Rubin

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Several stunning new murals recently surfaced on Morgan Avenue and Stagg Street in Bushwick. While visiting Livestream last week, I spoke to visual artist and curator Bianca Romero about Skillosophy, the movement behind these artworks.

Just what is Skillosophy? And when was it launched?

It’s an exhibition/showcase series that takes place four times a year with a focus on multi-disciplinary artists. It was launched last year by the co-founders of Lyricist Lounge & Defiant Ent and Livestream. For this past quarter, Danny Castro — Lyricist Lounge co-founder — and I decided to feature outdoor murals for the fall exhibition during Bushwick Open Studios, in addition to the art that is on exhibit inside the Livestream headquarters.

fin-dac-paints-mural-bushwick-nyv

What spurred you to add this outdoor element to Skillosophy?

Typically, Skillosophy is indoors, inside the Livestream studio space. But we wanted to take it outside for Bushwick Open Studios. It seemed like a great way to give exposure to the talented muralists and street artists, and it was a great addition to our Block Party to have it done live. We loved the communal and public aspect of it.

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You’ve done a wonderful job of curating it all. The art both inside and outside is wonderfully eclectic and is beautifully presented. Have you a background in art? 

Both my parents are artists. My father, in fact, was a pioneer in graphic design and has taught design at the School of Visual Arts and at the Parsons School of Design. My mother was a fashion designer, and I, myself, am an artist.

danielle-mastrion-lexi-bella-street-art-nyc

And can you tell us a bit about Livestream? When was it first founded and what is its mission?

It was founded in 2007 with the mission to make any every event available live online through video.

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And how has Livestream responded to Skillosophy?

The love it. They’ve thoroughly embraced it. They love the idea of bringing the extraordinary talents of Bushwick into our offices. A walk through our offices — that are covered with work by local artists — is like a walk through the neighborhood!

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Who is Skillosophy‘s audience?

All art lovers! Anyone who loves any aspect of art — music, dance, film or visual art.  The venue has hosted hip-hop shows, film industry mixers and skillshares in addition to art exhibits. We’ve had a very diverse audience…from working class folks to art collectors to party people!

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How can folks best keep up with your events? And how can they arrange a visit to Livestream‘s headquarters for private viewings of the indoor art?

They can follow Skillosophy on Instagram, and they can contact us at skillosophyshow@gmail.com to schedule a private viewing and inquire about pricing and events. And any artist or performer interested in participating in a future Skillosophy exhibition and showcase can contact as at this email, as well.

 Images

1 & 2 Fin DAC at work

3 Rubin at work

4 Danielle Mastrion and Lexi Bella

5 Jerms

6 Misha T 

7 N Carlos J

Photo credits 1-5 & 7 Karin du Maire and 6 Tara Murray; interview with Bianca Romero conducted by Lois Stavsky

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Michael-alan-art

Back in March, Joshua B. Geyer‘s splendidly curated exhibit introduced us to the World Trade Gallery.  We recently returned as its current exhibit, Deep Calls Deep, again features some of our favorite artists. Pictured above is a recent work by the wonderfully talented and highly imaginative Michael Alan.

Also by Michael Alan

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michael-alan-on-paper

Rubin

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With Erasmo to his left

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Located at 120 Broadway in Manhattan’s Financial District, the World Trade Gallery is open Monday – Thursday 9am-7pm; Friday 9am-6pm and Saturday 11am-5pm.

Photo credits: 1, 4 & 5 Tara Murray; 2 & 3 Lois Stavsky

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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A specialized new online gallery certain to appeal to us street art aficionados, Cluster Wall launches tomorrow evening with an exhibit and party at 17 Frost in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. We recently had the opportunity to speak to Cluster Wall’s founder, Evan Tobias. 

Chris-RWK-Cluster-Wall

What is Cluster Wall? Why that name?

It is a term I respond to! As an art-lover and collector, I tend to cluster art of all colors and styles in our Brooklyn apartment. The results are vibrant, bold and kinetic, like New York City, itself!

What is your mission in launching Cluster Wall?

My mission is to provide art lovers with the opportunity to purchase first-rate, hand-embellished affordable art. There will not be any ink jet prints. All of the artworks will be signed and numbered, and editions will be limited. Prints will be released in a series of 100 or fewer. And, in addition, a small number of original works will also be made available.

"Evan Tobias"

What work experiences do you bring with you to your current position?

I was the founder and editor of Block Magazine, and founder of the Full Circle Bar in Williamsburg.

Most of the artists — whose works you will be exhibiting and selling — are active on the streets. Why the focus on street art?

I’m a big fan of street art. I’ve been living in Williamsburg since 2001, and I’ve seen how street art has enhanced my neighborhood. It has made it a better place to live. But Cluster Wall is not limited to street artists. I will be releasing artworks by other contemporary urban artists, as well.

the-drif

How did you decide which artists to work with?

I started off by contacting artists I know, and then I was connected to some others. I was specifically looking for artwork that I love that would also work well as prints.

Can you tell us something about this weekend’s exhibit? What can we expect to see?

We will be featuring prints and original artworks by Chris RWK, Joe Iurato, Rubin, ASVP, Elle, The Drif, London Kaye, Solus, Opie and ORYX, along with collaborative works by John Paul O’Grodnick and Jilly Ballistic, who will also be painting live.

Jilly-ballistic-and-j-p-o

What is Cluster Wall bringing to the art scene?

It provides art lovers with the opportunity to collect outstanding, innovative artwork at modest prices.

That all sounds great! Good luck!

Joe-Iurato-cluster-wall

Note: The launch begins at 7pm tomorrow — Saturday — at 17 Frost Street and will feature, along with dozens of artworks, music by DJ Nigel Rubirosa and refreshments provided by Lion Beer and Sea Grape Wines.

Interview conducted by City-as-School intern Zachariah Messaoud.

Photos

1. Chris RWK  

2. Cluster Wall founder Evan Tobias, seated in front of artwork by London Kaye 

3. The Drif

4. John Paul O’Grodnick and Jilly Ballistic

5.  Joe Iurato

All photos courtesy Cluster Wall, except for pic of Evan by Lois Stavsky

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"Buff Monste"

With cameras in hand, Leanna Valente has spent the past 15 months photographing graffiti writers and street artists in progress.  She now has over 400 photos signed by the artists.  I recently had the opportunity to speak to Leanna about her brilliant Instant Art Exposure project and more:

Have you any early memories of graffiti or street art?

I remember first seeing graffiti as a young child. It was right down the block — under viaducts and bridges — from where I grew up in Buffalo. I loved it at first sight!

Have you, yourself, done any graffiti?

When I was about six, I attempted some bubble letters. And I still give it a try while doodling on a napkin!

What about other art forms? 

I’ve been doing art – of one kind or another — for as long as I can remember.

VengRWK

Any particular styles or genres?

Mainly mixed-media works of acrylic, spray paint, fabric and photography.

Have you shown your work in galleries or formal settings?

I started showing in galleries in 2003 while living in Atlanta. I also showed in Miami, in Southern California, in Buffalo and at alternative spaces in Brooklyn in 2010.

Have you studied art in a formal setting?

I’m basically self-taught. I’ve studied art informally at FIT here in NYC and at the Atlanta College of Art/SCAD when I was living in Atlanta, Georgia.

Hoacs

Can you tell us something about your photography projects?

My series Extreme Fashion Window Design in NYC focuses on extreme fashion window designs in Manhattan portraying the glamour and grit of the city.  Another series Trashion focuses on the exclusive branding found in our city’s trash. And my Instant Art Exposure project documents NYC’s street art and graffiti scene.

You are obviously quite passionate about street art and graffiti. 

Yes, I have been addicted to it for as long as I can remember, and I officially started documenting it in 2007. I love its unique beauty and grand size. It’s gutsy and challenging.  Just seeing it gives me an adrenalin rush!

I can relate to that! When did you begin this NYC project?

I became avidly serious about it about 14 months ago at Welling Court while watching Kingbee paint. He was the first to sign a photo.

QA

And we all love your shots that the artists sign. It’s a brilliant concept. I wish I had thought of it myself! Did anything in particular inspire it?

Through documenting street art, graffiti and art/fashion mixes for my blog, I became even more interested in documenting the artists “in process.”  It became my way of paying respect to them and the hard work they put into each piece on the walls.  I felt that it was a unique and personal addition to the black book. And when artists began to respond enthusiastically, I continued.

Where is the project headed?

Well, people keep on asking me what I’m doing with it. Originally I was just doing it for myself. It was meant as a personal diary of photos to hang on my wall. But artists I’ve photographed and other people in the scene have suggested that I follow up on publishing a book and launching an exhibit that feature the works. And so in addition to what I do with my standard photography equipment, my primary focus now is on this project. Talks are now in the works for a series of books, gallery shows and select prints. I will never sell the originals, but I will choose, with the assistance of the artists, a select number to make into prints.

That sounds great! Who are some of the artists have you photographed?

They range from such legends as Blek le Rat, Lady Pink, Charlie Ahearn, Lee Quinones, Crash, Futura and Kenny Scharf to contemporary masters such as Shepard Fairey, Logan Hicks, Sp.One, Wane, Chris Stain, Billy Mode, Stik, Stinkfish, RWK and Icy and Sot. And I can’t imagine ever stopping!

J"oe Iurato and Rubin415"

Note: You can follow Leanna on Instagram at @leannav & #instantartexposure, in addition to her blog and her soon-to-be-launched website www.instantartexposure.com.

Interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky.

Leanna’s photos: 1. Buff Monster 2. Veng RWK 3. Hoacs 4. Queen Andrea 5. Rubin & Joe Iurato

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A 3000 sq. foot gallery and performance space housed on the 5th floor of 67 West Street in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, Succulent Studios opened earlier this year with an exhibit featuring over 30 artists of diverse backgrounds and cultures. Currently on exhibit —  through June 21 — is PALABRA, an installation-based show featuring works by Rubin, Sek3, Iena Cruz, Beau Stanton, El Sol 25, S. Rose, Katie Balloons and Michael Alan. On a recent visit, I had the opportunity to speak to its owner and founder, Sek3.

Sek3

Could you tell us something about the birth of Succulent Studios? What motivated you to launch this space? It is quite remarkable.

The idea was born in Miami at Art Basel back in December.  Cern, Cekis, Bisc, Stefano Alcantara and I had set up a pop-up show in Wynwood.  It was so successful – with one of my paintings selling the very first day — that I decided I wanted to continue doing shows back in NYC. Cern introduced me to Daniel Weintraub, who soon took on the role of Creative Director. I see street art as the last vestige of originality and this space as the ideal venue for street artists to bring their visions inside.

"S. Rose"

Folks are still talking about your Inaugural Show that opened in early spring.

Yes, it was amazing! More successful that I could have imagined! 33 artists – including legendary writers like Daze and Ket — were represented. A piece by Old School writer FIB was sold raising $800 for dog shelters  —  with an additional $200 donated by Succulent Studios. And despite heavy rains, thunderous storms and issues with public transportation, hundreds of people showed up.

Rubin415

What about your current exhibit? What is the concept behind PALABRA?

It is installation-based with each artist given a particular section to engage in any way he or she pleases.

"Beau Stanton"

How has the response to this exhibit been?

It’s been tremendous with lots of media coverage and great sales.

What would you say has been your greatest challenge?

The sheer amount of work that running this space requires. It’s a 24-hour day job. I need to hire someone just to sleep!

"Iena Cruz"

What’s ahead?

There will be a closing party for PALABRA next Saturday evening — June 21 at 7pm — presenting The Living Installation by Michael Alan.  And then the following week we will be exhibiting a selection of murals created for Governors Ball.  Much more in the months ahead including a show featuring the artwork of fine artists Akira Beard and Jaclyn Alderete and more exhibits with works by street artists. There will also be projects and classes that will directly engage members of the local community.

It sounds great! Good luck!

Interview and photos by Lois Stavsky; photo info: 1. Sek3 2. S. Rose 3. Rubin 4. Beau Stanton 5. Iena Cruz

This is the tenth in a series of posts featuring images of girls — and women — who grace New York City’s public spaces:

Dasic — with Rubin in the background — at Hunts Point in the Bronx

Dasic and Rubin

Tristan Eaton in NoLita

Triston Eaton

Community mural in Bedford-Stuyvesant Brooklyn, When Women Pursue Justice, since 2005

Community mural

LMNOP at Welling Court in Astoria, Queens

LMNOP

Alice Mizrachi aka AM in East Harlem

Alice Mizrachi

FKDL at the Bushwick Collective

FKDL

Gore at 5Pointz in Long Island City, Queens

Gore

How and Nosm in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

How and Nosm

Photos by Dani Mozeson, Tara Murray and Lois Stavsky

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One of NYC’s most prolific street artists, Royce Bannon aka Choice Royce is also a first-rate curator.  His most recent venture, SPECTRUM, is on view at Gallery Brooklyn through August 31.

Gallery Brooklyn

Your iconic monsters surface throughout the boroughs – both on the streets and in galleries – and you also have curated some of NYC’s most impressive street art shows.  What got you into curating?

Back in 2005, my sister and her husband ran a gallery space in Harlem.  I loved the idea of organizing an exhibit that would showcase my friends’ work.  And since I had access to a space, I did just that.

Who were some of the artists in your first exhibit?

They were mostly members of my crew, the Endless Love Crew. Guys like Abe Lincoln, Jr., Infinity, GoreB, Anera…

EKG and Royce Bannon

I remember seeing Work to Do at 112 Greene Street a few years back in SoHo. It was amazing!  How did it come to be?

In 2009, Steve Loeb and John Robie offered me their 4000 square foot studio space to curate an exhibit.  With help from my friends, we organized an exhibit with 50 — 60 artists. Work was installed just about everywhere in every manner possible. The response was wonderful and it whet my appetite to curate more exhibits.

What about other spaces? Where else have you curated?

I’ve curated shows at 17 Frost and at the Mishka Store in Williamsburg and at the Woodward Gallery on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. My current exhibit, SPECTRUM, is at Gallery Brooklyn here in Red Hook.

Rubin

Tell us a bit about your process of curating? How does it begin?

It begins with a concept. And once I have the concept, I contact the artists I’d like to feature and, then – sometimes — I have to begin searching for a space.

What about SPECTRUM? What is the concept behind SPECTRUM?

The concept for this show was actually See One’s. He suggested that I curate an exhibit featuring abstract graffiti with works by Col, Rubin and Hellbent and him. I added EKG.

See One

It’s certainly a great selection of artists – all five are active on the streets, as well as in their studiosHow did you hook up with Gallery Brooklyn?

I began contacting various spaces and Gallery Brooklyn – that had hosted Geometrics last year — was welcoming and enthusiastic. It was the perfect match.

And the installation is flawless!

Thanks! I couldn’t be more satisfied. I wasn’t sure what to expect, and the results are beyond my expectations! The works all complement one another.

Hellbent

How did the opening go?

It was fantastic. The response was all positive and it sold well.

What’s ahead?

More curating. More art. More writing. And more interviews for the Source.

Col

Have you any new concepts for exhibits?

I’d like to curate an exhibit on the theme of characters.

That sounds great! I am already looking forward to it!

Interview by Lois Stavsky; photos of EKG and Royce collab, See One, Rubin and Hellbent — in that order — by Lois Stavsky; final photo of Col courtesy of Royce.

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This past weekend — on one of winter’s chilliest days — we hit Bushwick, where we caught some new images and revisited others.

New from Brooklyn-based Elbow Toe with Veng‘s signature birds

Elbow Toe and Veng

Belgian artist Roa

Roa

4BurnersDasic and Rubin with Madrid-based Okuda

Dasic, Rubin and Okuda

Berst tribute to NEKST, RIP

Berst

Brooklyn-based Never

Never

Brooklyn-based Bast

Bast

Bast, close-up

Bast close-up

Photos by Lenny Collado

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Speaking with Rubin

January 16, 2013

Rubin-graffiti-and-street-art-action-in-Bushwick-NYC

Rubin’s exquisite murals surface here regularly in NYC on the streets of Brooklyn and the Bronx.  Each one is a cause for celebration.  We recently had the opportunity to speak with the talented artist.

When and where did you start getting up?

I started tagging in 1985 – age 10.  I was living in Gothenburg, Sweden. I grew up there among the concrete projects. Their walls were my first canvas.

What inspired you?

I watched the movie Beat Street at my friend’s house. That started everything. The movie had a huge impact on me, as did growing up in the projects.

How did your family feel about what you were doing back then?

My mother worried a lot. But she was supportive.

Rubin graffiti

Do you have a formal art education?

No. I never wanted to go to art school. I studied music and played in several bands in my native Gothenburg.

Back in Sweden, did you work alone or with a crew?

I painted with NTA (Night Time Artists) back in Sweden. But I also painted alone.

What about here – in NYC?

I’ve collaborated mostly with 4Burner members:  Sen2, Dasic, Owns, Deem, Gusto and Logek.

Would you rather paint alone or with others?

I like painting alone, but painting with others is important for artistic growth.

Rubin-street-art-and-graffiti-in-NYC

Is there anyone in particular with whom you would like to collaborate?

I would love to collaborate with Futura. That would be something.

Have you any preferred spots and/or surfaces?

I love the concrete walls up in Hunts Point in the South Bronx.

What is the riskiest thing you ever did?

I climbed five or six stories on a drain pipe to get to the top of a building.

Why?

Because it was an impossible spot that no-one had reached before.

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Your artwork seems to blur the lines between graffiti and street art. How do you feel about the graffiti/street art divide?

We should be on the same side, but we’re not. There is definitely a beef between street art and graffiti. I have always tried to bring these two opposites together in my art. It’s very challenging. There is so much ego in graffiti and street art trends seem to come and go.

How do you feel about the movement of street art and graffiti into galleries?

It’s exciting and interesting. I see it as a natural progression.

Have you exhibited in galleries?

Mostly in Sweden, but I exhibited along with Cope2 two years ago in Nolita.

Rubin-graffiti-action-at-Bushwick-Five-Points

What is your main source of income these days?

My main source of income is photography. I’m also involved with the production of a Swedish/Finnish arts and culture magazine.

How do you feel about the role of the Internet in all this? And do you follow any sites?

I think it’s great. I follow 12ozProphet and StreetArtNYC.

What inspires you these days?

Craftsmanship, Kraftwerk’s minimal electronic music and the contrasts between my two homes: Bushwick, Brooklyn and the gorgeous woods of Lapland, where I spend the summers with my wife.

Are you generally satisfied with your finished pieces?

Never.

Rubin-graffiti-in-Bushwick-NYC

When you look back to what you did two years ago, how do you feel about it?

Two years ago feels like an eternity, especially when living in NYC. I tend to look forward instead of looking back.

How has your artwork evolved through the years?

In the nineties, I was one of the most active writers in Sweden. In the mid-nineties my graffiti took a turn to the geometric. From 1999 to 2008, I took a break and focused on my band, Kingston Air Force. I can’t really describe my usual style. Someone once called it abstract geometry; that’s a pretty good description, but my style is still evolving.

 Of all the cities in which you painted, which is your favorite?

New York City. I love the energy and the mix of people. Nothing beats New York.

 Who are some of your favorite artists?

The Swedish artist Gouge. He’s amazing!  Bates from Denmark, Dondi and Riff 170 from NYC, C215 and Nelio from France, Boaone from Germany and  Sofles and Fecks from Australia.

Rubin-street-art-and-graffiti-with-character-in-NYC

 What advice would you offer young writers and younger artists?

 Work hard. Learn the craftsmanship. Perfect your technique. Practice. Be a good role model to younger writers. Be nice.

 What do you see as the role of the artist in society?

Every artist is an egoist, and I’m no exception to the rule. I interpret what I see and how I feel through my art. I create for myself, but I’m very humbled every time someone appreciates my pieces. It means that they appreciate my take on what’s going on around us. That’s very flattering.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I don’t even know where I’ll be next week. NYC has taught me how to live right here and now, and I’m really enjoying taking a day at a time.

Interview by Lois Stavsky with Lenny Collado and Tara Murray; photos by Lenny Collado, Dani Mozeson. Tara Murray and Lois Stavsky

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