While checking out several new murals at Underhill Walls in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn last week, I was delighted to discover a new open air gallery just a few blocks away.  Located at Washington Avenue and Clark Place and, also, curated by community resident and leader Jeff Beler, it hosts a captivating array of murals. A brief interview with Jeff Beler — its founder — follows:

What a wonderful addition go the neighborhood! What motivated you to launch this new project, Washington Walls?

I’ve lived in this neighborhood for 17 years and this spot had always been an eyesore.  It had originally been a garage, but it had been empty for years — with damaged panels in need of replacement.

How did you made this transformation happen — in terms of permissions?

I spoke to the contractor who contacted the owner of the property. The panels were replaced, and I was given the “Go ahead!”

When did it officially launch? And how did it go?

In February — right after Valentines Day. The entire community pitched in. Kids got involved. Everything went beautifully, and we all had fun!

These walls feature such a wide range of talents, styles and themes. I am familiar with many of the artists from Underhill Walls and elsewhere, yet several are new to me. How were you able to engage so many artists? And how did they find out about this project?

I put up a post on Instagram that I was seeking artists to paint, and the response was great.

What’s ahead?

A second edition of Washington Walls in September. We are also planning to launch shirts, tote bags, prints and stickers, along with a  book documenting the past seven years of Underhill Walls. And currently we are completing the newest set of murals at Underhill Walls featuring TV Nostalgia.

Murals:

  1. Uncutt Art
  2. Calicho Arevalo — with Jeff Beler on the left
  3. Paulie Nassar
  4. Jaima
  5. Outer Source
  6. Majo San
  7. Carnivorous Flora

Photos: Lois Stavsky

Interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky

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In June 2018, Ohio’s Massillon Museum hosted “Moniker: Identity Lost & Found,” an exhibition featuring a distinctly remarkable documentation of mark-making and monikers, a grassroots movement which began in rail yards in the late nineteenth century. An exhibition catalog published at the time sold out almost immediately. This month heralds the release of a second edition in softcover format of Moniker: Identity Lost & Found in conjunction and cooperation with the Black Butte Center For Railroad Culture and its current exhibit, End Of The Line.

Published by Burn Barrel Press, the just-released Moniker: Identity Lost and Found features 148 full-color pages of rare archival documents, photographs, and artwork, along with a glossary of relevant terms. A fascinating foray into a distinctly American subculture of ephemeral artworks, it also offers a glimpse into many of these artists’ minds in their own voices. What follows is a sampling of images from the pages of this significant book as it brilliantly introduces us to an art form that is often overlooked by so many, including us graffiti and street art aficionados.

Who is This J.B. King? – from The Saturday Evening Post article by Jean Muir, May 1945 — referencing the prodigious “writer”  J. B. King, who was identified by his loopy scrawl

20,000th mark, 2002,  From the collection of  Smokin’ Joe

Writing implements, courtesy of Scot Phillips

Hoboe’s (sic) Directory, Nevada; 1910 Special Collections, University of Nevada, Reno Library, University Archives, (UNRS-P2017-07)

I Want to Be a Boss. Photograph by Sally and Jerry Romotsky, 1969. 35mm color transparency. Rail worker graffiti under the Fourth Street Bridge in Los Angeles. Courtesy Sally and Jerry Romotsky

Matokie Slaughter – Photo by Kurt Tors

You can order the paperback edition of  the hugely informative and entertaining Moniker: Identity Lost & Found here.

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On view through this coming Saturday, June 11 at Nahmad Contemporary is “Jean-Michel Basquiat: Art and Objecthood.” Curated by Basquiat scholar Dr. Dieter Buchhart, it is the first exhibition dedicated solely to the artist’s use of found objects and unconventional materials in his works. The image pictured above was fashioned in 1985 with acrylic, spray paint, oilstick, hardware and twine on found wood. Several more images captured on my recent visit to the gallery follow:

Untitled, 1985, Oil and oilstick on wood

Untitled (1960 Yellow Door), 1985, Oil, oilstick, Xerox collage and metal on wood door

Self-Portrait, 1985, Acrylic, oilstick and bottle caps on wood

Multiflavor, 1982, Acrylic and oilstick on canvas mounted on upcycled wood

Procession, 1986, Acrylic and wood relief on wood

Located at 980 Madison Avenue on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, Nahmad Contemporary is open Monday – Saturday
10AM – 6PM.

Photos of images: Lois Stavsky

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As the Bushwick Collective readies for its 11th Annual Block Party, a first-rate array of artists from near and far have been busy at work around Troutman and St Nicholas Avenues and its surrounding blocks. Pictured above is the Dutch artist David Louf aka Mr. June working on a small section of his new huge, hugely impressive mural. Several more images of newly-fashioned murals captured in the rain yesterday evening follow:

The distinctly skilled Italian artist Ligama, segment of huge stunning mural

 The wonderfully talented Milan-based Mr. Blob at work on a small segment of his huge tantalizing mural

The New York-based highly versatile visual artist Cody James

Pittsburg-based artist Ashley Hodder, close-up from wonderfully ravishing mural

And — on a lighter note — West Coast based aritst James Smith aka 1.4.4.0 completing his delightfully playful mural 

You can view all of the murals — including many by local artists — this Saturday, June 4 at the Bushwick Collective Annual Block Party, while enjoying performances by KRS ONE , STATIK SELEKTAH & FRIENDS, NEMS, TERMANOLOGY, POSITIVE K, & 30 other talents.

Photos: Lois Stavsky

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Showcasing an eclectic range of artworks by 60 emerging and established urban artists, the third 60 Collective Art Exhibition is a cause for celebration. Established back in 2013 by Frankie Velez and Craig Anthony Miller, the 60 Collective continues its tradition of supporting the arts and public education, as a percentage of proceeds from its sales will be donated to the local Dock Street Middle School’s art and after-school enrichment programs. For this third installment, the curators have teamed up with Executive Producer Josiane Lysius in presenting to the public a first-rate representation of contemporary urban culture.

The image featured above, “Back in the Days,” was fashioned on canvas by the always-passionate and prolific Will Power. Several more images of artworks on exhibit follow:

Bronx-based world’s first ‘Hip-Hop Comic Book’ creator and sole Keith Haring subway drawing collaborator Eric Orr, Untitled, 2019, Mixed media on wood

Japanese multimedia artist and nurse Shiro, “Heart Beat,” 2022, Spraypaint, acrylic and marker

Multimedia artist and arts educator Alice Mizrachi, “A Dream Realized,” 2022, Mixed media collage on wood

Dumbo-based artist and 60 Collective co-curator Craig Anthony Miller aka CAM, “The Pursuit of Nectar,” 2022, Mixed media on wood panel with resin

NYC-based multimedia artist LeCrue Eyebrows, “And on,” 2022. Acrylic on canvas

The prolific Staten Island-based artist Chris RWK, “Once, twice, three times forever,” 2022, Mixed media on canvas

And taking place tomorrow, Sunday, May 29, between 4-6pm at the exhibition space on 30 Washington Street is a 60 Collective curators’ talk featuring Craig Anthony Miller aka CAM and Frankie Velez.

Other future events include:

Artist Talk: Cey Adams and Eric Adams, Thursday, June 2, 6-8pm

A Poetry Tribute to the 60 Collective: Curated by Tai Allen, June 7, 6-10pm

Grand Closing Reception: Friday, June 10, 6-10pm

Photos of images 1-7: Lois Stavsky

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Whether viewed outdoors or indoors, Kenny Scharf’s infectious aesthetic is always a delicious visual treat. Currently on view at TOTAH on Manhattan’s Lower East Side is WOODZ ‘N THINGZ, a series of dazzling paintings that delight our senses and heighten our consciousness as they reflect the ecological threats our natural world faces — while suggesting alternative ways of dealing with its fragile state.

Pictured above is WOODZ, fashioned in 2022 with oil and acrylic on linen within a powder coated aluminum frame. Several more images from the legendary artist’s second solo exhibition at TOTAH follow:

ZPRUNGZ, 2022, Oil and acrylic on linen with powder coated aluminum frame, 70 x 90 inches

Kelp Us, 2022, Oil, acrylic, spray paint & silk screen ink on linen with powder coated aluminum frame, 48 x 60 inches

WORLDZEND, 2022, Oil and acrylic on linen with powder coated aluminum frame, 70 x 90 inches

PHILIPS TIME TO GO, 2022 Oil on Phillips flat screen TV, 20 x 30 x 5 inches

Located at 183 Stanton Street on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, TOTAH is open Tuesday through Saturday, 11AM to 6PM.

Photos of images:  1 & 3 Lois Stavsky, 2, 4 & 5 Atlas Torres 

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Adjacent to Old Jaffa’s bustling flea market and a short walk from its famed Clock Tower is its Greek Market, whose restaurant and shop doors serve as open-air canvases to an eclectic range of artists. The image featured above is the work of Tel Aviv-based fashion designer Athalia Lewartowski.  Several more images — captured on my recent far too brief visit to Tel Aviv — follow:

Also by Athalia Lewartowski

 

The masterly visual artist Elad Green

Tel Aviv born and based illustrator and graphic designer Tal Shetach

The ever-intriguing Soskee

Photos: Lois Stavsky

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To turn the page is to progress. It is often difficult, though, to turn a page. Each page  — as is each new day — is a fresh start that holds uncertainties. Eventually, the page must turn, no matter how long we take to reflect on it. And in Beirut, a city plagued by tragedy, poverty, economic crisis and corruption, we’ve learned how to turn the page and move forward.

The work pictured here, Turning the Page – قلبة الصفحة – is how three artists — Spaz, Kabrit and Exist — are moving forward in collaboration with the nonprofit organization Beitelbaraka to renovate Geitewe, a neighborhood that had been devastated by Beirut’s 2020 massive explosion.

Beirut-based Spaz

Lebanese artist Kabrit

Beirut-based graffiti artist and graphic designer Exist 

Exist, detail

Special thanks to Spaz for this post

Photos by Lebanese photographer Ihab Fayad 

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In celebration of Earth Day, National Geographic has partnered with ABC Owned Television Stations (OTV) and local artists in four major cities to fashion murals centered on four themes: wildlife, the Amazon, forests and oceans. All of the murals have been inspired by photos from National Geographic’s archive.

The image featured above was painted here in NYC by Brooklyn-based muralist and illustrator Steffi Lynn. Several more images of environmentally-conscious murals that have surfaced this month in collaboration with National Geographic follow:

A close-up from the NYC mural — fashioned by Steffi Lynn — located at 573 Johnson Avenue in Bushwick, Brooklyn

Philadelphia-based muralist and multimedia artist Eurhi Jones in partnership with Mural Arts Philadelphia

Philadelphia-based Eurhi Jones with a close-up of her mural located at the Overbrook Environmental Education Center

The prolific Chicago-based self-taught street artist Sentrock at work

 A wide view of Sentrock and his mural located at ABC Chicago station’s building façade at 190 N State Street

 San Francisco-based illustrator and muralist Alice Lee in partnership with Paint the Void adds the final touches to her mural

Alice Lee with her completed mural, located at the intersection of Divisadero and Haight streets

Featured photos courtesy of National Geographic’s #NatGeoPlanetPossible project

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Masterfully fusing his distinct calligraphy with motley symbols, Lower East Side native Angel Ortiz aka LA II has been making his mark on the streets, in galleries and in museums for decades.  Best known for his collaborations with the late Keith Haring in the 80’s, LA’s current exhibition, Walking the Line, at Van Der Plas Gallery is a testament to the artist’s infectious aesthetic that impacted Haring and continues to captivate.

The image featured above, The Ultimate Masterpiece, was fashioned in 2022 with acrylic and marker on canvas. Several more images of artworks captured on my recent visit to the gallery follow:

Black and White Tondo, 2022, Spray paint and marker on canvas, 10″ x 10″

Vase, Sculpture

The Grand Master Tondo, 2021, Spray paint and marker on canvas, 10″ x 10″

Yellow on Blue, 2020, Acrylic on canvas, 57″ x 57″

Three Triangles, 2022, Acrylic on canvas, 30″ x 40″

LA Crown, 2022, Acrylic on canvas, 24″ x 24″

Located at 156 Orchard Street on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, Van Der Plas Gallery is open daily from 12pm – 5pm.

Note: You can check out the interview I conducted with Angel back in 2014 here.

Photos of artworks by Lois Stavsky

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