Events

During the first wave of the pandemic, several artists — largely working separately as they painted images onto plywood — joined forces to form the Soho Renaissance Factory. A diverse selection of these original works were salvaged and are on view through Tuesday, June 28 at ChaShaMa in Union Square. The exhibition, Beautiful Barriers: Street Art Beyond Walls, also features varied customized products including apparel, accessories, and skateboards in partnership with CocoRedoux. And joining the members of the Soho Renaissance Factory are guest artists EyeanticOPTIMONYCVanessa Kreytak, and 0H10M1ke.

The image pictured above was fashioned by the indigenous American multidisciplinary artist, Konstance Patton. Several more images captured while visiting the exhibition earlier this month follow:

Contemporary painter Brendan T. McNally

Brooklyn-based African American self-taught artist Amir Diop

Brooklyn-based muralist Manuel Alejandro aka The Creator

NYC-born, Jersey City-based Sule

 The legendary OPTIMONYC, guest artist

Hand-painted apparel, a small sample

A Closing Reception will be held on June 28, 6-9pm. You can register here:

Note:

June 26, 2022 3:00pm-4:00pm
Moderated by T.K Mills, Editor-in-chief of UP Magazine
Featured artists: OPTIMONYC, Vanessa Kreytak, Eyeantic, Calicho, and Ohio Mike

Photos: 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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Clarence Rich has been enriching the streets of Jersey City for over a decade. His impressive multi-faceted body of both street art and studio art ranges from curious characters to poignant portraits of family members to harmonious rhythmic pattern. I was delighted to feature his infectious aesthetic in the exhibition On and Off the Streets: Urban Art New Jersey that continues through this month at the Morris Museum in Morristown, New Jersey. An interview with the artist follows:

When and where did you first get up?

When I was 13 or 14. In 1997, I had my first real tag.

Had you any preferred surface back then?

Anything and everything around me.

Did anyone or anything in particular inspire you at the time?

Growing up in the 80’s and 90’s in Jersey City, I saw graffiti everywhere. Along with skateboarding and playing basketball, kids were always writing their names, tagging… It’s almost as though everybody’s older brother did graffiti – including mine. He’s two years older than I am, and he has been my partner since the beginning. I wrote LOSER as my tag. and he wrote DZEL, and together we started the AIDS (And It Don’t Stop; Alone In Deep Space) crew. And there were a few main people getting up in the neighborhood who were amazing. Among them was T.DEE. He was the founder of Undercover, the first graffiti magazine.

What about the name Loser? How did you come up with it?

We used to hang out in the parks and sit on the stoops. And one of our neighbors walked by and saw the graffiti and said, “What kinds of losers do this shit?”

Do any early graffiti-related memories come to mind?

There were just so many amazing things that changed my life. Meeting so many great artists who inspired me. That was a blessing. But here’s a story: We’re also rappers. Our original rap group was called AIDS — Adolescents In Dire Straits; Alone In Deep Space…We started tagging it on walls, but we never thought it would go anywhere. And so once we started our crew, then we had to switch our rap name to the “Animal Crackas.”

Do you prefer working alone or collaborating with others?

I’d rather collaborate because my crew is so amazing. It’s now 20 years old.

Is there anyone, in particular, with whom you’d like to collaborate?

Rembrandt.

Have you any thoughts about the street art/graffiti divide?

I’m right in the middle. We’re bridging it. We’re not just graffiti writers. We are evolving. Many of us are transitioning from graffiti to street art to fine art. And we do all three. Some of the most amazing writers are also fine artists.

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

I’m so happy! I’ve put together amazing shows in galleries for these past ten years. But to hang in a museum? Even that word! It’s huge for an artist.

What about the corporate world? How do you feel about street artists and writers collaborating with corporations?

Let’s get their money. I got this two-year old. I have to make money, and I don’t want to always have a day job working with fire alarms. I want to be an artist who paints whatever it is I want to paint whenever I want to paint it.

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

I’m just trying to ride the wave. If you’re not on it, you’re missing a big audience.

Have you a formal art education?

Yes. My mom encouraged me to get one. I studied Fine and Commercial Arts at DuCret School of the Arts in Plainfield, NJ. It was the best thing I ever did in my life. It helped me find out who I was. But it’s also in my blood. My grandparents worked as animators for Terry Tunes, and my grandfather was one of the animators for Beavis and Butthead.

How would you describe your ideal working environment?

I’d paint anywhere. I just need time to paint! Now that I’m a dad, I get up most mornings at 4 – just so that I could have time to paint.

What inspires you these days?

For now, my son inspires me. Becoming a father was the ultimate change in life. I want to be a good man, and provide for him and his mom.

Are there any particular cultures that have influenced your aesthetic?

Hip-hop, 100%.

Is there a central theme that ties your work together?

I’d have to say “family.” I’ve always been inspired by my mom and the women in my life, and just painting a woman is a beautiful connection to women. I can paint any female face and it becomes familial to me.

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

When I work on walls, I let it flow. I just freestyle.

Are you generally satisfied with your finished piece? And how do you know when it’s finished?

Never. I’m never satisfied with anything!

How important are others’ reactions to you?

It always feels good when you hear people say that they like your work.

How has your work evolved through the years?

It’s moving in the direction of fine art.

Have you any preferred colors?

Blue. Why? Picasso. And there’s more. I take pride in myself that I don’t use fancy paints. I don’t put tips on my cans. I just go to Home Depot or the hardware store and I buy the colors they have. And the color blue has so many variations.

What media do you currently most enjoy working with?

Most of my work is mixed media.

How has the work you’ve done on the streets impacted your studio work?

They’ve influenced each other. They’ve both evolved. Sometimes I feel more comfortable painting with a brush. But I want to do both. I want to make money from fine art and still paint on the streets.

 

How has your artwork evolved in the past several years? And how does your studio work differ from your street art?

I keep pushing it as an artist. My body of work is constantly evolving. When I work in my studio, I do it in smaller increments in multiple sessions. When I do a piece on the street, it usually takes me a day. And I haven’t yet broken into doing large-scale portraits in my studio with spray paint. I’ve done a few, and I’d like to do more. And sometimes things just happen. Like I stumbled upon creating patterns, and people really like them. I think they’re among my best work.

Interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky

Photo credits:  1 & 2 Sara C Mozeson; 3 & 5 Lois Stavsky; 4, 6, 7  & 8   Rachel Alban

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Roycer and Matt Siren — two of my favorite native New York artists — have been making their mark on the streets of my city for as long as I can remember. It is always a treat to view their playfully alluring works in gallery settings, as well. And for the next few weeks, a range of their artworks continues to be on view at ilon Art Gallery in Harlem.

The title image featured above was painted with acrylic on canvas by Roycer in 2021. Several more images of artworks showcased in the exhibition by both artists follow:

Matt Siren, Diamond Dust, 2021, Acrylic screen print

Roycer, Garcon de Feur pt 3, 2021, Acrylic on canvas

Matt Siren, 25 Cents, 2021, Mixed media

Roycer, Other Worlds, 2021, Acrylic on canvas

Matt Siren, Planet XXX, 2021, Acrylic on canvas

Roycer and Matt Siren collaboration, Untitled, 2021, Acrylic on canvas

Open most afternoons, ilon Art Gallery is located at 204 West 123rd Street in the heart of Harlem. To schedule a visit, contact: Loni Efron at loni@ilon.com or 917-270-4696.

And for an opportunity to learn the basics of  NFTs and for early access to NFTs by Matt Siren and Roycer, be sure to check out the following workshop, hosted by ilon Art Gallery director Loni Efron and led by Georgia Andre.

DATE: Wednesday, February 9th
TIME: 7pm
LOCATION: Zoom 

Photo credits: 1-3, 5-7 Lois Stavsky; 4 and 8 courtesy ilon Art Gallery

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While many of us were pondering the world’s fragile state in the early months of the pandemic, the brilliantly inventive and socially conscious Spanish artist Pejac was busy creating art in response to it. And this past fall, he shared his vision in APENA, a ten-day exposition held in a former train manufacturing site in Berlin. Over 40 new artworks — addressing such themes as environmental pollution, climate change, the refugee crisis and inequality —  were displayed in eight different rooms and spaces. Several play on classical paintings; all are at once poetic and unsettling,

The image featured above, “Counterweight,” was fashioned in 2020 with oil, acrylic and spray paint and mounted on a wooden stretcher. Several more images of Pejac‘s artworks — all painted since the early days of the pandemic — follow:

“Urban Albatross,”  Oil, acrylic, spray paint and charcoal on paper mounted on wooden stretcher

“H20,”  Charcoal, Pencil, conté, and gold leaf on paper mounted on wooden stretcher

“Bad Time for Lyrics,”  Brass, bronze and wood

“Swirling,” Oil, acrylic and spray paint on paper mounted on wooden stretcher

“Oppressed IV,” close-up; Chalk and pencil on paper

And you can view the remarkable APNEA Exhibition here:

All images courtesy Majka Tkacik – Project Manager, Suben Art

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This past fall, under the curatorial direction of veteran graff writer Wen Cod, over two dozen artists once again brought their blazing talents to Boone Avenue in the Bronx. The vibrant image featured above was painted by the hugely talented Blame1, a member of both FX and the Slaughter House Krew. Several more exhilarating images follow:

Stylemaster Doc TC5

Queens native graffiti writer and fashion designer Claw Money

The inventive graff pioneer Cycle

Veteran writer and illustrator Wore One

The delightfully imaginative Long Island-based Phetus

The hugely skilled artist and typographer Queen Andrea

The ever-deft Bronx-native Yes One

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

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On December 2, the long-awaited inauguration of Canal Gallery — Barcelona’s new contemporary urban art gallery — was celebrated with the opening of the group exhibition Ceremony. Under the curatorial direction of its founder, Barcelona-based artist Balu, and art critic Teresa Arroyo de la Cruz, Ceremony showcases over 50 established and emerging artists working in a wide range of media. Among these are several New York City-based pioneers. The image above features — from left to right — the talents of NYC legends Coco144 and Al Diaz aka SAMO, alongside the pioneering Spanish urban artist Germán Bel aka Fasim. Several more images from the groundbreaking exhibition follow:

Its handsome entryway located  in the city’s Gothic Quarter at Carrer del Palau, 4; Barcelona-based Kram on left

Spanish artists Birdie, Kamil, Javier Mariscal and Art Is Trash (from left to right)

Spanish artists Canal Gallery founder BaluCarlos Magone and Ira Torres

Paris-based Popay (L) and Berlin-based Rallitox

Front view: Coco144, Al Diaz aka SAMO, Germán Bel aka Fasim, Laia, Ramón Maiden, Flint, Tayone, Gerard Fernández, Vanesa Muñóz and Grito

Germán Bel aka Fasim interviewed by BTV

Flyer for exhibition that continues through Thursday, December 30

Special thanks to Germán Bel aka Fasim for providing the contents and photographs for this post. First featured photo is by Teo Vázquez

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Since 2002, Meeting of Styles has been sponsoring and organizing first-rate graffiti festivals throughout the world. Earlier this fall, the first Newark NJ Edition of MOS — under the curatorial direction of  Get Lost Alot — brought local, national and international artists together to celebrate and share their talents in Brick City. Last week, photojournalist and arts educator Rachel Alban and I visited one of its key locations along Raymond Boulevard.

The stylish, colorful writing featured above was spray painted by the seemingly nomadic John Connor aka All About Letters.  And the bold image to its right was fashioned by the masterly Mexican tattoo artist Yeer THC.

Several more artworks we came upon on and off Raymond Boulevard follow:

West Coast-based artist and curator Espy

 German/Croatian artist Kosmik One

Bronx-bred artist El Souls 

Graffiti writer Tense One in collaboration with multimedia artist YN ART/Art by Prop

Graffiti stylemaster Revenge

The prolific NYC-based artists Wane One and Adam Fu

We look forward to coming upon more walls painted during Brick City’s “Meeting of Styles” in future graffiti- hunts within Newark!

Photo credits: 1-4, 6 & 7 Lois Stavsky; 5 Rachel Alban 

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After viewing ONe Rad Latina‘s solo exhibition at Village Works, I was eager to find out more about the self-taught multidisciplinary artist. And on Sunday, I had the opportunity to visit her Bushwick studio and speak to her about her exhibition that remains on view at Village Works through December 2.

I first came upon your infectious aesthetic last fall on the streets of Soho. I then encountered it on the exterior of the New York Public Library, on the walls of Bushwick and in East Harlem’s Grandscale Mural Project. And this past Friday, I visited your solo exhibition One Rad Latina at Village Works in the East Village. What an amazing range of studio art on view!  How did you decide which works to include in this current exhibition?

Most important are my faceless portraits. It is how I express my identity. As a first generation American, I almost always felt invisible. The faceless portraits also reflect my Dominican heritage, as handcrafted faceless dolls made out of terra cotta are unique to it. Another important representation of my culture that I wanted to include in this exhibition are my Skeletrex, the skulls that I draw. When my dear friend Kev RWK saw them several months ago, he urged me to continue to develop them.

And what about your designs? I love their flow.

They’re a reflection of my brain — the distinct way it works. When I was five years old, I learned that particular technique of drawing loosely and freely from my kindergarten teacher. And I love the patterns that emerge when I just let it flow!

Your works range in style from whimsical abstract graffiti to serious meditative portraiture. Is there a particular mode, medium or style that you prefer? That you feel most comfortable working with?

I love each of the styles. I can’t say that I have a preference. As far as the tools I employ, I like working with a palette knife and heavy acrylic medium.

Have you any personal favorites among the artworks on exhibit?

Among my favorites are: Primo Hermanos (First Cousins) — inspired by a 1987 family photo — and People Are Strange that I designed last year with acrylic, oil marker and ink. In both images, the figures are faceless.

Village Works is such a handsome space, and your artwork looks so wonderful there. How did you hook up with this East Village venue?

It was through Kurt Boone, a huge fan and documentarian of NYC culture. I’d known of him for years because he’s part of the bike messenger culture that I follow, but it wasn’t until last year that I met him. I was painting a mural at the New York Public Library in Midtown, and he was in the neighborhood photographing a protest at the time. Kurt noticed what I was doing, stopped by, and became interested in my work. He knew Joe Sheridan, the creative director of Village Works, and approached him about curating an exhibition of my studio work.

How did opening the opening reception go? How did folks respond to your works on exhibit?

It was awesome! And I was thrilled that so many old school writers attended. Among these pioneers were Mike 171, Butch 2 and SJK171 — guys who have contributed so much to the culture, but have yet to receive the recognition they deserve.

How can folks still see your exhibition?

It remains on view through December 2 at the Village Works Art Gallery, located at 90 East 3rd Street. Check here for opening hours. A q&a with curator Kurt Boone and me will be held on Tuesday (tonight) evening from 8 to 9:30. And there will be a closing event on Thursday, December 2, 7 to 10PM. A limited edition signed catalog is also available in the gallery.

Images of artwoks

1 “Untitled,”  Mixed media

2 “Primo Hermanos,” Acrylic on canvas

3 “El Sueño de la Carbonera,” Acrylic and ink on cotton stretched canvas

4  “Untitled,” Mixed

5 “People Are Strange,” Acrylic, oil marker and ink

Photos and interview by Lois Stavsky

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