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


Featuring dozens of works in a range of media by the late legendary Jean-Michel Basquiat, along with artworks by several of his key contemporaries, “Writing the Future: Basquiat and the Hip-Hop Generation” continues at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts through July 25. The image featured above, “Hollywood Africans,” fashioned in 1983 by Basquiat with acrylic and oilstick on canvas, portrays the artist, Rammellzee and Toxic, as it documents the time the three artists spent together in Los Angeles.  Several more of the exhibition’s highlights — as seen on my recent visit –follow:

Jean-Michel Basquiat, Anthony Clarke (aka A-One), 1985, Acrylic, oil and collage on wood

Jean-Michel Basquiat, Ero, 1984, Acrylic, oilstick and Xerox collage on paper

The late multi-media artist and hip-hop pioneer Rammellzee, Super Robber, 1985, Mixed media on canvas

NYC graffiti pioneer and acclaimed fine artist Futura, Untitled, 1982, Spray paint and marker on paper

Keith Haring and LA2 collaboration, Suit for Madonna, 1984 Acrylic on leather

Legendary graffiti pioneer Lady Pink and neo-conceptual artist Jenny Holzer collaboration, Tear Ducts Seem to Be a Grief Provision, 1983-84, Spray paint on canvas

A tribute to those who “fueled new directions in fine art, design, and music, driving the now-global popularity of hip-hop culture,”  “Writing the Future: Basquiat and the Hip-Hop Generation”  is accompanied by an illustrated catalogue produced by MFA Publications and edited by co-curators Liz Munsell, the MFA’s Lorraine and Alan Bressler Curator of Contemporary Art, and Greg Tate.

Photos of artworks: Lois Stavsky


Brimming with exuberant energy and stylishly striking images, HIGH & TIGHT, LA2‘s solo exhibition, is a cause for celebration.  Proclaimed by Keith Haring — with whom he had collaborated in the 80’s — as the “Graffiti King of the Lower East Side,” LA2 is tighter than ever. Pictured above is LA2 standing next to the exhibit’s curator and gallerist, Jonathan Satin. Several more images captured while I visited the space at 198 Allen Street on Manhattan’s Lower East Side follow:

Installation of several canvases, sneakers, skateboard deck and more 


Several more artworks and memorabilia reminiscent of LA2’s collaborations with Keith Haring

Canvases, repurposed traffic sign, skateboard deck, guitar and collaboration with London-based Stik


You can join LA2 tonight — from 8-11pm — at 198 Allen Street. He promises “live painting and dancing” in celebration of Independence Day. And through Sunday’s 5pm closing, the space is open every day from 12-8pm

Photos: Lois Stavsky

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 first New York edition of the Urban Art Fair continues through 3pm tomorrow afternoon at Spring Studios in Tribeca.  The artworks pictured above are collaborative works by NYC graffiti pioneers Revolt and  Lin Felton aka Quik at the Green Flowers Art Gallery booth. What follows are several more images of urban artworks, representative of a range of styles, genres and techniques.

NYC native, Paris-based JonOne with Fabien Castainer


Lower East Side-based LA2 with Dorian Grey Projects


Swoon with Taglialatella Galleries


French artist Swiz with David Bloch Gallery


NYC-based multi-media artist Alexis Duque with H Gallery


Nick Walker with Galerie Brugier-Rigail


Bronx-based graffiti legend John Matos aka Crash for Spring Studios


The Urban Art Fair continues at 50 Varick Street today until 9pm and tomorrow, Monday, from 11am to 3pm. Ticket information is available here.

Photo credits: 1, 3, 7 & 8 Karin du Maire; 2, 4-6 Sara C Mozeson

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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Speaking with LA2

February 3, 2014

"Keith Haring and LA2"

Based on the Lower East Side, LA2 creates bold, brightly-colored energetic works on a range of surfaces. Befriended by the legendary Keith Haring as a young teen, LA2 is best-known for his distinct tag that has earned him accolades both on the streets and in galleries and museums world-wide.  I recently had the opportunity to interview him:

When and where did you first start tagging up?

I was 10 when I first started tagging. The street was my canvas.  I lived on the Lower East Side, and so those were the streets that I hit.

Who or what inspired you at the time?

I noticed kids at the Boys Club and in school tagging up. And I was inspired by Lee Quinones’s work that I saw on subway cars and on walls in my neighborhood.


Did you tag alone or did you work with crews back in the day?

It didn’t matter.  I just wanted to tag up.  I worked mostly alone, but I did get up with TNS (The Non Stoppers) and El 3 (RIP), who later died when he was electrocuted by the 3rd rail.

You went on to collaborate with Keith Haring.  How did you first meet Keith?

Keith was looking for me.  He had seen my tag and wanted to find me.  When Keith was working on a mural at Junior High School 22, Richie SOE came to my house and told me that Keith wants to meet me, and so I went over there.

How did Keith Haring’s work change after meeting you?

Before he met me, he was doing mostly simple characters. After we began working together, his work became more energetic. And soon after Rock Hudson announced that he had AIDS, Keith came out of the closet, and his artwork took on a more sexual tone.

LA2 art

What was it like collaborating with Keith?

It was great.  I’ve always been fond of Keith as a person and as an artist.  We travelled to Europe together, and Keith made sure that I was paid what was due me.  I feel grateful to Keith, but not to the Keith Haring Foundation. But that’s another story.

Your artwork has been exhibited in galleries worldwide. How do you feel about the movement of graffiti and street art into galleries?

I think it’s great.  It’s a win-win for both galleries and artists. We artists have to make money to keep doing what we’re doing.

Any thoughts about the graffiti-street art divide?

There’s less and less of a divide.  After Keith Haring collaborated with me, the museums had no choice but to accept graffiti.  This past year, I became the first writer to paint in the Children’s Museum of the East End in the Hamptons.


Who are some of your favorite artists?

They’re all dead.  Keith Haring, Andy Warhol, and Basquiat were my favorites.

Do you prefer working alone or collaborating with others?

I generally work alone.  But in addition to Keith Haring, I’ve collaborated with quite a few artists including Richard Hambleton, Kenny Scharf and my girlfriend’s daughter, Jasmin.  And when Stik was in from London this past fall, I collaborated with him.

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

I think it’s great.  Since my girlfriend, Ramona, created the website, we’ve received invitations from galleries overseas in such countries as Italy and Germany.


Do you have a formal art education?

No, I’m self-taught. I dropped out of Seward Park High School to travel with Keith Haring and help him establish his career. 

What is the riskiest thing you ever did?

Just getting my tag up is risky.  I’ve spent time in jail for that.  Whenever I take my dog, Nico, for a walk, I tag when he pees. And I’ve gotten locked up for that, along with Nico. He’s gotten locked up, too! 

What inspires your art?

It’s inspired by my emotions…the things I go through… my thoughts and feelings.  Creating art is how I express myself.


Do you work with a sketch in hand?

Never, it’s all straight out of my head.

Are you generally satisfied with your finished piece?

I’m always happy.  I love them all.

How has your work evolved through the years?

It has gotten more detailed.  There’s more line work and people tell me that it’s tighter.

What do you see as your role  — as an artist — in society?

My particular role is to educate kids on how to express their creativity in a healthy way.  They need to use the right materials and to cover their faces.  I developed health problems (COPD) by not protecting myself when painting.  I love lecturing kids and working with them. I will be doing a workshop with children this spring at the Angel Orensanz Center in conjunction with the Fridge Art Fair.


What do you see as the future of graffiti?

It’s going to become more and more valued as an art form.

The Europeans have always seemed to value it more than we have. Why do you suppose they are so much more receptive to graffiti than we here in the States are?

It’s because they appreciate art more, in general.  It’s always been that way. And on a personal level, Paul Kostabi sold my art in Italy 20 years ago, gaining the attention and appreciation of Europeans.

What’s ahead for you?

Traveling, exhibiting both here and overseas, educating the youth and continuing to become healthier.

Editor’s note: A selection of LA2’s work in on exhibit at City as Canvas: Graffiti Art from the Martin Wong Collection at the Museum of the City of New York. Curated by Sean Corcoran, it opens tomorrow, February 4, and continues through August 24.

Interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky;  first two photos — of LA2 collaborating with Keith Haring and of LA2 tagging — originally published in Keith Haring, Rizzoli — courtesy of LA2; all other photos by Dani Reyes Mozeson


"Angel Ortiz aka LA2"

For its second annual Young Collectors Exhibition, the Leila Heller Gallery is featuring an exuberant selection of works in a wide range of media by Angel Ortiz aka LA2 and LaROC. Befriended as a young teen by the late Keith Haring, the two clearly influenced one another. And in this exhibit, as in so much of LA2’s artwork, Keith Haring’s spirit is visibly alive. There is even an LA2 Pop-Up Shop dedicated solely to LA2’s objects, reminiscent of Keith Haring’s Pop Shop, a fixture for almost 20 years on Lafayette Street in lower Manhattan. Here are a few images from the exhibit that continues through Wednesday, January 8, at 568 West 25th Street in Chelsea.

Spring Flow

"Angel Ortiz aka LA2"

Heart Clock

"Angel Ortiz aka LA2"


"Angel Ortiz aka LA2"

Tribal Mask

"Angel Ortiz aka LA2"


"Angel Ortiz aka LA2"

And some personalized graffiti made available to guests on opening night

"Angel Ortiz aka LA2"

 First and final photos captured on opening night by Dani Reyes Mozeson; all others by Lois Stavsky

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East meets West, and calligraphy meets graffiti at the Leila Heller Gallery in Calligraffiti: 1984-2013. And this past Thursday’s panel discussion, moderated by Leila Heller, provided an intimate glimpse into the disparate worlds that initially converged in a gallery setting in the exhibit that Ms. Heller and Jeffrey Deitch curated 30 years ago. After Leila Heller began the talk by sharing her personal and professional history, the five participants — Ayad Alkadhi, eL SeedFab Five FreddyLA2 and Rostarr presented their distinct experiences and observations.  Following are a selection of images from the exhibit and from Thursday’s panel discussion.

South Korean native Rostarr


Rostarr shares a bit of his history


Paris-based eL Seed


eL Seed to the left of Fab Five Freddy who spoke of his early determination to get graffiti the recognition it deserved

El Seed and Fab Five Freddy

NYC-based LA2, whose tag has been part of the Lower East Side’s visual landscape for over 35 years


And an early collaboration with Keith Haring

Keith Haring and LA2

The exhibit continues through October 5th at the Leila Heller Gallery, 568 West 25th Street.

Photos and reportage by Dani Reyes Mozeson