Based in Brooklyn, Misha Tyutyunik aka MDOT is an accomplished painter, muralist and illustrator. His recent venture, fashioned along with a team of Groundswell youth, looms large at 11 Howard Street in SoHo. Earlier this week, we visited his studio and had the opportunity to speak to him.

When and where did you first make your mark on the streets?

Back in 1999, Wisher 914 and I hit up the water tower in Mohegan Lake in North Westchester where we grew up.  But my outdoor work is largely commissioned murals. I painted my first one for SoBro in the Bronx in 2006.  My most recent one is a collaboration with Groundswell youth at 11 Howard Street in SoHo, the site of Aby Rosen’s latest hotel venture.


You’re also a prolific painter of smaller works – from works on paper to paintings on huge canvasesHave you exhibited your works in gallery settings?

Yes!  I’ve exhibited throughout NYC in a range of spaces from CATM in Chelsea and  Tambaran on the Upper East Side to a variety of alternative venues.

Do you have a formal arts education? And was it worthwhile?

Yes, I have a BFA in Design and Illustration from Pratt. And, yes, as I learned how to problem solve through creative means.

Are there any particular cultures that have influenced your aesthetic?

I spent my first seven years in the Ukraine, and was definitely influenced by social realism. Other influences include: graffiti in its heyday; Japanese prints; abstract expressionism; traditional mural painting and German expressionism.


What about artists? Any particular influences?

Among the many artists whose aesthetic has influenced me are: Diego Rivera, Klimt and Egon Schiele.

Do you prefer working alone or collaborating with others?

I used to prefer working alone, but lately I’ve become more open to collaboration. I recently collaborated with Chris Soria.

If you could collaborate with any artist – alive or deceased – with whom would you collaborate?

Picasso – all day every day – and Max Ernst.


How does your family feel about what you are doing?

They love it!  None of them are artists, but they all love what I am doing!

What percentage of your time is devoted to art?

Pretty much all of it.

Is art the main source of your income?

Yes, the money I earn from commissions, along with income from teaching mural-making and art sales. I’ve also begun working on fashion design.


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

It’s everything! Without the Internet I’d be nowhere.

Are you generally satisfied with your finished work?

I think so. But the question is: Is anything ever really finished?

How has your artwork evolved in the past few years?

By leaps and bounds! I’m much more comfortable than I used to be with different styles. My visual language has become more confident.


As your work on the streets is largely commissioned murals, have you run into any conflicts with street artists or graffiti writers?

On occasion.  While painting a commissioned wall down in DC, for example, I was approached by graffiti writers who told me that the wall was theirs. When I explained to them what I was doing and they saw my work in progress, they came around.

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

I see my role as to reflect on our times, while bringing a strong aesthetic sensibility back into a largely conceptual realm.

What’s ahead?

Everything! Taking over the art world!


That’s quite ambitious! Are there any particular projects we can look forward to?

I am currently painting an anti-gun violence mural in conjunction with BRIC, and I will soon begin working on a mural with Groundswell youth at Stapleton in Staten Island. And opening tonight and continuing through March 31 is The Internal Muse, a selection of my new paintings at Melet Mercantile at 84 Wooster Street in SoHo.

It all sounds great! Congratulations!

Interview conducted by Lois Stavsky with Tara Murray

Photo credits: 1 & 2 courtesy Lindsey Brown McLravy | SLATE PR; 3, 5 & 6 Lois Stavsky; 4 Tara Murray 

Note: Hailed in a range of media from the Huffington Post to the New York Times, our Street Art NYC App is now available here for Android devices.

en-play-badge 2

{ 1 comment }

Allan-Ludwig-photo-by-Julie Dermansky

Still out there each day with camera in hand documenting what has surfaced overnight, photographer Allan Ludwig aka Elisha Cook, Jr recently shared with us some of his thoughts on the changes that he’s witnessed in his downtown Manhattan neighborhood and more:

You’ve lived here in Soho for decades.  At what point did the changes in your neighborhood become most apparent?

Around 2003, I noticed that the new stores in my neighborhood were — for the most part — only selling expensive items.  I no longer recognized my neighbors’ faces on the streets. Tourists and shoppers were everywhere. I knew then that I must turn my lens onto the graffiti and street art here before it all disappeared.



And what are some of the changes that you have observed in the street art that surfaces here these days?

It has largely lost its edginess.  Much of the street art here has  gotten exceedingly commercial.  It’s often difficult to tell the difference between what is sanctioned and what is done without permission. Street art and ads have become increasingly interchangeable. And too many “street artists” these days seem to use public space primarily to promote their gallery shows.

Dee-Dee-was here- photo-Allan Ludwig


What do you suppose has caused these changes?

The monetization of it all.  And I feel that the street art festivals have not only legitimized an underground movement, but have created an elite — not all that different from the mainstream art world.

 We’ve noticed that you tend to focus your camera on illegal works, particularly tags and bombs. Why is that?

Because they are real and raw. I love their poetic spontaneity. I can feel the artist’s pure passion and love for it.



Not everyone would agree with you! Any thoughts about Mayor de Blasio’s proposed efforts to keep the city graffiti-free?

I don’t see any point to it. It’s a misdirected use of funds. The money should be used, instead, to help the homeless.

We noticed that you were daily documenting the impromptu David Bowie memorial in front of his home. Did you know Bowie personally?

I live just down the block from him, so I’d see him from time to time around the neighborhood. But, no, I didn’t know him personally. I would simply nod in acknowledgement and respect when I saw him. I sensed that he was my kind of person. But I did not want to invade his privacy.


And what about the memorial? What spurred you to photograph it daily and in such detail?

I loved it! I loved that it was spontaneous and inclusive. There was no hidden agenda!

Interview conducted by Lois Stavsky with Tara Murray

All photos by Allan Ludwig aka Elisha Cook, Jr, except for the first one — featuring Allan alongside Buff Monster — which was photographed by Julie Dermansky; photo 3 features Dylan Egon; photo 4 features Dee Dee  and photo 5, Dasic Fernandez

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.

en-play-badge 2



This past winter, a huge public mural, Slow Dance and the Daylight, surfaced outside the James Hotel on 6th Avenue off Grand Street. The work of Brooklyn-based artist Paul Wackers, its vivid colors and creative composition intrigue.




On view through Friday at Morgan Lehman is Thank You for Being Youfeaturing a series of stunning paintings, along with ceramic sculptures ranging from the recognizable to the surreal. It is Paul Wackers‘ second solo exhibit at Morgan Lehman.

Paul-wackers-acrylic-and spray-paint-Morgan-lehman-Gallery-Gallery-nyc


A wide view with ceramic sculptures


Morgan Lehman Gallery is located at 535 West 22nd Street between 10th and 11th Avenues in the Chelsea gallery district.

Photos 1-3 by Lois Stavsky; 4-6 Dani Reyes Mozeson

{ 1 comment }


Within the last month ArtBattles local champion, Cernesto, and European ArtBattles champ, El Niño de Las Pinturas, have painted — to our delight — huge murals in the East Village and in Soho.

Cern‘s completed mural in the East Village


El Niño de Las Pinturas, completed mural in the East Village


El Niño de Las Pinturas, close-up in the East Village


Cern in Soho


El Niño de Las Pinturas in Soho


 Photos: 1-3 & 5-6 Tara Murray; 4 Lois Stavsky



Busy last week in the lovely backyard garden of SoHo’s Henley Vaporium were Gilf! and LMNOPi — two Brooklyn-based activist artists — collaborating on a mural in tribute to Kalief Browder.  When we stopped by, I had the chance to speak to Gilf!

It’s wonderful to see the two of you working together. How did this collaboration come to be?

When Kimyon Huggins, the curator of the Secret Garden Series, hit me up to paint a mural, I immediately thought of LMNOPi.


Yes, it seems like such a natural collaboration. How did you decide on the subject of this mural?

My work has recently focused on the kinds of issues and injustices related to the case of Kalief Browder‬. And since LMNOPi is such a wonderful portrait painter with a strong social and political consciousness,  I thought we would work well together.

What — would you say — is the intent of your art?

The only reason I make art is to change the world.

gilf-lmnopi-Kalief Browder-mural-Henley-NYC

And what is it about Kalief Browder‘s story that has triggered your work?

What happened to Kalief is, sadly, not unique.  And it is outrageous. Yet, many people aren’t aware of these kinds of widespread injustices.  Kalief was incarcerated at ‪Rikers‬ Island at age 16 for three years for a crime he never committed. Two of those three years were spent in solitary confinement. Eventually his case was dismissed. This past June, Kalief Browder committed suicide by hanging himself.

What would you like people who see the mural that you have fashioned with LMNOPi walk away with?

I would like them to question what happened and demand justice.

LMNOP! and gilf

Yes, what happened to Kalief is such a blatant, horrific injustice. We certainly need to raise awareness of the need for radical change within our prison system.

Note:  The mural will be unveiled this Saturday, July 11, at Henley Vaporium‘s backyard garden at 23 Cleveland Place, between Spring and Kenmare Streets, in Soho. The event is free and open to the public — with a BBQ and DJs — from 2-10pm. There will be a Q+A with the artists and curator at 7:30 pm.

Interview with Gilf! conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky.

Photos: 1 & 3 Dani Reyes Mozeson; 2 & 4 Tara Murray 

{ 1 comment }


We stopped by the Henley Vaporium earlier this week to watch two of our favorite artists — NDA and Iena Cruz — as they were collaboratively painting a huge wall in the splendid backyard garden at 23 Cleveland Place. We also had the opportunity to speak to Kimyon Huggins, the curator of the newly launched Secret Garden Series.

Kimyon-Huggins -NDA-Cruz- HenleyVape

This looks fabulous! Just what is the Secret Garden Series?

Beginning this month and continuing through late fall, several leading street artists and muralists will spend one week each month collaboratively painting the back wall of the garden at 23 Cleveland Place.  During that week, visitors to the Henley Vaporium will be able to watch the artists in action. And at the end of the week, a reception will be held to unveil the final work and to celebrate the artists.


Your first public reception takes place this Saturday, May 16. What can visitors expect?  

They can expect, of course, to meet and socialize with the artists and view the completed murals. They can also expect music by such DJs as DJ Jaclyn, KC and the Real Christiano?, along with food and drink. And they will find themselves among a great community of artists, art lovers, patrons and tourists from throughout the globe.


How did you discover this particular venue? It is lovely.

The owners are friends and I like their anti-establishment vibe. The Henley Vaporium is part retail store, part education center and part social hub. Featuring a huge lounge, performance space and outdoor garden, it is ideal. Each month smaller works of art by each of the artists will be displayed inside the Henley Vaporium. Along with limited edition photographs of the completed murals, they will be made available for purchase online, with 10% of the proceeds going to public arts advocate StreetArtNYC and vape industry advocate SFATA (Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association).


Which artists can we expect to see in the months ahead?

Other artists already lined up include GILF and Ivan Orama in June and Elle and Vexta in July.

It sounds great! We are looking forward to it all.

Note: The Henley Vaporium is located between Spring and Kenmare Streets and is easily accessible by public transportation.


Interview and photos 2, 4 and 5 by Lois Stavsky; photos 1 and 3 by City-as-School intern Diana Davidova


"Harrison Love at Scholastic"

Celebrating the launch of the 2015 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, Scholastic is hosting a pop-up art studio, titled Art.Write.Now.POP-UP!, in its Scholastic Headquarters Window at 557 Broadway in SoHo. Harrison Love, an award-winning artist, is creating live art daily from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. through Friday. We stopped by yesterday afternoon and had the opportunity to pose a few questions to Harrison.

How did you team up with Scholastic?

In 2004, when I was a senior in high school in Connecticut, some artwork that I had created was submitted to a contest sponsored by Scholastic. I then received an invitation to a Scholastic event where I received five awards.

"Harrison Love artwork"

What was that like?

It was amazing! It gave me the encouragement I needed to continue to be creative and to establish a career as a visual artist. Scholastic also continues to give me a sense of community. And as so many of us artists tend to be loners, this is something that we need.

What is it like for you — 10 years later — to be painting in such a public space as a window in SoHo on a street as busy as Broadway?

It is very interesting. I like it! It gives me an opportunity to communicate with people without talking!

"Harrison Love"

Have you ever painted in public before?

Not quite like this! But I’ve done live painting in a few cities including San Francisco.

What inspired you to create these particular pieces that you are working on now?

They are prints for an upcoming book that is based on my travels to the Peruvian Amazon.

"Harison Love public art"

What’s ahead? 

One of my artworks was recently acquired by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA).  I’m looking forward to getting my art out in many more settings both here and in my travels abroad.

Note: Triangle mirrors, prisms, mylar and glass structures fabricated by Colin Bowring, the Art Science Wizard.

Interview conducted by City-as-School intern Tyler Dean Flores; photos 1 and 3 by Tyler Dean Flores, 2 and 4 courtesy of the artist. Educators and students interested in the 2015 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards can register here.



Born in 2011, BucketFeet has since connected with over 2000 artists in more than 35 countries to design original footwear. But BucketFeet isn’t just about shoes. It is a celebration of artistic expression across cultures.  Here in New York City, a range of artists — from graffiti writers to tattooists to illustrators — not only share their designs on footwear at BucketFeet’s SoHo venue, but exhibit and sell their artworks there, as well. Here is a small sampling what we saw on a recent visit:

Marka27, this past month’s artist-in-residence, whose artwork has also graced our walls for the Juicy Art Festival


Chicago-based JC Rivera

"JC Rivera"


New York-based Jimmy Sheehan

"Jimmy Sheehan"


In addition to the works on exhibit, BucketFeet also sells dozens of wonderfully affordable prints both online and in its NYC store at 108 Wooster Street in SoHo.

Photos of artworks by Dani Reyes Mozeson



The transformation of SoHo-based gallery nine5’s walls from “a private space into a public sphere” has begun with expressive murals — from the playful to the political —  by TATS CRU, Ket and Bisco Smith.  Here’s a sampling of what’s been happening:

TATS CRU‘s BG183 at work to the right of Bio and Nicer



"Tats Cru"

Ket installs dozens of newspaper articles illustrating human sufferings, largely the result of wars


And paints over them 


With quote from historian and social activist Howard Zinn


And Bisco Smith — in from the West Coast — graces the wall with his distinct aesthetic 

"Bisco Smith"

"Bisco Smith"

The public is invited to observe, explore and join the conversation as Vor138, Shiro and Rubin415 contribute to the further transitory makeover of gallery nine5. Keep posted to StreetArtNYC for updates and, if you are in town, be sure to check out the opening reception on July 17, 6-8pm. gallery nine5 is located at 24 Spring Street in SoHo.

Action photos by Dani Reyes Mozeson; others by Lois Stavsky


"Icy and Sot"

Iranian artists Icy and Sot have been busy. In addition to gracing the exterior of the First Street trailer last weekend for the Centre-Fuge Art Project, they have been leaving their mark on the streets of Manhattan’s fashionable SoHo neighborhood and transforming walls at Brooklyn’s Nu Hotel into vibrant canvasses.

In SoHo

Icy and Sot street art

 John Lennon

"Icy and Sot in SoHo"

"Icy and sot"

And opening tonight — NUANCE presented by the Couch Sessions and the Nu Hotel, 85 Smith Street in Brooklyn

Icy and Sot at Nu Hotel in Brooklyn

Photos by Lenny Collado