The following guest post is by Rachel Fawn Alban, a NYC-based photographer, arts educator and regular contributor to untapped cities.

meres-Jose-castillo-and-Zimad in-bed-stuy

Yesterday afternoon, Jonathan “Meres” Cohen and Zimad — whose talents graced the walls of 5Pointz for over a decade — were busy at work near the J Train’s Halsey stop painting a mural for 3rd Eye Sol. Founded by artist Jose Castillo3rd Eye Sol hosts exhibits and events and offers free workshops and children’s arts programming. Here are a few images of the artists and their wonderful work:

Meres at work


Zimad at work


Meres and Zimad together

"Meres and Zimad"

Completed piece


All photos by Rachel Fawn Alban



On November 19, 2013, 5 Pointz, the world’s aerosol art Mecca, was whitewashed overnight.  Its heartless destruction profoundly saddened not only the artists who called it home and those who traveled there from across the globe, but all of us who loved the creativity and camaraderie that 5Pointz represented. Currently on exhibit at the Jeffrey Leder Gallery, just a short walk from the site of the “art murder,” is W H I T E W A S H.  Curated by Marie Cecile-Flageul, it features the works of nine aerosol artists and two photographers.  Here’s a small sampling of what is on exhibit:

Another by Meres One


Christian Cortes

"Chris Cortes"



See TF, close-up 

"See tf"



Also on exhibit in W H I T E W A S H are works by AuksHans Von Rittern, Jerms, Just One, Orestes Gonzalez, Poem and Topaz.   The exhibition continues through June 8 at the Jeffrey Leder Gallery. Located at 2137 45th Road in Long Island City, the gallery is open Friday – Sunday 12-6pm and by appointment, 917 767 1734.

Photos of artworks by Lois Stavsky and City-as-School intern, Dea Sumrall


"Zimad and Meres"

On exhibit through February at Great Neck’s Gold Coast Arts Center is WALL WORKS: The Art of Graffiti featuring works by 5Pointz (Rest in Power) curator and CEO Jonathan “Meres” Cohen and other artists who found a home at 5Pointz. Here’s a small sampling:





 See TF

"See tf"

Kid Lew


Hunt Rodriguez and daughter, close-up from sculpture, “Rest in Power, 5Pointz” (Click on link for video clip with full view)

"Hunt Rodriguez"

John Paul O’Grodnick




 First image of Zimad and Meres, close-up from photo by Richard Alicia; all others by Lois Stavsky


South Bronx native Luis “Zimad” Lamboy began gracing walls with his graffiti skills at age 14, and had his first exhibit at Fashion Moda in 1984. Since, he has exhibited his artwork in galleries world-wide and continues to share his skills on public spaces across the globe. Tomorrow evening, he  will be showing a series of new paintings – alongside James Sexer Rodriguez — at Rogue Gallery Chelsea, 508 West 26th Street.


When and where did you first get up?

It started back in 1979. I grew up in the South Bronx on 156th and Courtland, and that’s where I first got up.

What inspired you?

Throw-ups and bombs were everywhere. I especially loved what I saw on the handball courts.  There was FDT 56, KID 56, Mad2 and the Bronx Artists crew.

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

I remember the time I shocked my arm in the lay-ups. It became numb, but I continued bombing. That same night we got chased out of the lay-ups by workers in the middle of the night. I remember running down Pelham Parkway, while the MPC Crew were throwing rocks and bottles at us.  That was a night!

Did you represent any crews?

Crews I’ve painted with include: BA, OTB, DWB, TCM, CWK and TD4.


What is the riskiest thing you did?

Hitting up a white train on an elevated track wearing a red bubble coat in broad daylight. I had people yelling at me from the street.

How did your family feel about what you were doing?

My mom said, “You better be careful.” My father never acknowledged what I was doing. I really don’t know if he knew or not.

Have you ever been arrested?

A few times. Not too many. I remember when I was locked up with Sexer for painting a handball court right across from a police station.  Just as we were finishing it, the entire precinct came out and surrounded us. We got off easily, though. We were charged with criminal mischief and had to pay a $50.00 fine.

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

I used to sketch out my letters before hitting a wall. But I mostly let it flow.

Are you generally satisfied with your finished piece? 

Lately I’ve been. But I have mixed feelings about some of my earlier pieces


Do you have a formal art education?

I’m self-taught. I’ve been drawing since I was five years old. I learned just about everything I know from the streets.  And in my mid-20’s, I attended FIT. The classes that I took there helped me fine-tune my skills.

Are there any particular cultures that have influenced your aesthetic?

The spiritual life has been my greatest influence. I’ve been particularly inspired by Sacred Geometry.

Any other inspirations?

Basquiat.  Just watching the movie inspires me.

Do you prefer working with others? Or would you rather paint alone?

When I’m outside, I prefer working with others. I collaborate lots with Sexer these days. But when I’m in my studio, I like to paint alone.


Any thoughts about the graffiti/street art divide?

Graffiti writers often feel that street artists disrespect them. And, unlike graffiti writers, many street artists have formal art educations.  This, too, leads to tensions between the two, as street artists have a different take on it all and are more accepted by the art establishment. Their work is also more accessible to most people.

Why do you suppose the art world has been so reluctant to embrace graffiti?

Well, it’s the only element of hip-hop that’s illegal. And that’s a problem. Gallery owners don’t want the police knocking on their doors.

Any favorite arists?

Doze Green, Mars1, Dondi and Basquiat.

How has your work evolved in the past few years?

I leave graffiti for the walls. In my studio I continue to move in the direction of fine arts. When I am painting in my studio, I am building a legacy.


Have you any thoughts about the movement of graffiti into galleries?

I think it’s great, but once it’s in a gallery, it’s not graffiti. It’s aerosol art.

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

On the positive side, it gets my work out all over the world. But it also makes it too easy for people to imitate one’s work.

Have you any feelings about the photographers in the scene?

Some are good; some aren’t. But I think if a photographer sells his photos, he should share his profits with the artists.

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

To invite the public into their world. To share their story with others.


What do you see as the future of graffiti?

Graffiti is the biggest art movement in the world. It will continue to grow.

What about you? What’s ahead for you?

For me, I will continue to create every day of my life and share what is on my mind through my art for the world to see.

Interview by Lois Stavsky; Photo 1, Zimad as a young teen, courtesy of the artist; photo 2, Zimad at the Bushwick Collective by Tara Murray; photo 3, Zimad at 5Pointz by Lois Stavsky; photo 4,  Zimad at 5Pointz by Tara Murray; photo 5, Zimad on canvas by Lois Stavsky

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The second in a series of blackbook posts features pages from the blackbook of the wonderfully talented Luis Zimad Lamboy, who began hitting the handball courts of the South Bronx over 30 years ago and is now getting ready — along with James Sexer Rodriguez — for his first Chelsea gallery exhibit.


With tagged trains


With old school character and Jesus Saves tag


Art Junkie


With Thor


Homage to TD4


All images from Zimad’s black book.

Zimad, along with James Sexer Rodriguez, will be exhibiting new pieces next Friday, October 25th, 6-10pm, at Rogue Gallery Chelsea, 526 West 26th Street. Info and interviews with both artists to soon follow.


During the past few weeks, over a dozen first-rate artists have been busy gracing the walls of the Bushwick Collective with an extraordinary array of images. Here is a sampling of what’s been happening:

Brooklyn-based Beau Stanton at work 

Beau Stanton

 Zimad signs his piece


Sexer‘s completed masterpiece


Brett Flanigan and Cannon Dill — in from the West Coast

Brett Flanigan and Cannon Dill

Col Wallnuts collaborates with Toofly

Col and Toofly

Brendon Rogers at work during his stopover in NYC

Brendon Rodgers

Creepy — in from Australia; segment of larger mural


Melbourne’s Facter at work


Brooklyn-based Sonni


And we can expect even more great art — along with: guest food trucks, Miami Food Machine, Mike N’ Willies and Hibachi Heaven; a beer tent, sponsored by Corona Familiar, Bodega Wine Bar, Pearls Social and Billy Club, Mesa Azteca and Codigo Music, LLC; several bands, including Wild Yaks, Dead Sexy Shelia, Big Volcano, Cardboard, Dian’s Coffee, Grand Resor and ShiShi and DJ Jah Star of Ninjasonik — at this Sunday’s block party celebrating the Bushwick Collective’s first anniversary.  Bushwick Collective curator Joe Ficalora reports that among those artists painting live are: Franck Duval — in from Paris — on Flushing Avenue and Scott; Beau Stanton on Troutman between St. Nicholas and Cypress and Zimad and Sexer inside the beer tent, along with some surprise guests! Art, jewelry, clothing and more will be available from local merchants, and Limited Edition Bushwick Collective tee-shirts will be for sale. The official sponsor of this year’s event — held from 11am – 8pm at St. Nicholas Ave. and Troutman St. — is NOOKLYN.COM

Photos by Tara Murray and Lois Stavsky


Even during the winter months, artists from across the globe make their way to Long Island City’s 5Pointz. Here’s a small sampling of what can be seen on the walls of the world’s Mecca of aerosol art:

Italian artist Mr. Blob 

Mr. Blob

French artist Monsieur Plume 

Mathieu Plume RC

From Hamburg, Germany


Moscow-based Zmogk

Zmogk graffiti

And this past weekend, the 5Pointz indoor gallery featured “From Bricks to Blades” as part of Armory Art Week. Here’s a sampling from the exhibit that is set to travel to Europe.

5Pointz founder, curator and artist Meres One


Spud from Toronto


And Zimad of the TD4 crew — on a more subtle note


Photos by Tara Murray and Lois Stavsky

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Fumero street art

The new Nohble in Passaic, New Jersey sports not only cool urban apparel and footwear, but also the most vibrant mural in the county.  Here are a few more images recently captured from its exterior wall that was transformed last month from bleak concrete into a vibrant mural.





Sen2, in progress


Fumero and student artists

Fumero with students

The young artists bristled with pride as they spoke about sharing their talents in a public space.

Anthony Ojeda

Anthony Ojeda

Alexandra Ramos

Alexandra Ramos

Christine Noh, Nohble‘s owner, is delighted with the mural and the “amazing kids” who worked on it, alongside the established artists. She promises that this wall is the first in a series.

Photos by Tara Murray & Lois Stavsky

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Coordinated by Joe Ficalora and See One, the Winter Mural Project brought over ten artists together this past Saturday to Troutman and Wyckoff at Bushwick Five Points.  The spirited afternoon was a cause for celebration for both the talented artists and the enthusiastic spectators. Here are some images:

London-based Stik and veteran Bronx-born artist Zimad

Stik and Zimad street art

 Queens-based Alice Mizrachi aka AM

Alice Mizrachi

Alice Mizrachi

Col of the legendary Wallnuts  crew– to the left of AM

Col Wallnuts

Brooklyn-based Danielle Mastrion

Danielle Mastrion

Danielle Mastrion

Geobany Rodriguez aka Bowz at work; final image here


Iranian artists Icy and Sot

icy and sot

Icy and Sot

Brooklyn-based Gilf! at work


 Brooklyn-based See One

See One

Brooklyn-based LNY at work


Photos by Lenny Collado and Tara Murray


"Meres @ 5Pointz"

Under your leadership 5Pointz has evolved into an internationally acclaimed aerosol art Mecca. When did you first become involved in managing this space? And how did it happen?

It was back in 2002.  I simply asked the landlord, Jerry Wolkoff, if I could, as the space had been neglected. And he agreed. He told me, in fact, that he loves graffiti. More after the jump!