Joe Iurato

On view through August 9 at Dorian Grey Gallery in Manhattan’s East Village is an eclectic array of stencil-based compositions spanning 35 years. Among the 25 artists featured in the exhibit are several whose works are also presently on the streets of NYC. Here is a sampling of these artists’ pieces at Dorian Grey.

Lady Aiko, Drip Skull


Icy & Sot, Starlight


 Blek le Rat, The Violinist


Chris Stain, Bukowski


Joe Iurato, Cosmic Kid


Nick Walker,  I love New York

nick-walker-I love-New-York

Solus, Dream Big


Located at 437 East 9th Street off Ave A, Dorian Grey Gallery is open Tuesday – Saturday 12pm-7pm and Sunday until 6pm.

Photos: 1 Tara Murray 2-7 Dani Reyes Mozeson


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

Gustavo Nénão in Chelsea

"Gustavo Nénão"

Joe Iurato in Jersey City

"Joe Iurato"

Stinkfish in Bushwick


Jef Aerosol at the Bushwick Collective


Danielle Mastrion in Staten Island with the Centrefuge Public Art Project


Photos: 1 City-As-School intern Zachariah Messaoud; 2, 3 & 5 Lois Stavsky; 4 Dani Reyes Mozeson


A specialized new online gallery certain to appeal to us street art aficionados, Cluster Wall launches tomorrow evening with an exhibit and party at 17 Frost in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. We recently had the opportunity to speak to Cluster Wall’s founder, Evan Tobias. 


What is Cluster Wall? Why that name?

It is a term I respond to! As an art-lover and collector, I tend to cluster art of all colors and styles in our Brooklyn apartment. The results are vibrant, bold and kinetic, like New York City, itself!

What is your mission in launching Cluster Wall?

My mission is to provide art lovers with the opportunity to purchase first-rate, hand-embellished affordable art. There will not be any ink jet prints. All of the artworks will be signed and numbered, and editions will be limited. Prints will be released in a series of 100 or fewer. And, in addition, a small number of original works will also be made available.

"Evan Tobias"

What work experiences do you bring with you to your current position?

I was the founder and editor of Block Magazine, and founder of the Full Circle Bar in Williamsburg.

Most of the artists — whose works you will be exhibiting and selling — are active on the streets. Why the focus on street art?

I’m a big fan of street art. I’ve been living in Williamsburg since 2001, and I’ve seen how street art has enhanced my neighborhood. It has made it a better place to live. But Cluster Wall is not limited to street artists. I will be releasing artworks by other contemporary urban artists, as well.


How did you decide which artists to work with?

I started off by contacting artists I know, and then I was connected to some others. I was specifically looking for artwork that I love that would also work well as prints.

Can you tell us something about this weekend’s exhibit? What can we expect to see?

We will be featuring prints and original artworks by Chris RWK, Joe Iurato, Rubin, ASVP, Elle, The Drif, London Kaye, Solus, Opie and ORYX, along with collaborative works by John Paul O’Grodnick and Jilly Ballistic, who will also be painting live.


What is Cluster Wall bringing to the art scene?

It provides art lovers with the opportunity to collect outstanding, innovative artwork at modest prices.

That all sounds great! Good luck!


Note: The launch begins at 7pm tomorrow — Saturday — at 17 Frost Street and will feature, along with dozens of artworks, music by DJ Nigel Rubirosa and refreshments provided by Lion Beer and Sea Grape Wines.

Interview conducted by City-as-School intern Zachariah Messaoud.


1. Chris RWK  

2. Cluster Wall founder Evan Tobias, seated in front of artwork by London Kaye 

3. The Drif

4. John Paul O’Grodnick and Jilly Ballistic

5.  Joe Iurato

All photos courtesy Cluster Wall, except for pic of Evan by Lois Stavsky


"Buff Monste"

With cameras in hand, Leanna Valente has spent the past 15 months photographing graffiti writers and street artists in progress.  She now has over 400 photos signed by the artists.  I recently had the opportunity to speak to Leanna about her brilliant Instant Art Exposure project and more:

Have you any early memories of graffiti or street art?

I remember first seeing graffiti as a young child. It was right down the block — under viaducts and bridges — from where I grew up in Buffalo. I loved it at first sight!

Have you, yourself, done any graffiti?

When I was about six, I attempted some bubble letters. And I still give it a try while doodling on a napkin!

What about other art forms? 

I’ve been doing art – of one kind or another — for as long as I can remember.


Any particular styles or genres?

Mainly mixed-media works of acrylic, spray paint, fabric and photography.

Have you shown your work in galleries or formal settings?

I started showing in galleries in 2003 while living in Atlanta. I also showed in Miami, in Southern California, in Buffalo and at alternative spaces in Brooklyn in 2010.

Have you studied art in a formal setting?

I’m basically self-taught. I’ve studied art informally at FIT here in NYC and at the Atlanta College of Art/SCAD when I was living in Atlanta, Georgia.


Can you tell us something about your photography projects?

My series Extreme Fashion Window Design in NYC focuses on extreme fashion window designs in Manhattan portraying the glamour and grit of the city.  Another series Trashion focuses on the exclusive branding found in our city’s trash. And my Instant Art Exposure project documents NYC’s street art and graffiti scene.

You are obviously quite passionate about street art and graffiti. 

Yes, I have been addicted to it for as long as I can remember, and I officially started documenting it in 2007. I love its unique beauty and grand size. It’s gutsy and challenging.  Just seeing it gives me an adrenalin rush!

I can relate to that! When did you begin this NYC project?

I became avidly serious about it about 14 months ago at Welling Court while watching Kingbee paint. He was the first to sign a photo.


And we all love your shots that the artists sign. It’s a brilliant concept. I wish I had thought of it myself! Did anything in particular inspire it?

Through documenting street art, graffiti and art/fashion mixes for my blog, I became even more interested in documenting the artists “in process.”  It became my way of paying respect to them and the hard work they put into each piece on the walls.  I felt that it was a unique and personal addition to the black book. And when artists began to respond enthusiastically, I continued.

Where is the project headed?

Well, people keep on asking me what I’m doing with it. Originally I was just doing it for myself. It was meant as a personal diary of photos to hang on my wall. But artists I’ve photographed and other people in the scene have suggested that I follow up on publishing a book and launching an exhibit that feature the works. And so in addition to what I do with my standard photography equipment, my primary focus now is on this project. Talks are now in the works for a series of books, gallery shows and select prints. I will never sell the originals, but I will choose, with the assistance of the artists, a select number to make into prints.

That sounds great! Who are some of the artists have you photographed?

They range from such legends as Blek le Rat, Lady Pink, Charlie Ahearn, Lee Quinones, Crash, Futura and Kenny Scharf to contemporary masters such as Shepard Fairey, Logan Hicks, Sp.One, Wane, Chris Stain, Billy Mode, Stik, Stinkfish, RWK and Icy and Sot. And I can’t imagine ever stopping!

J"oe Iurato and Rubin415"

Note: You can follow Leanna on Instagram at @leannav & #instantartexposure, in addition to her blog and her soon-to-be-launched website

Interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky.

Leanna’s photos: 1. Buff Monster 2. Veng RWK 3. Hoacs 4. Queen Andrea 5. Rubin & Joe Iurato

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

Joe Iurato in Bushwick

"Joe Iurato"

Danielle Mastrion at the Bushwick Collective

"Danielle Mastrion"

Chris Stain at the Bushwick Collective

"Chris Stain"

Stinkfish in Bushwick for the Juicyartfest


Icy and Sot in Crown Heights, Brooklyn

"icy and sot"

Zimer in Bushwick for the Bushwick Collective


Photos of Danielle Mastrion and Zimer by Dani Reyes Mozeson; of Joe Iurato, Chris Stain, Stinkfish and Icy and Sot by Lois Stavsky


"Joe Iurato"

Intrigued by the small artworks that surface unexpectedly thoughout New York City, Amy Young has curated a delightful exhibit featuring small works by over a dozen artists.  Here’s a sampling:

Another cut-out by Joe Iurato

"Joe Iurato cut-out"

Elbow-Toe, close-up

"Elbow Toe"





Jaye Moon

"Jaye Moon"

Other featured artists include: Jilly Ballistic, C215, Clown Soldier, Enzo and Nio, Gilf!, Jay Shells, Shin Shin and Wing.  A closing party will take place tomorrow, April 4, from 5-9pm. The works will remain on exhibit through Sunday at R. Jampol Projects, 191 Henry Street between Clinton and Jefferson on the Lower East Side.

Photos: 1. courtesy of  the gallery; 2. 3. & 5.  Sara Mozeson; 4 & 6, City-as-School intern Dea Sumrall


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

 Joe Iurato at the Bushwick Collective

Joe-Iurato-at-the-Bushwick-Collective 2

And the completed piece

Joe-Iurato-Never-Let-Go 2

Miss 163 in Hunts Point, the Bronx

Miss 163

LNY and Axel Void at the Bushwick Collective

LNY and Axel Void

Rene Gagnon at Welling Court in Astoria, Queens

Rene Gagnon

Ewok and Owns in Bushwick

Owns and Ewok

Robots Will Kill in Bushwick, close up from huge wall by Chris, Veng and ECB


Unidentified artist in Chelsea — spotted last week


First photo of Joe Iurato by Tara Murray; final photo by Dani Reyes Mozeson; all others by Lois Stavsky

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

Chris Stain and Billy Mode at the Bushwick Collective

Chris Stain and Billy Mode

Joe Iurato at the Bushwick Collective

Joe Iurato

And at Cheryl Hazan Contemporary Art

Joe Iurato

CAW — Creative Arts Workshops for Kids — in East Harlem

CAW public art

 Iranian artist Mad in Bushwick


Icy and Sot in Bushwick

Icy and Sot

Baltimore-based Nether in Brooklyn


John Ahearn and Rigoberto Torres in the South Bronx

John Ahearn

Swoon — close-up — in Red Hook, Brooklyn



Photos by Dani Mozeson, Tara Murray and Lois Stavsky


Speaking with Joe Iurato

February 27, 2013

Joe Iurato

Joe Iurato‘s splendid stencil art graces the streets and galleries of New York City and beyond. We recently had the opportunity to visit Joe’s studio and find out more about him.

When and where did you start getting up?

Around 2006. I was working over in SoHo for a magazine, and I started by going out and putting up small works on my lunch breaks. I’m a bit of late bloomer when it comes to getting up in the streets, but I guess better late than never.

What inspired you?

My earliest inspirations came from graff, which heavily influenced the b-boy culture I was part of as a kid. Then, in my mid-teens, I started skateboarding and the lines began to blur among the styles of art that surrounded me. Wasn’t so much letterform as it was snakes poppin’ from the eyesockets of toxic green skulls and less refined scrawlings addressing social issues. I liked it all, and I was actively drawing and painting in all styles. I’d always secluded myself with my art, though. Never really liked to show anyone. But something was appealing about being able to share it publicly, without having to tell someone, “That’s mine. I did that.” Just leave it there, and let people take what they may from it. Eventually, the inspiration outweighed the hesitation, and I gave it a shot.

Joe Iurato

What was your most memorable “street art” experience?

In New Brunswick, I did a large piece of a kid praying on a trestle. When I went back to paint again a few months later, a homeless man approached me, pointed to that first piece I did and said, “I don’t care what you do, but if you touch that piece, I’ll kill you.” That made me realize just how important public art is.

Have you collaborated with others?

I work mostly on my own, but I’ve done a few collaborations. Some of the most memorable being with SNOW, SUE WORKS, and Chris Stain.

Have you ever been arrested?

No, I haven’t. I think largely because the risks I’ve taken were fairly calculated. I’m a father trying to support and raise a family, and we just can’t afford fines or worse. These days, most of my work’s done on legal walls.

Joe Iurato

What is the attitude of your family?

My wife is really supportive, and my older son loves that I encourage him to paint the walls in my studio. So, for now, I’m good!

Have you exhibited your work?

Yes, I do. Currently, I’m showing a number of new pieces at Signal Gallery in London.

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

I have no objections to it. Artists and their families deserve to eat, too.

What about festivals? Have you participated in any street art festivals or special events?

Yes. I’ve painted at Welling Court in Queens, at the Living Walls Conference in Albany, at Willoughby Windows in downtown Brooklyn, the G40 Summits in DC, Electric Windows in Beacon, NY, the Art of Basketball in Miami, and regularly at Fountain Art Fair to name a few.

Joe Iurato

Do you have any favorite surfaces?

I love weathered surfaces and texture, but it can sometimes be difficult to work with when I’m applying stencils. For what I do, the smoother, the better. Cinder block, steel, etc…

What percentage of you time is devoted to art?

I’d say 30-40%.

What is the main source of your income?

There is no one source. I sell art, but I also work in a restaurant and write a weekly wine column for a North Jersey newspaper group.

How do you feel about the graffiti street art divide?

To me, that argument doesn’t make much sense. We’re more or less doing the same thing. Maybe some of the ideology is different and the methods and materials, but we’re expressing ourselves creatively and publicly. Regardless, if you work in the streets, you have to respect your roots. It all started with the graffiti writers.

Joe Iurato

And what about the Internet? How do you feel about the role of the Internet in all of this?

Like everything else, there are pros and cons. It’s a great way to share your work and network with the community, but it can also make anyone a superstar. Some great artists can get lost in the madness of the Internet.

Do you have a formal arts education?

I studied for three years at Montclair State University, but then I quit to study wine.

Did your art education benefit you?

It helped me understand color theory and composition. I also loved art history. But I can’t say any of it directly affected my aesthetic or technique.

What inspires you these days?

I’m inspired by what I’m doing and how I’m living, which is why the subject matter and even the mood of my work is constantly changing. At the moment, I’m influenced by a place I’ve been frequenting. It’s an abandoned space near my home with a long, complex history. I’ve been relatively obsessed with documenting it for a few years, and now it’s showing in my work

Joe Iurato

How has your work evolved throughout the years?

I think I have a deeper understanding of my own stencil art. I’ve explored everything from single layer to 15 layer pieces, and its taken years to develop some sort of continuity and fluidity. I feel I’ve finally arrived at a comfortable and consistent method of cutting. That said, I’ve begun challenging myself elsewhere, experimenting with new applications in addition to the stencils.

Are there any artists who particularly inspire you?

There are so many, I’ll kick myself later for forgetting anyone. But on a personal note, the one person I’d like to mention is Logan Hicks. While I don’t have to say anything about how dope his stencil art is, he’s become a close friend and mentor through the years. His work ethic has always inspired me. The dude never rests. He never sits in a pocket just complacent with what he’s done, and it’s not a day or two after a successful opening that he’s back at the grind exploring something new. There are plenty artists out there who’ll also vouch for him being this central figure that’s brought so many of us together. That, and he’s a family man. I admire and respect him.

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

Public art, especially, in the here and now is a powerful tool that can spark healthy conversation, debate, and even change. But I think that “art” collectively always makes more sense in the future. It helps put a time stamp on our culture, and will in some way define us when there’s little left of our fleeting existence on this planet.

Joe Iurato

What do you see yourself doing in the next five years?

Hopefully continuing along this path. Evolving my work, sharing more of it inside and out, still doing the wine thing, and being able to give my family all they need and deserve through doing what I love.

Wow! Good luck and, of course, we’re thrilled that you are doing what you are doing!

Photos by Lenny Collado, Dani Mozeson, Tara Murray and Lois Stavsky

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Some wonderful walls have recently surfaced in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Here is a sampling:

Belgian artist Roa

"Roa street art"

"Roa street art" More after the jump!

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