Russell King

frank-lexi-Bella-Kosbe-the-best -of-the-worst

The following guest post is by Houda Lazrak, a graduate student in Museum Studies at New York University.  

This past weekend, Hanksy’s much-anticipated show, The Best of the Worst, drew hundreds of street art fans to the former Chase Bank at 104 Delancey Street on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Along with some of NYC’s most notable graffiti writers and street artists, Hanksy transformed the space into a NYC playground-like arena — with a skate ramp, a Chinese massage parlor and more wonderfully-engaging site-specific installations. Dozens of intriguing, overlapping pieces, paste-ups and stickers paid homage to street art, while, also, poking fun at the scene.

Miss Zukie




Magda Love and Hanksy and more


Meres and more

Meres-the best-of-the-worst

Russell King, Col and UR New York

Russell-King-& more


Hanksy-the best of the-worst

Included, too, was a rather formally installed art exhibit in the wittily-titled Gag-Osian Gallery featuring some of NYC’s most popular street artists.

Mr. Toll at the Gag-Osian


El Sol 25 at the Gag-Osian


All photos by Houda Lazrak; pictured in the first photo are Frank Ape, Lexi Bella and Cosbe


This is the sixth in an ongoing series featuring the wide range of faces that surface in NYC’s open spaces:

Reka at the Bushwick Collective


RAE in Bedford-Stuyvesant


JMR in Williamsburg


Raquel Eschinique in Bushwick

Raquel Echanique -street-art-NYC

Royce Bannon in Midtown West

Royce Bannon

Russell King in Bushwick


Photos of Reka and JMR by Lois Stavsky; of RAE, Raquel Eschinique and Russell King by Tara Murray; of Royce Bannon by Dani Reyes Mozeson

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This is the second in an ongoing series featuring the range of faces that surface daily on NYC’s public spaces:

Australian artist Jess Busj at 5Pointz in Long Island City, Queens — close-up

Jess Busj

Russell King and Matt Siren at Welling Court in Astoria, Queens

Russell King and Matt Siren

Mata Ruda at the Bushwick Collective

Mata Ruda

Joseph Meloy at 5Pointz in Long Island City, Queens

Joseph Meloy

Toofly at the Bushwick Collective


Australian artist Daek on Manhattan’s Lower East Side

daek william

Nelson Rivas aka Cekis in the Hunts Point section of the Bronx

Nelson Rivas aka Cekis

Photos by Lenny Collado, Tara Murray and Lois Stavsky


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

Toofly on Manhattan’s Lower East Side


 French artist Frank Duval aka FKDL in Brooklyn



Lady Aiko in Bushwick, Brooklyn

Lady Aiko

Hef in Williamsburg, Brooklyn


 Russell King on the Lower East Side

Russell King

Shiro and King Bee in the Bronx

Shiro and King Bee

 Photos by Lenny Collado, Tara Murray and Lois Stavsky; Toofly image courtesy of the artist


Speaking with Russell King

February 7, 2012

"Russell King street art in New York City"

Often affixed to street signs and sometimes just pasted onto public surfaces, Russell King’s images — sometimes amusing and always  alluring — have become an integral part of New York City’s visual landscape. This past week, Street Art NYC met and spoke with the artist in downtown Manhattan.

When did you first begin hitting the streets?

When I was 14, I tried doing graffiti, but I had such a despicable handwriting that I soon gave up. I even followed my friend’s advice and tried copying some of the girls’ nice handwritings, but it was hopeless.

We began noticing your images on the streets about two years ago. What inspired you to get your pieces up in the public sphere? We’ve seen them on stickers, paste-ups and as impressive installations.

Matt Siren, whom I’ve known for years, invited me to collaborate with him on a piece for a show in Greenpoint a while back. That was the beginning. Then I began to see the streets as the ideal alternative to galleries. More people get to see my artwork on the streets than they’d ever see it on gallery walls. And it’s a way of getting the message out to galleries, “I don’t need you for exposure.”

"Russell King and Royce Bannon street art in NYC"

Have you any favorite spots?

Anywhere is just fine, but I especially like the blocks between Houston and Delancey on the Lower East Side.

What materials do you like to work with?

Metal and ink are probably my favorites. And I love working with spraypaint for the backgrounds.

At first we used to see social commentary, along with your images. These days it’s mostly portraits of women – quite a range of them. What happened to the words?

I felt that I was preaching to the choir. The folks who liked the street art didn’t need the messages, and the others just didn’t get it. I prefer presenting the public with an alluring image—or series of images like the ones I’m working on now — instead.

"Russell King street art installation in New York City"

Who are these women who keep surfacing on your pieces? And why women?

I started drawing women as an attempt to win back my ex.  She was the first image I ever did on a piece. It didn’t work.  Now I just draw women in a lame attempt to draw women to me.

We’ve noticed some of your collaborations with Royce Bannon. Have you collaborated with other artists?

I’ve also collaborated on pieces with Matt Siren and Mike Die.

Have you any favorite pieces of your own?

Always the last one that I’ve completed.

"Russell King street art in NYC"

Have you ever been arrested or had any confrontations with police?

No. When they stop me, I feign stupidity. Really, why should it be legal to bolt a bike onto a pole, but not a piece or art that others can enjoy?

When did you first become interested in art?

I suppose I was always interested, but I squelched my passion for many years. I will never forget the words of my third grade teacher.  “Art is bad,” she said. “Do not become an artist. You can’t make money from art.”

We’re glad you got over that! Have you any formal art training or are you self-taught?

I majored in Art as an undergraduate at Long Island University and then studied Drawing and Sculpture at the NY Academy of Art.

"Russell King Paste-up in NYC"

Any favorite artists?

Jacopo Pontormo, the Florentine painter and portraitist, is always an inspiration. And I also love the American illustrator, J. L. Leyendecker.

Have you ever exhibited your artwork in a gallery or private space?

I have a few pieces now at Woodward Gallery’s “Rather Unique” exhibit, curated by Royce Bannon. And I’m preparing for an upcoming exhibit in Reno, Nevada. I’ve also sold artwork through Sotheby’s.

Any other hobbies? Or passions?

Well, I’m an avid Jets fan with season’s ticket. But that’s because I love punishment.

"Russell King street art in NYC"

What do you see yourself doing in 5 years?

Same thing I’m doing now – just more of it!

Well, good luck! And we look forward to seeing more of your work here on the streets of NYC.

Photos by Street Art NYC, Tara Murray & RK