Mr. Mustart

While exploring the streets of Jersey City in the vicinity of the Grove Street station off the Path train, I found myself riveted by one particular block. Along Coles and First Street, an eclectic range of graffiti pieces and street art murals rotate regularly. I was struck by their authenticity and their inherent spirit of community. I soon found out that the person behind them is Jersey City-native Wyme Santos. A man with a mission, he is the founder and curator of the community-based organization, JC Hundreds Mural Co. While visiting on a Sunday earlier this summer — when artists were busily painting — I had the opportunity to meet Wyme and find out a bit about his ongoing project:

Can you tell us something about the name of your company, JC Hundreds? What is its significance?

It all starts with one mural. And with one wall at a time, we soon have 100 murals that beautify a neighborhood. A culture can then develop that encompasses hundreds of murals.

About how many murals have you facilitated since you began this project?

In the course of two years, I’ve curated about 400 murals throughout Jersey City.

It is this block that captured my attention. How did you get the space to do this?

I reclaimed it. Once a block that had hosted a range of art and a traditional art supply store, it had become largely neglected.

Several of these artists are from Jersey City.

Yes, most are from New Jersey, and many are local, as we try to represent Jersey City’s diversity.

It’s wonderful how this space is so inviting and open. 

Yes, I like providing artists with a place to practice, paint or just hang out. I see art as a therapeutic medium.

That is the ideal! The energy here reminds me somewhat of 5Pointz, the LIC graffiti Mecca that was destroyed to give way to soulless condominiums. 

Yes! It’s about having the right energy and embodying the true spirit of graffiti.

What are some of the challenges you face in seeing your mission through?

Obtaining permissions in a variety of  locales throughout Jersey City is one challenge. I want to provide more legal spaces for artists. Art saves lives.

Can you tell us more about what you are doing in addition to curating walls?

I recently started a children’s program for mural art. We teach kids, ages 6-12, the ground rules of graffiti. They learn how they can uphold the culture, engage with the community and use eco-friendly paint. Two of them, V¡V and KüP, aka toodope_grlz, were the only kids who painted in the Jersey City Mural Festival. There are still some openings in our ongoing Summer Spray Paint Camp.

Do any personal graffiti-related memories stand out? I love your style! It’s quite distinct.

I remember meeting Rime, Nace and Sek when I was about 14. I had just caught a tag when I overheard Nace telling Sek, “You gotta write like him. You need to flow like him,” pointing to my tag.

Wow! What’s ahead?

I am working towards acquiring 501(c) status as a nonprofit organization and establishing a year-long program that engages children. And, of course, finding more spaces outdoors and indoors for artists to practice and paint.

Good luck with it all!

Images:

1 Wyme Santos in front of segment of mural by enemthagreat

2 Wyme Santos

3 John Exit

4 Byas

5 Avery

6 Ray Arcadio (L) and Distort (R) memorial walls

7 enemthagreat

8 Mr Mustart

www.jchundredsmuralco.com

10 Ree Vilomar

Interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky

Photo credits: 1, 5, 7 & 10 Tara Murray; 2-4, 6 & 8 Lois Stavsky

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Prolific, passionate, and hugely inventive, both Clarence Rich and Mr Mustart are among Jersey City’s most prominent street artists. POLARITY: New works by CLARENCE RICH & MR. MUSTART, showcases their talents  — individually and collaboratively — in a tantalizing exhibition that continues through April 13 at Jersey City’s PRIME Gallery.  The image pictured above, 3rd Eye, was fashioned with mixed media on canvas by Clarence Rich. Several more images from the exhibit — curated by PRIME  Gallery director, Maria Kosdan — follow:

Mr Mustart, Polaris, Mixed media on canvas, 11 x 14”

Clarence Rich, Solace Sky, Mixed media on canvas, 24 x 30”

Mr Mustart, Dry Ice, Mixed media on canvas 16 x 20”

Clarence Rich, Hippy, Mixed media on canvas, 16 x 20”

Mr Mustart, All Eyes On You, Mixed media on canvas, 40 x 60”

Clarence Rich & Mr Mustart, Poetic Justice, Mixed media on canvas, 11 x 14”

And painted directly onto the wall by Clarence Rich & Mr Mustart

PRIME Gallery is located at 351 Palisade Avenue in Jersey City Heights. To visit you can contact its director here.

Photo credits: 1-7 Lois Stavsky; 8 Courtesy PRIME Gallery

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This past Saturday, Green Villain and Writer’s Bench  hosted a buoyant block party at the site of the former 2015 landmark Demolition Exhibition. The hundreds of folks who attended the massive celebration were treated to live painting and music, along with food provided by local vendors. Pictured above is Newark-based Mr. Mustart. What follows are several more images captured Saturday by David Sharabani aka Lord K2.

The legendary Bronx native Skeme aka 3 Yard King at work

On the scene with Skeme aka 3 Yard King’s work in progress

Philly-based Mecro at work

Jersey City-based 4Saken painting with Molly posing

Blackbook signing

NYC-based classic writer Mone TFP

NYC-based graffiti pioneer Curve at work

Young artist takes a break

Photos by David Sharabani aka Lord K2.

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While visiting Hip-Hop Utopia: Culture + Community at Hudson County Community College‘s Dineen Hull Gallery this past Friday, I had the opportunity to speak to Michelle Vitale aka woolpunk who — along with Fred Fleisher — curated the wonderfully eclectic exhibit.

What a fabulous tribute to hip-hop this is! What would you say is the exhibit’s mission?

Its mission is to celebrate the culture of hip-hop. Its four elements —  MCing, Graffiti, DJing and Breakdancing — have had a huge, positive impact on today’s society. This exhibit is our way of paying tribute to these elements and to the community that has nurtured them.

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Did anyone or anything —  in particular — inspire it?

The notion of curating an exhibit on hip-hop was first suggested by Hudson County Community College Vice President Dr. Pando.  It seemed like a great concept, as I love the communal aspect of hip-hop. Among the many inspirations was music industry veteran Tony Drootin who serves on the board of  Hip Hop Public Health.

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Just what is Hip Hop Public Health? I see it is represented in this exhibit.

Based in NYC, Hip Hop Public Health uses music as a message to improve health literacy and encourage positive behaviors among school children.  Its founder and president, Dr. Olajide Williams, MDMS serves as Chief of Staff of Neurology at Columbia University Medical Center.  Among the artists involved in Hip Hop Public Health are: Doug E. FreshEasy A.D Harris and Jordan Sparks.

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Can you tell us something about some of your other partners? There are some great T-shirts on display here!

Among our partners is Chilltown Collective, an apparel and lifestyle brand based here in Jersey City. It was co-founded in 2015 by Lovelisa Dizon as a platform for “passionate creatives.”

chilltown-collective

And there are quite a few bikes in the gallery!

Yes! We’ve partnered with both Grove Street Bicycles and Animal BikesGrove Street Bicycles is a nearby full-service shop that sells all kinds of bikes, accessories, clothing and shoes and handles all kinds of bicycle repairs. And Animal Bikes, owned by Ralph Sinisi, supplies bike parts for BMX street riding and also sells gear.

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What are some of the challenges you faced in curating an exhibit as multi-faceted as this one?

Once we knew what direction we wanted to go with the theme of Hip-Hop, everything came together easily. Our Karma has been great! We are showcasing works of noted established artists together with talented younger ones, several who are Hudson County Community College alumni. We have local DJ’s participating, as well as spoken-word artists.  We’ve planned a range of events open to the community.

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How has the response to the exhibit been?

We’ve been open just a few days, and the response has already been great.  We’ve been featured in the Jersey Journal and listed as one of the top 10 current attractions in Jersey City.

Freddy-Samboy-Hip-Hop-Utopia

How can folks see the exhibit?

Our opening reception takes place Tuesday evening, January 31, from 6-8pm. The exhibit continues through Tuesday, February 21 at 71 Sip Avenue 6th Floor. Gallery hours are: Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Admission is free and those who attend have a chance to win a graffiti-tagged, fat-tire bicycle donated by Grove Street Bicycles.

Michelle-Vitale

Congratulations! It’s looking great!

Images

1.  Raphael Gonzalez, The Art of the Throw Up! Giz

2.  Alex Melo, Diplomatic Immunity

3.  Yishai Minkin, Biggie

4.  Karlos Carcamo, One, Two Three… 

5.  Mr Mustart with Chilltown Collective, I free myself…

6. Freddy Samboy, two works suspended from ceiling; Grove Street BicyclesDonated Fat Tire Bikes and Videos courtesy  Grove Street BicyclesAnimal & Hip Hop Public Health

7.  Raphael Gonzalez, Danielle

8. Freddy Samboy, Breaking Free

9. Jeremy Coleman Smith, DJ Shrine with Michelle Vitale aka wool punk seated

Photos and interview 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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While exploring the streets in the vicinity of the PATH train’s Newport Station, I came upon a series of intriguing murals curated by Green Villain. Featured above is by Greetings Tour with Victor Ving. Here are several more.

Mr. Mustart

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Veer One and Tiper

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Nychos, close-up

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Key Detail

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Clarence Rich

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Jaek El Diablo

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Photo credits: 1, 2, 4-7 Lois Stavsky; 3 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 for Android devices here.

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iena-cruz audubon-murasl-project-NYC

A collaborative venture between the National Audubon Society and the Gitler & ____ Gallery, the Audubon Mural Project, has brought a series of tantalizing murals of climate-endangered birds to the late John James Audubon’s upper Manhattan neighborhood.

Iena Cruz, Tri-colored Heron, 432 West 163 Street, close-up

iena-cruz-street-art-audubon-mural-project-NYC closeup

Gaia, Endangered Harlem, 1883 Amsterdam Avenue, close-up

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Gaia, Endangered Harlem, the complete mural

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Hitnis, Fish Crow, 3750 Broadway

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LNY, Swallow-tailed Kite, 575 West 155 Street

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LNY, Swallow-tailed-Kite, close-up

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Mr. Mustart, House Finch, 5 Edward M. Morgan Place

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Keep posted to our Facebook page and this blog for many more Audubon Mural Project images.

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

Note: This blog will be on vacation through Nov 28th. You can follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

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ree-and-snow-graffiti-shuaspace

Currently on view at Jersey City’s Shuaspace is Street Level, an exhibit featuring works by a range of artists from Old School graffiti writers to contemporary muralists. While visiting the space this past Sunday, I had the opportunity to speak with its curator, Allison Remy Hall.

What a fun exhibit! It’s such a wonderful mix of styles and genres. How did it all come about? 

When the owners of Shuaspace, Joshua Bisset and Laura Quattrocch, met me at the previous show that I had curated, they invited me to curate in this space. I’d always wanted to curate a graffiti exhibit, and this seemed like the perfect venue and opportunity. I then contacted artists whom I knew, who put me in contact with other artists.

Allison-Remy-Hall-shuaspace-Street-level

Why graffiti? What draws you to graffiti?

I’ve always loved its aesthetic. I love its rawness and spontaneity.

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When and where were you first introduced to it?

My older siblings first introduced me to graffiti. I was about eight years old and living in New Haven at the time. Even as a child, I felt there was something bold and bad about it that appealed to me.

Mr.-mustart

What — would you say — is the mission of  Street Level?

It’s a celebration of the organic nature of neighborhoods. With gentrification so much of the aesthetics and social dynamics of neighborhoods have been lost.

distort-acro-graffiti-shuaspace

What was the experience of curating your first graffiti exhibit like?

It was wonderful! Everyone was so supportive and helpful and generous with their time. It was the most fun of any show I’ve curated!

Note: You can visit  Street Level, at Shuaspace this coming weekend from 1-6pm at 340 Summit Ave, a few blocks from Journal Square in Jersey City. You can also arrange a visit by contacting Alison at aremyh@gmail.com.

Photos by Lois Stavsky

1.  Ree and Snow, painted on gallery wall interspersed with black and white photographs

2. Curator Allison Remy Hall at gallery space

3. Distort and Acropainted on gallery wall interspersed with black and white photographs

4. Mr. Mustart

5. Sam Pullin aka Bedbugspainted on gallery wall interspersed with black and white photographs

Photographers on exhibit: Andrew Blumenthal, Miguel Peralta and Giovani Santoro

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Wane-graffiti-Demolition-Exhibit-Jersey-City

Green Villain‘s Demolition Exhibition — the brainchild of  Greg Edgell aka Green Villian — has it all! With everything from stylish tags to captivating characters to first-rate pieces, it is a graffiti lover’s wonderland. Just minutes away from Downtown Manhattan, it is located at 410 Marin Boulevard, a short wall from Newport Mall. Here are a few more images I captured in the interior of the former Jersey City Pep Boys Auto Store while visiting Monday evening. 

Doves

Doves-graffiti-Jersey-City

Curve and Mr. Mustart

curve-mr-mustart-graffiti-Demolition-Exhibition-Jersey-City

The prodigious Evikt

evikt-graffiti-jersey-city-demolition-exhibition

Jahan

Jahan-graffiti-jersey-City

Mes, ThemoDistoart and Kingbee

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Era

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Goomba and Stay One

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This amazing feat — coordinated with dozens of artists and community members — was accomplished in partnership with real-estate developers Forest City Enterprises and G&S Investors. Through this weekend, you can visit the space any day from 12-8pm.

First image is Knows aka Wane; all photos by Lois Stavsky

Note: Check out StreetArtNYC on Instagram for more photos of images from Demolition Exhibition, and keep posted to our Facebook page, as well.

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No-Sleep-Aids-crew-graffiti

“There’s some amazing talent here,” commented a rather staid looking older man – dressed in a three-piece suit – as he saw me approaching the former Pep Boys shop in Downtown Jersey City. And, indeed, there is! Thanks to the efforts of the indefatigable Greg Edgell aka Green Villian and the dozens of artists who came together last week, the former shop now boasts some of the finest graffiti to be found anywhere.  Here is just a sampling:

Greg Lamarche aka SP.ONE

sp.one-graffiti-Jersey-City

Mr Mustart and Distort

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Mr Mustart and Era

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Mr Abillity and Chopla

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Pomer

pomer-graffiti-Jersey-City

Distort and Mr Mustart

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Clarence Rich, Dzel and Nark

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Paws 21 — with Green Villain to the right

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The Pep Boys shop is located on 410 Marin Boulevard, a few blocks away from Newport Mall. Originally slated for demolition this past Friday, the building will remain for at least another month. We will be back!

Photos by Lois Stavsky

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"Alice Pasquini"

In my meanderings around Jersey City this past year, I came upon a number of first-rate murals by a wonderful array of artists signed Savage Habbitalong with the artists’ signatures. Just who or what is Savage Habbit? I found out this weekend as Inez, its founder, gave me a tour of Savage Habbit’s walls and answered some questions about its mission:

"Mr. Mustart"

Just what is Savage Habbit?

It is foremost a blog that was founded in 2011.  It is dedicated to showcasing the best art that has made its way onto the streets across the globe.  Among Savage Habbit’s missions today is to bring more street art to our local community.

What motivated you to launch Savage Habbit?

I wanted a blog that represented the art that I love, and the only way I could do that was to start my own.

"Li Hill"

And what about the murals?

I’m a New Jersey girl. I was born and raised here. I wanted to walk around my neighborhood and see art in my community. And I wanted to give back to my state. These murals benefit everyone!

When did your first mural surface?

Last year — in 2013.

Ekundayo

What has been your greatest challenge?

Finding walls.

You seem to have facilitated quite a few murals. How do you find the artists?

Some contact me, and others I contact when I see that they are in town.

"Sean Lugo"

What’s ahead?

There are five confirmed walls.  Savage Habbit’s next wall will feature Nanook and Mata Ruda.

And what about the name “Savage Habbit?” What does it represent?

The name is derived from a Wu Tang quote:  Ricochet Rabbit had a habit, he was a savage. We are savagely passionate about our habit, art!

"case maclaim"

That sounds right!  We look forward to seeing more art on the streets of Jersey City.

Brief interview and photos by Lois Stavsky

1. Alice Pasquini, close-up

2. Mr. Mustart

3. Li-Hill at work yesterday

4. Ekundayo

5. Sean Lugo

6. Case, MA`CLAIM, close-up

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