Gracing the 21-floor staircase of the new citizenM New York Bowery is MoSA (the Museum of Street Art), a rich range of images and words fashioned by 21 5 Pointz Creates artists under the curatorial direction of Marie Cecile Flageul. After visiting the soon-to-open hotel, I had the opportunity to speak to Marie who, along with 5 Pointz founder Meres One, has been directing the project since its inception:

This project is quite remarkable! Can you tell us a bit about its background? 

In Fall 2016, we held our first meeting with citizenM‘s chief marketing officer, Robin Chadha, a huge art lover who is intent on integrating art into his projects. He had been following the entire 5 Pointz story from Amsterdam, where he is based. He approached us because he was interested in bringing back a bit of 5 Pointz to NYC. The result is MoSA,

What about the staircase installation, A Vertical Love Letter to the Bowery? What is the concept behind it?

citizenM tries to understand and embrace the communities they move into. And this particular Lower Manhattan neighborhood has an incredibly rich history, which we attempted to capture with images of significant faces, places, moments and words.

How did you decide which artists to include?

Every artist included had contributed to 5 Pointz. Once I came up with the story line and quotations, it was easy for me to select artists. I had learned from Meres how to look at aerosol art and understand its visual voice.

What were some of the challenges that came your way in the course of managing and curating this project?

A major challenge was giving up control and trusting the artists once they understood the concept and direction of the project. There were also several logistic issues. There was no air conditioning early on, and the lack of elevators became a joke. But it all evolved into a kind of musical chaos, as all of the workers and staff here have been incredibly enthusiastic and supportive.

As it is nearing completion, what are your thoughts regarding the final outcome of this project?

I am humbled by the amount of love, hard work and dedication every artist has put into this project. Their attention to detail has inspired me. I am hopeful that thousands will see it — 5000 square feet that anyone can enjoy and a priceless gift to Downtown Manhattan.

How can folks who are not hotel guests gain access to the exhibit?

As early as October 1, anyone can come into the lobby — between 10am and 5pm — with ID and walk through the exhibition. I will be giving a personal tour to the first 500 folks who register. Groups of 10 or more people can email me at marie@5ptz.com 

Congratulations! And what a great way for visitors and students to learn about the history of this historic neighborhood! I look forward to revisiting it soon.

Note: All of the artists who participated in this project are identified here, and brief interviews with them with videography by Rae Maxwell, along with original soundtrack by Say Word Entertainment artists Rabbi Darkside and The Grand Affair, can be viewed here. In addition to A Vertical Love Letter to the Bowery, a court installation is underway by Rubin 415, Esteban del ValleDon Rimx, Lady Pink and Meres One. And gracing the plaza outside the hotel’s entrance is a captivating mural by Meres One, blurring the line between graffiti and fine art.

citizenM New York Bowery is located at 189 Bowery off Delancey Street.


1. Meres One

2. Marie and Meres on roof top of citizenM New York Bowery

3. Nicholai Khan

4. See TF

5. Zimad

6. Vince Ballentine

7. Kenji Takabayashi  aka Python

8. Elle

9. Noir

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

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All-City Express, a hugely impressive interactive art exhibitionmade its world premiere last weekend at Randall’s Island’s Panorama. Under the curatorial direction of 5Pointz Creates leaders Meres One and Marie Flageul, Lady Pink, Tkid 170Toofly, Meres One, Jerms, Topaz, and See tf painted live, covering digital subway cars with original artwork. Fusing graffiti’s underground roots with innovative video technology, the project was developed by Brooklyn-based AST Studios with Tangible Interaction. Here are a few images captured in the course of this three-day cutting-edge homage to traditional graffiti art.

Five of the 5Pointz Creates crew with Marie Flageul in foreground — on green screen


Lady Pink and Toofly at work on green screen


And with completed piece as viewed on virtual subway train


See tf and Python with completed piece on green screen


Jerms and Topaz  as a mix of technologies brings them at work onto a NYC train in real time


T-Kid with completed piece on green screen


And as viewed on virtual train


Meres One at work on green screen


Digital tagging by AST Studios; graffiti software by Tangible Interaction & advanced motion capture by PhaseSpace


And the trains roll by throughout NYC with AST Studios‘ life-like visual effects and editorial content by Possible Productions


Photo credits: 1, 3-10 Nic Lyte and 2 Rachel Fawn; videos produced by AST Studios

Note: This blog will be on vacation through Sunday, August 7. You can follow us on Facebook and on Instagram.

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.

en-play-badge 2

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This past Sunday, the 5Pointz family continued its transformation of August Martin HS with some of the finest international, national and local artists adding their talents and visions to the extraordinary indoor gallery the school has become. Here’s a small sampling of more of the works that now grace the hallways and doors of the Jamaica, Queens high school:

El Niño de las Pinturas in from Spain


NYC-based Ben Angotti

"Ben Angotti"

Queens-based Nicholai Khan with August Martin student Justin Price (interviewed by Street Art NYC) and project co-curator Marie Cecile Flaegul

"Nicholai Kahn"

Trace, New Wave Crew at work


Skio in from Paris and Brooklyn-based Elle


Bronx-native Andre Trenier at work


NYC’s ZaOne


5Pointz curator Meres One


Note: The school will be open to the public on Thursday, June 11, from 4-8pm.

Keep posted to the StreetArtNYC Facebook page for many more images of the amazing artworks.

Photo credits: 1, 3, 6 & 8 Lois Stavsky; 2, 4, 5 & 7 Tara Murray

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This past weekend over 100 artists — including such graffiti legends as T-Kid 170, Cey Adams, Cycle, Claw Money and Part One — transformed the blank white walls of August Martin High School into a dazzling, brilliant canvas. Curatated by Meres One with Marie Cecile Flaegul, the freshly-painted artworks represent a multitude of cultures, sensibilities and styles. While visiting yesterday, I had the opportunity to speak to August Martin student, Justin Price.

This is all so amazing! Your school is an absolute wonderland! What inspired this magical change?

The walls in our school were recently painted white. They looked dull and unwelcoming. We wanted to bring color and life to our surroundings, so that we would look forward to coming to school. And we wanted to look at art that we could relate to and that reflected our culture.


Whose concept was this?

August Martin’s Future Project Dream Team surveyed 500 students to find out what change they most wanted in our school. The students’ consensus was that they wanted to change the appearance of the school’s interior.


Once you knew what you wanted to do, what were some of the challenges you faced? 

We had to come up with a proposal and a budget. That took us at least a month. Then we had to identify artists who could work with us. That was our biggest challenge until we were introduced to Meres and Marie of 5Pointz.


How have things been working out since you met them?

Once we met up with Meres and Marie, everything went smoothly. Meres is an amazing artist and knows so many other amazing artists. And I just can’t say enough about Marie! She is so conscientious and caring.


Most of the students haven’t yet seen the murals. But what kind of response have you gotten from those who have seem them?

They love them. They can’t wait to pose for photos in front of them!



And how have the teachers responded to this project? 

Their response has been positive. They know that if the students are happy and motivated, their jobs are easier.



And what about your principal, Ms. Smith?

She’s been 100% behind it. She’s worked hard to make sure that it happens and she has been here with us all weekend.


Why do you suppose there are so many underachievers among the students here?

Many of the students here lack the support systems they need, and they feel easily discouraged.  So many are talented and really love discovering new things.


I don’t doubt it!  What are your thoughts about this project and its possible impact?

I love it! It makes me so happy! And I think it will have a great impact on the other students.


Why is the project called Operation Skittles? I’ve been wondering about that!

Actually, there are two reasons!  Skittles are colorful and this project brings color to our school. And Skittles are the favorite snack of  Syreeta Gates, the Future Project Dream director here at August Martin.


Now that makes sense! How lucky you students at August Martin are to have realized Operation Skittles!

Note: Keep posted to the Street Art NYC Facebook page for more images and for news about an event at August Martin open to the public in early June.

Photos and interview by Lois Stavsky

1. T-Kid 170

2. Will Kasso

3. Cey Adams

4. Zeso and Awez

5, Miss Zukie

6. Kid Lew with August Martin principal Gillian Smith standing to his left

7. Part One

8. Meres One

9. Reme 821

10. Remiks and See TF

11. Cycle

12. Sjembakkus — in from Amsterdam

13. BK Foxx

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Speaking with Zeso

September 22, 2014


We first encountered Zeso’s spectacularly stylish murals at 5Pointz, where he often painted with other TD4 (The Deadly4Mula) crew members. We’ve since seen this talented French artist’s vibrant visuals in a range of both public and private spaces. I was delighted to have the opportunity to speak to him:

When did you first become interested in graffiti?

I first became interested in it when I was about 12 or 13. And that’s when I started tagging. But I didn’t seriously start doing graffiti until I was 21.

What inspired you to become serious about it?

I loved what I was seeing on the streets, and I wanted to be a part of it. I also liked challenging myself to see what I could do. I am still doing that.


Have you any preferred surfaces?

I prefer flat surfaces, but the environment is very important.

These days — do you work only on legal walls?

I think all walls are legal – if you paint fast enough.

Have you ever exhibited your artwork?

Yes, I’ve shown at 5Pointz in Long Island City, and I was part of the TD4 show at Low Brow Artique in Bushwick.

"Zeso and Meres"

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

I appreciate that museums and galleries are recognizing these art forms. There are some among us who can manage to adapt to this new setting.

Any thoughts about the graffiti and street art divide?

They both appear in the same environment  — the streets. While graffiti is focused on typography and painting techniques, street art is more about images and the message.  I don’t see any reason to compare or divide them.

What about corporations? Would you take on a corporate commission?

Like any project, if I feel good about it, I will do it.


Do you prefer working alone or collaborating with others?

I prefer to paint alone with headphones on.

Have you painted with any crews?

I’ve painted with OTM, WF, TD4 and NSA in France.

Have you had a formal art education?

No.  I’m self-taught.


What is your ideal working environment?

Outdoors in the sun.

Are there any particular cultures that have influenced your aesthetic?

I love all mythology. All cultures with strong imagery influence my style. But the main ones are Japanese and Latino.

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

I almost always freestyle, but, on occasion, I have a sketch with me.


Are you generally satisfied with your finished piece?

Rarely 100%.

How has your work evolved through the past few years?

It is more spontaneous, and I tend to use more colors. I have, also, begun developing themes and more characters.

How do you feel about the photographers in the scene?

They are important, because they help promote my work. But I’d rather they didn’t photograph my face.


Who are some of your favorite artists?

Gustav Klimt is my all-time favorite.  Among the current artists – there are too many to name.

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

For me it is to stay real and to create.

What’s ahead?

I plan to go big or go home.

Interview conducted by Lois Stavsky; photos 1 and 6 courtesy of Zeso; 2, 5 and 7 by Lois Stavsky; 3 (collaboration with Meres One) and 4 by Dani Reyes Mozeson

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Meres One on Life after 5Pointz

September 18, 2014


It’s been almost a year now since we awoke to the horrific news that our beloved 5Pointz had been whitewashed overnight. What has life been like since for Meres, its founder and director, who had devoted just about every waking hour to this world-renowned aerosol art Mecca?  Yesterday, I had the opportunity to speak to Meres.

We miss 5Pointz so much. I’m eagerly awaiting its rebirth! Is that likely to happen?

Time will tell. It’s an open option.

"Meres One"

What do you miss most about it?

I loved having a space where I could bring all the elements of hip-hop together. And I loved having so many opportunities to educate others.

Were there to be a rebirth of 5Pointz, how would you approach it differently?

I would want to work with a landlord who embraces what 5Pointz represents and is committed to collaborating with me in assuring its long-term success and survival.  I would, also, want to establish enduring relationships with art-friendly politicians.

"Meres One"

Is there any specific neighborhood or borough that you would prefer as a potential site for a new venture?

Some place that is accessible to folks from all boroughs. I’m open. Anywhere but Long Island City!

In what ways has your life been different since the demolition of 5Pointz?

I never used to have time for myself.  Lately I’ve had.

"Meres One"

What’s that like?

Very weird! At first I just felt very angry, and I was trying to come to terms with my anger. Now I’m looking forward to painting in my new Brooklyn studio in the months ahead.

Anything specific in mind in terms of your own work?

Yes, I’m interested in recreating the Old New York, the New York I once knew that has disappeared.

"Meres One"

Although you may not feel all that busy, your last few months certainly seem to have been quite productive! We’ve seen your work both on the streets and in galleries. What have you been up to?

I participated in WALL WORKS: The Art of Graffiti at Great Neck’s Gold Coast Arts Center and in W H I T E W A S H: A Requiem to 5Pointz , curated by Marie Cecile Flageul, at the Jeffrey Leder Gallery and several other exhibits both here and abroad. At the Galerie Rue de l’art in Lyon, France, I exhibited — along with ShiroAuksPoemSee TF Cortes and Just One — in NYC Subway Map – 5Pointz, I’ve also painted in several festivals and events including: Living Walls in Atlanta, Georgia; the Jersey Fresh Jam in Trenton, NJ and this past weekend at the Allentown ArtsFest. I’ve had numerous commissions, including a gym in Long Island  and a new restaurant opening in Brooklyn.

"Meres One"

It sounds like you’ve been quite busy! What’s ahead?

In addition to preparing work for an upcoming solo show focusing on the NYC in which I grew up, I’m working on involving 5Pointz artists in a number of events — including a festival in West Africa.  On November 3, Marie and I will be the recipients of the Arts & Activism Award at the Gold Coast Arts Center Gala 2014. And one of my artworks is featured in STRADA VELOCE, an exhibit featuring Italian automotive-inspired art and furniture, opening tonight at the Dorian Grey Gallery in the East Village.

Wow! Good luck with this all!

Interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky; photos 1, 5 and 6 by Lois Stavsky; 2, 3, and 4 by Dani Reyes Mozeson



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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Dozens of new artworks, representing a wide range of cultures, styles and approaches, have surfaced this summer at 5Pointz. Here are a few from NYC’s ever-evolving open-air gallery:

Veteran graff artists Bis and Vor 

Bis and Vor

Austrian artist Roofie


Japanese artist Shiro with PartYes1 and Meres

Shiro, Part, Yes One and Meres

ND’A and Bishop

NDA and Bishop

The Mexican Har crew, close-up

Har graffiti

Har Crew, complete mural

Har Crew

French artist Zeso


Brooklyn-based international muralist Joel Bergner

Joel Bergner

Barcelona-based artist Dase


Photos by Dani Mozeson, Tara Murray and Lois Stavsky

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