Yarnbombing

Working with yarn, Carmen Paulino aka Carmen Community Artist has been busily bringing intriguing images and timely messages to the streets of East Harlem and beyond. I was delighted to recently meet her and find out a bit about her:

When did you first share your artwork in a public space?

Back in 2015, I did live painting outdoors with members of my East Harlem community. And then in 2018, I began yarn-bombing. I’d been working with yarn for years, but only then did I get it out in public.

What inspired you to do so at the time?

I had participated in an exhibition of fiber art at El Barrio Art Space. And I was suddenly inspired to take my art outside. I saw it as a way to beautify my community. I love East Harlem, and I wanted to add color to my neighborhood.

Were there any particular artists who inspired you to get your vision out on the streets?

Yes! Two particular artists who stand out are: Naomi Lawrence aka Naomi Rag – who’s been active in East Harlem now for several years – and the Philadelphia-based yarn bomber Nicole Nikolich aka Lace in the Moon.

Do you generally have permission to install your artwork?

Yes! I always know someone who has some connection to the site.

What is the attitude of your friends and family to what you are doing?

They are all proud of me!

What is your main source of income?

In 2014, I began working as a teaching artist in community centers, hospitals and senior centers. But for the past three years, I’ve worked mostly with seniors – and I love it! They are a constant source of inspiration.

Besides crafting with yarn and teaching art, have you any other particular interests?

I love to paint. I had a phenomenal teacher — when I was a student at Richard Green High School — who encouraged me, and I’ve been painting ever since.

Do you prefer working alone or collaborating with others?

I enjoy doing both. I’ve recently collaborated with Alisha aka Little Nugget Workshop, Viviana Rambay and Glenys Rivas.

Have you a formal art education?

No. I’m essentially self-taught. I learned my craft from my grandmother and mother.

Are there any particular cultures that have influenced your aesthetic?

Spanish culture – Indigenous, Latin American, Colombian.

Have you exhibited your work in a gallery setting?

Yes. I’m actively involved with the El Barrio Art Space.

Early in the pandemic many of your pieces expressed gratitude to the essential workers and urged folks to stay home. More recently your artworks have been focusing on the importance of voting in the upcoming election. What inspires your pieces?

I’m inspired by the people I meet and what is happening around me. In early spring my pieces were largely inspired by my husband, FDNY EMS Paramedic Michael Paulino — who has been working in the front line — and by all of the essential workers out there who put so much at risk. Current affairs have triggered my newer works.

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

No. I don’t work with a sketch. My work evolves as I create it.

Are you generally satisfied with your finished piece?

Always!

What do you see as the role of the artist in society? And your role – in particular?

I see the artist as an agent of change. And my role is to bring a sense of peace and safety to my community, while beautifying it.

What’s ahead?

A collaborative memorial for East Harlem victims of Covid-19.

Thank you, Carmen, for all that you do!  I am looking forward to what’s ahead.

Interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky

Photos: 1 & 4, courtesy of the artist; 2, 3, 5 & 6 Lois Stavsky

Note: Photo 3 features a collaboration with Alisha S aka Little Nugget Workshop, and the fourth photo features a collaboration with Alisha S aka Little Nugget Workshop, Viviana Rambay and Glenys Rivas.

{ 0 comments }

With street artists fiercely focusing now on addressing the social, economic and racial inequalities that the pandemic has only accentuated, Bill Posters’ new book, The Street Art Manual, is particularly timely. It is a paean to the spirit of art as activism.

For the past decade, Bill Posters — an award-winning artist, author and agitator — has worked alongside other artists and activists to create some of the world’s most illicit and impressive art projects. In The Street Art Manual, he earnestly, but playfully, presents practical guidance and advice on creating street art that challenges the inequitable status quo.

Providing tactics for successfully mounting campaigns that infiltrate the public sphere with everything from graffiti, stencils and pasteups to huge murals, projectiles and guerrilla projections, Poster discusses and describes in detail the necessary materials and techniques each mission demands. He also provides an extensive list of DO’s and DON’T’s for each of the distinct genres of street art. Should you subvert advertisements, for example, you are advised to “look like an employee of an outdoor-ad company” and not to “go out at a time that is different from when the real worker goes out to work.”

While many of the interventions featured are unsanctioned and can — if not carried out cautiously — involve a range of risks, not all are. One of the mediums included in The Street Art Manual is mural art. Large-scale murals — which so many of us have come to identify with corporate interests and gentrification — can also enrich neighborhoods. Artists painting outdoor murals have the opportunity and space to raise awareness of critical issues, celebrate distinct cultures and engage local folks. It is a way for artists, contends Posters, to give back to others while awakening consciousness.

The Italian artist Millo, for example, painted an 11-story-tall mural in the center of Santiago symbolizing “the hope that we must all find in relation to protecting the environment and reversing the ecological destruction that is causing our climate to collapse.”

Of particular interest to us street art aficionados is Post’s summary of each art form’s history. Wheat-pasting or poster-bombing can be traced back to 2000 BCE when papyrus was used to create promotional posters and flyers — formerly called bills — in such places as ancient Arabia, China, Greece, Rome and Egypt.  And we learn that yarn bombing, an increasingly popular international mode of public guerrilla expression, originally started in Houston, Texas in 2005 by a woman named Magda Sayeg who went on to gather a crew, Knitta Please.

Illustrated by Matt Bonner and published by Laurence King Publishing, Bill Posters’ The Street Art Manual delights, informs and provokes. It also renews our faith in street art as a tool for progressive social change in these fragile times.

Released globally today, September 3, the book is available here.

Images courtesy Laurence King Publishing.

{ 0 comments }

In addition to the first-rate graffiti in the vicinity of Philly’s 5th Street and Cecil B Moore, the entire city is home to a remarkable range of public art — hosting everything from striking unsanctioned interventions to hundreds of hugely impressive murals. The image featured above is the work of Philly-based Adam Crawford. Several more images I captured on my recent visit to Philadelphia follow:

Baltimore-based duo Jessie and Katey 

Philly-based crochet street and installation artist Nicole Nikolich aka Lace in the Moon

Philly-based San Salvador-born Calo Rosa

Philly-based Jes

And Philly’s iconic stikman

Photos by Lois Stavsky

{ 0 comments }

Located on 120th Street and Park Avenue in East Harlem, Eugene McCabe Field is now home to two tantalizing public art installations.  Featured above is a close-up from local fiber artist Naomi RAG‘s 12 x 24 foot mural fashioned from yarn.

A larger segment of the mural

The mural, La Flor De Mi Madre, in its entirety

Harlem-based Capucine Bourcart, Eat Me!, a photographic mosaic of approximately 1,500 printed metal square pictures of local healthy food — asking to be eaten!

Photos captured at dusk in the heat 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.

en-play-badge 2

{ 0 comments }

Celebrating the 90th anniversary of Walt Disney’s iconic Mickey Mouse and his influence on popular culture throughout the globe, Mickey: The True Original Exhibition is an exuberant tribute to the beloved, famed mouse. Featuring artworks in a range of media — including: painting, comic art, yarn bombing, sculpture and installation art — in a labyrinth-like setting, the pop-up exhibition continues through February 10 at 60 10th Avenue in the Meatpacking District. Pictured above is Keith Haring‘s rendition of Mickey Mouse. Several more images from Mickey: The True Original Exhibition follow:

The legendary Kenny Scharf, Cosmic Cavern, close-up, inspired by Mickey Mouse watch

Brooklyn-based Katherine Bernhardt, 99Cent Hot Dog, close-up 

Japanese Pop Art pioneer Keiichi Tanaami, Mickey’s Japan Tourism

LA-based multimedia artist Michael John Kelly, Toon Town

Brooklyn-based fiber artist London Kaye

Mickey: The True Original Exhibition is open Tuesday-Sunday from 10am – 8pm. To enter  you must have a ticket purchased in advance. Tickets can be purchased online here.

Photo credits: 1, 2 & 6 Lois Stavsky; 3, 4 & 5 Houda Lazrak

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.

en-play-badge 2

{ 0 comments }

While wandering the streets of Tel Aviv and Jaffa, I’ve come upon dozens of portraits of females in a wide range of styles and media. The artwork pictured above was fashioned by the city’s celebrated veteran muralist Rami Meiri. More images of girls on walls, including several that surfaced within the past few months, follow:

Tel Aviv-based muralist and graffiti writer Arad Levy

Tel Aviv-based muralist and tattoo artist MUHA ack

Tel Aviv-based muralist and graffiti writer Dales One

Mosaic of over 50,000 beer bottle caps — collected throughout Europe — fashioned by Rinat Look Elhik

Tel Aviv-based crochet artist and yarn bomber Liza Mamali

Tel Aviv-based designer and street artist Imaginary Duck

Photos by Lois Stavsky

{ 1 comment }

Mag-magrela-street-art

Noted Brazilian artist Mag Magrela recently spent a month in New York City. In partnership with AnnexB — a company focused on promoting Brazilian art in NYC — Mag Magrela painted several murals in different neighborhoods and presented her first NYC solo exhibit, Pindorama in Flames, at Galeria, a delightful gallery/cafe located at 43 Clinton Street on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Pictured above is Sem mais. The broken boat: eu tenho sue o pedaço que agora é meu in Long Island City. Here are several more outdoor murals:

“Pequenos atos de contra ataque,” Astoria, Queens with the Welling Court Mural Project

Mag-magrela-street-art-welling-court-nyc

“Dá a cara à tapa,” Bushwick

Mag-Magrela-street-art-Bushwick-NYC

“A paixão das ancas,” Brooklyn Brush X Mural Project

Mag-Magrela-Brooklyn-Bush-X-Mural-Project

And from her exhibit Pindorama in Flames, at Galeria featuring works created during her NYC residency:

Linha de frente

mag-magrela-portrait-galeria

“Suadade de sertão encantado” —  with figure painted live to the right

Mag-Magrela-galeria-nyc-

“Meu murk” – the artist’s signature performance-installation at Brooklyn Brush, Brooklyn, New York

Mag-Magrela-performane-installation

The exhibit at Galeria — featuring a range of works that address the dichotomy between the ideal Utopian world and the bitter real one — continues through September 15th.

Note: Mag Magrela is a featured artist in Alexandra Henry‘s documentary film Street Heroines

Photos: 1, 3, 4 & 7 courtesy AnnexB; 2, 5 & 6 Lois Stavsky

{ 0 comments }

Naomi-rag-yarn-bomb-East-Harlem-NYC

East Harlem resident Naomi RAG has continued to yarn bomb her neighborhood, enhancing it with color, warmth and intrigue. Here are some more images of trees that she has cloaked:

Tree pictured above, as seen last week from another angle

Naomi-rag-east-harlem-block

As seen last week 

Naomi-Rag-East-Harlem=NYC

As revisited a few weeks back at night

Naomi-rag-yarnbomb-NYCJPG

And as seen a few weeks back at dusk

naomi-rag-yarn-bomb-street-art-east-harlem-NYC

Photos by Dani Reyes Mozeson

Note: Our highly acclaimed Street Art NYC App is now available for Android devices here.

en-play-badge 2

{ 1 comment }