Street Art NYC

Roycer and Matt Siren — two of my favorite native New York artists — have been making their mark on the streets of my city for as long as I can remember. It is always a treat to view their playfully alluring works in gallery settings, as well. And for the next few weeks, a range of their artworks continues to be on view at ilon Art Gallery in Harlem.

The title image featured above was painted with acrylic on canvas by Roycer in 2021. Several more images of artworks showcased in the exhibition by both artists follow:

Matt Siren, Diamond Dust, 2021, Acrylic screen print

Roycer, Garcon de Feur pt 3, 2021, Acrylic on canvas

Matt Siren, 25 Cents, 2021, Mixed media

Roycer, Other Worlds, 2021, Acrylic on canvas

Matt Siren, Planet XXX, 2021, Acrylic on canvas

Roycer and Matt Siren collaboration, Untitled, 2021, Acrylic on canvas

Open most afternoons, ilon Art Gallery is located at 204 West 123rd Street in the heart of Harlem. To schedule a visit, contact: Loni Efron at loni@ilon.com or 917-270-4696.

And for an opportunity to learn the basics of  NFTs and for early access to NFTs by Matt Siren and Roycer, be sure to check out the following workshop, hosted by ilon Art Gallery director Loni Efron and led by Georgia Andre.

DATE: Wednesday, February 9th
TIME: 7pm
LOCATION: Zoom 

Photo credits: 1-3, 5-7 Lois Stavsky; 4 and 8 courtesy ilon Art Gallery

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The Grandscale Mural Project, one of my favorite public art projects in town, brings vitality, color and intrigue to East Harlem. Since this past summer, I’ve revisited its current reiteration several times, always delighted by its diversity and charm.

The mural captured above — a portrait of public art administrator and producer Ayana Ayo — was painted by muralist and teaching artist Kristy McCarthy aka D. Gale. A few more images — almost certain to refuel your spirits in these uncertain times — follow:

Multidisciplinary Ecuadorian artist and educator Toofly

NYC-based visual artist and arts educator Lola Lovenotes

Multidisciplinary Brazilian-American artist Phes

    Mexico-born artist Sandy Perez

Bronx-based artist and arts educator Lady K Fever

Bronx-bred style master Image

Photos: Lois Stavsky

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This past fall, under the curatorial direction of veteran graff writer Wen Cod, over two dozen artists once again brought their blazing talents to Boone Avenue in the Bronx. The vibrant image featured above was painted by the hugely talented Blame1, a member of both FX and the Slaughter House Krew. Several more exhilarating images follow:

Stylemaster Doc TC5

Queens native graffiti writer and fashion designer Claw Money

The inventive graff pioneer Cycle

Veteran writer and illustrator Wore One

The delightfully imaginative Long Island-based Phetus

The hugely skilled artist and typographer Queen Andrea

The ever-deft Bronx-native Yes One

Photo credits: 1, 2, 4 & 7 Ana Candelaria; 3, 5, 6 & 8 Lois Stavsky

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When LISA Project NYC co-founder Reynaldo Rosa aka The Drif was 10 years old and living in the foster care system with a critical illness, he wished he could visit the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. Thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, a 501 nonprofit organization that that helps fulfill the wishes of children with serious illnesses, Rey had his wish come true – an adventure that sparked his imagination, allowing him “to see color again.”

Inspired by this experience, Rey has been bringing color to our streets for over a decade, and his brain-child, the Make-A-Wish Mural Project, has launched a variety of spirited murals in a range of NYC spaces from the Brookdale Hospital in East Brooklyn to the streets of Nolita in Manhattan.

Last month, under The Drif’s curatorial direction, the exterior of the huge Macy’s Department Store, housed in Queens Center, was magically transformed as part of Macy’s annual Believe campaign. The image featured above was a collaboration among: the Drif, Zero Productivity, Chris RWK and Veng RWK. Several select close-ups from the huge mural project follow:

Zero Productivity and Chris RWK

Indie 184 and Zero Productivity

Veng RWK

Indie 184, Chris RWK & Veng RWK

And a reminder from Chris RWK to send your letter to Santa — as for every letter received, Macy’s will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million. You have until Friday to write your letter here or drop it off at Macy’s.

Note: Earlier this month six murals were also unveiled outside the Macy’s in downtown Brooklyn.

Photo credits: 1 Shalom Stavsky, 2-6 Lois Stavsky

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Now in its sixth year, Underhill Walls — under the curatorial direction of Jeff Beler — increasingly engages a diverse range of local artists, reflecting the soul and spirit of its neighboring Prospect Heights blocks. Currently on view is a series of tantalizing murals on the theme “Movie Night.”

Pictured above is Zero Productivity‘s rendition of The Birds to the left of Subway Doodle‘s take on The Rocky Horror Show — with curator Jeff Beler posed between them.  What follows are a few more murals on the theme:

Venezuelan cartoonist Jorge Torrealba introduces “Movie Night”

Muralist and designer Majo Barajas aka Majo San, Pet Sematary

Muralist and illustrator Miki Mu, The Italian Stallion

Local artist ohh.henny.ohhhh paints his first mural, Space Jam

     NYC-born, Oakland-based Nite Owl, The Birdman of Alcatraz

Local artist Slim Villain at work, Terminator 2

Multidisciplinary artist Sage Gallon, Mahogany 

Colombian artist Calicho Arevalo, Godzilla

Underhill Walls is located at the corner of St. Johns Pl and Underhill Ave.

Photos: Lois Stavsky

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Back at the Bushwick Collective this past week, we came upon a diverse range of murals, ranging from masterly stencil art to first-rate graffiti. Featured above is Joe Iurato‘s now-familiar boy with the message, “The more things change…” a delightful flashback to his 2013 mural, pictured below:

Several more images captured this past week include:

South African multimedia artist Sonny Sundancer

Stylemaster Roachi

Barcelona-born, NYC-based multimedia artist Gemma Gené

    Noted Argentine stencil artist Cabaio Spirito

Photo credits: 1 Ana Candelaria; 2 Tara Murray, and 3-6 Lois Stavsky

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Active on both the streets and in his studio, Will Power fashions stylishly seductive images, often fusing elements of  graffiti, street art and fine art. His talents can now be viewed not only on the streets of his native New Jersey and throughout NYC, but in  the group exhibition, On and Off the Streets: Urban Art New Jersey, that continues through February 27 at the Morris Museum in Morristown, New Jersey. While selecting studio works to feature in the exhibition, I had the opportunity to interview Will.

When and where did you first get up?

I first got up in 1983. And about a year later I did my first character, a devil. In 1985, I hit the White Castle on Journal Square. No one had ever hit that wall before. I was 14 at the time.

Had you any preferred surface back then?

Any place visible.

Did anyone or anything in particular inspire you at the time?

The movie Style Wars. It came out in 1983.

Do any early graffiti-related memories come to mind?

Racking up cans and bombing the bathrooms in Dickinson High School. The entire building was covered with graffiti.

Were you ever arrested?

Never! I knew what I was doing. I knew when and where to do it.

Did you belong to any crews back then?

A few. TFK (The Fresh Kingdom); KOC (Kings of Cremation) and MOB (Masters of Bombing).

Do you prefer working alone or collaborating with others?

I’d rather work alone. Often when I collaborate, I feel as though I’m carrying the other person. The exception is Albertus Joseph. We began collaborating in 2018, and we’ve developed our distinct aesthetic that we call “Gritty City Styles.”

Is there anyone, in particular, with whom you’d like to collaborate?

The Italian Renaissance artist Michelangelo. I’d like to paint graffiti-style over his Sistine Chapel.

Have you any thoughts about the street art/graffiti divide? You certainly bridge the two.

The line is getting thinner and thinner. The problem is that street artists and graffiti writers don’t really get to talk to each other. The writers feel that the street artists are doing it for the money. But our motivation is really the same. We love what we do, and we have fun doing it!

What about the street art scene here in New Jersey? Any thoughts about it?

We need a “scene!” There are not enough legal walls and it’s all too cliquish. And I’d like to see the state do more to promote local artists.

Street artists are increasingly collaborating with the corporate world. Have you any feelings about that partnership?

That depends on the circumstances, the particular product and the way it’s being represented.

And how do you feel about the movement of graffiti and street art into galleries and museums? 

I feel good about it. Graffiti and street art should be moving into galleries and museums. It’s the logical progression.

How would you describe your ideal working environment?

It’s in my home. I find a space to paint in my house, and it becomes my studio and my sanctuary.

Have you a formal art education?

No. I’m self-taught. Graffiti was my teacher.

What inspires you these days?

My main sources of inspiration are: hip-hop, iconography, God and the Bible.

Are there any particular cultures that have influenced your aesthetic?

I lived with my mother’s family in Thailand for three years from about 4-7. I vividly remember the detailed, decorative repetitive patterns and the classic spiritual beauty of the Buddhist temples. And I spent six months with my stepfather’s family in Egypt after I graduated from high school. There was gold everywhere! That’s what stands out. But the hip-hop culture has always been my main influence.

Is there a central theme that ties your work together?

Hip-hop and spirituality.

Do you work with a sketch-in-hand or just let it flow?

Mostly, I don’t. But for commissions, I sometimes have to.

Are you generally satisfied with your finished piece? And how do you know when it’s finished?

I am satisfied with it. I know it’s finished when it feels balanced.

How important are other’s reactions to you?

On my studio work, they’re not important. But when I paint outside, it’s for the people. And then it matters.

How has your work evolved through the years?

It began with tagging and bombing the streets, and now it’s working on canvas fusing elements of graffiti, urban art and fine art.

How has the work you’ve done on the streets impacted your studio work?

The media I use are largely the same ones I use on the streets: spray paint, wheatpastes, stencils and charcoal. But I’ve also begun working more and more with oil paint and oil sticks in the studio.

How has your studio work evolved in the past several years?

I’m definitely taking more chances, and my tones are often more subtle. And working with oil paint adds a classical element to it.

How long do you generally spend on a studio piece? On a street art work?

I spend, on the average, of about three months on a studio piece, and anywhere from 4-6 hours on a work on the streets.

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

My role is to share my God-given talents with others.

What percentage of your time is devoted to art?

I’d have to say all of it, because even at my day job – my main source of income – I paint in my head.

Note: Will Power‘s work remains on view through February 27 at the Morris Museum in Morristown, NJ and for the next several weeks, you may even find him collaborating with the legendary Al Diaz at First Street Green Art Park.

Interview by Lois Stavsky

Photos feature Will Power‘s studio and street art in various indoor and outdoor venues. Images 3 & 8 in collaboration with fellow Ex-Vandals member, Albertus Joseph

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The murals that surface at First Street Green Art Park — under the curatorial direction of Jonathan Neville — continue to represent an intriguingly diverse range of artists with varied sensibilities and styles. The image featured above was recently painted by the wonderfully talented Colombian artist Toxicómano Callejero, whom I had first met in Bogota over a decade ago. What follows are several more murals that have made their way to First Street Green Art Park since this past spring:

Colombian artists Erre and Praxis

NYC-based Chris RWK in collaboration with Nite Owl

Fumero with an optimistic message

Miami-based Chilean artist Claudio Picasso aka CP WON

Mexican artist Victor “MARKA27” Quinonez

Ratchi in collaboration with Cram

First Street Green Art Park is located between Houston and First Street off the F train’s Second Avenue stop.

Photo credits: Sara C Mozeson, 1, 2 & 7; Lois Stavsky, 3 – 6

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Since we had last visited Welling Court back in late spring, a number of new murals have surfaced in this hugely popular Astoria, Queens-based mural project. The image pictured above was painted by the legendary NYC-based artist Chris “Daze” Ellis, who had first made his mark on NYC subway trains in the mid-70’s. Other recent artworks follow:

Designer and co-creator of the You Are Not Alone mural project Annica Lydenberg aka Dirty Bandits,

Bronx-based graffiti pioneer John “Crash” Matos and NJ-based stencil master Joe Iurato

Ecuadorian multidisciplinary artist Toofly

Brooklyn-born and Dallas-based abstract artist James Rizzi aka JMR

NYC-based designer, typographer and muralist Queen Andrea

NYC-based painter and designer Dennis Bauser aka SINNED  with his partner Maria Bauser aka Ria

Photo credits: 1-4 & 6 Lois Stavsky; 5 & 7 Sara C. Mozeson

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Marking its 10th anniversary, the Bushwick Collective held its hugely popular block party last weekend. Sharing their visions and talents with us, dozens of local, national and international artists refashioned the walls of this now-renowned site, founded a decade ago by Joe Ficalora. The image above — celebrating the event — was painted by the prolific Brazilian artist Sipros. Several more photos of these murals — all captured by Queens-based photographer Anna Jast — follow:

Los Angeles-based 1440

Brooklyn-based Jason Naylor, segment of huge mural

Brooklyn born and bred Huetek, close-up of homage to Biz Markie

Santo Domingo-born, Miami-based Urban Ruben

Los Angeles-based Mister Alek at work

A huge thanks to Anna Jast aka S.O.S. – Save Our Spirit for capturing these artworks and sharing them with us.

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