Bushwick Collective

This is the twelfth in a series of occasional posts featuring images of children that have surfaced on NYC public spaces:

Brooklyn-based Jeff Henriquez at the Bushwick Collective

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Joe Iurato and Logan Hicks collaboration at the Bushwick Collective

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BK Foxx with JMZ Walls in Bushwick

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Brazilian artist Sipros in Bushwick with the Bushwick Collective

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The nomadic Joel Artista in collaboration with youth in Bellerose, Queens

German artist Case Maclaim, — new for Monument Art in East Harlem

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Close-up

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Photo credits: 1, 2 & 7 Lois Stavsky; 3 & 5 Tara Murray; 4 & 6 Karin du Maire

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

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Penned by photographer, writer, neuroscientist and street art aficionado, Yoav Litvin, 2Create: Art Collaborations in New York City is a distinctly elegant ode to the art of collaboration. Recently released by Schiffer Publishing, it was formally launched last month at the Bronx Museum of the Arts alongside a collaborative photography exhibit, 2gether: Portraits of Duos in Harlem and the South Bronx by Litvin and Tau Battice. A textual and visual documentation of the creative and collaborative process among nine pairs of artists, 2Create also presents first-hand accounts of each one’s early life and work.

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Featuring such duos from NYC-based Al Diaz and Jilly Ballistic to the Iranian brothers Icy and Sot, 2Create: Art Collaborations in New York City showcases a broad range of styles, sensibilities and processes. It also introduces us to the specific locale — from Manhattan’s Union Square Subway Station to a Greenpoint, Brooklyn rooftop — of each of the collaborative works featured. With its astute insights and superb design, it stands out among the dozens of street art-related books published last year.

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After reading the book, I posed a few questions to Yoav:

Your first book, the highly acclaimed Outdoor Gallery: New York City, focused largely on individual artists. Why did you decide to focus on duos in this book? 

In contrast to other art forms, such as music or dance, the visual arts involve a more solitary practice. Painters are famous for being hermits: closing themselves off from the world in their studios where they paint their masterpieces. At least, that’s the popular narrative. I feel that because the visual arts are easily commodified and objectified, they have evolved in such a way.  While I was working on Outdoor Gallery, which focuses on 46 individual artists, I noticed several duos of street and graffiti artists who produced incredible works, and I was fascinated by their practices. In 2Create I seek to investigate the art and practice of collaboration in different mediums — collage work, screen printing, stenciling, graffiti and mural making. My goal with 2Create is twofold: to present the behind-the-scenes processes of these artists and to investigate the secrets of collaboration, with the ultimate aim of encouraging others to create together. Just like any skill, collaboration needs to be practiced!

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How did you decide which duos to feature in 2Create?

My process with 2Create was mostly democratic. I was looking to present a diversity of styles, messages, mediums and locales. I am cognizant and weary of the politics involved in the arts and attempted to focus on artists that I felt were doing radical, innovative work and were constantly challenging themselves. Throughout my research on collaborations, I discovered there were two major categories that lie on a continuum — from complementary collaborations – individual works presented side by side – to integrative, a single piece that seamlessly integrates the work of two artists. I chose nine duos that present the full spectrum.

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What insights did you, yourself, gain into the collaborative process, particularly among visual artists?

Collaboration is a skill that should be practiced by any visual artist as part of his/her development. Collaboration is an exciting and stimulating process that can produce immense growth if approached correctly, but can be very challenging at times. An artist needs to respect and trust his or her collaborator and be willing to be adaptable and open to critique. The collaborative process can open new doors for an artist  — in techniques, messages, ideas and human connections that can be useful moving forward.

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The book, itself, is masterfully designed. Can you tell us something about that? 

For the design I worked with the designer Dan Michman, who is also an excellent childhood friend. It was important for me that every aspect of this project be collaborative. Dan is the best designer I know, plus I like him a lot and knew from experience that we’d collaborate well. Our process was incredible. Dan took my materials — images and texts — along with my notions on the artistic process and on collaboration, and created a stunning design “language” for the book. It was a truly integrative collaborative process. I could not be happier with the way it turned out. Plus, the cover design is simply stunning. Lastly, Schiffer Publishing did a great job in the book’s production.

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How has the response been to 2Create?  Is there any particular readership you’d like to reach?

The response has been overwhelmingly positive. In addition to appealing to the street art and graffiti fan crowd, my hope is that 2Create will integrate as a text book for art schools, colleges and universities. I believe the behind-the-scenes process shots, the revealing interviews and the insight into the art of collaboration make it a unique resource for artists in general, and visual artists in particular. But 2Create is more than a book on art. It is a document that presents the collaborative duo as the basic unit of a collective humanity in which empathy and collaboration trump disregard and domination. In an era of the cult of celebrity, war and climate change, collective action is not only beneficial, it is necessary. 2Create expresses these radical notions and I hope it will serve to inspire activists fighting for the greater good.

For more listen to Yoav speak on Counterpunch Radio here.

Images

1 & 2 Rubin and Dasic 

3 & 4 Bunny M and Square 

5  Stikki Peaches and Dain

6 & 7 Icy & Sot

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All images © Yoav Litvin

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.

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For the past several years, Queens-based photographer Raphael Gonzalez aka Zurbaran1 has been creating intriguing, visually dynamic images of street art, often focusing on the artists at work.  Within the past year, his photos have made their way into several shows including his first solo exhibit, The Hand of An Artist. He has also been featured in Yoav Litvin‘s blog, 2createart. I recently had the opportunity to meet up with him.

I love what you are doing! When did you first begin to photograph NYC’s street art and graffiti?

About four years ago.

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What inspired you to do so? 

Several years ago, my daughter visited Berlin and returned home incredibly excited about the street art she had seen there. Her enthusiasm, along with the photos that she showed me, inspired me to check out what was happening on the streets of NYC. And I first became serious about it all in October, 2013 when Banksy hit NYC with his month-long day residency Better Out Than In.

Within the few years that you’ve been shooting street art, you seem to have established friendships with many of the street artists you photograph.  Can you tell us something about that?

The very first street artist I met was Alice Mizrachi. I was standing in front of her mural at Welling Court when she noticed me. She was living right there at the time, and — almost at once — came out in her pajamas to speak to me! I was so impressed by her intelligence and craft. I photographed her in front of her mural, and we struck up a friendship right then.  She was the first street artist I photographed and spoke to. Since that day, I’ve become friends with many more.

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You’ve been photographing many artists as they work. How have they responded to this? Are they open to it?

The response has been great! And when I share the photos I’ve taken with them, they are so appreciative.

That’s great! As street art is so ephemeral by nature, it’s so important to document it. And I’m a huge fan of artful photographers who document the process. I notice that you’ve focused quite a bit on the artists’ hands.

Yes, I like observing their hands in action. And photographing hands gives me a chance to use my long lens which I love doing!

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And you’ve also begun collaborating with some of the street artists whose works you photograph. How do you go about engaging them?

Yes! I love collaborating. The process makes me think a little differently, and the artists have been wonderful.  Among them are FumeroGizTrans1NoirCity Kitty. Some I’ve approached, and others have approached me.

What are some of the challenges that you face in seeing your projects through?

There’s never enough time. And there are so many artists! Going through all the photos that I take and then editing them is a lengthy, time-consuming process.

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How has the scene changed since you first started photographing street art?

There are fewer walls, and street art has become more commercial. And it seems that in the past few years, street artists have achieved celebrity status. It’s almost like they are the new rock stars!

What’s ahead for you?

I would like to engage in more collaborations…different in nature than the usual ones!

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I look forward to seeing them all, and I will be keeping up with you — in the meantime — via your Instagram!

All photos © Raphael Gonzalez aka Zurbaran1; interivew conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky

Images

1. El Niño de las Pinturas, Brooklyn Is the Future, Brownsville

2. Hendrik Beikirch aka ECB, Bushwick

3. Dasic Fernandez, Welling Court Mural Project

4. Fanakapan, Bushwick Collective

5. Noir, as featured in Raphael Gonzalez‘s solo show at Fatty’s in Astoria, Queens

6. Futura, Bushwick Collective

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This is the second in our series of NYC couples that were spotted around town. Pictured above is Dasic Fernandez as seen at the Bushwick Collective. Here are several more:

D*Face at the Bushwick Collective

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Mr. Nerds at the Bushwick Collective

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Jorit Agoch and Leticia Mandragora in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

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Faith 47 in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

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Sipros, as seen earlier this year at the Bushwick Collective

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 Photo credits: 1-3 Tara Murray; 4-6 Lois Stavsky

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.

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While visiting the Bushwick Collective on Thursday as it was readying for its 5th Annual Block Party, we had the opportunity to spend some time in its wondrous pop-up museum at 198 Randolph Street. The brainchild of Bushwick Collective founder Joe Ficalora, it showcases an extraordinary array of works by Bushwick Collective artists, along with art by community members, local youth, Parsons School of Design at the New School students and more.  We also had the chance to speak to the Bushwick Collective Museum‘s director, Asja Gleeson.

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This is all so amazing! There are works here by artists who’ve exhibited in museums, along with art by children who live in the neighborhood. Just about every art genre and style is represented here. How did you connect to so many diverse artists?

Joe Ficalora simply gave me a list of the folks he’d already reached out to. In the five years since he’s founded the Bushwick Collective, he’s made so many wonderful connections.

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How did you connect to Joe? 

Dan Witz introduced me to Joe two years ago, and I worked with Joe and Dan on the exhibit for the Collective’s 3rd Annual Block Party.  The experience was so fantastic that I was thrilled to have an opportunity to be involved once again with the Bushwick Collective.

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As director, what are some of your responsibilities in managing an exhibit of this scope?

I had to contact all the artists and make sure that their work arrived in a timely fashion. I assisted Stan Sudol  the director of the Mana Urban Arts Project, in installing the works. And, basically, I was in charge of organizing the exhibit and assuring that it runs smoothly.

What — would you say — was your greatest challenge?

Getting it all together in the span of a week.

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That’s quite an accomplishment! Have you an academic or professional background in art? 

Both my parents are artists, and I studied Art History and related fields at Bard College at Simon’s Rock. I’ve also worked in several Chelsea galleries.

How does working here differ from working in Chelsea?

It’s more of a labor of love here! The pace is faster, and there’s far more community involvement here in Bushwick than in Chelsea.

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What is your impression of the art on exhibit here? Have you any favorites?

I’m so impressed by the quality of it all. There are so many wonderful pieces. Among my favorites is the one by Enx. It speaks to me!

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How can folks see this exhibit? It’s an amazing opportunity to not only view such an eclectic selection of quality artworks, but to purchase art at remarkably reasonable prices — with all proceeds going directly to the artists.

It remains open to the public from 10am-5pm through the weekend. 

Images

1.  Giz and Ghost, RIS

2. Dan Witz, with director Asja Gleeson

3. Tim Okamura

4. Enx

5. Anna Orcutt-Jahns

6. Nicer, Tats Cru

7.  See One

Photo credits:  1, 2, 4 – 7 Tara Murray, City-as-School intern Sol Raxlen; interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky

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.

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We recently had the opportunity to speak to Bushwick Collective‘s founder and curator, the indefatigable Joe Ficalora, as he readies for this year’s 5th Annual Block Party, June 3-5.

As you prepare for this year’s 5th Annual Block Party, can you share with us some of this past year’s highlights?

Last June’s Annual Block Party was certainly a highlight!  The entire community came together as a family. It was a beautiful sight! A special highpoint of this past year was the Bushwick Collective‘s collaboration with Mana Urban Arts. We had the chance to go down to Miami in December during Art Basel. NYC artists, along with local Miami ones and artists from across the globe, painted together, transforming the inside and outside of the RC Cola Factory. It was a particular thrill to have seven-year-old Lola join us and watch her paint with Chor Boogie. We’ve also facilitated murals in Miami and Jersey City in coordination with Mana Urban Arts. And – more recently — during Frieze Art Week, we participated in Art New York on Pier 54 with Sipros in support of the Perry J. Cohen Foundation.

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What would you say was your greatest challenge this past year?

My greatest challenge was dealing with all the marketers trying to hunt down walls. Now that this neighborhood is “cool,” they feel that they can take advantage of the public space without giving back.

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What can we expect at this year’s Block Party?

There will be live painting, food trucks, local vendors, special activities for families with kids and surprise performers.  A pop-up exhibition at 198 Randolph Street will feature artists from the The Parsons School of Design at the New School, the official sponsor of the weekend, along with local artists. The Museum of the City of New York will be projecting images of Bushwick from over 100 years ago and sharing a huge blown-up photo of Bushwick in 1909. All money from the artwork sold at the exhibit — that opens to the public at 7pm on Friday, June 3, and can be viewed on Saturday and Sunday from 10am-5pm — will go directly to the artists. Local artists will also be exhibiting their work independently. Performers opening the weekend include: The BBoy Rebels (NYC Original Subway Dancers), DJ Mister Cee, Loaf Muzik, Monsters of Brooklyn, Thorough, Thirsting Howl lll, Styles P and Jim Jones. And on Saturday — in addition to JADAKISS — DJ Statik Selektah and friends, Lil Waah, Joell Ortiz, Dave EastChris Rivers, son of the legendary Big Pun, and The BBoy Rebels will perform. Keep posted to our website for updates.

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Who are some artists we can look forward to meeting?

Artists from everywhere will be painting. Among them are: D*Face, Case Maclaim, Sipros, Atomik, Don Rimx and Trans1. Local artists include: Giz, Tats Cru, CrashMeres, Topaz, Plasma Slug, Lola the Illustrator and Hops 1.

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That sounds great! What’s ahead for the Bushwick Collective?

We will continue to grow as an organization and evolve with time. We look forward to further collaborations with Mana Urban Arts.  We also look forward to establishing new partnerships.

Images

1. Giz, Ghost, Such, RIS Crew

2. Sipros

3. Case Maclaim

4. Oji

5. Starfighter

Photo credits: 1 & 3 City-as-School intern Sol Raxlen; 2, 4 & 5 Lois Stavsky; interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky with Sol Raxlen

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.

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In collaboration with the Mana Urban Arts Project, the Bushwick Collective transformed Wynwood’s former RC Cola Factory into a Mecca of first-rate street art and graffiti. During Miami Art Week, celebrated artists from across the globe painted alongside local Miami and NYC-based artists. Here are a few more images from among the dozens of murals I saw last week while visiting Wynwood:

London-based James Cochran aka Jimmy C

"Jimmy C"

London-based Shok1

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NYC-based Giz RIS

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NYC-based Lady Aiko

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Dutch artist David Louf aka Mr June

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Miami-based Hoxxoh

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West Coast-based Christina Angelina

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First image is a close-up from a huge mural by David Sepulveda aka Rimx

Photos by Lois Stavsky

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This is the seventh in a series of occasional posts featuring the range of curious characters that have made their way onto NYC open spaces:

London-based Fanakapan at the Bushwick Collective

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French artist Bebar in Brownsville, Brooklyn

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Mexican artist Telleache at the Bushwick Collective

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Pyramid Oracle at Welling Court in Astoria, Queens

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Mr Nerds at the Bushwick Collective

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Photo credits: 1, 3 & 5 Lois Stavsky; 2 & 4 Tara Murray

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This is the 16th in an occasional series of posts featuring images of girls — and women — who grace NYC public spaces:

Dasic Fernandez at the Bushwick Collective

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William Power in East New York

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Toofly in Astoria for the Welling Court Mural Project

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Jorit Agoch at the Bushwick Collective

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QRST in Bushwick

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Tristan Eaton in Little Italy for the LISA Project

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Zeso in Astoria for the Welling Court Mural Project

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JR in Nolita

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Ananda Nahu in Hunts Point, as seen on this past weekend’s #NYTBronxWalk

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Photo credits:  1, 2, 5, 7 & 9 Lois Stavsky 3, 6  Tara Murray 4 Courtesy Jorit Agoch & 8 Courtesy M18

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With Sheryo and the Yok completing the missing letter — S — , the B-U-S-H-W-I-C-K mural at the Bushwick Collective is now complete. Here are some images:

Sexer at work after completing the letter ‘B.’ Letter ‘U’ by David Louf aka June1 to its right

"seder and David Louf"

 Sheryo and the Yok, the letter ‘S’

"Sheryo and the Yok"

Dasic Fernandez at work on the letter ‘H’

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Billy Mode at work on the letter ‘W’

"Billy Mode"

Eelco ’Virus’ Van den Berg, the letter ‘I’, with Bushwick Collective founder and curator Joe Ficalora to its right

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John Matos aka Crash, the letter ‘C’ 

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Zimad at work on the final letter, ‘K’

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With some additions

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 Photo credits: 1, 4 & 7 by Dani Reyes Mozeson; 2, 3, 5, 6 & 8 by Lois Stavsky

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