Kimyon Huggins

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Busy last week in the lovely backyard garden of SoHo’s Henley Vaporium were Gilf! and LMNOPi — two Brooklyn-based activist artists — collaborating on a mural in tribute to Kalief Browder.  When we stopped by, I had the chance to speak to Gilf!

It’s wonderful to see the two of you working together. How did this collaboration come to be?

When Kimyon Huggins, the curator of the Secret Garden Series, hit me up to paint a mural, I immediately thought of LMNOPi.

Gilf-LMNOPI-at-work-Henley-NYC

Yes, it seems like such a natural collaboration. How did you decide on the subject of this mural?

My work has recently focused on the kinds of issues and injustices related to the case of Kalief Browder‬. And since LMNOPi is such a wonderful portrait painter with a strong social and political consciousness,  I thought we would work well together.

What — would you say — is the intent of your art?

The only reason I make art is to change the world.

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And what is it about Kalief Browder‘s story that has triggered your work?

What happened to Kalief is, sadly, not unique.  And it is outrageous. Yet, many people aren’t aware of these kinds of widespread injustices.  Kalief was incarcerated at ‪Rikers‬ Island at age 16 for three years for a crime he never committed. Two of those three years were spent in solitary confinement. Eventually his case was dismissed. This past June, Kalief Browder committed suicide by hanging himself.

What would you like people who see the mural that you have fashioned with LMNOPi walk away with?

I would like them to question what happened and demand justice.

LMNOP! and gilf

Yes, what happened to Kalief is such a blatant, horrific injustice. We certainly need to raise awareness of the need for radical change within our prison system.

Note:  The mural will be unveiled this Saturday, July 11, at Henley Vaporium‘s backyard garden at 23 Cleveland Place, between Spring and Kenmare Streets, in Soho. The event is free and open to the public — with a BBQ and DJs — from 2-10pm. There will be a Q+A with the artists and curator at 7:30 pm.

Interview with Gilf! conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky.

Photos: 1 & 3 Dani Reyes Mozeson; 2 & 4 Tara Murray 

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NDA-Iena-Cruz-paint-Henley-SoHo-NYC

We stopped by the Henley Vaporium earlier this week to watch two of our favorite artists — NDA and Iena Cruz — as they were collaboratively painting a huge wall in the splendid backyard garden at 23 Cleveland Place. We also had the opportunity to speak to Kimyon Huggins, the curator of the newly launched Secret Garden Series.

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This looks fabulous! Just what is the Secret Garden Series?

Beginning this month and continuing through late fall, several leading street artists and muralists will spend one week each month collaboratively painting the back wall of the garden at 23 Cleveland Place.  During that week, visitors to the Henley Vaporium will be able to watch the artists in action. And at the end of the week, a reception will be held to unveil the final work and to celebrate the artists.

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Your first public reception takes place this Saturday, May 16. What can visitors expect?  

They can expect, of course, to meet and socialize with the artists and view the completed murals. They can also expect music by such DJs as DJ Jaclyn, KC and the Real Christiano?, along with food and drink. And they will find themselves among a great community of artists, art lovers, patrons and tourists from throughout the globe.

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How did you discover this particular venue? It is lovely.

The owners are friends and I like their anti-establishment vibe. The Henley Vaporium is part retail store, part education center and part social hub. Featuring a huge lounge, performance space and outdoor garden, it is ideal. Each month smaller works of art by each of the artists will be displayed inside the Henley Vaporium. Along with limited edition photographs of the completed murals, they will be made available for purchase online, with 10% of the proceeds going to public arts advocate StreetArtNYC and vape industry advocate SFATA (Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association).

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Which artists can we expect to see in the months ahead?

Other artists already lined up include GILF and Ivan Orama in June and Elle and Vexta in July.

It sounds great! We are looking forward to it all.

Note: The Henley Vaporium is located between Spring and Kenmare Streets and is easily accessible by public transportation.

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Interview and photos 2, 4 and 5 by Lois Stavsky; photos 1 and 3 by City-as-School intern Diana Davidova

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Art-Is-Trash

Featuring a diverse range of artists – many active in the streets – the Future Is Now continues through the 20th at 60 Orchard Street on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. While visiting the exhibit soon after it had opened, I had the chance to speak to Kimyon Huggins, who along with Kennedy Yanko, curated it.

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This show is wildly eclectic – featuring a broad range of visions and styles. Can you tell us something about this exhibit’s title? Its mission? What does it all mean?

The Future Is Now references a new form of Dadaism, where artworks of varied styles from artists of different backgrounds come together in a cohesive fashion.

Jamie-Martinez- aka-Triangulism

Is there any common theme to these dozens of artworks?

It’s all an ode to the 80’s – to punk rock and its DIY sensibility.

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How did you choose these particular artists? There is quite a range here, with many active on the streets.

They are all people that Kennedy Yanko and I know – urban artists whose artworks represent the theme of the exhibit.

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And what about this space, 60 Orchard?

It couldn’t be more perfect. A space like this on the Lower East Side is where “the future is now.”

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The Future Is Now remains on view through January 20 at 60 Orchard Street between Hester and Grand on the Lower East Side.

Photos

1. Francisco de Paja aka Art is Trash

2. Joseph Conrad-Ferm

3. Ross Brodar

4. Jamie Martinez

5. Iena Cruz

6. Kimyon Huggins

7. NDA

Photos 1, 4 and 5 by Tara Murray; 2, 3, 6 & 7 by Lois Stavsky

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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

Cern

Judith Supine in Greenpoint, Brooklyn

Judith Supine

Cake in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Cake

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

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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

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