Chor Boogie


Last month during Miami Art Week, the Bushwick Collective once again collaborated with the Mana Urban Arts Project in facilitating first-rate public artwork in Wynwood, Miami. Pictured above is a mural by Louis Masai, along with an installation by Davis McCarty. Here are several more works captured by street photographer Karin du Maire.

Netherlands-based Michel Velt


West Coast-based Chor Boogie — in front of mural — and Miami’s Trek6


Brazilian artist Sipros


LA-based Shepard Fairey aka Obey Giant in front of one segment of his huge mural


Chilean artist Fiorello Podesta aka Fio


All photos by Karin du Maire



While in Miami this past week, I visited Chor Boogie‘s current exhibit, Heiros Gamos: A Vision of Feminine Power, at Wynwood’s Macaya Gallery. I  also had the opportunity to speak to its curator, Daniel Stanford.

I’ve been mesmerized by Chor Boogie‘s aesthetic since I first saw his vibrant murals on the streets of various cities several years ago. But I don’t often get to see his work in gallery settings. What spurred you to curate an exhibit of Chor Boogie‘s artworks?

Patrick Glémaud, Macaya Gallery‘s director, and I met Chor Boogie during Art Basel 2015.  After viewing several of his artworks, Patrick felt that the Macaya Gallery would be the ideal place to showcase Chor Boogie‘s distinct aesthetic. And I was pleased to have the opportunity to curate an exhibit of his works.


What is it about Chor Boogie’s aesthetic that appeals to you?

I was taken by his level of precision and complexity. His technique is superior.


And as is evident in his murals that have surfaced in public spaces, Chor Boogie‘s choice of colors is always brilliant.  His works consistently arouse both my senses and my mind. Just what is going on here?

These works — as the title suggests — reference a sacred union. The artworks pose the question, “Sacred or profane?” as they present a vision of feminine power. Aesthetic elements of the Rococo and Baroque periods, along with Madonna iconography, are reinterpreted through the medium of spray paint and contemporary street art styles.


What challenges did you face in curating this exhibit? 

The works currently on display are quite diverse and also very rich. The biggest challenge was presenting a variety of distinct works in a balanced way.

Chor-Boogie-the color-visions-of-requel

You certainly seem to have achieved that! What’s ahead for Macaya Gallery?  

Our next exhibit is a collective show featuring works by Emma DunlaveyFrançois Duerinckx and Mercedes Lasarte.  A select group of Chor Boogie‘s paintings will remain, and a series of his political works will be featured later this year.


1. Chor Boogie, The King and Eye, on the exterior of Macaya Gallery

2. Chor Boogie, Immaculate Conception

3. Chor Boogie, The Silver Queens, close-up

4. E. Bast in collaboration with Chor Boogie, The Nine Virgins, close-up

5. Chor Boogie in collaboration with Daniel Stanford, The Color Visions of Raquel

Photos: 1 courtesy of Daniel Stanford; 2-4 Lois Stavsky and 5 courtesy of Chor Boogie

Note: To find out about the inspiration behind this body of work, check out Chor Boogie Shines Love Into Macaya Gallery by Alexandra Martinez in last week’s Miami New Times.


The following guest post is by Houda Lazrak, a graduate student in Museum Studies at New York University.

MH Cover

Presenting a distinctive global perspective on art, music, fashion and culture, Modern Hieroglyphics — readying now for the release of its second issue — premiered this past summer. Co-founded by adventurous designer Jack McKain and West Coast-based artist Chor Boogie, the 156-page publication features fascinating interviews with ten talented artists, along with dozens of photos.

Tapping into graffiti history, the term Modern Hieroglyphics was first coined by San Diego-based Blame One. The term was then popularized by Chor Boogie to define his personal style. Finally, it was re-adapted to serve as the title and theme for this magazine’s spirit – a belief in the inherent power of visual communication through pictures and pictographs.


The interviews, conducted by McKain, are first rate. Meres One, for example, recounts his experience as curator of Long Island City’s 5 Pointz, along with his tenuous fight against gentrification and the whitewash of the iconic legal graffiti space. In another interview, Noah Scalin describes his Skull-A-Day project. To challenge his creative capacity and test his commitment abilities, the artist embarked on a one-year venture to fashion a skull image from different materials every day. Scalin describes how he garnered an online following and transformed what was a personal project into a public one – a creative commitment that, he confesses, became addictive. 

All of the interviews are accompanied with strikingly beautiful images and end with links to relevant social media.  To promote the role of photographers in the creation process of Modern Hieroglyphics, the publication also includes clear photo credits and devotes the final page to photographers’ contact information.


Certain to appeal to us street art and graffiti aficionados, Modern Hieroglyphics is a widely creative platform that exposes the talents of international artists through captivating imagery and engaging text. 

Note: In addition to its website and Facebook page, you can also follow Modern Hieroglyphics on Instagram as it readies for the release of its second issue.

Photos: 1. cover and 3. Shaka (close-up) courtesy of the publisher; 2. Meres One by Dani Reyes Mozeson as featured in Modern Hieroglyphics

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With its vibrant colors and swooping shapes, Chor Boogie’s art is charged with a sumptuous intensity. Earlier this year he shared his visions with us New Yorkers at 5 Bryant Park.  It was a great opportunity to speak to him and find out a bit about this talented artist.

"Chor Boogie"

When and where did you first get up?

I began tagging in Oceanside in San Diego, California in 1993.

Who or what inspired you at the time?

I liked the illegal aspect of it. I had no particular inspiration. But I looked up to Phase2, Riff 170 and Vulcan.

Do any early memories stand out?

Getting arrested. It happened when my father was moving from one house to another. He trusted me to hold down the house. But one night I decided to invite a bunch of graffiti kids over. By the end of the night, six or seven of us got together and started tagging down this huge highway. We were wasted, drinking OEs and doing all sorts of stupid things. I got the idea to hit the wall closest to the freeway, so I climbed down.  All of a sudden, police came racing down the highway for us.

"Chor Boogie"

What was the outcome?

I was arrested along with Bash, a writer who ratted me out giving the police my name and everything. I was faced with a judge that was ready to put me away for some time. Luckily, I had my grandma. She hooked me up with a criminal lawyer who managed to get the judge switched. And he managed to get a judge for my case who loved art. This judge requested that I bring my portfolio to court. When she saw it, that’s all she could speak about. While the prosecuting lawyer was badmouthing me, all she could do was  look at my art. She ended up giving me three years’ probation, a $500 fine and no community service. She also said that I had to paint a mural for the holidays — that I had to paint it and show her a picture of it when I returned to court. I returned with a picture of Santa Claus.

How did your family and friends feel about what you were doing?

My friends were writers so it was cool. My mom was cool about it too. She had my back. But I had to keep it a secret from my father. He found out eventually. He was not thrilled.


Any thoughts about the graffiti/street art divide?

I don’t use the word “graffiti.” I call it Modern Hieroglyphics or Street Romantic Voodoo. Graffiti sounds dirty. Graffiti is a government term that had nothing and has nothing to do with our art form.

What about the movement of street art into galleries?

It’s already been there. People just want to act as if it’s a new thing.

Where would you like to paint?

I’d like to paint anywhere. But if it was the end of the world, I’d have to say Australia. It’s all the way out there in the middle of nowhere. It’s the land down under.

Do you prefer working alone or in collaborating with others?

Alone mainly. Collaborating can be interesting. Sometimes it’s fun. Sometimes it’s b.s. It can be a hassle. But I’ve had good collaborations.

"Chor Boogie"

With whom would you like to collaborate?

I’ve painted with Phase2 and that was a dream. I’d like to paint with Vulcan. I would have gotten down with painters like Gustav Klimt, Salvador Dali, Michael Angelo and Caravaggio, if they were still with us.

What inspires you these days?


Are there any particular cultures that have influenced your aesthetics?

The hip-hop culture.

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

No. I stopped using sketches ten or twelve years ago.

"Chor Boogie"

Are you generally satisfied with your work?

Yes! I don’t leave it until I am.

When you look back at what you did in the last few years, how do you feel?

How can I not feel good? I feel grateful about everything coming my way.

What do you think of the role of the Internet in all of this?

The Internet is one more tool of communication. I have nothing against it.

Do you have a formal arts education?

No. The street was my sketchpad.

"Chor Boogie"

What’s the riskiest thing you’ve done?

If I tell you, somebody’s going to jail.

What do you think is the role of the artist in society?

He’s the rat in the rat race trying to get the cheese.

What percentage of the time do you devote to your art?

One hundred percent.

Interview with Chor Boogie conducted by Lenny Collado aka BK Lenny and edited by Lois Stavsky; photos 1-3 at 5 Bryant Park by Dani Reyes Mozeson; 4. Wynwood, Miami; 5. Beacon, NY and 6. Washington DC by Lois Stavsky