Exhibits

The following guest poet is by Lower East Side-based photographer Ana Candelaria:

Born in Rochester, New York and currently based in Queens, City Kitty makes his presence wherever he happens to be. And each piece that he creates is distinctly intriguing. 

When did you first discover your love for art?

I’ve always loved art, and it’s always been a part of my life. I come from a very artistic family. My grandparents were both painters. They met when they were students at Pratt. My mother was a singer. I, myself, was a musician for many years, and my brother is a musician. It’s just something that has always been encouraged.

Do you have a formal art education?

Yes. My undergraduate degree is in Art Education from Nazareth College in Rochester. I worked as a substitute teacher for a bit, but I did not end up pursuing teaching as a career. I then went back to school and earned an MFA in Painting from the University of Albany, where I taught undergraduate courses in drawing for two years. I have an entirely different career in the Fine Arts. That work looks nothing like my street art.

On the streets we identify you with your City Kitty character. When was your City Kitty character born? And how did you come up with its design?

I moved to NYC in January 2010. And two months later, I met a couple of friends who were working at the Fountain Art Fair. They ran a collective that I ended up joining, and I started meeting more and more street artists. I used to do graffiti as a kid, and I saw that if I were to do street art, I’d have to make up a character.

So I thought, “All right I’ll come up with a character!” I grew up in a house with five cats. And when I lived in Bushwick, there were two gangs of cats on either side of the adjacent factory, and they were always having kittens.

Do you remember your first City Kitty piece?

Yes, the first thing I did was make a silkscreen. The style of work that I do now is similar to what I did back when I was in a band. When I moved down here, I was still making band posters. But since hanging posters here is illegal, I decided that if I’m going to get into trouble, it might as well be for my own work! That’s when I started burning silk screens. I would make all of my work by hand for the posters, but then I would print them out. I would make one cut paper piece, scan it and print multiple copies and put them out. All the other poster artists that I knew and fell in love with were silkscreen artists, so if I’m going to change gears, I’m going to want to start with silkscreen.

Who are some of your favorite artists?

There are poster artists and fine artists. Jeff Soto is kind of a crossover, as are Michael Motorcycle and Tara McPhearson. Jeff is a great painter, but he also does murals. Tara designs toys that she shows at Comic Con and she’s, also, represented by galleries. I like that balance. I do a lot of posters between working on fine art paintings.

I have seen some of your sketches on MTA service announcement posters on the New York City subway platforms.

Yes! I usually grab the posters on my way to work. I’ll draw them on my lunch break, and I’ll put them up on the way back home. And they get around — as I work in different parts of the city from the Lower East Side to Harlem. And when I have to get to New Jersey, I travel through Midtown.

When did you start putting up these MTA service announcement sketches? And why?

About a year and a half ago, I put up 113 of them. Sometimes they’re up for a few days, and other times they stay up for as long as a month. After 10 years of doing street art, I felt like I was making work for the same audience. On the subways I can reach a different audience and, perhaps, make some people smile. And I don’t sign my subway sketches. I like that feeling. And since I’ve begun doing this, I’ve only been yelled at by a couple of transit workers.

Have you ever done a wall?

Yes, I have done several. My first wall was in Ithaca at a bar where I used to play with my old band.

What about collaborations? I’ve seen your collaboration with Turtle Caps. Do any others stand out?

I‘ve collaborated with a lot of people. For years, I did a lot of work together with my street art friend Bludog. I also collaborated with Grey Egg from New Jersey, and I worked with some people from Europe.

What gives you the biggest thrill in this street art scene?

Traveling to new cities and putting my work up in them — especially since it’s such a worldwide thing. It’s a global community. I love seeing what other people are doing and I love contributing to it.

Are you generally satisfied with your work?

I’m satisfied when I finish, and then a few days later, I hate it!

How has it evolved over the years?

I use more colors and my characters have evolved over time.

Running into your pieces always makes me feel happy! And I’m looking forward to seeing more of them…especially on my way to work! What’s ahead?

I’m now working on the wall at Second Avenue and Houston. A solo exhibition of my hand-embellished MTA posters will open this Friday evening from 6-10 pm and continue through Saturday, 12-8 PM, at the Living Gallery Outpost, 246 East 4th Street.

Collaborations:

3. City Kitty with London-based  Neon Savage

5. City Kitty with Queens-based Turtle Caps

6. City Kitty with Toronto-based Urban Ninja

Interview conducted by Ana Candelaria and edited by Lois Stavsky

Photo credits: 1 Lois Stavsky 2-7 Ana Candelaria

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Opening this week in Wynwood, Miami is the Museum of Graffiti, the world’s first museum dedicated solely to graffiti art.  Fostering an understanding of the work of the pioneering graffiti artists, who started tagging in the New York subways in the early 1970s, the museum’s permanent exhibition, under the curatorial direction of Alan Ket, features paintings, photographs, mixed media sculptures, assorted memorabilia and interactive installations “that will allow visitors to travel through time and learn about the evolution of the worldwide graffiti art movement.”

Featured above is veteran all-city writer Charles Henry aka Flip One, captured back in the day by graffiti writer and photographer Flint Gennari.  Several more photos, taken by travel and street photographer Karin du Maire aka Street Art Nomad while previewing the Museum of Graffiti last week, follow:

Museum co-founder and lead curator Alan Ket

Vintage spray paint cans 

NYC-based writers Ghost aka Cousin Frank and Giz

Graffiti pioneers Mare139, Blade, Ero, Sonic Bad and Lady Pink

Masters Mare139Doze Green, Defer and JonOne

Defer , closer up

And the branding of the art form

Also featured at the Museum of Graffiti’s inaugural exhibition is a special exhibit showcasing works by Amsterdam-based calligraffiti master Niels Meulman a.k.a. Shoe. Open daily, except for Tuesday, from 11am to 7pm, the Museum of Graffiti is located in the heart of Wynwood at 299 NW 25th Street, Miami. And in addition to what is housed and takes place indoors, the exterior boasts a range of rotating murals by first-rate graffiti artists.

Photos: Karin du Maire aka Street Art Nomad 

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Last year at about this time, the NYC Department of Sanitation issued a call for volunteers to transform 23-ton collection vehicles into works of art using paints that had been discarded. Over 100 artists submitted design concepts.

The final participants selected for this innovative project were:  Misha Tyutyunik, Victor A. Saint-HilaireDisterJillian White, and Lady K-Fever, along with visual art students from Long Island City-based Energy Tech High School. First displayed this past summer in Times Square, all five trucks were then on view this past Sunday in Union Square Park. Pictured above is one side of a  truck painted by Brooklyn-based Misha Tyutyunik.  Several more images we captured from the “Trucks of Art” parked in Union Square Park follow:

Misha Tyutyunik and Yonkers-based Victor A. Saint-Hilaire, aka Vash, the other side of the truck

Manhattan-based Dister pays tribute to the sanitation workers

Brooklyn-based Jillian White, DSNY civilian employee in Staten Island, with a message, “Rethink, Renew Reuse.”

Long Island City-based Energy Tech High School students

Bronx-based Lady K-Fever, Recycle, so the future can smell the flowers too’

And the other side of Lady K-Fever‘s truck

Note: Lady K-Fever‘s truck will be on display during the the official launch of The Bronx Graffiti Art Gallery’s “I love Graffiti” clothing series this coming Saturday, November 23, from 12 pm to 8 pm at Scrapyard NYC, 300 West Broadway.

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

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Opening this Saturday, November 9 at 9127 East 5th Street in Downtown Los Angeles is “The Streets Are Queer.” Presented by In Heroes We Trust and Rainbow Walls, it features works by over two dozen self-identifying queer North American artists who have left their mark on our streets. Featured above is LA-based figurative painter and muralist David Puck at work on a portrait of Vanessa Vanjie. Several more public works by a small sampling of the artists featured in “The Streets Are Queer” follow:

Brooklyn-based photographer and filmmaker, Daniel “Dusty” Albanese aka the Dusty Rebel, currently at work on a book and documentary about queer street art

New Orleans-based Brooklyn-native Hugo Gyrl

The itinerant São Paulo-native Suriani

NYC-based Patron Saint of the Underground Jilly Ballistic 

UK-based duo The Postman

LA-based Homo Riot

Curated by Homo Riot,”The Streets Are Queer” continues through December 7.

All photos courtesy the gallery

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Home to dozens of outstanding artists who are active on both the streets and in their studios, Bogota is a thriving oasis of strikingly impressive urban art. Yet — like so many South American cities — it has been largely overlooked by the dominant street art scene. In his efforts to bring his city’s extraordinary art to a wider audience, Bogota native Lorenzo Masnah launched Street Lynx Bta, a cheerful, welcoming urban art gallery in Bogota’s historic downtown district in 2018. Currently on view is an exhibit featuring artwork by several first-rate artists concurrently participating in  Street ArtBo, an art fair curated and coordinated by Street Lynx BtaWhat follows are several of the artworks on exhibit in the gallery space:

The prolific Bogota-based Ledania who is increasingly making her mark throughout the globe

The hugely influential Bogota-based SakoAsko

Bogota-based Beek, renowned for his masterly wild-style graffiti

The esteemed Bogota-based stencil artist DjLu

LA -based, Colombian graphic designer El Care Barbie

Note: In addition to the Colombian artists participating in Street ArtBo — that continues through Sunday, the 22nd — are several international ones, as well.

Photos courtesy Street Lynx Bta

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Opening tomorrow, Thursday, September 19, at the elegant Morris Museum in Morristown, NJ is “Aerosol: Graffiti | Street Art | New Jersey | Now,”  the first U.S. museum exhibition to showcase contemporary urban artwork painted directly from floor to ceiling onto a museum’s gallery walls. While visiting the exhibition as its installation was near completion, I had the opportunity to speak to the legendary artist, curator and educator, Will “Kasso” Condry, who, along with Morris Museum Director of Exhibitions and Chief Curator Ronald T. Labaco, curated the landmark exhibition.

This is remarkable! It’s so great to see a museum as prestigious as the Morris Museum showcase aerosol art. In addition to its global impact, modern graffiti has had a huge influence on contemporary art that isn’t often acknowledged. How did you come to co-curate “Aerosol: Graffiti | Street Art | New Jersey | Now?”  It is looking wonderful — a perfect ode to my favorite art form!

The museum’s chief curator, Ronald T. Labaco, reached out to me earlier this year. He had been researching graffiti and street art in New Jersey and came upon my work in my native city, Trenton, and beyond. He also read about several of my projects in my current home, Middlebury, Vermont, where I’ve served as the Alexander Twilight Artist-in-Residence at Middlebury College. My wife, Jennifer Herrera Condry — an administrative genius — has been the perfect link between Ron and me.

Your artwork often reflects a strong social consciousness, particularly as it relates to community-building. Can you tell us something about the striking mural you chose to paint for “Aerosol: Graffiti | Street Art | New Jersey | Now?” 

Yes! It is a tribute to the late Jerry Gant, a beloved visual artist, poet, performance artist and educator, who strongly impacted his native city, Newark. Gant had worked on murals and sculptures throughout Newark and became identified with his spray-painted message, “Detox the Ghetto.” 

I love the way your mural, along with all the murals in this exhibition, seamlessly fuses into its surroundings. And the installation of tags and throw-ups further enhances the exhibition’s authentic flavor.

Painting directly onto the gallery walls was Ron’s concept, and we’ve all loved the experience.

There are so many talented artists in your native state, particularly in Trenton and Newark. How did you go about selecting which artists to feature in this exhibition?

I started with a list of 25 names. I consulted with Leon and then Demer. I was interested in featuring not just “names,” but those artists who have put in lots of work, even if they are not all that well-known. Most of the artists I selected I know personally. And I know that they are committed to their art form and are, also, accomplished and reliable.

You then narrowed your list down. Which artists are featured? While most are graffiti masters, there are several muralists, as well.

There is a total of 12 artists. In addition to me, the artists who participated in the exhibit are: 4sakn, Acet TM7, Dave “Mek One” Klama, Dean “Ras” Innocenzi, DemerockDistort, Elan, Felipe Prox One Rivas, Leon Rainbow, Jonathan Conner aka LANK and Maliq Griffin.

What were some of the challenges you faced in seeing this through?

The biggest challenge was getting the artists to check their email accounts! And, of course, getting everyone scheduled to paint — between their jobs and other commitments — was quite a challenge. Luckily, Ron and the museum staff were very supportive.

How do you feel about it all — now that it’s close to completion? 

I’m satisfied! Very happy, in fact! The feedback I’ve gotten so far has been overwhelmingly positive. And I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to showcase talented artists who are underrepresented and under-appreciated in the “art world.”

What’s ahead?

The exhibition opens to the public on Thursday, September 19, and we will be celebrating its opening on Thursday, October 3.

6:00PM – 7:00PM Aerosol viewing and reception for museum members
7:00PM – 8:00PM
A conversation with the Aerosol artists (FREE for Museum Members, FREE with Museum Admission for non-members)
8:00PM – 9:00PM Aerosol remains open

And what about you? What’s ahead for you?

I’m about to start a tattoo apprenticeship. I’m continuing to develop my studio practice, and I will be working on a huge label-design project.

That all sounds great and congratulations on “Aerosol: Graffiti | Street Art | New Jersey | Now.” 

Featured images:

1.  Will “Kasso” Condry

2. Demer, to the left of Kasso

3. Distort

4. Leon Rainbow

5. 4sakn

Interview conducted and edited for brevity by Lois Stavsky; photos by Lois Stavsky.

Note: The Morris Museum is located at 6 Normandy Heights Road in Morristown, NJ. Check here for travel directions and information regarding hours and admission.

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Currently on view at GR Gallery, one of our favorite Downtown art galleries, is Geometric Heat, a tantalizing exhibition showcasing the works of four international artists who share an inventive approach to geometric abstraction. The painting featured above, From the Top on Down, was fashioned by NYC-based Adam Lucas, known to many of us street art aficionados as Hanksy. Several more images we captured on our recent visit to Geometric Heat follow:

Italian artist Marco Casentini, On the Streets, Acrylic and glaze on canvas

Berlin-based Daniel Rich, Palestine Meredian Hotel, Baghdad, Acrylic on Aluminum Dibond

Czech artist Jan KalábDark Purple Ameba, Acrylic on canvas

Wide view with  Marco Casentini (side) and Adam Lucas (back wall)

Located at 255 Bowery, GR Gallery is open Wednesday – Sunday | 12 to 7pm. Geometric Heat remains on view through August 18.

Photo credits: 1-4 Lois Stavsky; 5 Ana Candelaria

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The following guest post is by Lower East Side-based photographer Ana Candelaria

I first discovered Sara Erenthal‘s work on the Lower East Side several years ago. Last summer, I met Sara at Freeman’s Alley, and this past Thursday, I was delighted to view her artwork in a gallery setting.  Pictured above is the Brooklyn-based self-taught artist with The Storefront Project owner Gina Pagano to her left and curator Nina Blumberg to her right. Following are several more photos that I captured at the opening of BACKSTORY this past Thursday evening:

Sara Erenthal with gallery owner Gina Pagano

It gets busy!

Wendy aka Love from NYC and 0H10 M1ke checking out “Girl Talk,” Acrylic on thrift shop painting

Up Magazine editor T.K. Mills photographing “Emotional Support I,” Acrylic on repurposed print 

Multimedia artists Ryan Bonilla and Maria De Los Angeles next to “Emotional Support II,” Acrylic on repurposed print 

Sara Erenthal with Sandy Zabar and Ira Breite next to “I’m Infatuated,” Acrylic on thrifted print

The two Sara’s — Artist Sara Lynne Leo with Sara Erenthal

The overflowing opening reception crowd

BACKSTORY continues through August 18 at The Storefront Project, 70 Orchard Street, Tuesday- Sunday 1-6pm.

Photos: Ana Candelaria

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Working with shades of reds, blues and grays, the legendary Kenny Scharf has fashioned a tantalizing new body of paintings. On view through July 28 at TOTAH on the Lower East Side, the artworks feature a series of alluring, surreal landscapes. The exhibition, aptly titled blue blood, both entertains and provokes, as it raises questions as to the future of our planet. Featured above is Out of the Void, painted with oil and acrylic on linen with aluminum frame. Several more images I captured while visiting the exhibit follow:

Greysvillandia, 2019, Oil on linen with aluminum frame

Fuzzjungle, 2019, Oil, acrylic and spraypaint on linen with aluminum frame

What Me Worry? (Red), 2019, Oil, acrylic, silkscreen ink and mylar on linen with aluminum frame

In the Beginning, 2019, Oil, acrylic and diamond dust on linen

Segment of Funderworld — mesmerizing installation with fluorescent spray paint submerged in black-lit darkness

Located at 183 Stanton Street, TOTAH is open Tuesday through Saturday, 11am – 6pm.

Photos by Lois Stavsky

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Curated by Nic 707, the ingenious InstaFame Phantom Art continues to bring old school writers, along with a diverse range of younger artists, onto New York City subway trains. Pictured above is photographer/arts educator Rachel Fawn Alban snapping graff pioneer Dr Revolt, an original member of the historic NYC subway graffiti crew the Rolling Thunder. Several more images captured while riding the 1 train last week follow:

Al Diaz aka SAMO©

NYC-based multi-disciplinary artist Paulie Nassar

Bronx-based InstaFame Phantom Art founder and curator, Nic 707

Sweden-born, East Harlem-based Scratch

       Japanese painter and performance artist Pinokio

Social worker Luca Sanremo checking out the legendary Taki 183 with background by Nic 707,

Photo credits: 1, 3, 5-8 Lois Stavsky; 2 & 4 Rachel Fawn Alban

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