contemporary art

On view concurrently with LeCrue Eyebrows’ solo show at Van Der Plas Gallery is ROYAL FLUSH, a group exhibition featuring delightfully intriguing artworks by ten remarkably creative artists.

The huge mixed-media artwork featured above, Numb, was fashioned by Clown Soldier, whose now-iconic signature character I first encountered on NYC streets over a decade ago. Several more images of artworks — all by artists whose works have also surfaced in public spaces — now on view in ROYAL FLUSH follow:

The ever-inventive Al Diaz presents the wonderfully sardonic philosophical and political musings of SAMO©, the project that began in the late 70’s in collaboration with the now-legendary Basquiat

Brooklyn-based Canadian artist Jason McLean, “Gold Home,” 2022, Acrylic paint and acrylic ink Pental brush pen over found canvas

Legendary Lower East Side documentarian and visual artist Clayton Patterson, “Blue Knife,” 2021, Embroidery on fabric

London, Ontario-based ceramic artist Susan Day, “Untitled Mosaic No. 2,” 2022, Ceramic, glaze and underglaze

Toronto-based multimedia artist Devon Marinac, “Alpha Mantle Peace,” 2022, Acrylic on canvas

ROYAL FLUSH continues at Van Der Plas Gallery‘s  downstairs showroom through October 23. Located at  156 Orchard Street, the gallery is open Mon-Tue: 12pm-5pm, Wed-Sat: 11pm-6pm and Sunday: 11am-5pm. A closing reception will take place on Friday, October 21 from 6-8pm.

Photos of images and artists: Lois Stavsky

{ 0 comments }

When I first came upon LeCrue Eyebrows‘ artworks on the streets of my city, I was struck at once by its singular authenticity. Each piece intrigues, as it exudes a distinct aura of mystery. Visual meditations on such universal themes as love, loss and longing, the works are subtly strong and strikingly beautiful.

Not to be missed is the Queens-based artist’s first solo exhibition at Van Der Plas Gallery. At once quietly raw and soulfully elegant, each work tells a story – to be freely interpreted by its viewer.  And each piece was created freely and spontaneously, as nothing that Lecrue creates is premeditated. The act of painting, itself, is to the artist “an intense form of meditation.”

The beguiling image pictured above, “Move with Me,” was fashioned this year with acrylic on canvas. Several more images I captured while visiting “Primitive Form” last weekend follow:

“Own Storm,” Acrylic on canvas, 2022

“Stand With Me,” Acrylic on canvas, 2022

“Her Breath in Time,” Acrylic on canvas, 2022

“Just Beyond the Window,” Acrylic on canvas, 2022

And on a somewhat different note — “Together,” Mixed media on cold press paper, 2022

“Primitive Form” continues at Van Der Plas Gallery through October 23. Located at  156 Orchard Street, the gallery is open Mon-Tue: 12pm-5pm, Wed-Sat: 11pm-6pm and Sunday: 11am-5pm. A closing reception will take place on Friday, October 21 from 6-8pm.

Note: You can take a 3D tour of “Primitive Form” here.

Photos of artworks, Lois Stavsky

{ 0 comments }

On view through this coming Saturday, June 11 at Nahmad Contemporary is “Jean-Michel Basquiat: Art and Objecthood.” Curated by Basquiat scholar Dr. Dieter Buchhart, it is the first exhibition dedicated solely to the artist’s use of found objects and unconventional materials in his works. The image pictured above was fashioned in 1985 with acrylic, spray paint, oilstick, hardware and twine on found wood. Several more images captured on my recent visit to the gallery follow:

Untitled, 1985, Oil and oilstick on wood

Untitled (1960 Yellow Door), 1985, Oil, oilstick, Xerox collage and metal on wood door

Self-Portrait, 1985, Acrylic, oilstick and bottle caps on wood

Multiflavor, 1982, Acrylic and oilstick on canvas mounted on upcycled wood

Procession, 1986, Acrylic and wood relief on wood

Located at 980 Madison Avenue on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, Nahmad Contemporary is open Monday – Saturday
10AM – 6PM.

Photos of images: Lois Stavsky

{ 0 comments }

Showcasing an eclectic range of artworks by 60 emerging and established urban artists, the third 60 Collective Art Exhibition is a cause for celebration. Established back in 2013 by Frankie Velez and Craig Anthony Miller, the 60 Collective continues its tradition of supporting the arts and public education, as a percentage of proceeds from its sales will be donated to the local Dock Street Middle School’s art and after-school enrichment programs. For this third installment, the curators have teamed up with Executive Producer Josiane Lysius in presenting to the public a first-rate representation of contemporary urban culture.

The image featured above, “Back in the Days,” was fashioned on canvas by the always-passionate and prolific Will Power. Several more images of artworks on exhibit follow:

Bronx-based world’s first ‘Hip-Hop Comic Book’ creator and sole Keith Haring subway drawing collaborator Eric Orr, Untitled, 2019, Mixed media on wood

Japanese multimedia artist and nurse Shiro, “Heart Beat,” 2022, Spraypaint, acrylic and marker

Multimedia artist and arts educator Alice Mizrachi, “A Dream Realized,” 2022, Mixed media collage on wood

Dumbo-based artist and 60 Collective co-curator Craig Anthony Miller aka CAM, “The Pursuit of Nectar,” 2022, Mixed media on wood panel with resin

NYC-based multimedia artist LeCrue Eyebrows, “And on,” 2022. Acrylic on canvas

The prolific Staten Island-based artist Chris RWK, “Once, twice, three times forever,” 2022, Mixed media on canvas

And taking place tomorrow, Sunday, May 29, between 4-6pm at the exhibition space on 30 Washington Street is a 60 Collective curators’ talk featuring Craig Anthony Miller aka CAM and Frankie Velez.

Other future events include:

Artist Talk: Cey Adams and Eric Adams, Thursday, June 2, 6-8pm

A Poetry Tribute to the 60 Collective: Curated by Tai Allen, June 7, 6-10pm

Grand Closing Reception: Friday, June 10, 6-10pm

Photos of images 1-7: Lois Stavsky

{ 0 comments }

Whether viewed outdoors or indoors, Kenny Scharf’s infectious aesthetic is always a delicious visual treat. Currently on view at TOTAH on Manhattan’s Lower East Side is WOODZ ‘N THINGZ, a series of dazzling paintings that delight our senses and heighten our consciousness as they reflect the ecological threats our natural world faces — while suggesting alternative ways of dealing with its fragile state.

Pictured above is WOODZ, fashioned in 2022 with oil and acrylic on linen within a powder coated aluminum frame. Several more images from the legendary artist’s second solo exhibition at TOTAH follow:

ZPRUNGZ, 2022, Oil and acrylic on linen with powder coated aluminum frame, 70 x 90 inches

Kelp Us, 2022, Oil, acrylic, spray paint & silk screen ink on linen with powder coated aluminum frame, 48 x 60 inches

WORLDZEND, 2022, Oil and acrylic on linen with powder coated aluminum frame, 70 x 90 inches

PHILIPS TIME TO GO, 2022 Oil on Phillips flat screen TV, 20 x 30 x 5 inches

Located at 183 Stanton Street on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, TOTAH is open Tuesday through Saturday, 11AM to 6PM.

Photos of images:  1 & 3 Lois Stavsky, 2, 4 & 5 Atlas Torres 

{ 0 comments }

Masterfully fusing his distinct calligraphy with motley symbols, Lower East Side native Angel Ortiz aka LA II has been making his mark on the streets, in galleries and in museums for decades.  Best known for his collaborations with the late Keith Haring in the 80’s, LA’s current exhibition, Walking the Line, at Van Der Plas Gallery is a testament to the artist’s infectious aesthetic that impacted Haring and continues to captivate.

The image featured above, The Ultimate Masterpiece, was fashioned in 2022 with acrylic and marker on canvas. Several more images of artworks captured on my recent visit to the gallery follow:

Black and White Tondo, 2022, Spray paint and marker on canvas, 10″ x 10″

Vase, Sculpture

The Grand Master Tondo, 2021, Spray paint and marker on canvas, 10″ x 10″

Yellow on Blue, 2020, Acrylic on canvas, 57″ x 57″

Three Triangles, 2022, Acrylic on canvas, 30″ x 40″

LA Crown, 2022, Acrylic on canvas, 24″ x 24″

Located at 156 Orchard Street on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, Van Der Plas Gallery is open daily from 12pm – 5pm.

Note: You can check out the interview I conducted with Angel back in 2014 here.

Photos of artworks by Lois Stavsky

{ 0 comments }

For close to three decades, Woodward Gallery has been enriching Manhattan’s Lower East Side with wonderfully enticing exhibitions and public art projects. On view through March at its 132A Eldridge Street space is New In 22 featuring strikingly expressive new works by 14 contemporary artists in a range of media. And among these artists are many who also share their talents in public spaces. A selection of images by these artists — whose particular aesthetics often blur the line between urban and fine art — follow:

NYC-born and based Puerto Rican mixed-media artist Jose Baez, “Visionary King,” 2021, Mixed media collage, spray paint, oil and acrylic on canvas (including found objects and materials)

New Jersey-based Hungarian-American urban folk artist RH DOAZ, “Always Inhabit Your Space 6,” 2021, Aerosol spray paint, oil, wood stain on reclaimed pine

The legendary Brooklyn-based artist Moody, “Alternating Portals,” 2022, Acrylic on wood panel

 Brooklyn-based interdisciplinary artist DM Weeks,Fight or Flight,” 2021, Acrylic, spray paint, and oil on canvas

Brooklyn-born, Dallas-based artist JM Rizzi, “Verbal Stick Up,” 2021, Mixed media on canvas NYC-based multidisciplinary artist Matt Siren,The Tragedy of Time and Space, 2022,” Hand painted with acrylic and glitter embellishments on wood panels

Hudson Valley-based neo-expressionist artist Cosbe, Soft Spot, 2022, Acrylic and mixed media on acrylic panel

Also on view in New In 22 is a wonderfully eclectic range of strong works by: Susan Breen, Tommy Flynn, Sabina Forbes II, Val Kilmer, Margaret Morrison, Alex Racine and Daniel Rosenbaum.

You can visit New In 22 in person at Woodward Gallery‘s street level exhibition windows 24/7. You can also see it online on WoodwardGallery.net, on Artsy.net and on the virtual Artsy Viewing Room.  A full color digital catalogue is available for free here and softcover catalogue is available to order here.

Images courtesy Woodward Gallery

{ 0 comments }

In both public and private spaces, Flemington, NJ-based artist James Kelewae aka Luv One fashions mesmerizing images that blur the line between graffiti and fine art. His distinct talents remain on view in  On and Off the Streets: Urban Art New Jersey through February 27 at the Morris Museum in Morristown, New Jersey. While selecting artists to feature in the exhibit, I met up with James in Trenton, NJ and had the opportunity to interview him:

When and where did you first get up?

I first hit a public surface back in 1995 while skateboarding in the Chicago suburbs where I grew up. I was 17 at the time. But it wasn’t until much later, 2006, when I became serious about painting on city walls.

Had you any preferred surface back then?

Brick. I liked the way it absorbs paint. I also liked getting up on trains with oil sticks.

Did anyone or anything in particular inspire you at the time?

The thrill of breaking rules. I liked the rush that I got.

Do any early graffiti-related memories come to mind?

In 2007, Will Kasso and I painted a two-block wall along the main bridge in Trenton. We painted in daylight pretending we had permission. It was so much fun!

Do you or did you belong to any crews?

I was a co-founder of the SAGE Coalition, a diverse group of artists dedicated to planning and producing inner-city beautification projects. And I’ve painted with Trenton’s Vicious Stylez Crew .

Would you rather work alone or collaborate with others?

It’s more fun with others, and you can accomplish more. But egos often get in the way.

Is there anyone in particular with whom you’d like to collaborate?

I’d like to collaborate with Cern, Chor Boogie, Other and José Parlá.

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

I’m interested in bridging the gap.  I use mostly spray paint, a graffiti tool, in a street art aesthetic. But each is entitled to its own voice.

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

I have mixed feelings. On one hand, it dilutes the culture, but graffiti and street artists should get acknowledged for their hugely influential work by a broader audience.

What about the corporate world? How do you feel about street artists and writers collaborating with corporations?

The work that I did for Vonage helped me make the down payment to the house I now own. Depending on the corporation and the circumstances, the experience can be a positive one.

How do you feel about the role of social media in this scene?

I don’t like it. I’d rather spend my time creating art.

Have you a formal art education?

Yes! I graduated from SVA with a degree in Illustration.

How would you describe your ideal working environment?

Outdoors.

What inspires you these days?

All the visual information that’s around me. I take in everything!

Are there any particular cultures that have influenced your aesthetic?

Celtic art…its colors and patterns; the Book of Kells, medieval art, hip-hop, skateboarding and punk rock.

That’s quite eclectic. Is there a central theme that ties your work together?

Interconnectivity…building bridges…moments of intersection and overlap.

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

I find myself working more and more freehand.

Are you generally satisfied with your finished piece? And how do you know when it’s finished?

I always want my next piece to be better than my last. I know when it’s finished when I’m sick of it.

How important are others’ reactions to you?

Ten years ago, I was super concerned about others’ responses to my work. Currently, they are not important at all.

How has your work evolved through the years?

My style was originally very illustrative. I focused initially on portraits. These days my style is largely abstract.

Have you any preferred colors?

I love them all.

What media do you currently most enjoy working with?

Mixed media and spray paint.

How has the work you’ve done on the streets impacted your studio work?

It’s my studio work that has most impacted my street art. It’s tightened my art on the streets. My street art is calmer than it used to be.

How does the subject matter differ?

When I paint on the streets, it’s important that I take the community and the site into consideration. It’s important that it be accessible. My studio work is largely personal.

How has your studio work evolved in the past several years?

It’s more spiritual in its sensibility and its theme.

How long do you generally spend on a studio piece? On a street art work?

I work on my studio pieces over time – a few hours at a time over a period of a few months. When I paint outside, it’s generally for 4-5 hours a day over five days.

What percentage of your time is devoted to art?

It’s always in my brain, but because of family responsibilities, I can only devote about 40% to it.

What do you see as the role of the artist in society?

It is to challenge one’s perception of accepted norms. It is to reshape society. To share the human experience…to bear witness and to capture a moment in time.

What’s ahead?

More canvas work.

Good luck!

Interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky

Photo credits: 1 Sara C Mozeson; 2, 4, 6 & 7 Courtesy of James Kelewae; 3, 5, & 9 Lois Stavsky 8 & 10 Rachel Alban

{ 0 comments }

A huge fan of Mr. Mustart‘s mesmerizing aesthetic since I discovered it on the streets of Jersey City a decade ago, I was delighted to feature his talents in the Morris Museum‘s current group exhibition, On and Off the Streets: Urban Art New JerseyWhat follows is an interview with the artist:

When and where did you first get up?

Back in Russia. I was about 11-12 when I first got up on a wall. I remember using a navy blue spray can from a local auto shop. At that time the paint only came in two colors.

Had you a preferred surface?  

No! Everything goes, and as long as there is room for creativity, it’s all a blank canvas.

What inspired you to hit the streets? 

A desire to be heard and also seen now that I think about it. Also, I was inspired by the music that I listened to at the time. At first, it was punk rock and heavy metal. Then when I was about 13 or 14, back in 97-98, it was a wave of hip-hop and rap music – groups like Public Enemy, Naughty By Nature, Cypress Hill, Wu-Tang, Gangstarr, of course 2Pac and Notorious BIG, BIG Pun, Big-L, Jay-Z, Nas, Dr. Dre, Snoop, KRS One, MC Hammer, Kool G Rap, Coolio, … whosever bootleg tapes and VHS videos made it to my small town.

There was no internet at that time, mind you. I remember watching music videos with b-boys in them rocking on linoleum mats with graffiti pieces and characters in the background. I was already drawing, sculpting and making my own play-weapons like wood gun replicas, ninja darts, bows and arrows. and more. The music and the videos opened me up to an entire new world of self-expression.

Do you prefer working alone or collaborating with others? 

I like doing both. Some of my finest memories are from the times I painted with my friends. And sometimes it’s more therapeutic for me to work alone. Depends on what it is that I’m doing.

Do you belong to any crews?

I’m an honorable member of BAMC, a huge and very talented international crew based out of California and the A-Team aka the AIDS Crew, a collective of some of the dopest local street and graffiti artists based out of Jersey.

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

Before we get into any type of logomachy about this hot topic, let’s agree that there is no solid definition of either one. and the lines between have been crossed numerous times throughout its brief history and continue to till this day.  I don’t think it’s that much of a divide, rather a continuous interaction and coexistence/collision of ideas, concepts, social commentary, techniques and more. Don’t believe the hype.

I think it’s more of a territorial issue. Most graffiti writers have been doing their thing on the streets for years and even decades without serious recognition from the art world, mostly because  graffiti has been classified as a crime rather than an urban form of expression. It’s the label “street art” that took graffiti places it has never been. So I think the divide is more personal and not as systematic as people like to think.

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

I think it’s great. It’s Art and that’s where the Art belongs. It’s a window of opportunity for many talented artists and a positive outlet for those who come from harsh environments with many self-destructive vices.  It gives many people hope and a way to earn some sort of a living.

And what about the role of social media? How do you feel about that?

Its role is to connect people and that’s what it does best. It’s been great for me personally. It gives me a free platform with a global outreach. It’s a way for me to expand my network and come across great opportunities.

Have you a formal art education?

I graduated from New Jersey City University in 2009 with a BFA Degree in Painting and Drawing, but even before and throughout middle and high school, I’d always attended some sort of art classes and artists’ workshops.

How would you describe your ideal working environment?

Lots of daylight, a peaceful space without too many distractions – with some kind of instrumental music in the background and lots of blank canvases and paint. And hunger to search within.

What inspires you these days?

Good music, interactions with people. Everything really. Life.

Are there any particular cultures that have influenced your aesthetic?

Growing up in Russia and moving to New Jersey at the age of 14 pretty much sum up my background of influences. The hip-hop culture and music from all parts of the world, especially the music from Russia, Poland, France, Brazil and of course USA.

Is there a central theme that ties your work together?

It’s my organic and free-flowing style. I rarely work with a sketch in hand. My themes change as I do.

What about colors? Have you any favorite ones?

I especially like working with yellow. It’s energetic and exciting, but colors are nothing in isolation. I love the nuance that exists among the colors rather than individual hues.

And media? Which do you prefer working with?

Spray paint is mostly my go-to, but I would draw with a stick on sand if I have to.

How important to you are others’ responses to your work? Is it important that they like it?

When the reaction is positive, that’s great! I feel like that’s the greatest reward for any artist, whether you’re a painter, a sculptor, a chef, or a dancer! If someone doesn’t like something, that is fine too; it simply is not for them.

How has the work you’ve done on the streets impacted your studio work?

They impact each other. It’s a back and forth thing.

Where would you rather be? On the streets or in a studio setting?

Probably on the streets. Just because I like being outdoors. But I see myself  spending quality time in a studio with some canvases. I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.

How long do you generally spend on a studio piece?

All depends on its nature. Sometimes a few hours, and sometimes months. I also work on many pieces simultaneously.

How has your work evolved through the years?

It’s always evolving, and I’m always experimenting. It’s a continuous journey with no end in sight.

How does your family feel about what you are doing?

My parents always encouraged me. They are both creative and always valued and supported my niche for creativity. They are thrilled that I can earn a living as an artist.

Have you any favorite artists?

I feel like art is about self-expression, so anyone who has been doing it and has done it well and with love is a favorite.

 

What are some of your other interests?

Eating healthy and traveling. Breathing.

What do you see as the role of the artist in society?

It’s to find their inner light and to share it with others.

Note: You can view a sampling of Mr. Mustart‘s abundant talents in On and Off the Streets: Urban Art New Jersey through February 27 at the Morris Museum in Morristown, New Jersey

Photo credits: 1, 3, 4, 5, 7 & 8: Lois Stavsky; 2 Sara Ching Mozeson and 6 Rachel Alban

{ 0 comments }

Both Konstance Patton and LeCrue Eyebrows have been increasingly sharing their distinctly intriguing visions on NYC streets.  For the past several days, they have been complementing each other’s singular aesthetics in “11-11 Synchronicity,” a wonderfully handsome exhibition featuring a range of media on view through today at Tribeca’s One Art Space.

Several images from the exhibition, presented by Third Rail Art, follow:

LeCrue Eyebrows, A Mother’s Memory

Konstance Patton, The Spirit of the Collective Grandmother

Installation view reflecting LeCrue Eyebrows‘ distinct spontaneous visual language, “aimed to create the underlying emotion through subject, character, and form.”

Installation view reflecting Konstance Patton‘s indigenous heritage, as she honors the significant women in her life. “These are the most important women in my life. And their energy, rather our energy, is something I want to share with you. BE A LOVER,” asserts the artist.

And another tantalizing installation view featuring a range of goods fashioned by both artists

The exhibition remains on view today, October 31, from noon until 6pm at One Art Space, 23 Warren Street in Tribeca.

Photos courtesy of Nathalie Levey, Color Brigade Media

{ 0 comments }