"Icy and Sot"

Led by Maziar Bahari — a former Newsweek journalist who was imprisoned in Iran for 118 days and became the subject of Jon Stewart’s film Rosewater — the #NotACrime campaign focuses on human rights abuses in Iran.  Members of the Baha’is, Iran’s largest religious minority, have been jailed solely for teaching and studying, as have journalists who expose the Iranian government’s policies. #NotACrime‘s current street art campaign, curated by Street Art Anarchy, has brought a series of new politically-engaged murals to New York and New Jersey. I recently had the opportunity to speak to the noted Brooklyn-based Iranian-American artist Nicky Nodjoumi, one of the campaign’s participants, who had been exiled from Iran in the aftermath of the Islamic revolution.

"Marina Zumi"

What moved you to participate in the #NotACrime Street Art Campaign?

I have been using art as a means to expose political crimes for a long time. It is part of my overall activities as an artist.


You are principally known for your exquisite politically-infused figurative paintings, but you also designed posters against the Shah back in the late 70’s.

Yes, while teaching at the Tehran University of Fine Arts, I became involved in the movement to oust the Shah. We never could have imagined that what would follow would be even worse than the Shah’s regime.


For the #NotACrime street art Campaign, you painted a pair of shackled hands. That image has also been surfacing on posters Downtown. Why that image?

It is a symbolic gesture in support of journalists in Iran. It is a general representation of the suppression of free expression.


Do you feel that all artists have a responsibility to raise issues that will facilitate change?

An artist who lives in the Middle East does. There one has to have a position and take a stand.


What is the foremost challenge facing artists and journalists in Iran today?

There is no freedom of expression. Human rights are abused. Everything must be done clandestinely. One faces the risks of imprisonment, torture and worse for any expression that challenges the government.


What do you see for the future? Are you at all optimistic? Will things get better in your native country?

Unfortunately, I don’t have any hope for the immediate future. Despite the election of a more moderate President, dissent is not tolerated, as the hardliners are the ones who are setting the present policies.


I suppose we all need to work together to create awareness.

Note: All murals in the #NotACrime street art campaign were curated by Street Art Anarchy. What follows are the ones featured above:

1. New York-based Iranian artists Icy and Sot819 Broadway and Ellery St in Bushwick

2. Argentinian artist Marina Zumi, Frederick Douglass Blvd and 126th St in Harlem

3. American artist David Torres aka Rabi, part of the art duo Cyrcle, 126th St in Harlem’s Nelson Mandela Memorial Garden 

4. New York-based Iranian artist Nicky Nodjoumi, 11-22 Welling Court in Astoria

5. Italian artist Jacopo Ceccarelli aka 2501, 24th St and Lex Avenue in Manhattan

6. Brazilian artist Alexandre KetoFrederick Douglass Blvd and 126th St in Harlem

7. South African artist Faith47, Colombia and Woodhull Streets in Red Hook

8. New York-based Jennifer Caviola aka Cake, 612 Communipaw, Jersey City

not a crime

Interview with Nicky Nodjoumi by Lois Stavsky

Photo credits: 1, 4, 6 & 7 Tara Murray; 2, 3 & 5 Dani Reyes Mozeson and 8 courtesy of #NotACrime

Check here to find out how you can participate in the campaign.


Following are a few more images from Ad Hoc Art’‘s wonderful Fifth Annual Welling Court Mural Project, along with a brief interview with its director, Garrison Buxton.


Can you tell us something about the birth of the Welling Court Mural Project? When and how did it all begin?

Jonathan Ellis, a Welling Court resident, came up with the idea for the project over five years ago. He had his wife, Georgiana, were looking to improve their block.  We were introduced through a mutual friend who suggested they contact me.


What was the first mural to go up? And when was the first festival held?

While visiting from Poland in 2009, M-City painted Welling Court’s first mural.  The first festival was held in June 2009.


What was the community’s response to it?

The response was wonderful. The entire community participated and loved it. Just about everyone prepared food to share and loved how the artists transformed their neighborhood.


And now five years later, it’s even more wonderful than ever.

Yes, when we first began, 44 artists participated. This year there are over twice as many, including members of the community. We’ve continued to keep it grassroots.


How far in advance do you begin organizing each year’s festival?

We usually start in February, but we want to begin planning earlier.


What would you say is your greatest challenge?

The mere organization and the delegation of the different responsibilities.

The vibe here is wonderful. What a great model you are for other communities! 

Yes! It’s about the power of art to create positive social change.

Photos by Dani Reyes Mozeson and Lois Stavsky

1. Cern  

2. R. Nicholas Kuszyk aka R. Robot 

3. Louie “KR.ONE” Gasparro 

4. Ryan Seslow and Jennifer Caviola aka Cake

5. Mr. Prvrt

6. See One

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"Joe Iurato"

Intrigued by the small artworks that surface unexpectedly thoughout New York City, Amy Young has curated a delightful exhibit featuring small works by over a dozen artists.  Here’s a sampling:

Another cut-out by Joe Iurato

"Joe Iurato cut-out"

Elbow-Toe, close-up

"Elbow Toe"





Jaye Moon

"Jaye Moon"

Other featured artists include: Jilly Ballistic, C215, Clown Soldier, Enzo and Nio, Gilf!, Jay Shells, Shin Shin and Wing.  A closing party will take place tomorrow, April 4, from 5-9pm. The works will remain on exhibit through Sunday at R. Jampol Projects, 191 Henry Street between Clinton and Jefferson on the Lower East Side.

Photos: 1. courtesy of  the gallery; 2. 3. & 5.  Sara Mozeson; 4 & 6, City-as-School intern Dea Sumrall


This is the eleventh in a series of posts featuring images of girls — and women — who grace New York City’s public spaces:

Cern in Williamsburg, Brooklyn


Judith Supine in Greenpoint, Brooklyn

Judith Supine

Cake in Williamsburg, Brooklyn


Parisian artists Djalouz and Doudou at 5Pointz in Long Island City, Queens

Djalouz and Doudou

Bunny M in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Bunny M

A Groundswell Mural Project with Crystal Clarity as lead artist in Hunts Point, the Bronx

Groundswell-Mural-Project-Crystal-Clarity 2

Kimyon Huggins in Manhattan

Kimyon Huggins

Photos of Cern, Bunny M and Kimyon Huggins by Dani Reyes Mozesonof Judith Supine, Cake, Djalouz and Doudou, Groundswell Mural Project and Kimyon Huggins by Lois Stavsky


On view this evening from 7-11pm at 17 Frost in Williamsburg, Brooklyn is October Surprise.  Curated by Jason Mamarella, aka d.w. krsna, it features works by some of our favorite artists who are active both on the streets and in their studios. Here’s a brief sampling:

Billi Kid

Billi kid

Abe Lincoln, Jr.

Abe Lincoln Jr.



Jason Mamarella, aka d.w. krsna, close-up (look carefully!)

Jason Mamarella



And here’s a close-up from WC Bevan — who works with ink he creates on paper recycled from abandoned spaces


Photos of artworks by Lois Stavsky


Damien Miksza, Cern and QRST

The once-abandoned trailer on East 1st Street off 1st Avenue in Manhattan’s East Village has once again been transformed into an intriguing canvas of urban art. Here are a few images we captured these past few days from Cycle 9 of the Centre-Fuge Public Art Project.

Cern at work


Cern, close-up


Damien Miksza at work

Damien Miksza

QRST at work


Cassie Lynn O’Neal at work

Cassie Lynn O’Neal

 Cake — close-up


Caroline Caldwell at work

Caroline Caldwell

Royce Bannon at work on collaborative piece with Korn

Royce Bannon and Korn

The curatorial vision of Pebbles Russell and Jonathan Nevillethe Centre-Fuge Public Art Project was conceived in 2011 in memory of Mike Hamm.  Submissions to Cycle 10 — due by August 26th — can be sent to Keep posted to our Facebook page for more images from Cycle 9

All photos by Tara Murray, except for final photo by Lois Stavsky.


A stand-out among the street art books published this year is the brilliantly conceived and curated It’s a Stick-Up, designed by Oliver Walker aka Ollystudio with text by Margherita Dessanay. Published by Laurence King, it is devoted solely to the art of the wheat paste, featuring 20 real — easily removable — paste-ups by 20 international artists. Among those featured are two of our favorite Brooklyn-based artists: Dain and Cake.







 Book cover featuring Paul Insect 

Book Cover

All images courtesy of Laurence King Publishing 


This is the ninth in a series of posts featuring images of girls — and women — who grace New York City’s public spaces:

Alice Mizrachi aka AM in Bushwick, Brooklyn

Alice Mizrachi

Cake in Bushwick, Brooklyn


Hef’s hastily-buffed piece in East New York


Toofly at the Bushwick Collective


Os Gemeos in Coney Island — since 2005


Noh J Coley at the Woodward Gallery Project Space on the Lower East Side


 Swoon in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn garden


Photos by Tara Murray and Lois Stavsky


Some wonderful walls have recently surfaced in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Here is a sampling:

Belgian artist Roa

"Roa street art"

"Roa street art" More after the jump!

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Speaking with Cake

May 30, 2012

"Cake street art in NYC"

Cake’s poignantly elegant women have been part of New York City’s visual landscape for the past five years. Earlier this month, three large ones surfaced on East Third Street off the Bowery. Soon after, we posed the following questions to Cake:

Your women have been captivating us for years. They are at once beguiling and perturbing. Are they women you know? Tell us something about them.

These women are all women I know and care about.   They are: my mother, my sister, my niece, my Grandma Olga, my friend, Emily, and girlfriends of friends. And a lot of the time, some of the women end up having a part of me in them, which can’t be helped, as they all – somehow – feel autobiographical.  I rarely paint men, but when I do, it’s usually my brother, Jeffrey.

"Cake street art in NYC"

"Street artist Cake at work in NYC"

"Cake street art in East Village"

At what point did you choose to use the streets as a canvas? And why did you decide to do so?

Right when I was finished with grad school, I joined in on the street stuff.  It was pretty immediate and was just what I needed at that time.  It was a place where I felt at home, and it was fun and natural. I haven’t wanted to leave since.

More after the jump!