Nicer

On view through July 12 at South Bronx gallery WALLWORKS NEW YORK is Memorias en Arte. Curated by South Bronx photographer Gloria Zapata, it features photos captured by Gloria while visiting her homeland, Honduras, along with renderings of them by a range of NYC artists.

Images of memories  from her childhood capture the essence of her native country, while the accompanying artworks further explore the notion of “home.” After visiting the brilliantly conceived and handsomely curated exhibition yesterday, I had the opportunity to speak to Gloria.

I love your passion for photography, along with your devotion to documentation. Can you tell us something about its beginnings?

I first studied photography while I was a student at Washington Irving High School. That was back in the nineties. While studying Multimedia Video Arts at the Borough of Manhattan Community College a bit later, I started writing scripts and producing films. I  wanted to be next Stephen Speilberg! After graduating from BMCC, I wrote and directed an award-winning short film “A Mirror of Me,” but I soon discovered that pursuing that passion would require funds and an investment of time that I didn’t have. Then for my 27th birthday, my mother bought me a professional camera. That was a turning point! Currently, while pursuing my passion, I am studying Art and Photography at Lehman College.

Do you remember what you first documented once you had that camera that your mother had bought you?

Early on it was nature and architecture. I especially liked photographing landscapes.

And what about street art and graffiti? When did you first start photographing the walls in your neighborhood?

I’d always loved murals. For years I’d seen works on the street by Tats Cru and Crash, but I had no idea who these artists were. Then one day — about five years ago — I met Crash when he was painting on the streets, and he invited me to WALLWORKS NEW YORK. Nothing’s been quite the same since!

And how did you meet all the street artists and graffiti writers — among the other artists —  whom you included in your show? I assume you met many here at WALLWORKS NEW YORK?

Yes! And I met several while I was volunteering as a teaching assistant with ICP (The International Center of Photography) at the Point.

I love the conversation between your photos and the artists’ interpretations of them. How did you decide which artists to include in Memorias en Arte? Its concept is brilliant.

I included artists whose works speak to me and who responded enthusiastically to my concepts of “home” and “memories.” A few of the artists I approached had too many other commitments at the time to participate in Memorias en Arte, but I hope to collaborate with them in the future — perhaps in an expanded version of the project.

What were some of the challenges you faced in seeing such an ambitious project through?

Following through with the artists to make sure that their pieces would be completed in time and sufficiently believing in my vision to see it though. But working with WALLWORKS NEW YORK has made any challenges so much easier to overcome.

How have folks reacted to this show?

The response has been great. And people tell me all the time how much they love the exhibition’s concept.

I first saw your work several months ago on exhibit at the Point’s Riverside Campus for Arts and the Environment. Where else have you exhibited? What were some some of the key shows?

I participated last summer in Through A Feminine Lens, a group show — curated by Juanita Lanzo and Kimberly Vaquedano-Rose — that featured photography and mixed media works exploring motherhood, immigrant perspectives, equity and race at the Longwood Art Gallery at Hostos Community College. Earlier, I showed in a group exposition, Exposure, here at WALLWORKS NEW YORK.  And in 2017, I participated in The Next Generation of Bronx Photographers at the Andrew Freedman Home.

Have you any particular favorite subjects as of late?

Yes, I’ve been focusing on portraits – especially of dancers — and sunsets.

Wow! You certainly have a wide range of interests! Have you any favorite photographers? Photographers who have inspired you?

Yes! Among them are: Martha Cooper, Joe Conzo and Ricky Flores. I love their commitment to community. I love Martha’s photography —  from the images she started shooting in the 80’s through those she currently captures  — and I love her story, along with the stories her photos tell. I was so happy to have an opportunity to work with her. In terms of photographers who capture dancers, my favorite is Andrea Mohin, a staff photographer for the New York Times, whom I’ve also had the chance to meet and work with.

How can folks see your current exhibit, Memorias en Arte?

It will be on view through next Friday, July 12, at WALLWORKS NEW YORK, 39 Bruckner Blvd. in the South Bronx. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday 11am – 5pm and weekends by appointment.

Featured images:

1 Zimad and Gloria Zapata

2 Photo of Gloria Zapata

3  Gloria Zapata and Lady jDay

4 NicerGloria Zapata and BG183

5 YesOne and Gloria Zapata

Eric Orr and Gloria Zapata

7 Installation close-up, Gloria Zapata

Photos by Lois Stavsky; interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky

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the-art-of-tats-cru

Opening tomorrow — June 3, from 2-6pm — is The Art of TATS CRU, an exhibit and block party celebrating 37 years of the legendary Bronx-based crew. While previewing the exhibit yesterday, I had the opportunity to pose a few questions to its curators, Eileen Walsh and Laura James.

Eileen-Walsh-and-Laura-James

This is such a handsome exhibit and such a wonderful tribute to TATS CRU. What spurred you to focus this exhibition on TATS CRU?

After curating BRONX NOW that showcased over two dozen artists in 2016, we decided that we wanted to focus on a smaller group of artists this year. And TATS CRU — Nicer, Bio and  BG183 — seemed the perfect choice. They represent the best of the Bronx and they “kick ass!”

Nicer-tats-cru-artwork

How would you define the mission of the exhibit?

Its intent is to tell the story of these three artists — through their own artworks and through photos and videos produced by Miguel Teck Arteaga. It is the story of three Bronx-based artists who transformed a youthful passion into a successful career on their own terms. And although they have traveled throughout the world with their art, they’ve chosen to remain here — in the Bronx.

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How did you decide which artworks to present?

The artists — for the most part — made the selections. They wanted to represent themselves with a range of distinct styles and techniques.

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In addition to meeting the artists and viewing their artwork, what can visitors expect to experience at tomorrow’s opening?

The Block Party will feature homegrown, Bronx entertainment. DJ Pusha will keep the party going, along with dance performances by BBoy and Emcee Chief69 and Hip-Hop legend Rokafella‘s Full Circle Souljahs dance troupe. There will be live music performances by up and coming Bronx MINDY artists Static Vision and by alternative music group The Nobodies. There will also be a presentation by spoken word artist and rapper Safiel VonayThe Bronx Children’s Museum will host creative activities for children and families and will have its Museum on the Go Bus parked on the street outside the gallery.

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How can folks see the exhibit, particularly if they can’t make it to the opening?

Located at 305 E 140 Street between in the South Bronx, BronxArtSpace is open Wednesday through Friday from 12-6:30pm and Saturday 12-5pm. The exhibit will also be open on Wednesday, June 7, from 6-8pm for Trolley Night. And on Thursday, June 22, at 6pm there will be an artist talk with Hector Nazario aka Nicer, Sotero Ortiz aka BG183 and Wilfredo Feliciano aka Bio, along with the premiere of The Jardin Orange Project, a short documentary that features some of the world’s most renowned streets artists, including TATS CRU, as they come together to paint massive murals in the city of Shen Zhen, China.

Note: Tomorrow’s event — free and open to the public — is sponsored by neighborhood businesses JCAL Development Group, ID Studio Theater, Zaro’s Bakery, La Grata Italian Restaurant, Filtered Coffee, and Bronx Native, along with the support of Port Morris Distillery and The Bronx Brewery.

Images

1  Invite featuring BG183, Nicer and Bio

2  Curators Eileen Walsh and Laura James

3  Nicer

4  Bio

5  BG 183

6 Bio with guests at preview

Photos 2-6 by Lois Stavsky; interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky — who will also be moderating the Artist Talk on June 22. Special thanks to Scratch for her assistance at the preview!

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Okuda-no-commissions

Held in a huge South Bronx warehouse, No Commission features the artworks of over two dozen first-rate established and emerging artists. Curated by the Dean Collection and directed by Swizz Beatz, the four-day event — currently underway — is designed to support artists by offering them free space and 100% of the sale of their artwork. Among the artists featured are several whose works have also surfaced on our streets. Pictured above is Okuda. Here are several more:

John Ahearn does Bio, Tats Cru

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Zio Ziegler

zio-ziegler-artwork-no-commission

Pablo Power

pablo-power-no-commission

 Faile

faile-no-commissions-art

Swoon 

swoon-portrait-no-commissions

Nina Chanel

Nina-Chanel-no-commissions

And on the exterior: Nicer, Tats Cru, close-up from huge mural fashioned collaboratively with Sexer, BG 183, Crash and Bio

nicer-tats-cru-no-commission

Photo credits: 1-3, 6-8 Lois Stavsky;  4 & 5 Sara C Mozeson

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giz-ghost-RIS-bushwick-collective-museum-2016

While visiting the Bushwick Collective on Thursday as it was readying for its 5th Annual Block Party, we had the opportunity to spend some time in its wondrous pop-up museum at 198 Randolph Street. The brainchild of Bushwick Collective founder Joe Ficalora, it showcases an extraordinary array of works by Bushwick Collective artists, along with art by community members, local youth, Parsons School of Design at the New School students and more.  We also had the chance to speak to the Bushwick Collective Museum‘s director, Asja Gleeson.

asja-gleeson-dan-witz-bushwick-collective-museum_edited-1

This is all so amazing! There are works here by artists who’ve exhibited in museums, along with art by children who live in the neighborhood. Just about every art genre and style is represented here. How did you connect to so many diverse artists?

Joe Ficalora simply gave me a list of the folks he’d already reached out to. In the five years since he’s founded the Bushwick Collective, he’s made so many wonderful connections.

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How did you connect to Joe? 

Dan Witz introduced me to Joe two years ago, and I worked with Joe and Dan on the exhibit for the Collective’s 3rd Annual Block Party.  The experience was so fantastic that I was thrilled to have an opportunity to be involved once again with the Bushwick Collective.

enx-bushwick-collective-museum

As director, what are some of your responsibilities in managing an exhibit of this scope?

I had to contact all the artists and make sure that their work arrived in a timely fashion. I assisted Stan Sudol  the director of the Mana Urban Arts Project, in installing the works. And, basically, I was in charge of organizing the exhibit and assuring that it runs smoothly.

What — would you say — was your greatest challenge?

Getting it all together in the span of a week.

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That’s quite an accomplishment! Have you an academic or professional background in art? 

Both my parents are artists, and I studied Art History and related fields at Bard College at Simon’s Rock. I’ve also worked in several Chelsea galleries.

How does working here differ from working in Chelsea?

It’s more of a labor of love here! The pace is faster, and there’s far more community involvement here in Bushwick than in Chelsea.

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What is your impression of the art on exhibit here? Have you any favorites?

I’m so impressed by the quality of it all. There are so many wonderful pieces. Among my favorites is the one by Enx. It speaks to me!

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How can folks see this exhibit? It’s an amazing opportunity to not only view such an eclectic selection of quality artworks, but to purchase art at remarkably reasonable prices — with all proceeds going directly to the artists.

It remains open to the public from 10am-5pm through the weekend. 

Images

1.  Giz and Ghost, RIS

2. Dan Witz, with director Asja Gleeson

3. Tim Okamura

4. Enx

5. Anna Orcutt-Jahns

6. Nicer, Tats Cru

7.  See One

Photo credits:  1, 2, 4 – 7 Tara Murray, City-as-School intern Sol Raxlen; 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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JPO-Crash-BR163-graffiti-street-art-yonkers-new-york

In celebration of Yonkers Arts Weekend beginning tomorrow, May 1, and continuing through Sunday, May 3, several new murals will grace Downtown Yonkers. Among these is the wonderfully vibrant one curated by Wall Works NY. Here are a few more images we captured on a brilliantly sunny day earlier this week:

John Paul O’Grodnick and Crash at work

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Daze beneath his “eye” with Nicer, Tats Cru — to his left — at work

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Nicer, BG183, Bio Tats Cru and Daze 

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Posing for a final shot

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A perfect tribute to the revitalization of Downtown Yonkers, the mural is located at 45 Main Street near Getty Square and Broadway.

Note: Standing in the first photo are John Paul O’GrodnickCrash and BR163

Photo credits: 1 & 4 Lois Stavsky; 2, 3 & 5 City-As-School intern Diana Davidova

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The-Bronx-Graffiti-Art-Gallery

The Bronx Graffiti Art Gallery, a new outdoor public art space located in the courtyard of Gustiamo at 1715 West Farms Road, officially opens tomorrow, Saturday, October 18, 1-5pm.  Committed to preserving and celebrating the culture of graffiti in NYC, its first exhibit features works by such Bronx legends as Ces, Kingbee, and Tats Cru, along with artwork by its curators, Lady K Fever and Scratch.

Here’s a sampling of what’s been going down:

Tats Cru‘s Bio, BG 183 and Nicer

bio-bg183-nicer-tatscru-graffiti-Bronx-NYC

Ces

CES

Kingbee

Kingbee

Lady K Fever

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BG 183 and Scratch

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Hush Tours will provide free transportation from Manhattan to tomorrow’s event. For further information, contact Hush Tours at 212-714-3527.

All photos courtesy Scratch.

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"Bio, Tats Cru"

Tats Cru members — Bio, Nicer and BG183 — express their distinct creative visions in Blood, Sweat and Tears, a playful exhibit on view through Friday at TT Underground, 191 2nd Avenue in the East Village. Here is a sampling of the recent artworks on display by the legendary Bronx-based Mural Kings:

Another painting by Bio with his iconic heart

Bio

Close-ups from Nicer’s superheroes

"Nicer, Tats Cru"

"Nicer, Superhero"

A huge canvas by BG 183

"BG 183" "Tats Cru"

And one of BG183’s smaller ones

"BG183, Tats Cru"

And just a few blocks away — on Second Street off Avenue A:

Bio

"Bio Tats Cru"

Nicer

Nicer

BG183

BG183

Photos of Bio’s paintings and mural by Lois Stavsky; photos of Nicer’s and BG183’s by Dani Reyes Mozeson 

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This is the fifth in an ongoing series featuring the range of faces that surface daily in NYC’s open spaces:

Rimx in Bushwick, Brooklyn

Rimx

Axel Void in Bushwick, Brooklyn

Axel Void

Danielle Mastrion painting young Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai at the Bushwick Collective

Danielle Mastrion

Ever in Bushwick, Brooklyn

Ever Siempre

Andre Trenier in Inwood, Manhattan

Andre Trenier

Nicer, Tats Cru at Hunts Point in the Bronx

Nicer

Photos of Rimx and Axel Void by Tara Murray; of Danielle Mastrion and Ever by Dani Reyes Mozeson and of Andre Trenier and Nicer by Lois Stavsky

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