Street Art NYC

Showcasing some of my favorite artists, along with others who are new to me, First Street Green Art Park — located where  Manhattan’s Lower East Side meets the East Village — is one of our city’s treasures. The image featured above was fashioned by Carson DeYoung aka Deps One, a former Brooklynite now based in Tucson, Arizona. Several more images that have surfaced in the past few months at First Street Green Art Park follow:

NYC-based Cram Concepts, Ratchi and Outer Source — segment from a huge collaborative production

Brooklyn-based Jeff Henriquez 

Mexico City-based Trasheer

Mexico City-based Nerik Martinez aka Ramsteko

Ezra Cumbo aka Rah Artz

The prolific OptimoNYC  for Dopey podcast

Photos: Lois Stavsky

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Celebrating 50 years of women spraypainting NYC, the NYC Graffiti Women’s Festival brought flavor and flair to Hunts Point’s performance and event venue, Bronxlandia, and its surroundings earlier this month. While visiting the site, I had the opportunity to speak to Bronx-based artist, curator and arts educator Lady K Fever who – along with Bronxlandia owner Majora Carter – spearheaded the event.

Can you tell us a bit of the backstory? How did this event come to be?

I had painted a mural earlier this year at Bronxlandia, and when its owner, Majora Carter — who’s very supportive of the arts — offered the space to me to curate, I came up with the idea of inviting women to paint this spot and its neighboring gates in honor of hip-hop’s 50th anniversary.

And what was the festival’s particular mission?

We wanted to reflect and enhance the flavor of the neighborhood, while honoring hip-hop. We also wanted to provide a space for women artists to come together with the community and celebrate one another. This festival was somewhat of a fusion and an extension of two of my previous projects: The Bronx Graffiti Art Gallery and Her Story

What were some of the challenges you faced in seeing the event through?

The cost of insurance — especially when it involves graffiti and hip-hop — was a major business concern. Other challenges included: finding several additional nearby spaces; painting on shutters and gates, as those were our primary surfaces, and securing funding to pay for essential supplies. We are extremely grateful t0 Peter and JP at Burton NYC and to Low Brow Paint & Supply for coming through.

How did the event go? What was the day like?

It was wonderful. There was so much positive energy. Dozens of folks of all ages came through and hung out. We had great female deejays and spontaneous breakdancing. There was a wonderful group of volunteers and delicious food. And Bronx-native Mrs. had the opportunity to make her mark on the roof!

And what’s ahead for you?

Along with Andre Trenier, I will be featured in a show next year at Bronx Art Space. I will also be visiting a range of universities as a guest artist. And I’m working on a curriculum and varied educational programs related to graffiti. I don’t want the history of women in graffiti to be lost.

Note:  If you reside in the Tri-state area, you can win a Burton snowboard, a selection of street art books and more from Low Brow, when you enter the 2023 Art Raffle to support the arts and education. You can either submit artwork on a custom art template with a $20 entry fee or purchase a raffle ticket for $30. Email NYCgraffitiwomenfestival@gmail.com for more information on how to enter. Deadline is Nov 7th 2023.

Images:

  1. Lovenotes
  2. Lady K Fever
  3. Nasa One
  4. Chare and Flô
  5. Kstar
  6. Alice Mizrachi
  7. Mrs
  8. Miki Mu, Lexi Bella and Claw Money
  9. Flyer designed by Zori4

Photo credits: 1-6 & 8 Lois Stavsky; 7 courtesy Lady K Fever; interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky

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Founded and curated by Miki Mu and Frankie Velez, the BedStuy Walls Mural Festival has once again transformed Lexington Avenue between Stuyvesant and Lewis Streets into a delectable visual feast, while actively engaging the local community and beyond.

The sumptuous image featured above was painted collaboratively by members of Mz. Icar, a collective of primarily Black female interdisciplinary artists “creatively taking up space.”  Several more images captured this past Sunday follow:

Brooklyn-based Vince Ballentine paints the Nigerian-American singer and composer Mary Akpa

Brooklyn-based Jeff Henriquez captured at work

Chicago-based Caesar Perez

Long Island-based master of monsters Phetus88

Brooklyn-based Question Marks at work with Alana Tsui above Matt Siren’s iconic character

Manhattan-based Funqest

Bronx-born and bred Andre Trenier at work

As it “takes a village” to launch such a remarkable event, among the many who helped make it possible are: NYC Thrive Collective, The Philos Project, Philos Latino, Jesse Rojo, Good Times Deli, Pastor Robert Waterman and Atiba Edwards.

Keep posted to the Street Art NYC Instagram and Threads for more images from this year’s edition of the BedStuy Walls Mural Festival. And you can help sustain this model of community engagement by contributing to the fundraiser, organized by Miki Mu.

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

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Founded and curated by the veteran Bronx writer WEN COD, Boone Avenue Walls now brings an alluring array of vibrant graffiti and mural art by local, national and international artists to two locations in the Bronx. This first of a two-part post focuses on the walls that have surfaced along Boone Avenue during its recent Beautification and Artists Festival.

Featured above is Philly-based, Spanish artist Saoka at work. Several more images of both artworks in progress and completed murals follow:

Philly-based, Spanish artist Imse captured at work

BedStuy Walls founder and curator Miki Mu

Veteran uptown writer Kron

Sao Paulo-based muralist and tattoo artist Bits PMA

The legendary Tats Cru member BG 183

Bronx-based Sebar7 in collaboration with Oslo, Norway-based artist Mucho

Photos by Sara C Mozeson and Lois Stavsky

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Under the curatorial direction of Sharif Profit, this past weekend’s Graffiti Hall of Fame — located on 106th Street and Park Avenue in East Harlem — teemed with tantalizing talent. Among the featured pubic artworks in this event’s 43rd annual edition were walls and cubes fashioned in a wide range of styles by legendary writers and noted urban artists from NYC and beyond. The scintillating piece pictured above was painted by graff master Skeme, also known as 3 Yard King. Several more images of artworks captured this past Sunday afternoon follow:

BedStuy Walls founder and curator Miki Mu at work

Veteran writer and aerosol artist Renard Kelley aka Vens adding the final touches to his mural

 Delta 2’s masterful mural complemented by an adorable passerby who instantly poses!

The wildly prolific Cope 2

French artist Louis Vicius aka Jaek El Diablo

Will Power‘s tribute to the late writer and DJ Dez aka Kay Slay— with Al Diaz‘s iconic tag finding its way to the bottom!

Barcelona-based artist and tattooist Phen

  Bronx-native NAC 143 at work

 Stockholm-born, East Harlem-based Scratch

Note: Keep posted to the Street Art NYC Instagram and Threads for more images of artworks that surfaced in this year’s Graffiti Hall of Fame .

Photographs by Lois Stavsky and Dani Reyes Mozeson

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This past Sunday, Welling Court Mural Project director Alison C. Wallis introduced us to the distinctly talented Dutch artist, Ottograph, who had just graced the exterior of a three-story local home with his delightfully playful aesthetic. What follows are excerpts from an interview conducted then at Welling Court with the renowned international artist by Street Art NYC contributor and UP Magazine staff member Ana Candelaria.

When did you begin painting? 

I started about 40 years ago. I was 12.

What inspired you at the time?

My inspiration came from a Chaka Khan music video. I saw a guy who was roller skating and at the same time painting on a wall with a spray can. I said to my mom, “Mom I’ve got to do that!“ I then painted my first piece in a suburb in Amsterdam and was instantly hooked.

What was your tag back then?

I didn’t have any reference to graffiti. I’d never seen it before, so I copied the tag BEAT, the name of the guy painting in the Chaka Khan video.

Have you had you other names?

As we were watching the subway trains go by, we would always say “Oh shit! You saw that one?” And so when I was a teen, I took on my second tag, SHIT. Later I changed my name to ZEY because I liked the letters, and you can almost make it like a COCA COLA logo with the sling from the Y going under the other letters. But then I figured it was too short, so I added an apostrophe and an S, and it became ZEY’S. Then later there was ZEIS and finally ZEISER. That was the last one before my current one.

How did you get your current name OTTOGRAPH

My real name is OTTO. I was listening to a song by N.W.A and one of the artists Eazy-E,  shouted “And all the ladies want my autograph,” and I was thinking Otto? Autograph? Hey, that’s me! Do you know what’s crazy? Over in Europe no one gets it, but in America people instantly start smiling when I tell them my name. I’ve stuck with that name for the past 15 years.

Had you a preferred style back then – when you were bombing?

I really liked doing blockbusters. I made a lot of giant blockbusters on the subways. This was around 1985. It was so scary, and, like, the biggest adrenaline rush ever!

Were you involved with any crews back then? 

When I was like 17 or 18, I created the SHIT HAPPENS posse and for the first three months I was the only member. Now it has over 300 members! I see people putting S.H.P on their pieces and I don’t even know who they are.

What were some of the highlights of your career as an artist?

Painting last week on Sedgwick Avenue at the birthplace of Hip Hop was definitely a highlight. They had an open mic the whole night. It felt like I was playing music in my studio, but then I would look up, and they’re actually rapping in front of me. I felt like I was in a movie. And one special memory I have that stands out is from when I was painting at 5Pointz. I remember standing between seven guys in their 50s or 60s who all had massive pickup trucks. They found a way to link up their sound systems together and played Busta Rhymes songs the whole day. The scene was amazing! The kids were playing soccer, and we were just painting. I will never forget that day. Busta Rhymes, BBQing and painting.  Holy moly!  it’s perfect.

Where else – besides NYC and Amsterdam – have you painted?

Within the states I’ve painted in Hawaii, San Francisco, Denver. I’ve painted in Russia like 15 times, mainly in Saint Petersburg. I’ve also painted in Japan, Berlin, Spain, Italy. I’ve painted in Africa — in Gambia and Zanzibar. The next big project I have coming up is in Nigeria. I’m supposed to go out there in three weeks, but the political situation is a little out of hand at the moment, so I may have to push it to a later date. I can’t wait for it to happen!

Are there any cultures that influence your aesthetic?

Yes, my style is largely influenced by Aboriginal and Native American art. I love their patterns. I tend to put a lot of dots in my work, and that comes from the aboriginals who used to make artwork using only dots. The dots for me are a good way to fill in spaces. I always try to fill out a drawing. I usually start with my character, King Canary; then I work my way around it.

Where do you see yourself five years from now? 

I see myself doing the same thing. Traveling the world, painting as many murals as I can and meeting interesting people.

Interview conducted by Ana Candelaria and edited by Lois Stavsky; photos by Lois Stavsky

Note: Keep posted to UP Magazine for a comprehensive portrait of the artist, also penned by Ana Candelaria

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On my recent visit to this year’s Welling Court Mural Project in Astoria Queens, I discovered a wondrous array of art fashioned in a multitude of styles. The distinctly striking mural pictured above was painted last week by Meres One in his singular stained-glass style. Several more images of new artworks follow in this first of a two-part series documenting WCMP23, a community public art project organized and curated by Alison C. Wallis

Bronx-based BG 183, Tats Cru

Ecuador-born, Queens-bred multidisciplinary artist Toofly

Nepalese artist Imagine 876

Fumero in his distinct GRAFSTRACT style

Brooklyn-based multidisciplinary artist Kimyon Huggins

Veteran UK writer Noir

Photos: Lois Stavsky

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I returned to Freeman Alley this past Sunday to discover a wonderfully diverse range of artworks in varied media, along with artists from near and far at work. Pictured above is the lovely Ecuadorian nomadic artist Lasak. Several more findings follow:

 Boston native Mattaya Fitts

Bronx native Abe Bx

Italian artists Rat Rockster and Ikas leaving their mark in the alley as they pass through NYC

Colombian artist Luch pays homage to his hometown Valle de Cocora

The spirit of Indonesia from Komodo

An surprise visit from the prolific mark-maker Qzar

And one of several sticker combos

Photos: Lois Stavsky

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With their intriguing images, graffiti tags and motley messages, street art stickers are increasingly claiming space in just about every NYC neighborhood. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic back in 2020, there seems to be, in fact, a proliferation of them – even in those localities with, otherwise, scant graffiti or street art. Featured above is City Kitty’s beloved adventurous cat, seen a while back on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Several more stickers captured in varied NYC locations follow:

Brooklyn-based multimedia artist Alex Itin, as seen awhile back on the Lower East Side

The famed Japanese-American artist Katsu, as seen this past weekend in Soho

Bronx-born Inner Demons in collaboration with Staten Island-based Chris RWK, as seen last week on the Lower East Side

The prolific Brooklyn-based multimedia artist RAE BK — his signature face on translucent sticker paper — as seen this past weekend in Soho

The itinerant graffiti writer/bomber Reader with his now-iconic message, as seen last week in Gowanus, Brooklyn

NYC-based graffiti writer/bomber Suckybat, as seen a while back in Chelsea

LNE crew graffiti writer/bomber South,  as seen in Inwood, Manhattan

Note: This post is part of an ongoing series on NYC sticker art — that had been “dormant” for the past several years, and is now being revived!

Photos by Lois Stavsky

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Inspiring positive vibes and sparking conversations about mental health, ten artists were busy last week fashioning a wonderfully diverse array of murals at South Street Seaport. Conceived and curated by designer, illustrator and muralist Annica Lydenberg aka Dirty Bandits and mental health advocate and author Samantha Schutz, the project suggests that we are all connected through our common humanity and, therefore, never alone.

The image featured above was designed by the Chinese American artist Zipeng Zhu aka Mr.Dazzle. Several more images of newly designed “You Are Not Alone” murals follow:

Brooklyn-based multidisciplinary artist Sally Rumble

Dominican-American visual artist and graffiti writer Indie 184

Brazilian designer and visual artist Cristina Pagnoncelli aka CRISPA 

NYC-based type designer and educator Lynne Yun

The prolific Brooklyn-based designer and visual artist Jason Naylor

 NYC-based lettering artist and designer Alanna Flowers

Filipino-American multidisciplinary artist Richard Tumang

NYC-based multidisciplinary artist Marco Santini

Brooklyn-based Japanese American artist Adam Fu

And a message from project co-founder Dirty Bandits

Stay posted to the Street Art NYC Instagram for images of Priority Bicycles — designed by six of the artists — that will be used for “Priority Delivers” in honor of May’s Mental Health Awareness Month and Bicycle Month.

Photos: Lois Stavsky

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