Ramiro Davaro-Comas

An art lover and dear friend to so many street artists, East Village–based Steve Stoppert is a local legend. True to his motto, “Just Paint,” he is the force behind one of NYC’s most visible public spaces – the wall facing the Second Avenue subway station. Dozens of artists have painted there, and dozens more wait their turn. Recently, we had the opportunity to interview Steve in his Second Avenue apartment that brims with art — from floor to ceiling — in just about every media and style.

We are fortunate that you have made New York City your home. Where were you born? And what brought you here?

I was born in Pontiac, Michigan — a northern suburb of Detroit. I came here in 1992 for two weeks to remodel my sister’s bathroom. And I never left. She was living on East 6th Street at the time.

What was it about NYC that so drew you in?

The music scene. It was magic!  Seeing the Pavement at the Mercury Lounge on the Lower East Side. Hanging out at CBGB on the Bowery…

And what about NYC’s art scene?

I used to go on my own to the Met. But it wasn’t until an artist friend took me on a tour of the museum and introduced me to Cézanne that something clicked!

What is your first street art/graffiti-related memory?

Definitely Shepard Fairey. Seeing Andre the Giant everywhere!

And how did you become so deeply involved with the current scene?

I started going out with Fumero late at night. I was his “look-out.” I remember thinking, “If only I’d had an aerosol can in my hand when I was 15!”

How has the street art scene changed since you first began paying attention to it? 

It’s different. These days, there are lots of fluffy paste-ups, and just about everyone is documenting it. But I still love it.

What is your favorite aspect of the scene?

I love the hunt. When I first began in 2010, I was obsessed with Jim Joe. I used to hunt for him daily. I chased him everywhere between the Lower East Side and Tribeca competing with folks on Tumblr for the most Jim Joe sightings.

For the past several years you’ve been curating a hugely visible wall right on your block. How do you decide which artists to feature?

I have a list of about 80-100 artists who’ve approached me. We simply select a name at random from a hat. Each month the wall changes.

What has the experience been like?

I love it. I love working with artists. I don’t even mind when they’re flakey or late. I just go with it.

How do you deal with the ever-present politics in this scene?

I ignore it completely.

Do any memorable experiences stand out? 

Fun times! When City Kitty got up on the wall and changed it 6-8 times within three months. And, of course, riding on my bike at 3am to 4am with flashlight and bike light – not knowing what I will see that I haven’t seen before.

What do you see as the future of this scene?

It seems to be at an all-time high with its increasing appeal to commercial buildings and high-end hotels.

Yes! It certainly has changed since I first fell in love with it! And we are thrilled that you are doing what you are doing. The wall that you curate is one of our faves.

Images:

1. Steve Stoppert in front or wall painted last Sunday by Key Detail

2, Noted California-born artist and musician Paul Kostabi

3. The itinerant Sirus Fountain aka Pyramid Oracle

4. Bronx-based Zimad

5. Brooklyn-based Argentine artists Magda Love and Sonni

6. The prolific Optimo NYC aka Optimo Primo, Werds and No Sleep

7. Brooklyn-based Argentine artist Ramiro Davaro-Comas

Interview conducted by Lois Stavsky and Ana Candelaria and edited by Lois Stavsky

Photo credits: 1-3 & 5 Lois Stavsky; 4, 6 & 7 Ana Candelaria

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On several day trips to Charlotte, North Carolina, StreetArtNYC contributor Tara Murray discovered a treasure trove of murals. Pictured above is an image of Neptune, the Roman god of the sea, fashioned by Matt Moore & Matt Hooker with Tucker Sward. Several more images of Charlotte street art — captured by Tara — follow:

Charlotte-based artist Nick Napoletano 

Osiris Rain with Nick Napoletano 

Miami-based Hoxxoh, close-up for the Talking Walls Festival

Charlotte-based Nico Amortegui

Argentine-American artist Ramiro Davaro-Comas for the Talking Walls Festival

Photos by Tara Murray

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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Ramiro-Davaro-centrefuge-public-art-project

With influences ranging from comic book art to South American/European muralism, Brooklyn-based Ramiro Davaro has created a wondrous world of fantastical characters who have made their way onto public and private spaces throughout NYC and beyond. We recently had the opportunity to visit Ramiro’s studio and speak to him.

When did you first paint on a public surface and where?

It was back in high school around 2002. I was about 16 at the time. I painted some mushrooms on a huge rock at a park we used to go hiking in.  It was the worst. I basically ruined a nice lookout.

What inspired you to do so?

I was getting tired of painting on small surfaces. I wanted a larger canvas so I could paint way bigger! But what I painted was so dumb that it took a few years before I was ready to try again.  My first real art on the street was in 2007 in Buenos Aires.

ramiro-Davaro-little-havana-street-art

Do any early graffiti/street art-related memories stand out?

I remember seeing lots of political art – with faces of politicians and names of soccer teams — on the streets of Argentina when I was a young child.

What percentage of your day is devoted to your art these days?

About 70%. When I’m not doing something art-related, I’m skateboarding.

How does your family feel about what you are doing?

Everyone likes my work and has been very supportive.

ramiro-davaro-studio-art

Any thoughts on the graffiti/ street art divide?

I don’t feel it, and I don’t think about it. I love both, and they’re both necessary.

How do you feel about the movement of graffiti and street art into galleries?  We’ve seen your work at Cotton Candy Machine in Williamsburg and you are now showing with Brandon Sines at Grumpy Bert in Downtown Brooklyn.

I think it’s good for everyone!

What about the corporate world? Any feelings about that?

So long as I can dominate the conversation and be true to my vision, I don’t have a problem with it.

ramiro-davaro-street-art

How you feel about the role of the Internet in this scene?

It’s a bit much! It can be insane. But on the positive side, it creates opportunities for artists, and it also builds bridges.

Do you have a formal arts education?

No. I majored in Business. But my mom used to always take me to art museums. While growing up in Massachusetts, I got my very early schooling at the Worcester Art Museum.

Do you work with a sketch in your hand or do you let it flow?

I mostly just let it flow.

ramiro-davaro-art-on-paper

Are you generally satisfied with your work?

About 80% of the time!

How has your work evolved in the past few years?

Before moving to Brooklyn, I had been able to visit and live in different countries. As a result of my experiences, my process has become more mature, more thought-out, and tighter. Working with different companies, painting murals in a range of places and engaging in various projects have also helped me become more flexible and fluid in the work I can produce. In these past couple of years, my hand has really taken over and put a definitive mark on the work I produce.

Are there any artists out there whose works have inspired you or influenced your particular aesthetic?

I remember reading about David Ellis and the Barnstormers crew in Juxtapoz back in 2008.  That blew me away!  As far as influences — Os Gemeos, D*Face and Word to Mother come to mind.

sines- davaro

What’s ahead?

More shows and more murals! A group show in LA at Luz de Jesus Gallery in September; a few animations with FlipBooKit for the Maker Faire here in NYC in at the end of September; painting at Art Basel in December; a group exhibit at Redefine Gallery in Orlando in February. Books, walls, Aruba, Argentina and more art!

It sounds great! Good luck with it all!

Note: Through Sunday, you can check out Ramiro’s works — many in collaboration with Brandon Sines — at Grumpy Bert in Downtown Brooklyn.

Photos: 1, 5 Tara Murray; 2 – 4 Lois Stavsky

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"Ramiro Davaro"

A motley crew of  characters, conceived by Argentine American artist Ramiro Davaro, can be found not only on the streets of Brooklyn, but — for the next few days — his Manimal Friends remains on exhibit at Williamsburg’s Cotton Candy Machine. Here are some more of his characters that have surfaced on the streets:

For Juicy Art Fest

Ramiro-Davaro-and-Tony-Washington-street-art-NYC

On Scholes and Waterbury, 2013

"Ramiro Davaro"

Close-up, on Waterbury and Meserole, 2014

"Ramiro Davaro"

Outside the Cotton Candy Machine

"Ramiro Davaro"

And inside the Cotton Candy Machine — one of many, Pen and Ink, Acrylic Paint on Paper

"Ramiro Davaro"

Also on sale at the Cotton Candy Machine are signed copies of Ramiro’s colorfully illustrated new book Manimal Friends. Located at 235 South 1st Street (between Roebling and Havemeyer), Cotton Candy Machine is open Tuesday through Sunday from noon to 8pm.

Photos 1, 3, 5 and 6 by Dani Reyes Mozeson; 2 and 4 by Lois Stavsky 

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This is the fifth in an occasional series featuring images of males who surface on NYC public spaces:

Esteban del Valle on Manhattan’s Lower East Side

Esteban del Valle

Ramiro Davaro-Comas in Bushwick, Brooklyn

"ramiro davaro comas"

Close-up from huge wall by Swoon and Groundswell youth on the Bowery and Houston

Swoon

James de la Vega in East Harlem

"de la vega"

Paul Paddock in the East Village

"Paul Paddock"

Tats Cru in the East Village

"Tats Cru"

Mataone in Bushwick, Brooklyn

Mataone

 Photo of Swoon by Tara Murray, of Mataone by Dani Reyes Mozeson and all others by Lois Stavsky

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