate settings. What are your thoughts on this issue?

I absolutely agree. Unfortunately, the art world doesn’t always come through. Creatives can be easily exploited. And if this doesn’t change, we will continue to lose many talented artists. But lots of positive things are happening now in this space.

Can you tell us about that?

Yes. Many students — from local elementary schools to the Parsons School of Design — have visited. They’ve had the opportunity to meet artists and speak to curators, and their response has been great. I look forward to more school visits. And I am hoping, of course, that the artists who painted here will attract clients and gain future opportunities.

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How can folks visit this space? Is it ever open to the public?

I will be giving weekly tours. For specific information and to set an appointment, I can be reached at Tower4Arts@gmail.com. I would love to have schools — and art teachers, in particular — reach out to me.

And what about you? What’s ahead for you?

Later this spring I will be joining several artists — including Vexta, Faith47 and Alexis Diaz — on a trip to El Salvador facilitated by the United Nations. I will be doing a photography workshop with kids, and we will be wheat-pasting their photos outdoors. And currently I’m working with No Longer Empty, with plans underway for an exhibit in Brownsville.

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That all sounds great! We’re looking forward to hearing about your experiences.

Note: The images featured in this post were among those curated by Joshua Geyer. Keep posted to the StreetArtNYC Facebook page for additional images of artworks in this space.

Images

Icy and Sot

2 Josh standing next to Chris RWK

Buff Monster, with fragments of Hellbent to the side

Cern

Fanakapan

Jackfox

Sonni

Photos & interview by Lois Stavsky

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Celebrated for his captivating characters that have surfaced throughout the globe, Buff Monster forever delights us with his playful imagination and creative energy. In addition to painting murals across the world, the wildly talented and prolific artist has fashioned a wide array of artworks from prints and stickers to vinyl toys. He has also collaborated with numerous brands. Curious about this collaborative process, I recently caught up with him where he had just finished painting a mural in partnership with Miller Lite at Dobbins Street and Norman Avenue  — where Williamsburg meets Greenpoint.

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You were born in Hawaii and lived on the West Coast for several years. What brought you to NYC?

I’ve been to all 50 states, but I’ve only lived in states with good weather. I lived in LA for 15 years, and I grew tired of the same climate all the time. I needed a change. I wanted to be somewhere where there are seasons. I was looking for something different — personally and professionally.

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And has NY met your expectations?

Absolutely! I love it! NYC has brought me new opportunities and projects. And snow is amazing! But you wouldn’t catch me painting outdoors in the winter!

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You’ve created dozens of murals on the streets and an incredible range of your own products. You’ve worked, as well, with many brands. Among them are: Disney, Converse, Hello Kitty, Samsung, Nike, Coca-Cola and here with Miller Lite. What are some of the challenges that working with brands imposes?

The challenge is to make it work for everyone — for me, for the company I’ve teamed up with and for its intended viewers. Any collaboration I take on has to be consistent with my brand, and it has to make sense!  A successful collaboration forces me to think. And I like to think! I like challenges!

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What about this particular project — this collaboration with Miller Lite?  What’s happening here?

This blank canvas was donated to me by Miller Lite as the first installation of  its Our Can, Your Canvas project, a program aimed at celebrating the character and soul of iconic neighborhoods. My challenge was to capture the distinct spirit of Brooklyn — its energy and integrity. And so I came up with symbols that represent Brooklyn as I see it.

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You studied Business Administration and Fine Art at The University of Southern California.  How has your education in business administration impacted your art career?

It made my art career. If you don’t make money from what you do, it is just a hobby.

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We love your characters. Your Melty Misfits are so much fun. What are some of your influences?                  

Among them are: Heavy Metal, Pop Art, ice cream, Japanese culture and graffiti.

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How has your artwork evolved through the years?

It has become more expressive.

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What’s ahead?

I’m headed now to the Life Is Beautiful Music Festival in Las Vegas, Nevada where my Self Portrait will be on display at the Crime on Canvas group exhibit. ( Buff Monster has since returned and is now at work in Jersey City with Mana Urban Arts Projects.)

Note: Buff Monster’s mural for Our Can, Your Canvas remains up through October 30.

Photo credits: 1, 2, 4 & 8 Tara Murray; 5 Courtesy of Our Can, Your Canvas 3, 6 & 7 and interview Lois Stavsky; 

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five8-street-art-Montreal

Since 2013, Montreal has been hosting MURAL, an annual public art festival featuring a wonderful array of murals by both local and international artists. Here is a small sampling of what we saw while wandering on and off Boulevard Saint-Laurent this past week:

Montreal-based Five Eight, 2016

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Melbourne-based Meggs, 2016

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NYC-based Buff Monster, 2016

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Brazilian collective Acidum Project, close-up, 2016

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Chilean artist Inti, 2014

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France native Mateo, 2016

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Photo credits: 1-3, Lois Stavsky; 4, 5 & 7 Tara Murray and 6 Sara C Mozeson

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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Allan-Ludwig-photo-by-Julie Dermansky

Still out there each day with camera in hand documenting what has surfaced overnight, photographer Allan Ludwig aka Elisha Cook, Jr recently shared with us some of his thoughts on the changes that he’s witnessed in his downtown Manhattan neighborhood and more:

You’ve lived here in Soho for decades.  At what point did the changes in your neighborhood become most apparent?

Around 2003, I noticed that the new stores in my neighborhood were — for the most part — only selling expensive items.  I no longer recognized my neighbors’ faces on the streets. Tourists and shoppers were everywhere. I knew then that I must turn my lens onto the graffiti and street art here before it all disappeared.

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And what are some of the changes that you have observed in the street art that surfaces here these days?

It has largely lost its edginess.  Much of the street art here has  gotten exceedingly commercial.  It’s often difficult to tell the difference between what is sanctioned and what is done without permission. Street art and ads have become increasingly interchangeable. And too many “street artists” these days seem to use public space primarily to promote their gallery shows.

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What do you suppose has caused these changes?

The monetization of it all.  And I feel that the street art festivals have not only legitimized an underground movement, but have created an elite — not all that different from the mainstream art world.

 We’ve noticed that you tend to focus your camera on illegal works, particularly tags and bombs. Why is that?

Because they are real and raw. I love their poetic spontaneity. I can feel the artist’s pure passion and love for it.

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Not everyone would agree with you! Any thoughts about Mayor de Blasio’s proposed efforts to keep the city graffiti-free?

I don’t see any point to it. It’s a misdirected use of funds. The money should be used, instead, to help the homeless.

We noticed that you were daily documenting the impromptu David Bowie memorial in front of his home. Did you know Bowie personally?

I live just down the block from him, so I’d see him from time to time around the neighborhood. But, no, I didn’t know him personally. I would simply nod in acknowledgement and respect when I saw him. I sensed that he was my kind of person. But I did not want to invade his privacy.

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And what about the memorial? What spurred you to photograph it daily and in such detail?

I loved it! I loved that it was spontaneous and inclusive. There was no hidden agenda!

Interview conducted by Lois Stavsky with Tara Murray

All photos by Allan Ludwig aka Elisha Cook, Jr, except for the first one — featuring Allan alongside Buff Monster — which was photographed by Julie Dermansky; photo 3 features Dylan Egon; photo 4 features Dee Dee  and photo 5, Dasic Fernandez

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 is the fourteenth in a series of occasional posts featuring the diverse range of trucks and vans that strike our streets.

Swedish writer Marvel aka Marr

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Buff Monster and KA

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Iena Cruz

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Kepts

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Taboo

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Signal

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Photo credits: 1 Nic 707; 2 Tara Murray; 3 Lois Stavsky; 4 & 5 Dani Reyes Mozeson; 6 Houda Lazrak 

Our highly acclaimed Street Art NYC App is now available for Android devices here.

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This is the eighth in a series of occasional posts featuring some of the curious characters that surface on NYC streets:

Mike Lee in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

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Werc, close-up in Long Island City

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Elle and the London Police on Manhattan’s Lower East Side

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Buff Monster at the Bushwick Collective

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Binho in Long Island City

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Esteban del Valle at Welling Court in Astoria, Queens

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

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Connecting artists and businesses, the 100 Gates public art project continues to transform dozens of metal store shutters on the Lower East Side and in Chinatown into intriguing outdoor canvases.  What follows are just a few:

Mas Paz, X Cubicle, 25 Essex Street

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Damien Mitchell, Michele Olivieri, 118 Orchard Street

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Billy the Artist, Michele Olivieri, 88 Delancey Street

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Ida Noelle, The Sill @ 84 Hester Street

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Abigail Kaage, Zest, 249 Broome Street

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Claw Money & Miss 17Red Mango, 145 Allen Street

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Faust and Shantell Martin, Lowline Lab/EDC Warehouse, 140 Essex Street

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Jessica DeutchLucky Jack’s, 129 Orchard Street

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Buff MonsterBondy Export Corp, 40 Canal Street

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Founded by NYC artist and professional skater Billy Rohan, this public art project is managed by Natalie Raben, Director of Marketing and Communications at the Lower East Side Business Improvement District. If you own a business on the Lower East Side and would like to become involved with 100 Gates, check this out.

Photos: 1, 2, 5-9 Tara Murray; 3, 4 Lois Stavsky

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Okudua-street-art-on-Lafayette-David Sharabani-in-NYC

A huge fan of Lord K2’s photography and his outstanding book, Street Art Santiago, I was delighted to discover that Lord K2 has also been photographing NYC’s street art and graffiti.  During his most recent stopover in NYC, I had the opportunity to speak to him.

Why NYC?

Because it is the epicenter of it all.  It is where graffiti was born, and where the best artists from across the globe come to paint.

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Any distinct standouts?

Os Gemeos immediately comes to mind. But just about every artist who has painted on the famed Bowery wall is extraordinary. And the L.I.S.A Project, too, has brought so many first-rate artists to Manhattan.  My initial focus was just Manhattan because the borough attracts so many outstanding artists.

But you had begun to photograph beyond Manhattan.

Yes. I decided that I did not want to limit myself. And among the sites I’ve photographed outside of Manhattan are the Welling Court Mural Project in Astoria, Queens and the Bushwick Collective in Brooklyn.

David-Sharabani-At-Welling Court Mural Project

Many of your photos are in black and white. Why is that?

Too much color in a book can oversaturate the senses. And when I capture the artists in action, I find that limiting the image to black and white often creates a more satisfying overall portrait.

Any particular inspirations among the photographers out there?

I was definitely inspired by Martha Cooper’s work. And the late Garry Winogrand’s photos of Manhattan have influenced my approach to street photography.

Geobany

How have the artists you’ve photographed responded to you?

They’ve all been welcoming and warm.

How long have you been working on this project?

I began two years ago  Taking my time allows me to photograph the new art works that arise which, in turn, allows me to curate from a larger selection.

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You spent a considerable amount of time in South America. What are some of the most striking differences between the street art scene here in NYC and what you experienced there?

I found that in South America the artists generally paint for the love of it. And making a living out of art is a bigger challenge in South America than it is here. In NYC, financial considerations come more into play, as many of the artists have more opportunities to get the attention of gallerists and collectors.  Also, in South America lines are blurred between what is legal and what is illegal. There’s a general leniency towards unsanctioned art, while here in NYC painting illegally is quite problematic.

Icy-and-Sot

Absolutely! And accessing legal walls can be quite challenging! When can we expect to see you back in NYC?

I plan to return in the summer.

That sounds great! The walls are waiting for you!

Interview by Lois Stavsky; all photos Lord K2

Images: 1. Okuda  2. Buff Monster  3. SweetCrimes  4 .Geobany  5. GumShoe & 6. Icy and Sot

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