RAE BK

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This is the fifth in a serious of occasional posts documenting the range of stickers — from the playful to the political — that surface on NYC public spaces. The one pictured above by Rx Skulls was spotted on the Lower East Side. Here are several more:

Unidentified artist on the Upper West Side

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Chris RWK and K-Nor on the Lower East Side

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Todd Colby with a question in Chelsea

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Colombian artist Nany Coy in East Harlem

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Bines on the Lower East Side

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RAE BK in Bushwick

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Trump — with creative Nazi insignia — spotted on the Lower East Side; artist to be identified 

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A political statement on the Upper West Side

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Photos by Lois Stavsky

Note: Hailed in a range of media from Wide Walls 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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NYC’s prolific RAE BK will join forces with the legendary DJ Kool Herc at 99 Bowery on New Year’s Eve for an unprecented event. A brief interview with RAE BK about his new exhibit  and its New Years Eve launch follows:

This sure seems like a fun way to spend New Years Eve! What spurred you to do this? 

After everything that has gone on with this Presidential Election in the US, I decided the best way to bring in a 2017 is with a bang.  I hope it’s a way to at least turn the page for an evening for those who attend. The name of the exhibition is All Systems Go and it centers around the comparison of discarded objects and human beings.

What kinds of works can we expect to see? On the streets we’ve spotted everything from your stickers to your huge installations?

There will be about 40 pieces ranging from ‘found object’ sculptures to large scale canvases to paintings on paper.  These are works I have made over the course of eight months.  And what better way to say goodbye to 2016 than to have a living legend, the Father of Hip-Hop, DJ Kool Herc, to bring some bass and get people moving later on?

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Can you tell us something about the found objects that you have been working with? Where did you find them?

A lot of the parts I have collected and used to make the work have come from an area in Willets Point. Queens, NYC.   It’s about a 10- block section full of “chop shops,” huge pot holes and some really weathered people. The feeling is third-world for sure. For someone looking at it from the outside — like me — it’s like the land of the forgotten.  Mechanics look like they’ve put in a week’s straight worth of doing car repairs. Others are selling drugs and looking to turn tricks. The work I have created is as much a reflection of the materials as it is of the environment.  A lot of rusted metals, worn fabrics and scraps of plastics… Think “pop-artifacts.”

What was it like to work with these objects?

While working in my studio, I kept seeing the worn and weary faces of the people I encountered in the weathered parts. I adopted the philosphy of making the best of the materials you are given.  And these materials came from the people of Willets Point. People there do what they have to do to make a living. Whatever it takes. The interesting thing is that for all the rusted, decayed, crushed pieces I found, I also found stuff that had a nice gold or silver shine or burst of color that created a cool high-end, low-end quality to the finished pieces.

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How can one attend All Systems Go on New Years Eve?

Opening night will be a ticketed event with open bar and music spun on vinyl by DJ Kool Herc.  I will be giving away a small original piece of work just before midnight too. You can get tickets here.

And if we can’t make it to the New Years Eve opening, will we still be able to see your show?

Yes! The show will run for at least another week after that. Check my Instagram for updates.

Interview by Lois Stavsky; photos 2 & 4 from NYC streets, 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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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

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Fragment from a pole fashioned by Jim Power

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Michael Cuomo in the Bronx

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Unidentified artist on the Lower East Side

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

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RAE-This-May-Come-as-a-Shock

On exhibit through April 19 at 34 1/2 Bayard Street in Manhattan’s Chinatown, RAE’s brilliantly idiocyncratic Trunk Work celebrates the retrieval and contents of RAE‘s trunk from his former Brooklyn studio, while chronicling the events related to its loss and rescue. Graphically and conceptually engaging, Trunk Work wittily defines the mood and culture of the Brooklyn environs that housed RAE‘s trunk, as it showcases a range of RAE’s rescued and new works.

For four years, you couldn’t gain access to your trunk. What exactly was inside it?

Various artworks, notebooks, sketches, implements and a range of personal items.

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How did you lose access to it?

I had been maintaining a studio in a Flatlands, Brooklyn apartment building. But as a result of tenant complaints, I was forcibly removed. Barred from entering the building, I had no way to retrieve my trunk.

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What kinds of complaints might these tenants have had?

They didn’t like my taste in music; they complained that it was too loud. And the noise from my art practice bothered some. Finally, when a microwave I was using to melt some materials exploded, the landlord decided that he’d had enough of me.

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How did you finally retrieve your trunk?

This past August, cracks were discovered in the building’s facade and the entire building was evacuated. Amidst the chaos of it all, I was able to retrieve my trunk from what was once my studio.

We’re so glad you did! What a story! And what an amazing recreation of it all!

In true RAE fashion, Trunk Work is far more than an art exhibit; it is a totally immersive experience. Set in a Chinatown basement at 94 1/2 Bayard Street, right off Mulberry, it continues through April 19, Thursday-Sunday (except for Easter) from 1-6pm.

Photos 1-3 and 5 by Lois Stavsky; 4 by Dani Reyes Mozeson

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