public art

With street artists fiercely focusing now on addressing the social, economic and racial inequalities that the pandemic has only accentuated, Bill Posters’ new book, The Street Art Manual, is particularly timely. It is a paean to the spirit of art as activism.

For the past decade, Bill Posters — an award-winning artist, author and agitator — has worked alongside other artists and activists to create some of the world’s most illicit and impressive art projects. In The Street Art Manual, he earnestly, but playfully, presents practical guidance and advice on creating street art that challenges the inequitable status quo.

Providing tactics for successfully mounting campaigns that infiltrate the public sphere with everything from graffiti, stencils and pasteups to huge murals, projectiles and guerrilla projections, Poster discusses and describes in detail the necessary materials and techniques each mission demands. He also provides an extensive list of DO’s and DON’T’s for each of the distinct genres of street art. Should you subvert advertisements, for example, you are advised to “look like an employee of an outdoor-ad company” and not to “go out at a time that is different from when the real worker goes out to work.”

While many of the interventions featured are unsanctioned and can — if not carried out cautiously — involve a range of risks, not all are. One of the mediums included in The Street Art Manual is mural art. Large-scale murals — which so many of us have come to identify with corporate interests and gentrification — can also enrich neighborhoods. Artists painting outdoor murals have the opportunity and space to raise awareness of critical issues, celebrate distinct cultures and engage local folks. It is a way for artists, contends Posters, to give back to others while awakening consciousness.

The Italian artist Millo, for example, painted an 11-story-tall mural in the center of Santiago symbolizing “the hope that we must all find in relation to protecting the environment and reversing the ecological destruction that is causing our climate to collapse.”

Of particular interest to us street art aficionados is Post’s summary of each art form’s history. Wheat-pasting or poster-bombing can be traced back to 2000 BCE when papyrus was used to create promotional posters and flyers — formerly called bills — in such places as ancient Arabia, China, Greece, Rome and Egypt.  And we learn that yarn bombing, an increasingly popular international mode of public guerrilla expression, originally started in Houston, Texas in 2005 by a woman named Magda Sayeg who went on to gather a crew, Knitta Please.

Illustrated by Matt Bonner and published by Laurence King Publishing, Bill Posters’ The Street Art Manual delights, informs and provokes. It also renews our faith in street art as a tool for progressive social change in these fragile times.

Released globally today, September 3, the book is available here.

Images courtesy Laurence King Publishing.

{ 0 comments }

Several artists — whose works I had discovered on plywood in Soho — recently shared their visions and talents in Harlem, as they painted portraits inspired by the wondrous photography of Barron Claiborne

The image featured above — a portrait of the photographer  — was fashioned by the wonderfully talented Brendan T Mcnally. Additional images follow from several artists, who collectively identify as the Soho Renaissance Factory.

Artist/activist Amir Diop 

Glass & light artist Light Noise 

Multimedia artist Sule 

And joining the artists representing the Soho Renaissance Factory — producer and DJ Xtassy Beats

Konstance Patton aka KonArtStudio

Photos by Lois Stavsky

{ 0 comments }

When I visited Soho last Monday, it was hardly the rich wonderland it was several weeks ago. Yet, several new pieces greeted me, and I enjoyed revisiting some of my favorite murals that have, somehow, survived. The image featured above is the work of the delightfully talented artists Adam Fu and Duel RIS. Several more images — a few captured earlier —  follow:

The legendary Duel RIS

NYC-based multimedia artist Nick C. Kirk

The prolific NYC graffiti pioneer Hektad — captured 6.29

NYC-based multimedia artist Fabio Esteban 

NYC-based multidisciplinary artist Ilina Mustafina 

Photos by Lois Stavsky

{ 0 comments }

While revisiting Underhill Walls in Prospect Park, Brooklyn this past week, I was greeted by several delightfully intriguing murals that I hadn’t captured on my earlier visit in May. The image featured above was fashioned by Queens-native Jeff Rose, Colombian artist Calicho Arevalo, and Brooklyn-based krassness. Several more artworks from this model community arts-based project, curated and managed by Jeff Beler, follow:

Local artist Justin Winslow’s magical world

Gowanus-based Dylan Bauver‘s geometric Cosmos

 Dylon Thomas Burns offers a glimpse of heaven

Manhattan-based  Marivel Mejia pays homage to our health care workers

Stem YNN and Aloe Adventures take on — in comic book-style — our surreal times as we are “dodgin’ more than corona”

Underhill Walls is located at the corner of St. Johns Place and Underhill Avenue in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn.

Photo credits: 1 -4 & 6, Lois Stavsky and 5 Sara Ching Mozeson

{ 0 comments }

While many of the original artworks that had surfaced on the boarded-up stores in Soho are no longer on view, others continue to emerge. Featured above are works by NYC-based politically-conscious artist Sule and Brooklyn-based artist Manuel Alejandro Pulla. What follows are several more artworks I came upon earlier this week, along with a few captured within the past month.

Also by Sule, “My Color Is Not a Crime”

Artist/activist Amir Diop in collaboration with Eyes That Love Art, “Take Me to a Place Where I Won’t Be Judged by My Weight, I Won’t Be Labeled as a Nerd– Where Black Lives Matter”

NYC-based multidisciplinary artist DVNNY,  “Let Us Live,” — a plea from the transgender community

Jordanian-American multidisciplinary artist Ridikkuluz pays homage to the 30–year-old Egyptian LGBTQ activist Sarah Hegazi — arrested and tortured in Cairo for raising the LGBT flag at a concert — who died last month by suicide while living in exile in Canada — to the left of LEXXX‘s plea to “Free the Ninos”

Isabelle with Vincent Van Gogh quote: “Art is to Console Those Who Are Broken by Life”

Brooklyn-based Czech artist Irena Kenny, “We are the change that we seek.”

To be continued next week!

Photo credits: 1, 3 – 7 Lois Stavsky; 2 Sara Ching Mozeson

{ 1 comment }

When I returned to Soho earlier this week, I was thrilled to discover several pieces — including a few collaborations — new to me. The image featured above, “Our Nation’s Claim to Justice,” was fashioned by Colombian artist Calicho Arevalo and Queens-native Jeff Rose. Several more artworks that have recently surfaced on Soho’s boarded-up stores follow:

Multidisciplinary artists Alice Mackay (center) and Marco Villard 

The legendary NYC writer/artist Duel RIS 

Venezuelan artist Alberto Barreto and multimedia artist AV

Ukrainian-born, NYC-based multidisciplinary artist Si Golraine at work

Brooklyn-based multidisciplinary artist Konstance Patton

Amir Diop, Brendan T Mcnally and Light Noise collaborate on mural in memory of graffiti writer Michael Stewart who died at the hands of the NYPD in  1983

To be continued next week!

Photo credits: 1, 2, 4 – 7 Lois Stavsky; 3 Sara Ching Mozeson

{ 0 comments }

For over a decade Welling Court and its surrounding blocks in Astoria, Queens have been a mecca of street art and graffiti, engaging a widely diverse group of artists, the local community, as well as the the general public.  On our recent visit to Astoria, we were delighted to discover several new murals — curated by Alison C. Wallis —  that have surfaced in these trying times on the walls of one of our favorite street art destinations. The image featured above was fashioned by the legendary Chris “Daze” Ellis. Several more murals — painted over the past few weeks — follow:

Bronx-bred El Souls

Lady Pink‘s tribute to George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and many more whose lives should have never been cut short 

Greg Lamarche aka SP ONE, “Lift Every Voice”

Fumero, “The Glariator” with his name in flames

Bronx-based BG 183, Tats Cru

Queen Andrea, Love Always Wins

John “Crash” Matos and Joe Iurato with a message of LOVE

Also among the new works is a mural fashioned by the legendary John Fekner, to be captured when the sun cooperates!

Photo credits: 1, 6 & 7 Sara Ching Mozeson; 2 – 5 & 8 Lois Stavsky

{ 0 comments }

While many of the boards in Soho continue to be dismantled, the ones that remain continue to intrigue. And, happily, new ones surface — largely by artists who generally work in their studios — addressing a range of issues from systemic racism to transphobia. The socially-driven artworks featured above were fashioned  a few weeks back by Brooklyn-based artist Jerardo Calixto in collaboration with Sofi ✍ Signs. Several more images captured earlier this week — several in progress — follow:

NYC-based Fabio Esteban with a message

NYC-based Brendan T Mcnally takes a brief break from “Break Free” in progress (check out Brendan’s Instagram to view the now completed mural and its moving backstory)

NYC-based, Moscow native Sofia Granovskaia aka Dr Antic to the right of artist/activist Amir Diop — with an important request and reproach re: his missing artwork

Multidisciplinary artist Matthew Mazur — dedicated to “our Black Trans Brothers and Sisters who were taken from us too soon.”

Native Belarus artist Mitya Pisliak at work

Brooklyn-based, Czechoslovak-born Kamila Zmrzla Otcasek

On racism — signed Scott Woods 

To be continued next week!

Photo credits: 1, 3, 4, 6-8 Lois Stavsky; 2 & 5 Sara Ching Mozeson

{ 3 comments }

Although dozens of boards that have served as canvases for a diverse range of artworks are no longer part of Soho’s visual landscape, the neighborhood remains my current favorite destination for street art. The image featured above was created by the talented, NYC-based writer and painter Gerry Vewer. Several more images — some discovered earlier this week and others captured within the last month — follow:

West Chester, PA-born, NYC-based Maeve Cahill’s homage to Black inventors, who’ve been largely “written out of history”

Documentarian Middlemen Doc and NY-based filmmaker and multidisciplinary artist Rochelle Leanne to the left of the widely-posted “Black Lives Matter” image

Artist and self-described cosmic anthropologist Loren Crea Abbate to the left of multidisciplinary artist Beatriz Ramos

Multidisciplinary artist and designer K O FF EE

Visual artist and poet Android Oi in collaboration with Brooklyn-based MaryKathryn Medlock — to the right of  NYC-based UNLOK

To be continued next week!

Photos by Lois Stavsky

{ 0 comments }

A diverse range of artists — from self-taught to those with advanced degrees in Fine Art — have been busy these past few weeks in Soho, transforming the Lower Manhattan neighborhood into an open-air museum.  Although dozens of artworks on boards have already vanished as stores begin to open, others continue to surface. The works above were fashioned by — from left to right — Tyler Ives, Calicho Arevalo, and Loren Crea Abbate. Several more images in this ongoing series follow:

Multimedia artist and environmentalist Luca Babini aka Acool55 to the left of Erin Ko‘s portrait of  the late noted African-American writer James Baldwin

Savior Elmundo, “Enough Is Enough,” to the left of Lady JDay’s portrait of Breonna Taylor

Lower East Side-based multidisciplinary artist Michael Rimbaud does the late noted poet Gil Scott-Heron with a play on his famed poem “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”

Queens-native Jeff Rose King in collaboration with Colombian artist Calicho Arevalo

Lower Manhattan-based creative agency Vault49

Brooklyn-based artist/calligrapher Max Gibbons

To be continued next week!

Photos: Lois Stavsky

{ 0 comments }