Walls

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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Curated by Museum of Graffiti co-founder Alan Ket, the museum’s exterior and the immediate environs host over a dozen murals in a range of graffiti styles. The exquisitely-crafted mural featured above was fashioned collaboratively by: Hiero Veiga, Bacon and Quake. Several more of these recent murals, captured by travel and street photographer Karin du Maire aka Street Art Nomad this past week, follow:

UK-based Lovepusher in his inimitable 3D style

Eurotrash at work, and to his left — Miami-native James Monk aka Rasterms 

Miami’s Sinse at work with Amsterdam-based calligraffiti master Niels Meulman a.k.a. Shoe‘s “Museum of Graffiti” signage looming in the background

NYC-based graff masters Ces, Yes2, Doves and Mast

Miami native Abstrk with Lima-based Entes

Photos: Karin du Maire aka Street Art Nomad 

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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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Earlier this fall, ST.ART founder Kamilla Sun traveled to Kathmandu, the capital and largest city of Nepal. On a voluntary mission — with money raised through a crowdfunding campaign to procure art supplies — Kamilla taught young Napoli students how to transform their school’s drab, dingy walls into vibrant, colorful ones.  

The “Start With A Dream” project, explains Kamilla Sun, “aims to teach the little builders of the future how to imagine, dream bigger and create.”  The vast majority of Nepal students live in poverty and have had little exposure to the arts.

Renowned NYC-based artists Jason Naylor, Sonni Adrian and Adam Lucas created simple mock-up mural designs that the students easily recreated for their school’s walls under Kamilla’s guidance. Other artists who contributed to the project include Agata Wojcierowska and Natasha May Platt aka Surface of Beauty.

Pictured above are the student participants in front of their collaborative mural, “Dream,” as designed by Jason Naylor, and — below that  — the mural as painted on NYC’s Lower East Side by Jason Naylor and Surface of Beauty.  Several more images — all created by the young Nepali students — follow:

Designed by Sonni Adrian and painted collaboratively by Nepali students

Young artists pictured with ST.ART founder Kamilla Sun

Designed by Adam Lucas and painted collaboratively by Nepali students

Completed mural

Designed by Agata Wojcierowska and painted collaboratively by Nepali students

Completed mural

And you can watch Kamilla talk further about the project and view the youngsters in action here:

All images courtesy ST.ART founder Kamilla Sun

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Featured above in Part II of  travel and street photographer Karin du Maire aka Street Art Nomad’s documentation of Playa del Carmen’s delightful public art is another mural painted by the wonderfully talented Mexican artist Farid Rueda. Several more images of artworks captured by Karin on her recent visit to Mexico’s coastal town in Quintana Roo follow:

Mexican artist Minoz with the Dreamers Art Fest

Mexican artist and musician Ekza One

Spanish artist Dourone

Cancún-based Dherzu Uzala with Calles Corazón 

Urban art collective Pinta o Muere

Mexican artist Senkoe

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.

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Among the cities situated along the Caribbean Sea that host a huge range of infectious public art is Playa del Carmen in Quintana Roo, Mexico. The mural featured above was fashioned by the Mexican artist Senkoe. Several more murals captured by travel and street photographer Karin du Maire aka Street Art Nomad, who recently visited the region, follow:

Mexican artist Farid Rueda

Italian artist Zed1 with the Dreamers Art Fest

Urban art collective Pinta o Muere. whose mission is to artistically transform damaged or forgotten public spaces

Also by urban art collective Pinta o Muere

And on a different note, France native Sbu One

Photos by Karin du Maire aka Street Art Nomad

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The shutter featured above was painted by New York-based Chilean artist Nelson Rivas aka Cekis on East Houston Street, around the corner from his recent mural at Rag & Bone.  Several more images featuring the enticing art that has surfaced on NYC shutters and gates follow:

The legendary Kenny Scharf in the East Village

Brooklyn-based Master Moody Mutz on the Lower East Side

Staten Island-based Kwue Molly in Astoria, Queens with the Welling Court Mural Project

Barcelona-based El Xupet Negre in Bushwick

Ecuadorian artist Apitatán in Bushwick with JMZ Walls

Photos by Lois Stavsky

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Beautifying the town for its residents and visitors as it engages members of Akumal’s local community in hands-on activities, the second annual Akumal Arts Festival was held earlier this month. Along with local artists, dozens of artists from around the globe brought their talents to Akumal while paying homage to the coastal town’s Mayan culture. The image featured above was painted by Peruvian artist Joe Fernández Carrasco aka Zelva Uno. Several more images captured by travel and street photographer Karin du Maire aka Street Art Nomad while visiting the region follow:

Montpellier, France-based Arnaud DE JESUS GONCALVES aka Arkane

Mexico-based Argentine painter and muralist Jose Dios

NYC-based Chris “Daze” Ellis  posing in front of his mural in the “land of the turtles” — as Akumal is known

Mexican artist Sheick

NYC-based Key Detail

The itinerant Kiptoe

Photos: Karin du Maire aka Street Art Nomad

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A PangeaSeed Foundation public art program, Sea Walls: Artists for Oceans is committed to bringing the message of ocean conservation into streets around the world. With over 350 murals created in 15 countries, Sea Walls is a model of ARTivism on a global scale. During her recent visit to Cozumel, Mexico, travel and street photographer Karin du Maire aka Street Art Nomad captured several of the Sea Walls murals that have surfaced in this Caribbean island off the eastern coast of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula.

Pictured above is Mapache’s Stare, a mural painted earlier this year by South African artist Sonny Sundancerfeaturing a pygmy raccoon endangered with habitat loss. Several more images of Cozumel-based Sea Walls murals follow:

Australian artist Meggs, Coral Conch Shell, 2015

Canadian artist Jason Botkin, Protect What You Love, 2015

UK-based Phlegm, Untitled, 2015

Mexican artist Secreto Rebollo, Letanía, 2019

Argentine artist Nicolas Romero Escalada aka Ever, Untitled, 2015

International duo Alegria Del Prado, Su Vida Es Nuestra Vida, 2019

Photos: 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.

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An art lover and dear friend to so many street artists, East Village–based Steve Stoppert is a local legend. True to his motto, “Just Paint,” he is the force behind one of NYC’s most visible public spaces – the wall facing the Second Avenue subway station. Dozens of artists have painted there, and dozens more wait their turn. Recently, we had the opportunity to interview Steve in his Second Avenue apartment that brims with art — from floor to ceiling — in just about every media and style.

We are fortunate that you have made New York City your home. Where were you born? And what brought you here?

I was born in Pontiac, Michigan — a northern suburb of Detroit. I came here in 1992 for two weeks to remodel my sister’s bathroom. And I never left. She was living on East 6th Street at the time.

What was it about NYC that so drew you in?

The music scene. It was magic!  Seeing the Pavement at the Mercury Lounge on the Lower East Side. Hanging out at CBGB on the Bowery…

And what about NYC’s art scene?

I used to go on my own to the Met. But it wasn’t until an artist friend took me on a tour of the museum and introduced me to Cézanne that something clicked!

What is your first street art/graffiti-related memory?

Definitely Shepard Fairey. Seeing Andre the Giant everywhere!

And how did you become so deeply involved with the current scene?

I started going out with Fumero late at night. I was his “look-out.” I remember thinking, “If only I’d had an aerosol can in my hand when I was 15!”

How has the street art scene changed since you first began paying attention to it? 

It’s different. These days, there are lots of fluffy paste-ups, and just about everyone is documenting it. But I still love it.

What is your favorite aspect of the scene?

I love the hunt. When I first began in 2010, I was obsessed with Jim Joe. I used to hunt for him daily. I chased him everywhere between the Lower East Side and Tribeca competing with folks on Tumblr for the most Jim Joe sightings.

For the past several years you’ve been curating a hugely visible wall right on your block. How do you decide which artists to feature?

I have a list of about 80-100 artists who’ve approached me. We simply select a name at random from a hat. Each month the wall changes.

What has the experience been like?

I love it. I love working with artists. I don’t even mind when they’re flakey or late. I just go with it.

How do you deal with the ever-present politics in this scene?

I ignore it completely.

Do any memorable experiences stand out? 

Fun times! When City Kitty got up on the wall and changed it 6-8 times within three months. And, of course, riding on my bike at 3am to 4am with flashlight and bike light – not knowing what I will see that I haven’t seen before.

What do you see as the future of this scene?

It seems to be at an all-time high with its increasing appeal to commercial buildings and high-end hotels.

Yes! It certainly has changed since I first fell in love with it! And we are thrilled that you are doing what you are doing. The wall that you curate is one of our faves.

Images:

1. Steve Stoppert in front or wall painted last Sunday by Key Detail

2, Noted California-born artist and musician Paul Kostabi

3. The itinerant Sirus Fountain aka Pyramid Oracle

4. Bronx-based Zimad

5. Brooklyn-based Argentine artists Magda Love and Sonni

6. The prolific Optimo NYC aka Optimo Primo, Werds and No Sleep

7. Brooklyn-based Argentine artist Ramiro Davaro-Comas

Interview conducted by Lois Stavsky and Ana Candelaria and edited by Lois Stavsky

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

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