Low Brow Artique

Reclaimed, Meres One‘s solo exhibit at Bushwick’s Low Brow Artique, brilliantly celebrates Meres‘s wonderful talents and his love of graffiti. I spoke to Meres soon after visiting the exhibit:


Can you tell us something about the title of the exhibit, Reclaimed? What does it mean?

After many months of coping with the loss of 5Pointz, Reclaimed is my way of revisiting and reclaiming my early days as a graffiti artist.


When did you first come up with the concept with the exhibit?  And can you tell us something about the process of preparing for it? 

I came up with the general idea in January, and when I showed some of the pieces I was working on to Bishop, he offered me a solo show at Low Brow Artique. In preparation, I revisited hundreds of photos of walls that I had painted at 5Pointz. My next step was to reinterpret them — selecting fragments from them and honoring my appreciation of hand-style.

"Meres One"

What about the centerpiece? It is so impressive! Its texture is just beautiful. It looks as though it was painted on reclaimed wood.

Yes, I painted it on a piece of wood that was reclaimed from the Coney Island boardwalk. I love that it has taken on a new life in this exhibit.


How has the response been to the exhibit?

It’s been great! The opening was wonderful, and only two pieces remain. The others were sold shortly after the exhibit opened. I am currently preparing for a Part II, where I will take my work on this same concept to another — more abstract — level while working on a range of different surfaces.


Note: Reclaimed remains on view at Low Brow Artique through Saturday May 9.  Now open seven days a week, Low Brow Artique is situated at 143 Central Avenue in Bushwick, Brooklyn.

Interview and photos by Lois Stavsky 



Australian native Damien Mitchell has been gracing NYC walls with his wonderful talents since moving here two years ago. We visited him at his studio while he was readying for his solo exhibit — Tools of the Trade — opening tomorrow Friday, the 13th, at Low Brow Artique.


When and where did you first share your artwork on a public space?

My first experience with graffiti was at age 8. I wrote ‘fuk’ on the underside of our family’s coffee table. I then blamed it on my two-year old niece, Alice.

What or who inspired you to do so?

I can’t remember — though it must have been important, as I still do it now and then. Alice is getting really sick of my shit.

Do you have a formal art education? 



How do you feel about the movement of works by street artists and graffiti writers into galleries? Have you exhibited your work in a gallery setting? If so, where and when?

It is what it is. When you take a work off a truck or wall and stick it in a gallery, it no longer moves like it does outside. It can’t sneak up on you or take you by surprise. That said, I am showing paintings at Low Brow Artique tomorrow, Friday the 13th, from 6-9pm.

When did you come to NYC? What brought you here?

I first arrived five years ago to visit my wife’s family. I was only here for a few weeks,  but I got a few walls up including one at 5Pointz – R.I.P.  We moved over here for a longer term on Independence Day two years ago.

What are some of the specific challenges of working/living here in NYC as an artist?

Like anywhere, when you give your work away for free on walls — often times against the will of the building owner — things can get a little weird. Luckily, there are lots of walls to go around, and sometimes they even pay you for it.


 Where else have you painted? Have you a favorite city?

When I was 18, I moved to Prague in the Czech Republic. I lived there for eight years painting everything I could. Say what you will about the hangover from the Soviet era but it sure left a lot of bare concrete walls. Also, I once painted my butthole blue just to see if it would change the color of my poop. It didn’t.

Any thoughts about the street art/graffiti divide?

Personally, I wear two hats. I think it’s nice to be able to drink beer in the summer time, while painting a wall at a block party somewhere, but it’s also fun as hell to run around writing shit on walls on the sly. Graffiti heads get all pissy because their work is illegitimatized by street art’s aesthetics and message.

How do you feel about the role of the Internet in all this?

When I was growing up in rural Australia, the Internet was the only way to see any of this stuff. If it wasn’t for sites like Stencil Revolution, I probably would have become a plumber or something.


Do you prefer working alone or painting with others? With whom have you collaborated? Is there anyone in particular with whom you’d like to collaborate?

For legal walls, I’m up for collaboration. There are things you learn and tips — you don’t realize you are giving — that make artists better when they work together. This last year I was lucky enough to work with Edob Love and Heesco painting a couple of walls here in NYC. Who knows what will pop up in 2015?

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

Both. When I’m painting a large portrait, I usually have some kind of sketch with me to start with, and then I let it go. Showing up to a wall with a big bag of paints and just emptying them all as it goes makes for some of my favorite work, though.

How has your artwork evolved during the past few years? Has living in NYC affected your aesthetic?

Since living in NYC, I’ve been offered larger walls, so I’ve had to significantly change how I work. For years I was painting primarily with stencils, but once the walls got big enough, I ditched them. As for aesthetic, I paint what’s around me, so the city and its residents constantly pop up in my work.

DM exhibit

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

I don’t know what the role of the fine artist is, though the role of the graffiti artist — in my opinion — is to be the voice of social change. When there is nowhere to raise your voice, grab some paint and write it on the wall.

Can you tell us something about your exhibit that opens tomorrow at Low Brow Artique?

It’s called Tools of the Trade. A homage to graffiti, it celebrates the tools used by graffiti artists.

What’s ahead for you?

After spending some more time here in NYC, my wife and I are heading to Brazil. The more I look, the more I like!

Photo credits: 1. & 4. Dani Reyes Mozeson; 2. & 3. Lois Stavsky & 5. City-as-School intern Zachariah Messaoud


Featuring a wondrous array of characters in a diverse range of styles, What a Character — curated by See One — continues through September 11 at Low Brow Artique. Here are a few of the characters — from the comical to the surreal — that greet you:

Patch Whisky, Tripping Faces

"Patch Whiskey"

Reno Msad, Multiple Personalities

"Reno Msad"

Chris Cortes, Dragon

"Chris Cortes"

Royce Bannon, Ride or Die

"Choice Royce"



Shiro, Pillow


Also featured are works by Cern, Epic Uno, Marka 27, Sheryo and the Yok.  Low Brow Artique is located at 143 Central Avenue in Bushwick.

Photos of images by Dani Reyes Mozeson

{ 1 comment }

Bishop203 at Low Brow Artique

September 20, 2013

Earlier this week, we had the opportunity to interview one of our favorite people, Bishop203. A first-rate artist who’s been hitting a range of surfaces from abandoned factories, freight trains and walls to black books and canvases for years, Bishop203 is now the owner of Low Brow Artique, a superb space at 143 Central Avenue in Bushwick.


When did you first conceive of opening a business?

It was something that had been in the back of my mind for quite awhile. But growing up, I’d always wanted to be an art teacher.

So – what happened?

I hated school, and I failed all of my art classes. Actually, I failed just about all of my classes. And when my friends went on to college, I stayed behind for two more years and then graduated to painting freight trains.

Low Brow Artique

And how did Low-Brow Artique – one of our favorite spaces – come to be?

About a year and a half ago – soon after my father died – I thought to myself,  “I’m not doing anything much with my life, so why not open a business related to what I love?”  But I didn’t have a business plan or anything.  At first, I thought I would open an art supply store, but I wasn’t sure I had enough knowledge to do so at that point. And so I decided to focus on graffiti supplies, as I knew enough about hooligans to run a business catering to fellow hooligans.

What made you decide to set up shop in Bushwick?

I felt there was a need for it here.  There was no other outlet for graff supplies in my neighborhood, and with Joe Ficalora, the curator of the Bushwick Collective, making so many walls available to artists coming here from all over the world, the local aerosol art scene was booming.

Low Brow Artique

We notice you have just about every brand of spray paint here at really good prices.  There are also markers, pens, black books, a variety of hand-printed and home-made goods, and t-shirts. What else is available? 

Canvases, wood panels, screen print supplies, Liquitex paints, Krink and much more. I’m also about to start stocking Montana 94.

And your gallery has become one of the most popular graffiti/street art venues in NYC.  Tell us something about that.

I love it. It gives me the opportunity to showcase my favorite art. And it was especially wonderful for me to recently feature my dear buddy Bisc’s work. Bisc and I go back years, and his show was my most successful one. It was epic.


What are some of your goals for Low Brow? Where would you like to see it go?

I love teaching the young bucks of the next generation. I can see myself giving formal classes here.  And I want to help up-and-coming artists achieve their dream by exhibiting their work.. That, perhaps, may be my greatest legacy.

How do folks find out about your space? 

It’s word-of-mouth. The graffiti world is small, and everyone wants to be up on the latest news.

Low Brow Artique

And what about your artwork? We see it regularly at 5Pointz and in this part of town. What’s happening with it? 

Well, for the most part, it’s taken a back seat to what’s happening here at Low Brow. But I’m ready to step up my game, especially when it gets too cold for much to be happening on the streets. And just this week, I was delighted to have a print released by my fellow hooligan, Bisc, who in collaboration with his partner at Daylight Curfew, has begun a monthly print series.

Bishop print

What do you see as the future of graffiti and street art?

I see it as just getting bigger and bigger. Just check out what’s been happening down the block.

 Interview by Lois Stavsky with Tara Murray; photos by Lois Stavsky; print image courtesy of Daylight Curfew

{ 1 comment }

Speaking with Bisco Smith

August 25, 2013

Currently based in both LA and NYC, Bisco Smith is celebrated for his graffiti on walls, as well as for his audio and visual work within hip-hop culture.  WORLD UPSIDE DOWN, a recent collection of this talented artist’s works, is on view at Low Brow Artique, 143 Central Avenue in Bushwick, through September 7th.  We spoke with Bisco soon after his hugely successful opening:


When and why did you start getting up? 

I was about 12 or 13 years old when I started writing.

Any particular inspirations at the time?

I grew up skateboarding, and we were all into writing. Just about everyone in my school had a black book. We also avidly followed Chino’s Graf Flix section in the Source. This was sometime in the mid-90’s.

What was your preferred surface – back then? 

Abandoned buildings. I grew up spending day after day inside of a huge dead factory. We could paint anything and everything in there.

Any early graffiti memories that stand out?

The first time I got taken down to the train tracks, a party got broken up by the police and on our escape, we ended up under a bridge filled with burners.

Bisco Smith

What is the riskiest thing you ever did? 

Train tunnels and some less-than-solid rooftops. I remember getting caught between two trains, coming on opposite sides, while I was standing between two third rails. That experience will make you appreciate life all over again.

Why were you willing to take that risk?

I ask myself the same question now.

What percentage of your time is devoted to art these days?

Just about all of it. Both visual arts and music.

Do you have a day job? What is the main source of your income these days?

I work as a graphic designer and I mentor kids.  I have a strong moral compass, and just about 98% of the work that I do is for the right cause. I’m involved with various community-based organizations including ARTS By the People, based in New York and New Jersey.

Bisco Smith

Have you any thoughts about the graffiti/street art divide?

Graffiti has a code, street rules, that “street art” doesn’t have – and that’s one of the reasons for the tensions between the two. But I don’t think there’s enough respect on either side.

How do you feel about the movement of graffiti and street art into galleries? 

I think it’s great when people can make a living doing what they love – and also impact others.

Would you rather work alone or collaborate with others? 

When I’m working on walls, I prefer to collaborate.  More often than not, I paint with my friends and crew mates: Leias, Bishop203 or Meres

Is there anyone in particular with whom you would like to collaborate? 

Jackson Pollock – if he were alive.

Any favorite graff artists?

Ces. Since Videograf 8 dropped, that whole 90’s era in the Bronx really was my favorite.

Bisco, Meres and Bishop203

Do you have a formal art education?  

Yes. I studied communication design at Pratt.

Was it worthwhile?

Very much so. It taught me a trade. There’s work in graphic design.

How do you feel about the role of the Internet in all this? 

Both positive and negative. I love the connections and opportunities, but miss when style was localized

What inspires you these days?

Lately, I have been heavy on instagram and tumblr checking out other artists, working artists.

Are there any particular cultures that have influenced your aesthetic?

Hip-hop culture for sure.

Bisco and Leias

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

I let it flow.

Are you generally satisfied with your finished piece?  

For the most part, but in the end — for me  — it’s more about the day and the moment. The end result is a bonus.

How has your work evolved through the years?

Although I continue to work on the streets, I no longer need its framework to create. I think my artwork is more focused these days – especially if I know it’s headed to a gallery.

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

Balance out the mundane, as well as make people think.

What about the role of the photographer? The blogger?

It is important to document what’s out there and happening. I think its essential to any movement.

Bisco Smith

Any thoughts about sanctioned vs. unsanctioned art?

I like them both. I think both are needed and both allow for their own outcomes and impacts.

The Europeans seem to appreciate and respect graffiti far more than we do here in the States? Any thoughts about that?

If it doesn’t make money here, society seems to not appreciate it.

What’s ahead?

More visual explorations, socially engaged work, and gallery exhibits.

Interview by Lois Stavsky. Photos: 1. Bisco on exterior of Low Brow Artique, photo by Lois Stavsky; 2. & 3. Bisco in WORLD UPSIDE DOWN, photos courtesy of the artist; 4. Bisco, Meres, Bishop203 & Leias at 5Pointz, photo by Lois Stavsky; 5. Bisco & Leias on exterior of Low Brow Artique, photo by Tara Murray and 6. Bisco in Watts, photo courtesy of the artist