Octavio Zaya


Born in Brazil in 1982, SALMOS first made his mark in São Paulo’s public spaces and freight trains as ISHI. In 2004, he opened his own tattoo store, and ten years later, he emerged as SALMOS, Sou Artista Livre Mais Ouseda de São Paulo, “the most daring free artist in Sao Paulo.” His current work — both indoors and outdoors — is largely a delightful fusion of graffiti writing and classic comic characters. This past Saturday, SALMOS‘s first NYC solo exhibit, FRACTURED FAIRY TALES  opened at  the Martinez Gallery. While visiting, I had the opportunity to speak to the artist.


When did you first hit the streets?

Back in 1996-97. I was 14 at the time.

What motivated you to do so?

I was drawn to the streets. Pixação — in particular — inspired me. And I came up with the idea of integrating comical characters into my writing.


Can you tell us something about these characters? What is their appeal to you?

They are magical!  They fuse the nostalgia that adults feel with the mystification children experience.

And how do you choose your characters? Why — for example — Garfield?

I love the ones that make me feel like I am a kid again! Garfield enchants me!


And what brought you here to NYC?

The amazing opportunity to paint here. New York City is where it all started. The history of graffiti is here in NYC.

And we here in NYC love how writers from places like São Paulo are taking it to another level. We’re so glad you made it here! Have a safe trip home!


Curated by Octavio ZayaFRACTURED FAIRY TALES can be seen Mon- Sat, 11AM to 5PM, at the Martinez Gallery on 135th Street and Broadway.

Note: Standing to the left of SALMOS is Martinez Gallery‘s noted director, Hugo Martinez.

Photos by Lois Stavsky



Featuring 30 artists from 15 different countries, Theorum: You Simply Destroy the Image I Always Had of Myself opens today, Sunday, May 3, at Mana Contemporary‘s 50,000 square foot Glass Gallery. Curated by Ocravio Zaya, it presents an eclectic range of rich artworks in various media from painting and photography to large-scale installations. Visually engaging and psychologically charged, the works on exhibit question and challenge our perceptions of ourselves and appearances, in general, while “contemplating a world turned upside-down.” Here are a few more images:

NYC-based Susan Siegel, one of many images from an elegantly dreamy installation of her paintings

Susan Siegel-art-Mana-Contemporary

Lima native Santiago Roose, (Bridge) Between the particular contradiction and general antagonism

"Santiago Roose"

 Cuba native Marìa Magdalena Campos-Pons, My Mother Told Me I Am Chinese

Maria-Magdalena Campos-Pons

Lima native Elena Damiani, The Discovery


Lima native Nicole Franchy, Hinter Scapes


Puerto Rican artist Radames “Juni” Figuearoa, La Casita Amarilla


Exhibit curator and noted art critic Octavio Zaya, center standing, in La Casita Amarilla


Along with several other thoroughly engaging exhibitsTheorem: You Simply Destroy the Image I Always Had of Myself — featuring many artists whose works also surface in the public sphere — opens to the public today, Sunday, May 3, at Mana Contemporary, 888 Newark Avenue in Jersey City. Complimentary shuttle service to and from the Mana’s Open House will be provided every half hour starting at 12:30 PM from Milk Studios at 450 West 15th Street in Manhattan and returning every half hour from Mana starting at 2 PM. Mana is also easily accessible via the PATH train’s Journal Square stop. Ample free parking is also provided.

Photo credits: 1, 2 & 4 Sara C. Mozeson; 3, 5-9, Lois Stavsky