Outsider Art

The following guest post is by Lower East Side-based photographer Ana Candelaria

I first discovered Sara Erenthal‘s work on the Lower East Side several years ago. Last summer, I met Sara at Freeman’s Alley, and this past Thursday, I was delighted to view her artwork in a gallery setting.  Pictured above is the Brooklyn-based self-taught artist with The Storefront Project owner Gina Pagano to her left and curator Nina Blumberg to her right. Following are several more photos that I captured at the opening of BACKSTORY this past Thursday evening:

Sara Erenthal with gallery owner Gina Pagano

It gets busy!

Wendy aka Love from NYC and 0H10 M1ke checking out “Girl Talk,” Acrylic on thrift shop painting

Up Magazine editor T.K. Mills photographing “Emotional Support I,” Acrylic on repurposed print 

Multimedia artists Ryan Bonilla and Maria De Los Angeles next to “Emotional Support II,” Acrylic on repurposed print 

Sara Erenthal with Sandy Zabar and Ira Breite next to “I’m Infatuated,” Acrylic on thrifted print

The two Sara’s — Artist Sara Lynne Leo with Sara Erenthal

The overflowing opening reception crowd

BACKSTORY continues through August 18 at The Storefront Project, 70 Orchard Street, Tuesday- Sunday 1-6pm.

Photos: Ana Candelaria

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The first exhibition ever dedicated to the legendary Basquiat‘s Xerox’s works, Jean-Michel Basquiat: Xerox, continues through this coming Friday, May 31, at Nahmad Contemporary on the Upper East Side. Curated by Basquiat scholar Dieter Buchhart, who had also curated Basquiat’s recent exhibition at the Brant Foundation, Xerox presents over 20 of Basquiat’s key Xerox works from 1981 to 1987, many shown publicly here for the first time. Featured above is King of the Zulus, fashioned with acrylic, oilstick and Xerox collage on paper mounted on canvas. Several more images from this significant exhibition follow:

Untitled, Acrylic and Xerox collage on wood, 1981

Peter and the Wolf, Acrylic, oilstick and Xerox collage on canvas, 1985

Brother’s Sausage, Acrylic, oilstick and Xerox collage on canvas, 1983

Natchez, Acrylic, oil, wood and Xerox collage, 1985

Red Joy, Acrylic, oilstick and Xerox, 1984

Wide view, segment of installation

Nahmad Contemporary is located at 980 Madison Avenue, off 76th Street, on the Upper East Side and is open Monday – Saturday, 10AM – 6PM.

Photo credits: 1 Courtesy Nahmad Contemporary 2-6 Lois Stavsky

Note: Hailed in a range of media from WideWalls to the Huffington Post to the New York Times, our Street Art NYC App is now available for Android devices here.

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I recently had the opportunity to catch up with Jason Mamarella, as he readies for today’s print release and his upcoming exhibition at the Living Gallery Outpost.

When I first started exploring NYC’s streets in pursuit of street art —  well over a decade ago — I saw your now-iconic character, dint wooer krsna, everywhere! He was one of the most prolific images around town. He has since been featured in over two dozen books and has made his way onto a range of media including the opening scene of Exit Through the Gift Shop. You’d once told me that dint wooer krsna was conceived as your online identity at about the same time that MySpace was born.

Yes! It was online before it was on the streets. I did not want to reveal who I was. It was critical that my identity remain hidden at that time.  Someone had threatened to shoot me over a woman, and I had reason to believe he was quite serious.

What about the name krsna?  I’ve always wondered about it.

It’s a reference to Hare Krishna. I used to hang out in Hare Krishna temples. The Hindu God Krishna was a vegetarian — as I am. He was a friend of the cow.

What motivated you to hit the streets with dint wooer krsna

I was newly divorced, and I needed to get out of the house. I’d been tagging for years — since I was a teen — but I wanted my character to stand out. krsna was my first wheatpaste.

Have you ever been arrested?

I’ve been arrested three times for vandalism. The first was in 1993 at an after-party at Ferry Point Park. Together with Aones WTO, Kech & James “V.E.” Conte, R.I.P,  I was caught tagging the Bronx Whitestone Bridge. The penalty was  community service and five years ACD. Then in 2008, I was caught and identified online for getting stencils up in Hoboken. After nine summonses, a judge yelled at me for 20 minutes. Nothing more. But I had to pay $3,000 to have a lawyer stand next to me in court. And in 2010, an undercover grabbed me on 2nd Avenue in the East Village for two stickers I’d put up. The cop told me that I was responsible for bringing kids into this “degenerate lifestyle,” and he called the Vandal Squad.

Had you any particular influences? 

James “V.E.” Conte, R.I.P. He got up everywhere. He was obsessive compulsive. I modeled myself on him — trying to get up as much and as often as I possibly could.

For several years you were largely absent from the streets.

Yes, in 2013, I began focusing, almost exclusively, on my studio work.

So what brought you back?

I guess it was always in me. It was just dormant for awhile.

How has the street art scene changed since you first hit the streets with dint wooer krsna?

Just about everything after 2010 is irrelevant; it’s all about legal permission spots. Much of it is devoid of any originality or intellectual merit.

What — do you suppose — is responsible for this change?

Projects like The Bowery Wall and the film Exit Through the Gift Shop have pushed street art so much into the mainstream that it has become trendy. People just want to hop onto the bandwagon.

Yes. It’s certainly lost its subversive appeal to those of us who were initially drawn to that aspect of it. How has your art evolved over time?

I’m leaning more towards abstraction.

You have a new hand-embellished print, Jibb Wibbles, about to be released. I know that your first three prints sold out quickly. How can folks get hold of this new one?

It’s available from House of Roulx at this link. All proceeds will go to benefit Little Wanderers, a non-profit that rescues needy cats.

And can you tell us something about your upcoming exhibit at the Living Gallery Outpost?

I will be showing my new paintings from noon to 9pm on the weekend of June 15th and 16th. They’re dark.

That should be interesting! I’m looking forward to seeing them all!

Interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky

Photo credits: 1 Katherine Zavartkay; 2 Lois Stavsky, 2011, East Village; 3-5 courtesy of the artist

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Inaugurating its New York space with a sprawling, hugely impressive exhibition of a broad range of works by the late Jean-Michel Basquiat, the Brant Foundation has brought the spirit of the legendary artist back to the East Village. Curated by Brant Foundation founder Peter M. Brant with Basquiat scholar Dieter Buchhart and organized in collaboration with the Fondation Louis Vuitton, the exhibition, itself, is a cause for celebration. The image featured above, “Untitled,” was fashioned by the artist in 1981 with acrylic, oilstick, and spray paint on wood, A few more images featuring Basquiat’s raw and largely irreverent aesthetic, captured at this splendid exhibition, follow:

Museum Security (Broadway Meltdown), Acrylic, oilstick and paper collage on canvas, 1983

Big ShoesAcrylic, oilstick and collage on canvas, 1983

Hollywood Africans, Acrylic and oilstick on canvas, 1983

Irony of a Negro Policeman, Acrylic and lipstick on wood, 1981

Arroz con Pollo, Acrylic and oilstick on canvas, 1981

Boy and Dog in a Johnnypump, Acrylic on canvas, 1982

The exhibition continues at the Brant Foundation, 421 East Sixth Street, through May 15. Although admission is free, reservations are necessary.

Photos of images by Lois Stavsky

Note: Hailed in a range of media from WideWalls to the Huffington Post to the New York Times, our Street Art NYC App is now available for Android devices here.

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If you haven’t yet had your portrait drawn with one line in under one minute by the wonderfully passionate, nomadic Brooklyn-based 0H10 M1ke, tomorrow is your chance. From 6 – 10pm, Mike promises to do that and lots more at 198 Allen Street. Last week, we met up and caught up a bit.

When we last spoke in 2014, you said that your goal was to create 100,000 one-line matchbox portraits? Mine was 11,206! How close are you to your goal?

My most recent was #13,021! I’ve done quite a few at 17 Frost, at 198 Allen, on the trains, on the streets — anywhere I can!

How do you approach folks? And how do they respond?

I simply say, “Give me a New York moment; I’ll draw your portrait in one line on a matchbox in one minute.” They generally respond with skepticism. But once they see the portrait I’ve created, they like it.

In addition to your ongoing matchbox project, what other projects have engaged you as of late?

I’ve been preparing for my upcoming solo show and performance If Basquiat and Keith Haring had a baby…reimagining the works of Basquiat and Haring in one-line drawings. I’ve, also, been working on creating sculptures inspired by Warhol; instead of using Brillo boxes, I use Nike boxes. And I’ve been staging wrestling as dance, which will be projected –along with large portraits — onto a huge screen outside 198 Allen.

What inspires you to keep creating?

I’m compulsive. I have to. And people, the street art community in particular, have been welcoming and supportive.

Are there any particular artists out there who continue to influenc your aesthetic?

Obviously Haring and Basquiat. But other main influences include UFO and Neckface.

Anything else new — in terms of your art-making?

I’ve been getting my original drawings into hand-made books. I recently constructed a 3o-pocket rotating magazine rack, and I’ve filled it with all hand-made original artbooks and magazines. I also create on a larger variety of surfaces.

What’s ahead?

Murals, prints and reproducibles.

Good luck with it all!

Note: You can keep up with 0H10 M1ke here — now that he’s posting on Instagram!

Interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky; all images courtesy of the artist

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Working with a motley range of discarded objects, Yonkers-based interdisciplinary artist Michael Cuomo repurposes them into masks that he calls Heads of State. Exhibited in both outdoor and indoor spaces, his unique sculpture assemblages provoke and entertain. This past week, some of his newest smaller masks made their way onto the Yonkers Waterfront.

Pigskin

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Rex

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Installation in Progress

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A master of neo-primitive folk art in all media, Michael Cuomo recently released a coloring book with his original soulfakes drawings. You can purchase it here.

Snowflaes-cuomo-coloring-book

Photos by Richie DiFrisco

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Recognized for his folksy outsider aesthetic, Brooklyn native Steven Cogle has shared his talents on public spaces for the past few years at the Welling Court Mural Project.  I recently met up with him.

steve-cogle-and-al-ortiz-street-art-welling-court

When did you first begin drawing?

I was five or six when I started drawing cartoons.

Any inspirations back then?

I was a big fan of Charles Schultz.’s Peanuts comic strip, and I also loved Bugs Bunny.

Steve-cogle-artwork-close-up

Did your family have any response to your early drawings? Did they encourage you?

Not really! But my classmates did. I was always drawing characters for them.

What about your teachers?

I took an art class when I was a student at George Gershwin Junior High School in East New York.  I couldn’t say, though, that my teacher encouraged me.  But when I discovered Lee J. Ames’ How to Draw books in the library, I used them to teach myself how to draw.

Did you go on to study art in a formal setting?

No. I’m self-taught.

Steve-Cogle-outsider-art

How would you describe your particular aesthetic? It’s been referred to as Neo-Expressionism.

My artwork reflects me – tribal Africa crossed with urban blight. Growing up in East New York, I witnessed a lot of tragedy and loss, along with hope and survival. As I layer the painting on the canvas, I am also layering the experiences that I saw.

Have any specific artists influenced you?

Eric Orr became a mentor to me, and explained the business side of art to me.  And I was influenced by Picasso’s versatility, Basquiat’s palette and Clemente’s spirituality. 

steve-dogle-and-art-work

What about galleries? When did you first show your work in a gallery setting?

In 2004 my work made its way into two Brooklyn spaces and into an exhibit at the Chelsea Center for the Arts in Manhattan. I’ve since exhibited in several galleries in Brooklyn and in Manhattan, and my work is in collections across the globe. My dream is to see my work in a museum setting.

I first discovered your artwork in Astoria, Queens, where you painted with the Welling Court Mural Project. This year, in fact, you collaborated with Al Diaz.  You don’t generally paint in public spaces. What brought you to Welling Court?

I’m fond of Garrison Buxton, the project’s organizer, and I love the make-up of the neighborhood. I’ve painted there for the past four years.

Steve-cogle-welling-court-mural-art-nyc

Have you any favorite artists among those active on our streets?

I like the way Chris RWK and Joe Iurato bring me back to my childhood. And there are several Staten-Island based artists I especially like: ErinKelli, John Exit and Kwue Molly.

What’s ahead? 

I’ve been working on a film to be released in 2017. It tells my story, while showcasing a range of creative artists. I plan to move to Italy by the end of this summer, and I wanted to document my life here. And, of course, more painting is ahead.

Steve-Cogle-art

Why the move? 

It’s time for a change!

Yes, change is good! Good luck with it all! 

Photo credits: 1 Lidia Santana; 3, 4-6 courtesy of the artist; 2 Lois Stavsky; interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky

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Lorenzo-masnah-with-artwork-chelsea

On view through tomorrow at 548 West 28th Street is Urban Reference, an engaging exhibit of works in a variety of media by Lorenzo Masnah, Alex Seel and Guillermo Perez.  When I visited earlier this week, I had the opportunity to speak to Lorenzo.

Just what is going on here?

When an opportunity to exhibit art in this space came our way, we decided to launch a show on the theme of urban life. It is what we know best!

There seem to be a few different motifs going on here.

Yes! Alex‘s photos were shot in Colombia’s capital city, Bogota. He spent several weeks there working on a documentary focusing on the city’s street life  Highlights include: live bombing by APC members, including Stinkfish; an interview with Bogota’s legendary MC, Manny from the underground rap group, Crack Family and advice from assorted characters who dwell on the streets of Bogota.

alex-seel-bogota-street-life

And what about Guillermo Perez? I love his paintings.

Guillermo Perez was born in the Dominican Republic into a family of master painters. On exhibit are his small works referencing people he’s met in the urban sphere.

How did you all three meet?

A number of years back, we shared the same living space in Bushwick — before the neighborhood became so gentrified.

Guillermo-Perez-musicians

You are continuing your series of dancers and musicians here, along with new works with a distinct urban flair and outsider sensibility.  What are your primary media?

I work with the “tools of the trade,” — Mean Streak markers and paints on a huge range of surfaces. And I find myself incorporating graffiti elements.

 How did you get the word out about the exhibit — on such short notice?

Largely through Instagram and Facebook. And, of course, we let all our close friends know.

Lorenzo-Masnah-close-up

How can folks see the exhibit?

It will continue through tomorrow, Friday. We are on the third floor of 548 West 28th Street between 10th and 11th Avenues.

Note: Lorenzo can be contacted at thirdwolrdpirate@gmail.com to confirm a visit

 Images:

1.  Lorenzo Masnah

2.  Alex Seel

3.  Guillermo Perez

4.  Lorenzo Masnah, close-up

Interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky

Photo credits: 1 Lois Stavsky; 3 Dani Reyes Mozeson & 4 courtesy of  Lorenzo Masnah

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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We love the way discarded and found objects — or fragments of them – are transformed into public art.  Here’s a small sampling:

RAE BK in Manhattan

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Jim Power aka the Mosaic Man captured at work in the East Village

Jim-power-recycled-street-art-east-village-nyc

Fragment from a pole fashioned by Jim Power

Jim-Power-street-art-nyc

Michael Cuomo in the Bronx

Michael-cuomo-hand-made-mask-recycled-art-NYC

Unidentified artist on the Lower East Side

recycled-art-Lower-east-sde

Photos: 1, 3-5 Lois Stavsky; 2 Dani Reyes Mozeson

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Huge fans of Michael Cuomo‘s street and subway interventions, we were delighted to visit his studio as he was getting ready for YOHO Artists Open Studio, in addition to a WallWorks NY pop-up show and a solo exhibit at Art Cafe in Brooklyn. Here’s a sampling of what we saw:

Lucky, fashioned from found objects

Michael-Cuomo-Reclaimed-art

Big Mouth, fashioned from found objects

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Self-Portrait

Michael-Cuomo-self-portrait-paper

The Tempest

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Untitled

Michael-Cuomo-folk-art

Note: Michael Cuomo’s studio is located at 578 Nepperhan Ave., Suite 505; Wall Works NY’s pop-up show — featuring a wondrous array of artists including Nick Walker, Tats Cru and Crash — opens tonight and continues through the weekend at 28 Wells Street, 2nd floor. And Michael’s solo exhibit at Art Cafe opens May 6 from 6-9 at 886 Pacific Street in Brooklyn.

YoHo

Photo credits: 1, 3-5 Lois Stavsky; 2. City-As-School intern Diana Davidova; YoHo Open Studio graphic designed by John Wujcik

You can check out a detailed schedule of what’s happening this weekend in Yonkers — including live painting by Crash, Fumero and Damien Mitchell — here.

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