fine art

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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Michael-Alan-9-Lives

Michael Alan‘s wonderfully inventive new works remain on view through Saturday at Chelsea’s Tanja Grunert Gallery, 524 W 19th Street. After visiting his riveting exhibit, Nine Lives, we posed a few questions to the prolific artist.

Can you tell us something about the title of your current exhibit? What is the significance of Nine Lives to you?

The title, Nine Lives, is a play on my health issues and my determination to not focus on them, but to take what I’ve I learned and help others through my art. The works in this exhibit expand beyond my human life.

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How have recent life events impacted this body of work? 

Everything that happens to me impacts my work. I represent the tradition of creating work based on my life. My work is my life’s visual journal.

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We love your characters. Who or what inspired them? Are they based on people you know? Or are they simply figments of your imagination?

I see them as part of my visual language — from ghosts of my past to art history references, to my friends and my models and now everyone! Draw the world, and do everything you can do! Life is short. Don’t stay limited or become a brand.

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There’s quite a mix of styles and media on exhibit in Nine Lives. Have you any favorite piece or pieces? Any favorite medium?

I wish I could choose a favorite. My mind would be more simple — in a sense — if I could. But I’m a complex multitasker, and I love all things equally! I try as hard as I can to edit and make each work better or at least equal to the last. I think every piece should all hold up on its own.

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How did the opening at Tanja Grunert Gallery go? It is such a lovely space.

The opening attracted over 500 people. Paul Jacobson had a solo show in the bottom-level gallery, and I loved showing with him. We didn’t have much time to promote our exhibits, but so many people came! Thanks to all! Thank you!

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 What’s next?

I couldn’t say what’s to come, because if I did, I wouldn’t have to do it. It would be done! Every day is a gift, even a bad day! So I just count everything as a blessing…even if it’s a negative.

Photo credits: 1 courtesy Michael Alan; 2-5 Tara Murray and 6 Jennifer Lopez, courtesy Michael Alan

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Misha-Tyutyunik-MDOT-SoHo-Mural-Art

Based in Brooklyn, Misha Tyutyunik aka MDOT is an accomplished painter, muralist and illustrator. His recent venture, fashioned along with a team of Groundswell youth, looms large at 11 Howard Street in SoHo. Earlier this week, we visited his studio and had the opportunity to speak to him.

When and where did you first make your mark on the streets?

Back in 1999, Wisher 914 and I hit up the water tower in Mohegan Lake in North Westchester where we grew up.  But my outdoor work is largely commissioned murals. I painted my first one for SoBro in the Bronx in 2006.  My most recent one is a collaboration with Groundswell youth at 11 Howard Street in SoHo, the site of Aby Rosen’s latest hotel venture.

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You’re also a prolific painter of smaller works – from works on paper to paintings on huge canvasesHave you exhibited your works in gallery settings?

Yes!  I’ve exhibited throughout NYC in a range of spaces from CATM in Chelsea and  Tambaran on the Upper East Side to a variety of alternative venues.

Do you have a formal arts education? And was it worthwhile?

Yes, I have a BFA in Design and Illustration from Pratt. And, yes, as I learned how to problem solve through creative means.

Are there any particular cultures that have influenced your aesthetic?

I spent my first seven years in the Ukraine, and was definitely influenced by social realism. Other influences include: graffiti in its heyday; Japanese prints; abstract expressionism; traditional mural painting and German expressionism.

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What about artists? Any particular influences?

Among the many artists whose aesthetic has influenced me are: Diego Rivera, Klimt and Egon Schiele.

Do you prefer working alone or collaborating with others?

I used to prefer working alone, but lately I’ve become more open to collaboration. I recently collaborated with Chris Soria.

If you could collaborate with any artist – alive or deceased – with whom would you collaborate?

Picasso – all day every day – and Max Ernst.

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How does your family feel about what you are doing?

They love it!  None of them are artists, but they all love what I am doing!

What percentage of your time is devoted to art?

Pretty much all of it.

Is art the main source of your income?

Yes, the money I earn from commissions, along with income from teaching mural-making and art sales. I’ve also begun working on fashion design.

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

It’s everything! Without the Internet I’d be nowhere.

Are you generally satisfied with your finished work?

I think so. But the question is: Is anything ever really finished?

How has your artwork evolved in the past few years?

By leaps and bounds! I’m much more comfortable than I used to be with different styles. My visual language has become more confident.

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As your work on the streets is largely commissioned murals, have you run into any conflicts with street artists or graffiti writers?

On occasion.  While painting a commissioned wall down in DC, for example, I was approached by graffiti writers who told me that the wall was theirs. When I explained to them what I was doing and they saw my work in progress, they came around.

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

I see my role as to reflect on our times, while bringing a strong aesthetic sensibility back into a largely conceptual realm.

What’s ahead?

Everything! Taking over the art world!

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That’s quite ambitious! Are there any particular projects we can look forward to?

I am currently painting an anti-gun violence mural in conjunction with BRIC, and I will soon begin working on a mural with Groundswell youth at Stapleton in Staten Island. And opening tonight and continuing through March 31 is The Internal Muse, a selection of my new paintings at Melet Mercantile at 84 Wooster Street in SoHo.

It all sounds great! Congratulations!

Interview conducted by Lois Stavsky with Tara Murray

Photo credits: 1 & 2 courtesy Lindsey Brown McLravy | SLATE PR; 3, 5 & 6 Lois Stavsky; 4 Tara Murray 

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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Esteban-del-Valle-looking-for-sediment-art-on-panel

Brooklyn-based artist Esteban del Valle has been busy! The culmination of seven months of travels throughout the United States, Displacing Waves, his upcoming exhibit, reflects on the artist’s role as a member of the “creative class” that creates new settlements, while displacing others. Esteban’s distinctly adroit mixed-media approach — blurring the lines between drawing and painting — brilliantly captures the anxiety, along with the comical irony, that the threat of gentrification poses to various communities, including the gentrifiers themselves.  Here is a sampling of Esteban’s painterly musings on contemporary colonialism that will be on exhibit at LA’s’ Superchief Gallery opening this coming Saturday.

Appetite, Acrylic ink and collage on panel, 9″ x 12″

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Cocktails near the poor man’s riviera, Acrylic and spray paint on canvas, 48″ x 60″

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We are running out of cities, Ink and collage on paper, 11″ x 8.5″

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And the artist at work at Superchief Gallery as he readies for his West Coat exhibit

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Opening this coming Saturday, January 9, at Superchief Gallery, 739 Kohler Street, in Los Angeles, Displacing Waves remains on view through January 31.

Note: Opening image is Looking for sediment, Acrylic ink and collage on panel, 8″x 10″

All photos courtesy the artist

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Chris-daze-ellis-view-to-the-other-side

The City Is My Muse, featuring new works, along with older paintings and memorabilia, by the legendary Chris “Daze” Ellis, opened this past month at the  Museum of the City of New York.  Curated by Sean Corcoran, the paintings on exhibit — depicting NYC’s streets, subways, landmarks and ordinary folks — exude an expressive, soulful energy. Here are a few more:

Cyclone Drop

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The 7 Yard

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Queensborough Plaza

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Daze with his painting Whitlock Avenue

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Tomorrow evening — December 8 — at 6:30 pm, Daze will be joined by Jane Dickson and Lee Quinones in a discussion about how New York City’s environment, culture and daily life have inspired their work. Curator Sean Corcoran will moderate the panel. Use Code ART1 for discount tickets here.

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The Museum of the City of New York is located at 1220 5th Avenue.

Photo credits: 1-3 Lois Stavsky; 4 & 5 Tara Murray

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Nina-Pandolfo-Rivington-Wall

Noted Brazilian artist Nina Pandolfo recently made her way back to NYC. And we are thrilled that she did! Her delightfully dreamlike paintings will remain on exhibit through November 29th at Coburn Projects‘ Lower East Side gallery space at 2 Rivington Street, and her whimsical outdoor mural will continue to grace the huge wall on Rivington Street off the Bowery until the end of the year.

The complete mural, as seen this week 

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Nina at work on Rivington Street earlier this month

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And here are three of Nina’s new paintings in Little Things for Life, her first NYC solo exhibit, presented by Coburn Projects:

Breathe Slowly

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Follow Your Instincts

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One Way to…

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Located at 2 Rivington Street off the Bowery, the gallery is open Wed – Sun 10-6pm.

Photos: 1, 2, 4-6 Dani Reyes Mozeson; 3 courtesy of Coburn Projects

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brian-lacey

Based in Detroi’s Eastern Market district, 1xRUN is the world’s leading publisher of fine art editions for original art.  Also host to Detroit’s Inner State Gallery, a world-renowned exhibition space, it works with established and emerging artists throughout the globe. When I stopped by on my recent visit to Detroit, I had the opportunity to speak to 1xRUN Production Manager Brian Lacey.

Can you tell us something about your role as 1xRUN production manager? Just what does your job entail?

I am involved with every step of the printing process. I communicate with the artists, set up files for printing, retouch images, trim prints, create certificates of authenticity and I place orders with vendors.

You are an artist. Is that what attracted you to this particular space? 

Yes, as an artist I was drawn to this space. I have a background in graffiti and a degree from the College for Creative Studies, where I studied illustration and fine arts.

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Has your experience as a graffiti writer impacted you?

Definitely! Graffiti is a great teacher. I learned a lot from it — on so many levels.

1xRUN collaborates with so many extraordinary artists. How do you select them? Is it a team effort?

Yes! It’s definitely a team effort. We have weekly sessions where a group of us meet to make curatorial decisions. Selections are made by the consensus of us all.

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Has your position at 1xRUN presented any personal challenges?

As someone who loves working hands-on, I had to adjust to spending a lot of time in front of a computer. But it’s awesome to be able to look at art all day!

1xRUN is best-known for the first-rate prints it produces. Does it offer anything in addition to prints?

It does offer a number of original works, books and sketches.

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What about the name 1xRUN?

It’s about offering limited editions of outstanding works that run for one time (1X) only.  Too many print releases can devalue an artist’s work.

I can see that. I love these images on exhibit in Tag the Jewels. Can you tell us something about this project?

It is a partnership among Run The Jewels, 1xRUN and Mass Appeal. Graffiti artists from around the world created murals celebrating the one year anniversary of Run The Jewels 2 (RTJ2). On exhibit are 20 photos of these murals spanning six continents.

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 What a great concept! And what an amazing range of art on display throughout this space! 

Images:

1. Brian Lacey to the right of his artwork, T002

2. Jesse Kassel and Elmer for Tag the Jewels

3. See One for Tag the Jewels

4. Binho for Tag the Jewels

5. Frop and Muso for Tag the Jewels

Interview and photos by Lois Stavsky

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BG183-close-up-spray-paint-on_edited

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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amanda-marie-street-art-welling-court-mural-project-NYC

Colorado-based painter and stencil artist Amanda Marie has brought her alluring storybook characters to the streets of NYC and to the Quin Hotel.

At work at 12C Outdoor Gallery, on 12th Street and Avenue C

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Completed mural at 12C Outdoor Gallery 

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Outside the Quin Hotel, as seen at night

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And from, Good Story, her tantalizing exhibit of mixed-media works —  whose titles suggest a somewhat subversive facet to her presumably innocent storybook characters — inside the Quin Hotel:

Drinking Partners

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We Are Doing This Our Way

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Bird-Riders, close-up

"Amanda Marie"

Curated by Hyland Mather and DK Johnston, Good Story remains on exhibit through mid-summer inside the Quin Hotel at 101 West 57th Street at Sixth Avenue.

Note: First image is at Welling Court in Astoria, Queens

Photos: 1, 4-6 Lois Stavsky; 2 Dani Reyes Mozeson; 3 & 7 Tara Murray

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N-Carlos-J-The Beautiful-Decay of-fear

Exuding beauty, decay and fear, the extraordinarily atmospheric The Beautiful Decay of Fear opens Friday at 12pm. We visited yesterday evening and got a glimpse of the installation in progress. Here are a few close-ups:

Another image by curator N Carlos J

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Kirby Santos, close-up

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Justin Carty, close-up

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Danielle Mastrion at work

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The site of the exhibit is 225 Starr Street, where you will be greeted by a masterful outdoor mural by the wonderfully talented Ben Angotti.

the beautiful decay of fear

 Photos: 1 & 2 City-As-School intern Diana Davidova; 3-5 Lois Stavsky

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