Meres One

Tracing the emergence of graffiti from an underground subculture into a legitimate profession, Duality: A Graffiti Story — directed by Ryan Dowling — focuses on the struggles and successes of five noted graffiti artists. In the Buffalo 8 documentary feature film, legendary writers Meres One, Dual, Sloke, Jaber and Never1959 share their challenges and ventures as they reflect on their personal journeys in this ever-evolving culture.

Many graffiti writers — who were initially deemed as vandals for their tagging and illegal interventions — now earn wide recognition and respect for their stirring murals that grace cities across the globe. Their aesthetics have made their way inside and outside a range of upscale properties from luxury hotels to major corporations — who court them to enhance the “coolness” of their brands.

Once working mainly clandestinely, these artists now foster community, as they share their talents openly with others — who are eager to learn from their skills or simply observe and photograph them as they paint. And as their artwork begins to blur the lines between graffiti, urban art and fine art, it also increasingly finds a home in galleries.

Among the film’s recurrent themes is the artists’ addiction to getting up and their deep love for graffiti. “I’ll probably never ever not want to write my name on something. It’s an addiction for sure,” states Dual. “It’s amazing that there’s that opportunity to bridge the gap from doing illegal graffiti to doing commercial work with big companies.”

Among the many highlights of Duality: A Graffiti Story is the account of the vast achievements and horrific demise of Long Island City’s 5Pointz— as related by its curator and founder Meres One and advocate Marie Cecile Flageul.

Several screenshots from the riveting documentary follow:

NYC-based Meres One, founder and curator of the iconic graffiti mecca 5Pointz — whose talents continue to make their way onto walls, huge canvases, lightbulbs and varied corporate settings.

On the site of citizenM New York Bowery hotel where Meres painted this stained glass-inspired piece

Houston, Texas-based Dual, best known for his wheat pastes — whose body of artwork includes everything from meticulously-made tape collages to sign painting to huge commissioned murals that beautify cities

Dual, The Rice Box River Oaks Mural

Austin, Texas native Sloke — who, in addition to painting, curating and mentoring youth — has produced murals for a range of companies including Apple, Facebook, Nike, Google, Red Bull and Time Warner

Sloke mentoring young man on the art of graffiti

West Coast-based Jaber (ala El Ninja Blanco) — who has been making his mark on the streets since the early 9o’s and now does — among other things — design for major fashion companies and film sets

Jaber, Along the tracks

Los Angeles-based Never1959 — who is best-known for his large scale murals on buildings around Los Angeles

Never‘s 50-foot high mural that parodies the 1958 Orson Welles film noir “Touch of Evil” 

The premiere of this splendid homage to graffiti will take place tomorrow, October 19th, in Austin, Texas. And beginning Oct. 21, it will be available on Amazon Prime, AppleTV/iTunes, Google Play, Vudu, and YouTube movies.

And you can check out the trailer below:

All images courtesy Buffalo 8 

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Earlier this summer, several members of the OTM Graff Crew brought their spectacular skills to Bushwick, where they fashioned their distinctly impressive rendition of  Jurassic World Dominion. Featured above are the talents of Cortes and Scope against a background created by Cortes, Meres, Albertus Joseph and Topaz. Several more images captured from the huge production follow:

Cortes against collaborative background, closer-up

Meres, 5Pointz founder, who spearheaded this production

Austin, Texas-based Sloke One

Close-up  from collaborative background 

NYC-based Image

Boston-bred Qwizm

NYC-based Geobany

Photos: Lois Stavsky

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Under the curatorial skills and direction of NJ-based Darrius-Jabbar Sollas aka Nasty Neo, the rotating walls in Hackensack’s Union Street Park brim with bold rhythms and swooping patterns. Featured above is the work of NYC-bred, Jersey City-based Raul Rubio aka Sue Works. Several more recently-captured images follow:

New York-based Jamie Hef

Bronx native Yes One

Brooklyn-based 5PointzCreates founder Meres One

Bronx native Abe BT5

Bronx native Pase BT

Bronx Team veteran writer Jew

A segment of the park — featuring (from left to right) TenseOneMeres OneSue Works, Sade TCM, HefPase and Jew

Photos: Dani Reyes Mozeson

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This past weekend the Graffiti Hall of Fame celebrated its 39th anniversary in the famed schoolyard on 106th Street and Park Avenue in East Harlem. Pictured above is a b-boy celebrating Duster‘s vibrant piece. Several more images captured at the event follow:

Bronx-based Tony 164 with spray can in hand

Per One FX with spray can in hand — with Shiro and more to the left of his piece

Lower East Side-based Hektad

Yonkers-native Blame FX

5Pointz Creates founder Meres One

Graffiti Hall of  Fame director and veteran writer James Top in front of small segment of his tribute mural to Dondi

Special thanks to Scratch for helping us identify and introducing us to so many legendary writers.

Photo credits: 1-5 and 7 Ana Candelaria; 6 Lois Stavsky

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Gracing the 21-floor staircase of the new citizenM New York Bowery is MoSA (the Museum of Street Art), a rich range of images and words fashioned by 21 5 Pointz Creates artists under the curatorial direction of Marie Cecile Flageul. After visiting the soon-to-open hotel, I had the opportunity to speak to Marie who, along with 5 Pointz founder Meres One, has been directing the project since its inception:

This project is quite remarkable! Can you tell us a bit about its background? 

In Fall 2016, we held our first meeting with citizenM‘s chief marketing officer, Robin Chadha, a huge art lover who is intent on integrating art into his projects. He had been following the entire 5 Pointz story from Amsterdam, where he is based. He approached us because he was interested in bringing back a bit of 5 Pointz to NYC. The result is MoSA,

What about the staircase installation, A Vertical Love Letter to the Bowery? What is the concept behind it?

citizenM tries to understand and embrace the communities they move into. And this particular Lower Manhattan neighborhood has an incredibly rich history, which we attempted to capture with images of significant faces, places, moments and words.

How did you decide which artists to include?

Every artist included had contributed to 5 Pointz. Once I came up with the story line and quotations, it was easy for me to select artists. I had learned from Meres how to look at aerosol art and understand its visual voice.

What were some of the challenges that came your way in the course of managing and curating this project?

A major challenge was giving up control and trusting the artists once they understood the concept and direction of the project. There were also several logistic issues. There was no air conditioning early on, and the lack of elevators became a joke. But it all evolved into a kind of musical chaos, as all of the workers and staff here have been incredibly enthusiastic and supportive.

As it is nearing completion, what are your thoughts regarding the final outcome of this project?

I am humbled by the amount of love, hard work and dedication every artist has put into this project. Their attention to detail has inspired me. I am hopeful that thousands will see it — 5000 square feet that anyone can enjoy and a priceless gift to Downtown Manhattan.

How can folks who are not hotel guests gain access to the exhibit?

As early as October 1, anyone can come into the lobby — between 10am and 5pm — with ID and walk through the exhibition. I will be giving a personal tour to the first 500 folks who register. Groups of 10 or more people can email me at marie@5ptz.com 

Congratulations! And what a great way for visitors and students to learn about the history of this historic neighborhood! I look forward to revisiting it soon.

Note: All of the artists who participated in this project are identified here, and brief interviews with them with videography by Rae Maxwell, along with original soundtrack by Say Word Entertainment artists Rabbi Darkside and The Grand Affair, can be viewed here. In addition to A Vertical Love Letter to the Bowery, a court installation is underway by Rubin 415, Esteban del ValleDon Rimx, Lady Pink and Meres One. And gracing the plaza outside the hotel’s entrance is a captivating mural by Meres One, blurring the line between graffiti and fine art.

citizenM New York Bowery is located at 189 Bowery off Delancey Street.

Images:

1. Meres One

2. Marie and Meres on roof top of citizenM New York Bowery

3. Nicholai Khan

4. See TF

5. Zimad

6. Vince Ballentine

7. Kenji Takabayashi  aka Python

8. Elle

9. Noir

Interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky; photos by Lois Stavsky

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We love how the walls at Brooklyn Reclaimed — under the curatorial direction of Meres One — have become rotating outdoor canvases.  Pictured above is Panic Rodriguez at work. Here are a few more recent murals —  some captured while in progress, and others when completed.

Amuze

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ZA One at work

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Kais

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Wore at work

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Kenji Takabayashi aka Python

kenji-graffiti-brooklyn-reclaimed-nyc

Pase, BT

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Meres

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Photo credits: 1, 3 & 5 Tara Murray; 2, 4, 6-8 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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With its vibrantly seductive murals, the exterior of Brooklyn Reclaimed — curated by Meres One — has become an oasis of color and style.  Here are a few more graffiti murals that have recently surfaced — all by artists who’d frequented the former 5Pointz:

Demer

demer-graffiti-brooklyn-reclaimed

Topaz and Jerms

topaz-Jerms-graffiti-brooklyn

Zimad

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Bishop 203 aka Jats

Jats-graffiti-Bushwick

Photos by City-as-School intern Sol Raxlen

Keep posted to our Facebook page and Instagram for more graffiti and street art on the grounds of Brooklyn Reclaimed.

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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5Pointz lives! Its spirit has been revived on the grounds of Brooklyn Reclaimed, a Bushwick-based company that specializes in the design and construction of handcrafted furniture fashioned from reclaimed wood. On our visit to Brooklyn Reclaimed earlier this week, we caught a glimpse of some completed works and many in progress. Here is a sampling:

Meres-One-5PointzCreates-at-Brooklyn-Reclaimed

Ben Angotti at work

Ben-Angotti-street-art-5Pointzcreates-at-Brooklyn-Reclaimed-NYC

Toofly

toofly-5pointzcreates-streetart-Brooklyn-Reclaimed-NYC

Sloke One

sloke-graffiti-5Pointz-creates-Bushwick-nyc

Amuze, Topaz and Poet

amuze-topaz-poet-graffiti-5Pointzcreates-brooklyn-Reclaimed

Demer and Kenji

demer-graffiti-5pointz-creates

And to celebrate the launch of the Brooklyn Reclaimed yard curated by 5 Pointzcreates, an exhibit will take place this Saturday featuring a range of new original artwork on reclaimed wood and much more.

Reclaimed-Group-Art-Show

Photos: 1 courtesy of Tim Spence of Brooklyn Reclaimed; 2 & 3 Lois Stavsky; 4-6 Tara Murray

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This past Sunday, the 5Pointz family continued its transformation of August Martin HS with some of the finest international, national and local artists adding their talents and visions to the extraordinary indoor gallery the school has become. Here’s a small sampling of more of the works that now grace the hallways and doors of the Jamaica, Queens high school:

El Niño de las Pinturas in from Spain

El-Nino-de-las-Pinturas-art-August-Martin-High-School

NYC-based Ben Angotti

"Ben Angotti"

Queens-based Nicholai Khan with August Martin student Justin Price (interviewed by Street Art NYC) and project co-curator Marie Cecile Flaegul

"Nicholai Kahn"

Trace, New Wave Crew at work

Trace-graffiti-august-martin-high-school

Skio in from Paris and Brooklyn-based Elle

skio-and-elle-art

Bronx-native Andre Trenier at work

andre-trenier-paints

NYC’s ZaOne

zaone-graffiti-stay-in-school

5Pointz curator Meres One

Meres-light-bulbs-august-martin-high-school

Note: The school will be open to the public on Thursday, June 11, from 4-8pm.

Keep posted to the StreetArtNYC Facebook page for many more images of the amazing artworks.

Photo credits: 1, 3, 6 & 8 Lois Stavsky; 2, 4, 5 & 7 Tara Murray

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T-Kid

This past weekend over 100 artists — including such graffiti legends as T-Kid 170, Cey Adams, Cycle, Claw Money and Part One — transformed the blank white walls of August Martin High School into a dazzling, brilliant canvas. Curatated by Meres One with Marie Cecile Flaegul, the freshly-painted artworks represent a multitude of cultures, sensibilities and styles. While visiting yesterday, I had the opportunity to speak to August Martin student, Justin Price.

This is all so amazing! Your school is an absolute wonderland! What inspired this magical change?

The walls in our school were recently painted white. They looked dull and unwelcoming. We wanted to bring color and life to our surroundings, so that we would look forward to coming to school. And we wanted to look at art that we could relate to and that reflected our culture.

Will-Kasso-grafffiti-August-Martin-High-School

Whose concept was this?

August Martin’s Future Project Dream Team surveyed 500 students to find out what change they most wanted in our school. The students’ consensus was that they wanted to change the appearance of the school’s interior.

cey-adams-graffiti-august-martin-high-school

Once you knew what you wanted to do, what were some of the challenges you faced? 

We had to come up with a proposal and a budget. That took us at least a month. Then we had to identify artists who could work with us. That was our biggest challenge until we were introduced to Meres and Marie of 5Pointz.

Zeso-graffiti

How have things been working out since you met them?

Once we met up with Meres and Marie, everything went smoothly. Meres is an amazing artist and knows so many other amazing artists. And I just can’t say enough about Marie! She is so conscientious and caring.

Miss-Zukie-character-art-august-martin-high-school

Most of the students haven’t yet seen the murals. But what kind of response have you gotten from those who have seem them?

They love them. They can’t wait to pose for photos in front of them!

Steve-Lew-art-Gillian-Smith

Part-One-graffiti-august-martin-high-school

And how have the teachers responded to this project? 

Their response has been positive. They know that if the students are happy and motivated, their jobs are easier.

meres-graffiti-art-august-martin-high-school

Reme-graffiti-art-August-martin-high-school

And what about your principal, Ms. Smith?

She’s been 100% behind it. She’s worked hard to make sure that it happens and she has been here with us all weekend.

Remiks-graffiti-See-tf-Portrait-August-Martin-High-School

Why do you suppose there are so many underachievers among the students here?

Many of the students here lack the support systems they need, and they feel easily discouraged.  So many are talented and really love discovering new things.

Cycle-close-up-graffiti-art-August-Martin-High-School

I don’t doubt it!  What are your thoughts about this project and its possible impact?

I love it! It makes me so happy! And I think it will have a great impact on the other students.

sembakkus-graffiti-art-august-martin-high-school

Why is the project called Operation Skittles? I’ve been wondering about that!

Actually, there are two reasons!  Skittles are colorful and this project brings color to our school. And Skittles are the favorite snack of  Syreeta Gates, the Future Project Dream director here at August Martin.

BK-Foxx-art-mural-august-martin-high-school_edited-1

Now that makes sense! How lucky you students at August Martin are to have realized Operation Skittles!

Note: Keep posted to the Street Art NYC Facebook page for more images and for news about an event at August Martin open to the public in early June.

Photos and interview by Lois Stavsky

1. T-Kid 170

2. Will Kasso

3. Cey Adams

4. Zeso and Awez

5, Miss Zukie

6. Kid Lew with August Martin principal Gillian Smith standing to his left

7. Part One

8. Meres One

9. Reme 821

10. Remiks and See TF

11. Cycle

12. Sjembakkus — in from Amsterdam

13. BK Foxx

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