Scratch

Curated by Nic 707, the ingenious InstaFame Phantom Art continues to bring old school writers, along with a diverse range of younger artists, onto New York City subway trains. Pictured above is photographer/arts educator Rachel Fawn Alban snapping graff pioneer Dr Revolt, an original member of the historic NYC subway graffiti crew the Rolling Thunder. Several more images captured while riding the 1 train last week follow:

Al Diaz aka SAMO©

NYC-based multi-disciplinary artist Paulie Nassar

Bronx-based InstaFame Phantom Art founder and curator, Nic 707

Sweden-born, East Harlem-based Scratch

       Japanese painter and performance artist Pinokio

Social worker Luca Sanremo checking out the legendary Taki 183 with background by Nic 707,

Photo credits: 1, 3, 5-8 Lois Stavsky; 2 & 4 Rachel Fawn Alban

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pro176-graffiti-nyc

The 15th edition of the NYC Graffiti Hall of Fame, presented by Joey TDS and James Top, was launched this past weekend inside the famed East Harlem schoolyard on 106th Street and Park Avenue. Pictured above is by French graffiti artist Pro176. Here are several more artworks captured yesterday:

Rhode Island-based PFunk at work

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Local writer Rath

rath-graffiti-east-harlem-nyc

New York City-based graffiti legend Quik

quik-graffiti-nyc

NYC-based, Stockholm native Scratch, the sole female to paint this year!

Scratch-graffiti-east-harlem-nyc

NYC-based Hops1

Hops1-graffiti-mural-art-NYC

NYC-based Poet

Poet-graffiti-nyc

Keep posted to our Facebook page for more images of new Graffiti Hall of Fame murals.

Photos by 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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rocko-the-art-of-peace

Curated by Lady K Fever and hosted by Aldo Perez, Ihe Art of Peace, an exhibit of mural and graffiti art celebrating peace, opens tonight at the Al Iman Community Center. I had the opportunity to speak to Lady K Fever while visiting the space at 2006 Westchester Avenue earlier this week.

BG-183-the-art-of-piece-mural-art

Can you tell us something about the concept behind this exhibit?

It is an exploration of the notion of peace from the perspective of artists representing a range of ideologies, nationalities, religious backgrounds and ethnicities. The title is a take on The Art of War by Sun Tzu written in the 6th century B.C.

meres-the-art-of-peace-graffiti

What inspired it?

It was inspired by Peace December, an organization started five years ago dedicating the month of December to celebrating peace. As Sheikh Musa Drammeh of Peace December contends, trillions of dollars are spent on defense and none are allocated to promoting peace. 

chris-riggs-graffiti-art

As curator, how did you decide which artists to engage in this exhibit? 

When Aldo Perez approached me to curate it, I sought artists from a range of backgrounds and communities. Many, in fact, had already been engaged in community-based projects promoting co-existence.

scratch-and-lady-k-fever-the-art-of-peace

What were some of the particular challenges you faced in curating this exhibit?

My main concern was that the imagry would not offend the community. I also had to keep the artists’ egos in check, reminding them that The Art of Peace’s principal mission is to promote peace. And I was working with a limited budget.

lexi-bella-envision-peace

The exhibit opens this evening from 6-10pm. How might folks — who can’t make it this evening — see it?

Yes, there will be a reception tonight with DJ Prince Tafari, the artists and special guests — including Assemblyman Jose Rivera. There will also be select artworks for sale. Folks who won’t be able to attend can email artists4peacebx@gmail.com and arrange a time to visit The Art of Peace.

the-art-of-peace

Images:

1.  Rocko 

2. BG183, Tats Cru with Lady K Fever and Aldo Perez posed in front

3. Meres One

4. Chris Riggs

5. Scratch and Lady K Fever

6. Lexi Bella

Interview and photos by Lois Stavsky

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Speaking with Scratch

March 5, 2015

An impassioned graffiti artist, Stockholm native Scratch is the only female to have painted at the legendary Graffiti Hall of Fame for four consecutive years.  Last year, together with her writing partner, Lady K Fever, she founded The Bronx Graffiti Art Gallery an outdoor public art space featuring several internationally acclaimed graffiti artists. Scratch‘s public works can be seen in the Bronx, East Harlem and in Upper Manhattan.

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When and where did you first get up?

I was 14 when I first painted in my native city of Stockholm.  But I was a toy back then!

What were the circumstances?

The Swedish town I was living in at the time had become concerned about its “graffiti problem.” And so the government decided to establish a “graffiti school,” where we would be taught to paint in legal venues. I just wanted a space and free paint.

What was that experience like?

There were no formal classes, so we were free to learn from each other. And of course just about everyone who attended improved their skills and continued to painting illegally! I was the only girl who showed up.

Were there any artists who inspired you back then?

Yes! There was Brain – who taught at the  “graffiti school.” He was a major inspiration. And others who inspired me were Circle, Ward, Ziggy & Dizzy and Zappo.

Scratch

Did you do anything risky back then?  

One Christmas morning – when all the shutters were down – I went out and bombed just about every store on my town’s main street.

That does sound risky! Why were you willing to take that kind of risk?

I was only 14; I didn’t really think about the consequences of my actions.

You moved to NYC in 1998 to work as a graphic designer. When did you begin painting graffiti here? And what got you back into it?

I hadn’t painted for many years. And then one day, as I was riding the 7 train into Flushing, I passed 5Pointz.  I couldn’t believe my eyes! A few days later, I went back to check it out, and that was it! I was hooked again. That was back in 2008.

What was it like for you at 5Pointz?

It was great. Meres is an amazing teacher, and just about all the writers I met there were kind and helpful.

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Any thoughts on the graffiti/ street art divide?

Graffiti and street art are very different. There may be some crossover, but they will remain distinct art forms. Graffiti is still identified with vandalism, and street artists get far more respect and recognition than do graffiti writers. But graffiti – to me – is stronger. It is more honest and direct.

How do you feel about the movement of graffiti into galleries? Have you shown your work in galleries?

Graffiti wasn’t intended to be painted on a canvas. Sometimes it works; other times it doesn’t. But I have no problem with it. Yes, I’ve shown in a number of galleries.

What about the corporate world? Any thoughts about that?

I’m used to it. My background is in advertising.

Do you prefer working alone or collaborating with others?

I often work alone, but I’ve collaborated with Lady K Fever, and I assisted Kingbee and Vase at the Graffiti Hall of Fame.  I like both! I look forward to collaborating more with other artists.

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

I feel positive about it. I get to see artworks I would never, otherwise, get to see

Do you have a formal arts education?

No, my background is in advertising and marketing. I studied at Pace University.

What inspires you these days?

Fantasy. I’m a huge fan of Lord of the Rings.

Are there any particular cultures you feel influenced your aesthetic?

I’d have to say the early graffiti writers in Sweden. But there they are referred to as graffiti painters – not writers!

scratch-graffiti-hall-of-fame

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

Yes. I always have some kind of sketch with me when I paint.

Are you generally satisfied with your work?

No! I always want to change it.

How has your work evolved in the past few years?

It’s gotten better. It’s more detailed.

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

To share his or her story with others.

What’s ahead for you?

More walls and huge productions. And also more opportunities to show my work.

Note: You can meet Scratch, along with other members of the The Bronx Graffiti Art Gallery, tomorrow from 6 – 8pm at the spray can art show at Scrap Yard at 300 West Broadway between Grand and Canal Streets.

Interview by Lois Stavsky; photos 1, 3 & 4 courtesy of Scratch 2. Lois Stavsky, and 5, Dani Reyes Mozeson

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The-Bronx-Graffiti-Art-Gallery

The Bronx Graffiti Art Gallery, a new outdoor public art space located in the courtyard of Gustiamo at 1715 West Farms Road, officially opens tomorrow, Saturday, October 18, 1-5pm.  Committed to preserving and celebrating the culture of graffiti in NYC, its first exhibit features works by such Bronx legends as Ces, Kingbee, and Tats Cru, along with artwork by its curators, Lady K Fever and Scratch.

Here’s a sampling of what’s been going down:

Tats Cru‘s Bio, BG 183 and Nicer

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Ces

CES

Kingbee

Kingbee

Lady K Fever

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BG 183 and Scratch

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Hush Tours will provide free transportation from Manhattan to tomorrow’s event. For further information, contact Hush Tours at 212-714-3527.

All photos courtesy Scratch.

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Topaz

Yesterday at noon, the 14th edition of the NYC Graffiti Hall of Fame, presented by Joey TDS and James Top, was officially launched inside the famed East Harlem schoolyard on 106th Street and Park Avenue. Here is a small sampling of what went down during the early afternoon:

Topaz

Topaz

Scratch

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Ligisd

Graffiti-Hall-of-Fame

Hops

Hops

Bver

Bver

Wiz Art

"Wiz Ar"t

Queen Andrea

"Queen Andrea"

 And earlier in the week, Tats Cru — with Crash and Nick Walker — fashioned a huge mural outside the school yard. Here are some close-ups:

crash-bio-nick-walker

"Tats Cru"

Tats Cru

The 14th edition of the NYC Graffiti Hall of Fame continues today from noon to 8pm.

Photos by Dani Reyes Mozeson

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"All Girls"

This past weekend, the walls of Graffiti Universe — located at 2995 Boston Road in the Bronx — were transformed into an all-girls’ canvas.  While up there on Sunday, I had the opportunity to speak to Scratch, who — along with Lady K Fever — organized the event.

This is a first for Graffiti Universe. How did it happen?

Lady K Fever and I had painted together earlier this year. We were eager to involve more female writers. I spoke to Dennis Stumpo, who manages Graffiti Universe, and he offered us nine walls!

Scratch

Had you girls ever painted together before? How did you decide whom to invite?

Many of us had met and painted together at 5Pointz and a few of us recently did the wall on 207th Street in Inwood. We wanted to include girls who were serious about graff and who could have fun together. I’m from Sweden; Lady K is from Canada; Vic is from Poland; Erica is from Mexico.  And graffiti brought us together. We’re all at different levels, but we respect one another and we each want to get better and better. It’s not about who’s the best.

"Lady K Fever"

And this seems like the perfect way to hone your skills! Are there any particular challenges that you, as female writers, face?

We have this sense that we always have to prove ourselves. We are often not taken seriously enough.

Mrs

Have you any messages to the male writers out there?

We can do it without you! We can do it ourselves!

Vic

 What’s ahead?

More graff And we’d like to do some production walls with characters and backgrounds. That’s the plan!

Good luck! We look forward to seeing them!

Photos: 1. From left to right — Scratch, Anji, Lady K Fever, Erica, Chare and Vik — shutter by Topaz who had to “beg the girls to paint.”  2. Scratch  3. Lady K Fever 4. Mrs  5. Vik

Photos by Lois Stavsky

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Dozens of new pieces surfaced this past weekend in “The Final Edition” at East Harlem’s Graffiti Hall of Fame on 106th Street & Park Avenue. Here’s a sampling from the event presented by James Top Productions and Joey TDS:

Brazilian writer AK47

AK47

Pose 2 and Czech writer Chemis

Pose 2 and Chemis

HopsOne

Hops One

Scratch and Shock

Scratch and Shock

Part One

Part One

Kingbee and Tony 164

KingBee and Tony164

Slave

Slave

Jesus Saves

Jesus Saves

Tomb. Wizart, Mad1, & Had2

Tomb. Wizart, Mad1, Had2

Jerms

Jerms

Rain

Rain

 Photos by Lois Stavsky

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