Public Art Projects

Just a few blocks from the Kings Plaza Shopping Center in Flatbush, Brooklyn, a huge, beautifully-crafted, provocative billboard greets passersby. I’d met the artist, Miguel Diego Colón, several months ago in the studio he shares with other Fountain House artists in the Silks Building in Long Island City. At the time he was working on the images he’d planned to incorporate into this project. I recently had the opportunity to catch up with him and find out more about this ambitious venture:

What an impressive, powerful mural “Stand Up” is!  Can you tell us something about its theme? Its intent?

I was interested in creating a public mural that reflects the many forms of oppression that I have faced and have observed in my community here in New York City. Among these are: the destructive forces of racism, sexism, inequality, and the stigma against those struggling with mental illness. It is my way of providing solidarity with others who are oppressed.

Did any specfic recent events or incidents spur you to focus on these themes of inequality and resistance?

I had heard about a photographer who had been slammed to the ground at a Trump rally. And that had me thinking about all the bullying that has been taking place at various Trump rallies and the importance of  “standing up.”

How were you able to access such a huge, visible space?

Betty Eastland, a peer-specialist and artist, working at Fountain House Studio had sent me a link to 14×48, a non-profit project that repurposes vacant billboards as public art spaces. 14×48‘s mission is to create opportunities for artists to engage with public art. I sent 14×48 a sketch, along with a proposal, and examples of other paintings on the theme of social justice. I was amazed when I found out that I had been selected.

How long did you work on “Stand Up?”

About five months. Once I was ready to paint, I constructed stretcher bars. I then started with graissaile before adding paint.

This was your first public mural. How have folks responded to it?

Everyone has been so supportive. The response has been overwhelmingly positive.

What’s next?

 I would love to create more work in public spaces. I think of it as an audition to do more public works. And I’d love to bring my vision to Manhattan. Times Square would be ideal!

Yup! That would be great! And congratulations on “Stand Up.”

Photo credits: 1, 3 & 4 Courtesy of the artist; 2, 5 & 6 Lois Stavsky

Interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky

Note: To find out more about Miguel–his educational background, influences, personal circumstances — you can read an extended interview here.

{ 0 comments }

Conceived and curated by Ad Hoc Art, the Welling Court Mural Project has been transforming Welling Court and its neighboring blocks in Astoria, Queens for the past decade. Featured above are the works of See One and Hellbent who once again shared their talents with us in this community-driven project. Several more images that Ana Candelaria and I captured this past Sunday follow:

 Roberto Castillo and Kork93

 Jeromy Velasco in memory of the Stonewall Riots’ 50th anniversary —  for NYC Pride with the LISA Project NYC

The legendary Greg Lamarche aka SP.ONE 

Queens-based Free5 captured at work

And an hour later

Never Satisfied

Joe Iurato pays homage to Keith Haring 

Welling Court Mural Project founder and curator Garrison Buxton for NYC Pride with the LISA Project NYC (close-up from huge mural) — and Yes One and more graffiti art below

Photo credits: 1, 4, 6, 9 & 10 Lois Stavsky; 2, 3, 5 & 7 Ana Candelaria 

{ 0 comments }

I was delighted to have the opportuity to meet up with the multi-talented Bogota-based artist Andres Osuna aka Bochica who is currently visiting NYC — ready and eager to share his vision with us.

When and where did you first start painting on the streets?

I began ten years ago while I was studying filmmaking in Buenos Aires, The first mural I ever painted was a Tree of Life in Palermo.

What inpired you to do so? Why did you choose to hit the streets?

Because the streets belong to everyone. It is our collective home. Working on the streets enables me to communicate with and share knowledge with a wide community. I see painting on the streets as a revolutionary act.

Do you paint with any crews?

I’m a member of the art collective Renova. Our mission is to transform deteriorated or abandoned urban areas into pedagogical platforms using art as a tool.

Do you generally work in illegal or legal spaces?

I’d say 90% of what I do is illegal.

What is your family’s attitude towards what you do?

They are so supportive! My mother is a warrior. She was the first fire-woman in Colombia. She has always taught me to follow my passion.

What percentage of your time is devoted to art?

All of it!

What is the source of your income?

It’s all art-related. Commissions…set design…festivals…video shoots.

That’s quite impressive! Have you a formal art education?

I’m self-taught.  I studied filmmaking, but not visusal arts.

How do you feel about the role of social media in this scene?

I think it’s a good tool; it helps us artists connect with each other.

What is the riskiest thing you’ve ever done on the streets? And why did you do it?

Painting in very dangerous neighborhoods — where I had to worry about both the police and the local gangs.Why did I do it? Because it was necessary–

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

I do both. It depends on the circumstances. But I do best when I work from my head.

Are you generally satisfied with your finished piece?

Sometimes!

Are there any particular artists out there who inspire you?

I’m inspired by Diego Rivera and the entire school of social realism. As far as living artists, Obey is a personal favorite. I like his aesthetic of resistance. I also love Banksy‘s sarcasm. And I’m a huge fan of Bordalo and the way he uses trash to create amazing public artworks. My stencil art has been inspired by the Bogata-based collective Excusasdo.

What about cultures? Do any specific ones inspire you?

Indigenous cultures inspire me. I’ve been hugely influenced by many native civilizations, particularly the Chibcha one.

How has your work evolved since you first started painting on the streets over a decade ago?

I feel that everything I’d done up until now was experimentation. My style is far more developed and my ideas are far more synthesized.

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

I see the artist as a model for transformation. Just as an artist can show us how a surface can be transformed, the artist can teach us how to transform the world.

What’s ahead?

I’d like to continue to grow as an artist to help transform myself and the world. Hopofully, I have a few decades ahead.

Interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky; all photos courtest of the artist

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.

en-play-badge 2

{ 1 comment }

Underhill Walls — a  model grassroots project in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Prospect Heights —  has once again morphed. This time it is a canvas for 17 diversely enchanting murals reflecting the theme Urban Jungle. While visiting it last week, I had the opportunity to pose a few questions about Underhill Walls— its origins and more — to its indefatigable curator, Jeff Beler.

Underhill Walls continues to bring so much intrigue and beauty to this neighborhood. When did this project first begin?

The first set of murals surfaced here — at St. Johns Pl. and Underhill Avenue — back in the fall of 2015.

How were you able to access these walls? The concept is brilliant. It reminds me of the Centre-fuge Public Art Project that for years transformed an East Village eyesore — a neglected DOT trailer — into a rotating open-air street art gallery.

I live nearby, and I had been eyeing those walls for 10 years. They’d been ravaged by a fire, and they’d been neglected. I eventually contacted the owner of the three-floor abandoned building who was open to the concept of beautifying the property.

And then what? How did the actual transformation take place?

I started to put a team together. The first step was to build panels. And the first artists to participate in the project back in 2015 were: UR New York, Fumero, Badder Israel, Raquel Echanique, Col Wallnuts and Sienide.

Did you collaborate with any organizations at the time?

For our first project, we coordinated with the non-profit Love Heals. Titled “What’s Your Sign? Mural Project,” our first project’s mission was to raise public awareness for the HIV/AIDS crisis among  Black and Latino youth.

What are some of the challenges you’ve faced in seeing this project through these past few years?

Selecting artists with the right chemistry to work together. When that happens, everything flows smoothly and beautifully. And this is exasctly how “Urban Jungle” played out.

How often do the murals change?

Twice a year. Every May and October. Since 2015, we’ve had nine rotations.

What’s ahead?

So long as the panels are here, we will be here! And each project will continue to reflect a distinct theme.

Fabulous!

Images

1  Oscar Lett

2  Justin Winslow

Ralph Serrano (L) and Giannina Gutierrez (R) 

4  Jaima and Marco Santini collaboration

5  Nassart

6  Jeff Beler

7  Android and Miishab collaboration

8  Majo

Interview with Jeff conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky; photos by Lois Stavsky

Keep posted to StreetArtNYC Instagram for more recent images from Underhill Walls.

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.

en-play-badge 2

{ 0 comments }

For the fourth consecutive year, The Crystal Ship Arts Festival invited over a dozen renowned artists from across the globe to Ostend, Belgium’s largest coastal city. This year’s theme, The Dictatorship of Art, featured a range of tantalizing murals — from the subtly toned to the richly colorful — several overtly political. In the remarkable anamorphic mural featured above, Dutch artist Leon Keer visualizes the impact of climate change.  Several more images — all captured by travel and street photographer Karin du Maire aka Street Art Nomad — follow:

Mexican artist Paola Delfin,”Èèn”

Croatian artist Lonac, “Lost Ticket”

Valencia, Spain-based artist Escif imagines “No Borders”

 Barcelona-based Moroccan native Mohamed L’Ghacham, “Separación De Poderes II”

Frankfurt, Germany-based Case Maclaim

UK native David Walker

Curated by Bjørn Van Poucke, the The Crystal Ship 2019 actively engaged the local community — including students from the local school Ensorinstituut — throughout the festival.

Images 1-7 photographed by Karin du Maire aka Street Art Nomad  

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.

en-play-badge 2

{ 0 comments }

Venezuelan artist KOZ DOS first made his mark on the walls of his native city, Caracas, where he became identified with his hugely impressive photorealistic portraits. He has since conceived and mastered an infectious aesthetic fusing animal and human elements. Noted for their dreamy colors and geometric patterns, the wonderfully talented artist’s murals — blurring the line between street art and fine art — continue to make their way into a wide array of international festivals and events. Pictured above is El Dia de la Noche painted last month in Ayia Napa on the Southeast coast of Cyprus.

Another view of KOZ DOS‘s recent Ayia Napa mural

And a selection of murals painted by KOZ DOS these past two years and shared with Street Art NYC 

In Bayonne, France for Points de Vue Street Art Fest, October 2018

In Cheste, Spain for Graffitea Cheste, May 2018

In Crans-Montana, Switzerland for Vision Art Festival, September 2017

Close-up

In Civitanova Marche, Italy for Anime Di Strada, June 2017

All photos courtesy the artist

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.

en-play-badge 2

{ 0 comments }

While driving from Madrid to Valencia earlier this week, we decided to take a bit of a detour and visit Cuenca, an enchanting walled city in Central Spain that has largely maintained the appearance of a medieval fortress. Among our stops was Barrio San Antón, whose mountainous streets and winding alleyways are home to several hugely impressive murals. The image featured above is the work of the masterful Porto, Portugal-based stencil artist Daniel Eime. Several more images of art we found — with the help of some local teenagers —  on the walls of Barrio San Antón follow:

Daniel Eime, closer up

French artist Chloe Tiravy, close-up

Spanish artists Zeus Sanchez and Sceno,

Zeus Sanchez and Sceno, close-up

Venezuelan artist Koz Dos

Cuenca-based Mr Trazo

Mr Trazo, close-up

All of these artworks — we soon found out — were painted during Zarajos Deluxe, an urban arts festival that took place in the summer of 2015 under the curatorial direction of Cuenca native Mr Trazo.

Photo credits: 1 Sara C Mozeson; 2-8 Lois Stavsky

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.

en-play-badge 2

{ 0 comments }

In the first of a series of “happenings,” native New Yorker actor/creator Maia Lorian and Brooklyn-based guerilla street artist Abe Lincoln, Jr. recently hosted an Open House outside Trump Tower. To help “the president” pay his huge legal fees, the duo offered passersby an opportunity to savor, purchase and bask in “Luxury Living For The Morally Bankrupt.”  Perks include: secret service at one’s fingertips; one’s very own personalized FBI file and frequent dumpster fires. What follows are a few more scenes I captured during  “A Presidential Parody’s” thoroughly convincing live ad campaign:

First stop, outside Chanel

Engaging one of many opinionated passersby

With Trump Tower security guard quietly observing it all

For more information about “A Presidential Parody” as performance art, you can contact the wonderfully talented duo at apresidentialparody@gmail.com

Photos by Lois Stavsky

{ 0 comments }

A non-profit arts organization that creates opportunities for local and international artists to showcase their talents and share them with others, HKwalls recently held its sixth annual street art festival — in collaboration with Design District HK — in Wan Chai, HK. With sponsorship from Vans — along with other brands including the environmentally-friendly eicó paint — live painting, arts workshops, exhibitions and guided street art tours took place from March 23-31.

The delightfully playful image pictured above was painted by Richmond-based artist Wingchow. Following are several more images of artworks that surfaced largely during HKwalls 2019 — all captured by travel and street photographer Karin du Maire aka Street Art Nomad.

French artist Tim Marsh, segment of larger mural painted this past fall, organized by L’Epicerie Fine HK; tram painted by Tim Marsh for HKwalls 2019 here

UK-based Insa

Chinese crew KwanClansegment of larger mural

Berlin/Hamburg based duo Low Bros

Montreal-based artist Fluke to the left of his stunning mural

Canadian artist Priscilla Yu

Spanish artist Muro at work

Photos by Karin du Maire aka Street Art Nomad

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.

en-play-badge 2

{ 0 comments }

The streets of New Orleans — particularly those in the Marigny and the Bywater neighborhoods — teem with a wide range of public art.  Pictured above is a mural painted by New Orleans-based visual artist and activist, Brandan Bmike Odums. Several other images captured on my recent visit to NOLA follow:

The remarkable Reader aka Booker, OYE & more — one of his dozens of pieces in NOLA

The legendary New Orleans-based You Go Girl aka Hugo Gyrl in a delicate vein

New Orleans-based Mr Balloon Hands 

Seattle-based Craig Cundiff with the NOLA Mural Project

New Orleans-based Havana-born artist Ramiro Diaz

You Go Girl and Reader collaboration

Photos: 1-6 Lois Stavsky; 7 Sara Erenthal

Coming next: the graffiti outside and inside and on the rooftops of the abandoned Bywater naval base

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.

en-play-badge 2

{ 0 comments }