Sean Lugo

COVID-19, the global pandemic that has impacted so many of our lives, has prompted responses from visual artists — both on the streets and in their personal spaces. The image pictured above was painted by the Italian artist, Alessio-B. Several more images — stirred by the current crisis — follow:

Toulouse-based sculptor James Colomina in Switzerland

Multi-disciplinary artist Sara Erenthal — from her Brooklyn apartment

Tag Street Art in Tel Aviv

Philadelphia-based Sean Lugo

Switzerland-based duo Bane and Pest on canvas

Argentina-based Nazza Stencil Art, Portrait of  “the fight against Coronavirus,”  based on photo by Milan-based photographer Flavio Lo Scalzo

All images courtesy of the artists

Keep posted to Street Art NYC  for Part IV of COVID-19-related images — including several by local artists and news of some of the ventures they have launched.

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Speaking with Sean Lugo

September 3, 2014

Based in Weehawken, New Jersey, Sean Lugo has been sharing his distinct vision and talents with us not only on the streets of nearby Jersey City, but here in NYC, as well. I was delighted to have the opportunity to speak to him.

"Sean Lugo"

When did you first get up? And where?

It was back in 1998; I was 17. I tagged up around my neighborhood in Union City, NJ.

Had you any preferred surfaces back then?

Nope! Any open space was fine.

How did your family feel about what you were doing?

I was living with my sister at the time. She thought I was an idiot!

"Sean Lugo"

Have you any early graffiti-related memories that stand out?

I remember going to a Mets game with my father and seeing graffiti on the trains and at 5Pointz as we rode by on the 7 line. I was amazed! It was the most graffiti I’d ever seen anywhere. I was about 12 at the time.

What percentage of your day is devoted to art?

Just about all of it! I work as an art handler during the day, and then I spend about five hours each day working on my own art.

Any other interests?

Sports. I love football!

"Sean Lugo"

Any thoughts on the graffiti/ street art divide?

I don’t personally feel the divide. They are both outlets for us to express ourselves.

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

I like it! I’d like to see even more gallery owners open their spaces to us. Folks who run galleries need to be more aware of what’s going on in the streets.

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

I think it’s beautiful.  It’s connected me to so many others.

"Sean Lugo"

Do you have a formal arts education?

No. I’m self-taught.

What’s the riskiest thing you’ve done?

Well, definitely the stupidest was bombing with Werds off the High Line. We climbed up via a truck, and after spending over eight hours up there, we had to jump down to reach the ground.

What inspires you these days?

Concepts. I’m inspired by the masks that people wear as they try to project a false illusion of themselves. Most people are fake. And it is the incongruity between who people appear to be and who they really are that drives my art these days.

"Sean Lugo"

Has your aesthetic been influenced by any particular cultures?

I’m influenced by all cultures – but particularly my own, the Spanish culture.

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

I draw everything out, and I like to choose a spot before I draw.

What is your ideal working environment?

A quiet room with any kind of music in the background.

"Sean Lugo"

Are you generally satisfied with your finished product?

Yes.

How has your work evolved in the past few years?

It’s become more dramatic, and I engage with it more seriously.

How’s that?

I look at life differently than I used to. On August 1, 2011, I was in a car accident in Jersey City. The guy who hit me died, and I almost did. As a result of this trauma, I’ve come to understand just how brief and fragile life is.

And can you tell us something about wheat pastes – your preferred medium?

Yes, I love using wheat pastes because they perfectly mirror life’s temporality.

"Sean Lugo"

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

To spur others to become more creative.

And what about how society views the artist? Any thoughts as to how others view you?

Too many folks view art as a business.

Any favorite artists who share their work on the streets?

So many! But to name a few: LNY, Ekundayo, Vinz, NoseGo

What’s ahead?

I want to continue doing art on the streets and interacting more with public space. I’d love to create an entire, interactive scene just using wheatpastes!

Interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky; photos 3, 5 and 6 by Lois Stavsky; others courtesy of Sean Lugo.

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"Alice Pasquini"

In my meanderings around Jersey City this past year, I came upon a number of first-rate murals by a wonderful array of artists signed Savage Habbitalong with the artists’ signatures. Just who or what is Savage Habbit? I found out this weekend as Inez, its founder, gave me a tour of Savage Habbit’s walls and answered some questions about its mission:

"Mr. Mustart"

Just what is Savage Habbit?

It is foremost a blog that was founded in 2011.  It is dedicated to showcasing the best art that has made its way onto the streets across the globe.  Among Savage Habbit’s missions today is to bring more street art to our local community.

What motivated you to launch Savage Habbit?

I wanted a blog that represented the art that I love, and the only way I could do that was to start my own.

"Li Hill"

And what about the murals?

I’m a New Jersey girl. I was born and raised here. I wanted to walk around my neighborhood and see art in my community. And I wanted to give back to my state. These murals benefit everyone!

When did your first mural surface?

Last year — in 2013.

Ekundayo

What has been your greatest challenge?

Finding walls.

You seem to have facilitated quite a few murals. How do you find the artists?

Some contact me, and others I contact when I see that they are in town.

"Sean Lugo"

What’s ahead?

There are five confirmed walls.  Savage Habbit’s next wall will feature Nanook and Mata Ruda.

And what about the name “Savage Habbit?” What does it represent?

The name is derived from a Wu Tang quote:  Ricochet Rabbit had a habit, he was a savage. We are savagely passionate about our habit, art!

"case maclaim"

That sounds right!  We look forward to seeing more art on the streets of Jersey City.

Brief interview and photos by Lois Stavsky

1. Alice Pasquini, close-up

2. Mr. Mustart

3. Li-Hill at work yesterday

4. Ekundayo

5. Sean Lugo

6. Case, MA`CLAIM, close-up

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"Rime aka Jersey Joe"

On my recent visit to Jersey City, Gregory D. Edgell aka the Green Villain gave me a tour of some of the city’s first-rate graffiti murals, including a number of recent ones that he had facilitated. Upon further exploration, I came upon some amazing street art walls.  What follows are samples of both and a brief conversation with Greg:

Poser

What brought you to Jersey City? And when did you first come here?

I moved here in 2009. My best friend – at the time – had moved into a huge warehouse that seemed like the ideal venue for artistic expression. And that’s what brought me here.

Li Hill

What changes have you observed since moving here?

Jersey City is increasingly attracting more artists and is slowly developing a street art culture, but there are still far too many blank walls.

"LNY and Mata Ruda"

Where do you think it’s all going? 

Jersey City has the potential to be just as creative as any neighborhood in NYC. It could even be more so, as it’s not as expensive. Within the next five years, this will happen!

Sp.One

Mana Contemporary has certainly enhanced Jersey City with its studios, exhibition spaces and more. And soon it will be launching the Mana Museum of Urban Arts, the world’s first permanent space dedicated to street art and graffiti. Any thoughts about that?

I think it’s amazing and particularly wonderful for the global street art and graffiti community, as Mana Contemporary has the backing to create a first-rate educational platform for this art form.

"Sean Lugo"

And what’s ahead for you?

I am currently facilitating a series of murals by some first-rate artists. Among them are: Sheryo & the Yok, Rubin, Jerkface, Mr. Mustart and Distort & Then One.

Enoe

That sounds great! We’re looking forward to seeing them — as Jersey City is just minutes away from Manhattan!

Interview and photos by Lois Stavsky

1. Rime aka Jersey Joe

2. Post

3. Li Hill

4. Mata Ruda and LNY

5. Sean Lugo

6. SP.One

7. Enoe

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