New Jersey

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Several Newark-based graffiti artists, collectively known as The Artchitectz, have been busily transforming the inside of an abandoned football stadium in Newark into a boxing academy and — soon to be — educational facility. Operating in partnership with the City of Newark, the mission of the Ironbound Boxing Academy is: “Build your skills. Build your brand. Build your future.” On Saturday, February 4th, the Ironbound Boxing Academy — a component of Ironbound USA, founded by Gary Bloore — hosted an Open House celebrating the completion of phase one.  Pictured above is the work of Torch Fuego and Risky. What follows are several more images, captured by Rachel Fawn Alban, providing us with a glimpse into the interior of the Ironbound Boxing Academy.

Torch Fuego

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 Remi3 with the Ironbound Boxing Academy‘s mission

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Two young Ironbound Boxing Academy members “building their skills”

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Torch Fuego, as the Ironbound Boxing Academy readies for this year’s Paint for Pink

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Keith Colon, Gary BlooreObalaji Baraka & Torch Fuego

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Located at 226 Rome Street, The Ironbound Boxing Academy is open Monday 4:00 – 6:00pm; Tuesday – Friday: 4:00 – 7:30pm and Sat: 12:00 – 4:00pm.

Photos by Rachel Fawn Alban

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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.”

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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.

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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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Recently in the news for setting the Guiness Book of World Records for the “latest spray paint mural by a team” with his Rio Olympic-inspired Ethnicities, self-taught Brzailian artist Eduardo Kobra has brought his extraordinary talents to Jersey City. Kobra’s rendition of pop icon David Bowie is the most recent addition to Jersey City’s more than 86 other public art works as part of the city’s Mural Arts Program launched in 2013 by Mayor Steven Fulop. This past Friday, a dedication ceremony was held at Jersey City’s Cast Iron Lofts where I had the opportunity to pose a few questions to the artist.

When did you first paint in an outdoor venue?

Ten years ago.

What inspired you to do so?

Everything I had seen and read about what was happening in New York City.

Can you tell us something about the first huge mural that you painted?

It was in Lyon, France. It was a tribute piece to immigrants in a building that was about to be dismantled.

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Approximately how many huge murals have you painted since?

Over 30 in more than 20 countries.

The figures you’ve painted range from pop icons like John Lennon and Bob Dylan to historical figures inlcuding Ghandi and Nelson Mandela. What inspired you to paint David Bowie here in Jersey City?

Bowie’s creativity and vision had always inspired me. I’d actually painted this portrait six years ago on a canvas, and I was delighted to have the opportunity to paint it here in Jersey City on such a tall building. It is my way of keeping his memory alive among people who embrace him.

What was the greatest challenge that you’ve faced these past two weeks since you began painting here?

The height of the building is intimidating! And the mural, itself, is 180 feet tall.

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How have folks responded to the mural?

They love it. The response has been overwhelming.

Congratulations! It is wonderful!

Interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky; photos by Sara Ching Mozeson

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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This past Saturday, Paint for Pink brought over two dozen artists and scores of folks of all ages to Abington Ave & 4th Street in Newark, New Jersey.  Here’s what Ironbound founder Gary Bloore and Newark-based Reme3 — his partner in this project, along with Torch Fuego — had to say about the event when I caught up with them on Sunday:

This is the second annual Paint for Pink here in Newark. What initially inspired this project?

We wanted to do something positive for my Lisa who is battling breast cancer.  And so we came up with the idea of painting names of people dear to us who have been affected by the disease.

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What — would you say — is the main mission of this project?

It is to educate and create awareness of breast cancer.

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How does this year’s Paint for Pink differ from last year’s event?  I notice that the location is far more accessible.

Yes. We chose a more visible site for it. And we added an educational and health element to it.

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You seem to have partnered with quite a few resources.

Yes! Newark Tech High School was engaged with the project through Ironbound, and Rutgers School of Nursing (RSN) brought their Children’s Health Project mobile unit to the event. Dozens of folks in the community who don’t have insurance were able to get general health examinations and breast cancer screenings.

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That’s quite impressive! And you seem to have engaged folks of all ages.

Yes. Many children joined in the fun, as well!

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What were some of the challenges presented by Paint for Pink?

Waiting for the permit! And successfully infusing the health and educational elements into it was also a challenge.

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To what do you attribute the obvious success of this year’s Paint for Pink?

That we connected to people who could make things happen!

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And thank you for making such an inspiring project happen!

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Images

1. Mr Cee, Seoz & Chubby Womak

2. Reme3 for Lisa

3. Mocks for his aunt, Tina

4. Ram, Ziren and Chek

5. Twerk for his brother, Alex, and for 17-year-old YaYi

6. Neighborhood kids against backdrop of artist to be identified and Spidee for his high school art teacher

7. Goomba, close-up, for his aunt

8. Torch Fuego and Elrizl

9. Reme3 and Ironbound founder Gary Bloore against backdrop by RamZiren and Chek

Photo credits:  3, 4, 6 & 7 Tara Murray; 1, 2, 5, 8 & 9 Lois Stavsky; interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky

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With their vibrant colors and seductive styles, the rotating walls in Hackensack’s Union Street Park tantalize.  Pictured above is T-Kid. Here are a few more captured yesterday:

Jew BT

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Part One TDS

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Rath

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Pase BT

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 Flite TDS

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Abe BT

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Photo credits: 1, 5 & 7 Dani Reyes Mozeson; 2-4 & 6 Lois Stavsky

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The most riveting graffiti spots are those we almost never discover on our own.  Located in tunnels, abandoned buildings, rooftops and hidden passageways, they tend to host some of the most creative, innovative writing — from tags to pieces — to be found anywhere. We recently had the opportunity to visit such a spot — the SGK Pit — in Newark, New Jersey and speak to Torch Fuego who has established an office there.

Can you tell us something about this spot! What an amazing oasis of creativity and escape from it all! 

It was founded over 25 years ago by several Old School writers, and it quickly became — largely under the direction of SGK crew founder Syko — a key spot for writers to practice and learn from one another.

And what does SGK stand for? 

Style, Gifted, Knowledge…and more!

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Who were some of the writers who frequented it? Were they all locals?

Among the NJ writers were: Syko, RimeCarmelo “Snow” SigonaTeck and Lesk — who made me an SGK member.  But folks also came from other places. Bom5 used to come down from the Bronx.

How and when did you discover the SGK Pit? And what was your first impression of it?

Baye took me there when I was about 15. I thought, “Wow!.” I couldn’t imagine that such a place existed.

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Do any particular memories stand out?

The few graffiti battles that turned into brawls…lots of parties…and the first time I saw the deer and red foxes that also call this spot home.

And just what is your role here now?

For several years it had been abandoned. But it has recently been revitalized.  And — together with Zew — I basically maintain it. I keep it tidy. I make sure the walls are clean. I introduce new members to old heads, who can pass down knowledge to them. Basically, I want to maintain it as a “practice sanctuary.” And as Syko handed down the torch to me, I feel a huge responsibility.

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That seems like quite a responsibility and quite a bit of work!

Yes! I’ve sacrificed my day job for this.  But it’s worth it!

No doubt!

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Note: You can meet Torch at a special event today — Saturday — from 1-6 pm at Shorty’s. And tonight — starting at 11pm — Clearport Events will host a graffiti after-party at Port-O-Lounge, 286 1st Street in Jersey City, to benefit The Artchitectz, a program that teaches youth creative skills. Check out Torch’s Instagram for additional info.

Photo credits: 1, 3 & 4 Lois Stavsky; 2 & 5 Tara Murray; photo two features work by Lesk, with Erizl to his left; 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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In his highly acclaimed book Graffiti Murals: Exploring the Impacts of Street Art, free-lance writer and photographer Patrick Verel presents six case studies, along with dozens of photographs, exploring the role of sanctioned graffiti murals and street art in the urban environment. I recently met up with him and had the opportunity to ask him a few questions:

What spurred your interest in this topic?

I was always into graffiti.  I have a short attention span, and I love being surprised! Cities stimulate me and graffiti is part of that stimulation.

How did this initial interest evolve into a book?

I never thought I’d actually write a book. It developed from the thesis that I wrote when I was enrolled in Fordam University’s Urban Studies Master’s Program.

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You focus on six cases from the South Bronx to Trenton, New Jersey. How did you connect to all of the folks whom you interviewed?

I sent out lots of emails after poking around the Internet.  And I made some of the connections via my Flickr contacts — like the photographer Luna Park, who hooked me up with Robots Will Kill.

What were some of the obstacles you encountered while doing your research?

Getting people to talk to me and synthesizing all of the information.

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You seem to have accomplished that quite well! What — would you say – was the mission of your book?

To change the way so many people think about graffiti. To introduce them to the positive benefits of graffiti murals in enhancing the urban environment.

Are there any particular factors that assure the success of these interventions?

So much depends upon the owner of the space and his relationship with the artists. That owner must be able to trust the artists to do what they want.  And a successful collaboration demands money, effort and time.

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Were there any unexpected outcomes following the publication of the book?

Yes! I received a positive response from City Government, and I connected to Natalie Raben of the Lower East Side BID and the 100 GATES Program.

Have you noticed any changes in the graffiti/street art since you wrote your book?

There seem to be more projects, like the Bushwick Collective and the Welling Court Mural Project, that give artists legal opportunities to paint outdoors.

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Published by Schiffer Publishing, Graffiti Murals: Exploring the Impacts of Street Art, is available online and in most bookstores.

Interview by Lois Stavsky

Photos of murals by Patrick Verel

1. Book cover, Lank completes mural he painted with Delve, Luv1 and Casso in Jersey City

2. Wallnuts mural in Gowanus with Dos, Chester, Muse, Been3 and Werc

3. 5Pointz in LIC with Meres, Zimad and more

4. Robots Will Kill in Bushwick with Chris, Veng, Peeta, Never & ECB

5. Taste, Mek, Evak, Sno Reo & Zoe at TerraCycle in Trenton, NJ

Note: Our highly acclaimed Street Art NYC App is now available here at Google Play for Android devices.

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The walls of two factory buildings on Abington Avenue in Newark, New Jersey have recently been transformed into an exhilarating, open-air graffiti gallery showcasing a range of styles. Here are a few more images I captured while visiting yesterday:

Mesk 

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Era

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Goomba and Goal

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Ajae at work

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Grope DNA

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4Sakn

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Emo

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Tiper

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Mad Hatter

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Note: First image is by Torch

Special thanks to Rachel and Chris for introducing me to Newark’s thriving graffiti scene and to Torch for his passion and knowledge, who — along with Ram — made this particular Abington Avenue spot possible.

Photos by Lois Stavsky

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Produced by Sade TCM for Nasty, Neo FC, the Blaze of Hackensack has refashioned the always-brilliant graffiti walls in Hackensack, New Jersey’s famed open-air gallery. Here’s a sampling of what surfaced last month:

Bronx-based Pase

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NYC artists Per One and Hef

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Bronx-based John Matos aka Crash

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Bronx-based Ces

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The Blaze of Hackensack curator Sade TCM

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Bronx-based Bio, Tats Cru

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Bronx-based Zimad

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Bronx-based BG 183, Tats Cru

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Veteran graffiti writers Sonic and Part One, Dedicated to the Victims in Paris

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Photos by Dani Reyes Mozeson

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