Dasic Fernandez

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Scrupulously researched and splendidly presented,  From the Streets: An Exhibition of Urban Art at ArtsWestchester is the perfect homage to the graffiti culture and the modern street art movement it spurred.  Curated by Marc Leader of 212 ARTS and Melissa McCaig-Welles of Curator 19.90, it presents murals, paintings, photography, sculpture and installations from graffiti writers who first made their mark on our subways to contemporary multi-disciplinary artists. Picture above is by the legendary TKid 170.  Here are several more images I captured while visiting the landmark exhibit.

The wonderfully prolific Wane COD

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Legendary NYC artists Chris Ellis aka Daze and Carlos Mare aka Mare 139

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BG 183, close-up from huge mural by the Mural Kings, Tats Cru

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Damon Johnson, close-up

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Chilean muralist Dasic Fernandez

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Multidisciplinary artist Li-Hill,  “Time Marches On”

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Among the many special events in association with From the Streets: An Exhibition of Urban Art is the upcoming July 14 screening of Saving Banksythe story of one art collector’s attempts to save a Banksy painting from destruction and the auction block.  ArtsWestchester is located at 31 Mamaroneck Ave, a short walk from the White Plains Metro North station. The exhibit ends Sunday, July 15 at ArtsWestchester. It would be great if it could then travel, as it deserves a wide audience.

Photos by 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.

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A diverse range of faces by artists from across the globe have been greeting us in Detroit public spaces, particularly in Eastern Market. Pictured above is by Chilean artist Dasic Fernandez in Mexicantown. What follows are several more than we came upon this week:

Also by Dasic in Mexicantown

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Australian artist Rone for Murals in the Market

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New Zealand-based artist Askew One for Murals in the Market

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NYC-based Beau Stanton for Murals in the Market

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West Coast-based Hueman for Murals in the Market

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Bay Area artist Lauren YS for Murals in the Market

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Photo credits: 1-3 & 7 Lois Stavsky; 4-6 Tara Murray

Note: Hailed in a range of media from Wide Walls 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

ASVP

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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We recently had the opportunity to speak with writer and photographer Yoav Litvin about 2Create, his ongoing project and upcoming book on creative collaborations.

We love your recently launched 2Create Facebook Page and Group. Can you tell us something about the concept behind 2Create? What is its mission?

The aim of 2Create is to study and promote teamwork and fellowship as it showcases the art of collaboration. Folks tend to place far more emphasis on competition than on collaboration. But so much more can be accomplished if we work together.

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Yes! We tend to glorify individualism, particularly in the West.

And my point is that when two people create, it is greater than two. 1 + 1 is not 2, but something more. The duo is the basic unit of a collective.  And we need to look at forming collectives as a means to solve our societal problems.

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One of your initial projects, related to this larger one, is your upcoming book, 2Create: Art Collaborations in New York City.  Can you tell us something about it?

Yes. It will be released by Schiffer Publishing this fall. It showcases the works and processes of nine pairs of NYC graffiti and street artists. Each duo consists of two artists whose unique styles came together to create a larger-than-life work of street art in a NYC neighborhood. The book focuses on the backgrounds, techniques, and collaborative processes of the featured duos.

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What spurred you to produce this particular book? What was your impetus behind it – in addition to promoting the concept of collaboration?

There were a number of factors. I was interested in expanding the documentation that I began in Outdoor Gallery New York City by getting to know more of my favorite artists – like Cekis and Rubin. But most of all, it was a project that enabled me to further develop myself as an artist by integrating my background in psychology, my passion for progressive politics and my respect and love for graffiti and street art in NYC.

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What were some of the challenges that you faced in the process?

Identifying artists who could work well together and produce first-rate artwork was the initial challenge. I also had to gain their confidence and access to their relationship so that they would speak freely about the process.  And some of the artists were quite shy – which was an additional challenge. And, then, for some of the works I had to secure walls, materials and more.

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What’s ahead for 2Create?  Where are you going with it?

I want to continue documenting and interviewing duos that work together in a wide range of scenarios: visual arts, dance, music and more!

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How can we become engaged with your project? Can we contribute to it?

You can Like the project on Facebook and share your own collabs and connect with others here. You can also follow it on Instagram and on Twitter.

It sounds great! And what a wonderful concept!

Images

1. Dasic Fernandez with Rubin 415

2. Icy and Sot

3. Cekis with Cern

4. ASVP

5. Jilly Ballistic with Al Diaz

6. Alice Mizrachi with Trap IF

7. Logo design by Dan Michman

Photos © Yoav LitvinYoav in conversation with Lois StavskyTara Murray and City-as-School intern 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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Still out there each day with camera in hand documenting what has surfaced overnight, photographer Allan Ludwig aka Elisha Cook, Jr recently shared with us some of his thoughts on the changes that he’s witnessed in his downtown Manhattan neighborhood and more:

You’ve lived here in Soho for decades.  At what point did the changes in your neighborhood become most apparent?

Around 2003, I noticed that the new stores in my neighborhood were — for the most part — only selling expensive items.  I no longer recognized my neighbors’ faces on the streets. Tourists and shoppers were everywhere. I knew then that I must turn my lens onto the graffiti and street art here before it all disappeared.

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And what are some of the changes that you have observed in the street art that surfaces here these days?

It has largely lost its edginess.  Much of the street art here has  gotten exceedingly commercial.  It’s often difficult to tell the difference between what is sanctioned and what is done without permission. Street art and ads have become increasingly interchangeable. And too many “street artists” these days seem to use public space primarily to promote their gallery shows.

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What do you suppose has caused these changes?

The monetization of it all.  And I feel that the street art festivals have not only legitimized an underground movement, but have created an elite — not all that different from the mainstream art world.

 We’ve noticed that you tend to focus your camera on illegal works, particularly tags and bombs. Why is that?

Because they are real and raw. I love their poetic spontaneity. I can feel the artist’s pure passion and love for it.

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Not everyone would agree with you! Any thoughts about Mayor de Blasio’s proposed efforts to keep the city graffiti-free?

I don’t see any point to it. It’s a misdirected use of funds. The money should be used, instead, to help the homeless.

We noticed that you were daily documenting the impromptu David Bowie memorial in front of his home. Did you know Bowie personally?

I live just down the block from him, so I’d see him from time to time around the neighborhood. But, no, I didn’t know him personally. I would simply nod in acknowledgement and respect when I saw him. I sensed that he was my kind of person. But I did not want to invade his privacy.

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And what about the memorial? What spurred you to photograph it daily and in such detail?

I loved it! I loved that it was spontaneous and inclusive. There was no hidden agenda!

Interview conducted by Lois Stavsky with Tara Murray

All photos by Allan Ludwig aka Elisha Cook, Jr, except for the first one — featuring Allan alongside Buff Monster — which was photographed by Julie Dermansky; photo 3 features Dylan Egon; photo 4 features Dee Dee  and photo 5, Dasic Fernandez

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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Speaking with Dasic Fernández

November 29, 2013

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Chilean artist Dasic Fernández has been captivating us with his sumptuous styles since we first met him up in the Bronx, while painting a bus in collaboration with Cekis. We recently caught up with him in Newburgh, New York, where he’d been busy at work transforming the city’s visual landscape.

When and where did you first get up?

I was 13 when I started tagging in Rancagua, Chile.

What inspired you?

The hip-hop scene! Graffiti was part of the movement. And I knew how to draw – so that was my way into it.

Dasic Fernandez

Have you any early graffiti memories?

Nothing specific!  Just hanging out late with my best friend and bombing.

What percentage of the time is devoted to your art?

One hundred percent! If I’m not doing it, I’m thinking about it or dreaming about it.

Any thoughts about the graffiti/street art divide?

Everything I’ve learned about painting on the streets and appropriating space I learned from graffiti. I never felt any tension between street artists and graffiti writers. I still use the same fat cap to paint as did to tag.

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How do you feel about the movement of graffiti and street art into the galleries?

I respect it only when artists have had long courses in the streets first and continue painting in the streets once they’ve shown their work in galleries.

Have you exhibited in a gallery?

I had my first solo exhibit in Santiago, Chile in 2009.

Do you prefer working alone or collaborating with others?

I’d rather work by myself. I feel more comfortable, and I can take my time.

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

I don’t use it much. I feel like graffiti belongs on the streets. At first, I didn’t even photograph any of my works. But when a graffiti book came out that didn’t include any of my work, I decided that I had to.

Do you have a formal arts education?

I studied architecture back in Chile, but I quit less than a year before earning my degree.

What is your ideal working environment 

The streets. That’s where I feel most comfortable. It is my natural environment. I love connecting with people while I’m painting outside. It makes me happy.

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Are there any particular cultures that have influenced your aesthetics?

The mural culture in South America and Chile’s political murals, which are poetic and graphic. And I have also been influenced by hip-hop culture.

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

When I’m commissioned to do a wall, I generally have to have a sketch. But other times, I’ll simply photograph the wall before I paint it

Are you generally satisfied with your finished piece?

Never! Sometimes I’m close to being satisfied, but I’m never completely satisfied. I’m far too critical.

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How have your work evolved throughout the years?

I paint on a bigger scale and I use more colors.

Any feelings about photographers?

They used to bother me, but now they don’t. I still don’t like, though, when they upload photos of unfinished pieces.

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

Because it’s the most powerful graphic movement out there.

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Where have you painted?

I’ve painted throughout Chile and in Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Peru and in Canada. And in the US, I’ve painted in Chicago, Texas, Michigan, and New York.

Have you any preferred spots or surfaces?

I like when a wall has context to spare, so that it can assume an identity through a mural.

What’s ahead for you?

Many personal projects with different timelines. I’m working now on completing a series of commissioned walls and canvases. I’m then planning to return to Chile and work on a book featuring my artwork. Then – more walls and an art festival that I’m organizing in New York and probably a solo exhibit.  Basically I’ll keep flowing, painting and traveling.  And there’s more!

Interview by Lois Stavsky with Tara Murray; photos 1. with Okuda and Rubin in Bushwick by Lois Stavsky; 2. in Bushwick by Tara Murray; 3. with Rubin in the Bronx by Tara Murray; 4. in Newburgh school by Lois Stavsky; 5 & 6. in Newburgh, NY by Lois Stavsky 7. with Logek in the Bronx by Tara Murray.

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This is the tenth in a series of posts featuring images of girls — and women — who grace New York City’s public spaces:

Dasic — with Rubin in the background — at Hunts Point in the Bronx

Dasic and Rubin

Tristan Eaton in NoLita

Triston Eaton

Community mural in Bedford-Stuyvesant Brooklyn, When Women Pursue Justice, since 2005

Community mural

LMNOP at Welling Court in Astoria, Queens

LMNOP

Alice Mizrachi aka AM in East Harlem

Alice Mizrachi

FKDL at the Bushwick Collective

FKDL

Gore at 5Pointz in Long Island City, Queens

Gore

How and Nosm in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

How and Nosm

Photos by Dani Mozeson, Tara Murray and Lois Stavsky

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This past weekend — on one of winter’s chilliest days — we hit Bushwick, where we caught some new images and revisited others.

New from Brooklyn-based Elbow Toe with Veng‘s signature birds

Elbow Toe and Veng

Belgian artist Roa

Roa

4BurnersDasic and Rubin with Madrid-based Okuda

Dasic, Rubin and Okuda

Berst tribute to NEKST, RIP

Berst

Brooklyn-based Never

Never

Brooklyn-based Bast

Bast

Bast, close-up

Bast close-up

Photos by Lenny Collado

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We are thrilled that both Dasic Fernandez and Rubin415 are back in town. Earlier this month, they were joined by Madrid’s Okuda as they fashioned  intriguingly captivating murals on White Street in Bushwick.

Chilean artist Dasic Fernandez at work

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Dasic Fernandez and Okuda

Dasic and Okuda

 Okuda at work

Okuda

Okuda

Okuda

Swedish artist Rubin415 at work

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Rubin415

Rubin415

 Photos by Lenny Collado, Tara Murray and Lois Stavsky

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