El Niño De Las Pinturas


For the past several years, Queens-based photographer Raphael Gonzalez aka Zurbaran1 has been creating intriguing, visually dynamic images of street art, often focusing on the artists at work.  Within the past year, his photos have made their way into several shows including his first solo exhibit, The Hand of An Artist. He has also been featured in Yoav Litvin‘s blog, 2createart. I recently had the opportunity to meet up with him.

I love what you are doing! When did you first begin to photograph NYC’s street art and graffiti?

About four years ago.


What inspired you to do so? 

Several years ago, my daughter visited Berlin and returned home incredibly excited about the street art she had seen there. Her enthusiasm, along with the photos that she showed me, inspired me to check out what was happening on the streets of NYC. And I first became serious about it all in October, 2013 when Banksy hit NYC with his month-long day residency Better Out Than In.

Within the few years that you’ve been shooting street art, you seem to have established friendships with many of the street artists you photograph.  Can you tell us something about that?

The very first street artist I met was Alice Mizrachi. I was standing in front of her mural at Welling Court when she noticed me. She was living right there at the time, and — almost at once — came out in her pajamas to speak to me! I was so impressed by her intelligence and craft. I photographed her in front of her mural, and we struck up a friendship right then.  She was the first street artist I photographed and spoke to. Since that day, I’ve become friends with many more.


You’ve been photographing many artists as they work. How have they responded to this? Are they open to it?

The response has been great! And when I share the photos I’ve taken with them, they are so appreciative.

That’s great! As street art is so ephemeral by nature, it’s so important to document it. And I’m a huge fan of artful photographers who document the process. I notice that you’ve focused quite a bit on the artists’ hands.

Yes, I like observing their hands in action. And photographing hands gives me a chance to use my long lens which I love doing!


And you’ve also begun collaborating with some of the street artists whose works you photograph. How do you go about engaging them?

Yes! I love collaborating. The process makes me think a little differently, and the artists have been wonderful.  Among them are FumeroGizTrans1NoirCity Kitty. Some I’ve approached, and others have approached me.

What are some of the challenges that you face in seeing your projects through?

There’s never enough time. And there are so many artists! Going through all the photos that I take and then editing them is a lengthy, time-consuming process.


How has the scene changed since you first started photographing street art?

There are fewer walls, and street art has become more commercial. And it seems that in the past few years, street artists have achieved celebrity status. It’s almost like they are the new rock stars!

What’s ahead for you?

I would like to engage in more collaborations…different in nature than the usual ones!


I look forward to seeing them all, and I will be keeping up with you — in the meantime — via your Instagram!

All photos © Raphael Gonzalez aka Zurbaran1; interivew conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky


1. El Niño de las Pinturas, Brooklyn Is the Future, Brownsville

2. Hendrik Beikirch aka ECB, Bushwick

3. Dasic Fernandez, Welling Court Mural Project

4. Fanakapan, Bushwick Collective

5. Noir, as featured in Raphael Gonzalez‘s solo show at Fatty’s in Astoria, Queens

6. Futura, Bushwick Collective

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Conceived and facilitated by N Carlos J — noted artist, community revitalizer and founder of Brooklyn Is the Future — Writing on the Walls is a Brownsville-based mural arts initiative. Inspired to launch this project for his father, a Brownsville native who was diagnosed with cancer last year, N. Carlos’s Jay has engaged over a dozen artists in transforming his dad’s former stomping grounds into a vibrant outdoor canvas.

Another close-up from Werc and El Nino de las Pinturas


Eelco, close-up


BK Foxx based on photo by Bytegirl


Lexi Bella




N Carlos J


Note: This blog will be on vacation through mid-September. You can follow us on Instagram and on our Facebook page. Part II of Writing on the Walls to be featured on our return.

Photo credits: 1, 4 & 6 Tara Murray; 2, 3, 5 & 7 Lois Stavsky



Within the last month ArtBattles local champion, Cernesto, and European ArtBattles champ, El Niño de Las Pinturas, have painted — to our delight — huge murals in the East Village and in Soho.

Cern‘s completed mural in the East Village


El Niño de Las Pinturas, completed mural in the East Village


El Niño de Las Pinturas, close-up in the East Village


Cern in Soho


El Niño de Las Pinturas in Soho


 Photos: 1-3 & 5-6 Tara Murray; 4 Lois Stavsky


This past Sunday, the 5Pointz family continued its transformation of August Martin HS with some of the finest international, national and local artists adding their talents and visions to the extraordinary indoor gallery the school has become. Here’s a small sampling of more of the works that now grace the hallways and doors of the Jamaica, Queens high school:

El Niño de las Pinturas in from Spain


NYC-based Ben Angotti

"Ben Angotti"

Queens-based Nicholai Khan with August Martin student Justin Price (interviewed by Street Art NYC) and project co-curator Marie Cecile Flaegul

"Nicholai Kahn"

Trace, New Wave Crew at work


Skio in from Paris and Brooklyn-based Elle


Bronx-native Andre Trenier at work


NYC’s ZaOne


5Pointz curator Meres One


Note: The school will be open to the public on Thursday, June 11, from 4-8pm.

Keep posted to the StreetArtNYC Facebook page for many more images of the amazing artworks.

Photo credits: 1, 3, 6 & 8 Lois Stavsky; 2, 4, 5 & 7 Tara Murray

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Based in Granada, Spain, the wonderfully talented and passionate artist Raúl Ruiz, aka El Niño de las Pinturas, visited NYC earlier this summer. I met up with him at the Bushwick Collective – where he was painting with Rimx – and then caught up with him at 5Pointz, where we spoke briefly.

El Nino de las Pinturas

When did you first get up?

Back in the 90’s. I was 11 when I brought graffiti to my neighborhood in Granada, Spain.  I began the usual way — by tagging and bombing.

What inspired you?

The movie Style Wars introduced the culture to me.

What is the attitude of the authorities in Granada to graffiti?

The government makes it tough. The fines for doing illegal works are excessive. It’s difficult to paint anywhere without the owner’s permission. And even when I had the owner’s permission and he loved what I did, I was forced to whitewash the wall.

How does your family feel about what you do? 

At first, they didn’t like it. They told me to paint only canvases.  But now they take pride in what I do.

El Nino de las Pinturas

Any thoughts about the movement of graffiti and street art into galleries?

It’s okay. We artists need money to live. But when our art is in a gallery, it’s no longer graffiti.  Graffiti is made in the streets for all people to experience. And we we must always remember to respect our masters  — the streets.  The streets are the inspiration and source of it all. If we lose the streets, we lose the way.

What percentage of your time is devoted to art?

Everything I do is art.

Have you a formal art education?

I studied fine arts for a year and a half. But I didn’t need teachers. I have masters — the streets.

Are there any particular cultures that influence your aesthetic?

Granada is a fusion of cultures, so my primary influence is the human culture.  But there are definite Moslem influences to my aesthetic.

What inspires you these days?

Everybody I meet.  And the natural world inspires me, as well. I love animals.

El Nino de las Pinturas and Rimx

Are you generally satisfied with your final piece? 

I am, but when I look at it, I feel like I didn’t create it.

Where have you painted?

Here in the US, I’ve painted in San Francisco, Santa Fe and NYC. I’ve also painted in many other countries. Among them are: Argentina, Venezuela, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Morocco, Germany, Hungary, Belgium and France.

Any favorite place?

I love them all.

What do you see as the role of the artist in society?

Whatever role society has imposed on the artist — the artist needs to break away from it.

Any thoughts about street art bloggers?

They need to know the artists. Many don’t.

El Nino de las Pinturas and Danielle Mastrion

What about the graffiti/street art divide?

It’s not important. We use the same gallery — the streets. But in some way street art gave legitimacy to graffiti.

What’s ahead?

My art will evolve as I experience more.  And I will continue to develop my own distinct style.

Interview by Lois Stavsky; photos 1. El Niño de las Pinturas at 5Pointz by Tara Murray; 2. with Rimx at the Bushwick Collective by Lois Stavsky; 3. with Rimx in Bedford-Stuyvesant, courtesy Rimx and 4. with Danielle Mastrion in Bushwick by Tara Murray

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This is the second in a series of occasional posts featuring images of children that surface on NYC public spaces:

Chris Stain at the Bushwick Collective

Chris Stain

Alice Pasquiniclose-up from huge mural at the Bushwick Collective

Alice Pasquini

James Rubio in the East Village

James Rubio

Sonni at the Bushwick Collective

Sonni Adrian

Icy and Sot, close-up from huge mural in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Icy and Sot

 El Niño De Las Pinturas, close-up from huge mural at 5Pointz in Long Island City

El Nino de las Pinturas

Fumero in Williamsburg, Brooklyn


Lisete Alcalde at the Bushwick Collective

Lisete Alcalde

 Photos by Tara Murray and Lois Stavsky, except for Lisete Alcalde, courtesy of the artist