Lower East Side

On March 26, 2020 the #ArtClinicNYC opened its front window on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Eager to find out more about this essential art resource, I posed several questions to SacSix, the artist who had conceived and launched it.

What is the mission of the Art Clinic? What motivated you to launch it?

At the beginning of the global quarantine — as businesses, schools and restaurants were required to shut down — I began to think about what makes something “essential.” Liquor stores, gun shops, marijuana dispensaries and even golf courses in some states are deemed “essential.” But what about art resources for kids? Art is essential to life. We need art to survive. And the Art Clinic’s mission is to provide necessary materials to kids to create art. The Art Clinic provides FREE coloring packs and crayons to each family member.

How were you able to access the storefront? 

The storefront is actually my studio. I gained access to it in mid-January.

It’s great that you had the space. And what about some of the challenges in seeing this project through?

The initial challenge was finding a place to print 1000 pages. All of the local print shops were closed. Through a connection at the Cheese Grille, I found a printer in Queens that was still open.

How did you source the materials — from crayons to coloring pages?

Over 75 global artists contributed to the project. I first started reaching out to my NYC street artist friends for the coloring page designs. Then I began expanding my network to artists throughout the country. After seeing my posts on Instagram in reference to this project, many more artists reached out, eager to be part of it.

And what about the crayons?

I personally funded the 500 packs of crayons and the cost of printing. Six-page packs are taped to the front window of the #ArtClinicNYC. Instructions prompt passersby to just pull the items off the window.

How has the response been to your venture?

The response has been great. I see it in people’s smiles — people of every age, sex and race. That’s why I do it. I try to snag photos of people, from the inside, as they pull off the coloring packs and crayons. Their smiles and excitement are so genuine.

Congratulations on this venture! It is wonderful!

Featured pages:

Image 2: Fumero, JPO, Con$umr, Pure Genius, Chris RWK, BK Foxx, Savior ElmundoSacSix, Crash, Al Diaz and Sandra Chevrier

Image 3: RX Skulls

Image 4: Danielle Mastrion

Image 5: Dirt Cobain

Image 6: Dr Scott

Photo credits: 1, 3, 5, 7 & 8 Ana Candelaria; 2, 4 & 6 courtesy SacSix 

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First Street Green Art Park, one of my favorite spots in town, not only introduces me to a wide range of artists who are new to me, but also showcases works by those who’ve been making their mark on the streets for years. Featured above is a tribute mural to Koby Bryant and his daughter by the richly prolific Fumero. Several more images recently revisited in First Street Art Green Park follow:

The artist couple Bella Phame

Puerto Rico-based Deider Díaz aka ElektroTypes

Detroit-born, NYC-based RF3RD

Harlem-based Roycer aka Royce Bannon

Noted graffiti/street artist Hektad

The itinerant Ratchi with the masterful Cram Concepts

First Street Art Green Park is currently accepting proposals for murals to be installed early next month. Check here for specifics.

Photos of artworks: Lois Stavsky

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Featured yesterday morning on NY1, Of Women, By Women, a group exhibition on view through this Sunday, December 22, presents original artwork by 18 contemporary women artists who have also made their presence on our streets. While visiting the exhibit this past Sunday at the Storefront Project on the Lower East Side, we had the opportunity to pose a few questions to its curator, Wendy Horwitz aka Love From NYC.

The word is that this is your first curatorial experience. How did this exhibition come about? 

I never planned on curating an exhibit. This wasn’t my idea. A male friend, in fact, suggested last summer that it would be a good idea to present an all-women street art show. He said, “If anyone could do it, you could do it!” And I decided to do it.

What was the greatest challenge you faced in seeing this through?

Finding a venue. And then when I heard that the owner of the Storefront Project is a woman, Gina Pagano, I approached her.

Yes! This space is ideal. How did you decide which artists to include?

I researched as many female street artists as I could. I was interested in featuring artists with a strong local presence who could work together cohesively.

How have folks responded to the exhibition?

They’ve been really enthusiastic. I’ve received very positive feedback from visitors, as well as the artists themselves. They were very excited to come together and meet one another.

What’s ahead?

I’m not sure. This has been a “passion project.” I don’t know if I will curate another show, but people are encouraging me to do a series of shows featuring women artists.

Congratulations on this! We do look forward to more! And how wonderful to be featured on NY1!

Note: A panel discussion will be held tomorrow, Thursday, December 19, from 7-8pm. Moderated by Vittoria Benzine of UP Magazine, it will feature Butterflymush, Lexi Bella and LOVEMKM. Located at 70 Orchard Street, the Storefront Project is open today through Sunday, 1-7pm and and tomorrow, Thursday, until 8pm.

Photos:

1 LMNOPI

2 Isabelle Ewing with Wendy Horwitz aka Love From NYC to her left

3 Swoon

4 Surface of Beauty

5 Dee Dee 

6 Alice Mizrachi

Also featured in Of Women, By Women are: Butterflymush, Chinon Maria, Jilly Ballistic, La Femme Cheri, Lexi BellaLOVEMKM., Magda Love, My Life in Yellow, Nora Breen, Sara Erenthal, Shiro and Toofly.

Interview conducted by Lois Stavsky and edited by Lois with Ana Candelaria

Photo credits: 1, 2, 3, 5 & 6 Ana Candelaria; 4 Lois Stavsky

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The following guest poet is by Lower East Side-based photographer Ana Candelaria

After two decades of attending classes at Seward Park High School — when I wasn’t hanging out in the parking lot! — I was back. I never thought I would be. This time, though, it was to hang on the rooftop with some of my favorite graffiti and street artists. Featured above is  IMOK (If Mother Only Knew) Crew member Cycle at work. Several more works that I captured this past Saturday follow:

The masterly Queen Andrea

The legendary Part One

  Veteran graffiti writer Dez aka the wildly popular DJ Kay Slay — in the early stages 

Ex-Vandals Will Power and Albertus Joseph, tribute piece to WBO Featherweight Champion, Amanda Serrano

French artist and DJ Jaek El Diablo

The masterful Mast

Photos by Lower East Side-based photographer Ana Candelaria

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The following guest poet is by Lower East Side-based photographer Ana Candelaria

Born and raised in Brooklyn, Baston714 has been making his mark on our streets these past few years with his uniquely intriguing wheatpastes, paste-ups and stickers. By chance, I came upon him while he was painting a mural outside the Second Avenue subway station — one of our favorite street art spots. Soon afterwards, I had the opportunity to interview him:

When did you first discover your love for art?

Both my parents were artists and Pratt graduates. My father was a furniture designer and my mom a shoe designer. So art was always a part of my life. I was always creative and I was always drawing, but I majored in television broadcasting and worked largely in network news as an editor.

Do any early art-related memories stand out? Particularly those that may involve your parents?

One particular memory stands out. When I was five years old, after seeing the movie A Red Balloon, I started drawing red balloons all over my walls at home. My mother didn’t appreciate my efforts and made me wash them all off.  I remember, also, my father drawing characters and having me identify them. I’d guess who each one was. My father might have been a fantastic fine artist, but because he had a family to take care of, he never pursued that venue.

What motivated you to hit the streets with your distinct vision?

I didn’t expect to. I had no plans of being a street artist. But once I began to photograph street art, I was hooked. I started creating little drawings and sending them out to the street artists I’d met to get some feedback. The feedback was positive – and, like the street artists I’d befriended, I, too, wanted to share them in a public space. I started putting up stickers about three years ago.

Are there any street artists out there who particularly inspired you when you began to get your work up in public spaces?

Among those who inspired me were: Who is Dirk?, Fumero, Denton Borrows, Phetus 88. and Jeff Henriquez.. I started shooting videos with Who is Dirk?, at night. I loved the idea of being in Chinatown at 3 AM in the morning!

What about your name? How did you come up with Baston714 ?

I lived in the jungle for over five years in Iquitos, Peru — one of the most isolated cities in the world.  One of the Shamans — healers — gave me the nickname Baston which means walking stick in Spanish. And I always liked the number combination 714!

Can you tell us something about your now-iconic face?

The face was influenced by other artists and the experiences I had with Shamans while living in the jungle. Painting comes from a very personal space. I had an idea and started fooling around. I like my colors to pop.

Are you generally satisfied with your artwork?

I hate my work until I’m about midway through creating it. About 56% in, I say to myself, “There’s something here.” And then the work starts to talk to me, “Do this! Put something here.” It comes to life.

I first met you while you were working on a wall on Houston Street and 2nd Avenue. Was this your first mural?

No, I’ve painted about five or six walls. Kon Air  gave me my first wall in Barcelona. It took me six hours to finish painting it. Fumero, gave me a wall at Art Basel 2018. Spray painting is extremely challenging. I like the challenge, and I would like to paint more walls.

Have you collaborated with any other artists?

Yes, I’ve collaborated with Zimad on stickers. I have also worked with Sinclair the VandalWho is Dirk? and Doodlehedz.

Are there any artists out there with whom you’d like to collaborate?

Among those I’d like to collaborate with are: Ratanic, Antennae and Fluidtoons.

Whats ahead?

More wheatpastes and I’d like to work on more walls.

Interview conducted by Ana Candelaria and edited for clarity and brevity by Ana and Lois.

Photo credits: 1, 2 & 5 Ana Candelaria; 3, 4 & 6 Lois Stavsky

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During the past several weeks, over a dozen intriguing murals have surfaced at First Street Green Art Park. Fashioned by local, national and international artists, they reflect a huge range of styles and sensibilities, The now-iconic image featured above is the work of the nomadic Nite Owl. Several more recent additions to First Street Green Art Park follow:

Brazilian artist Panmela Castro at work

NYC-based Marzipan Physics

Brooklyn-based K-NOR 

Cram Concepts and Ratchi NYC

Brazilian artist Binho

Madrid-based Ramón Amorós

First Street Green Art Park is located at 33 East 1st Street, where the Lower East Side meets the East Village.

Photo credits: 1, 3-7 Lois Stavsky; 2 Ana Candelaria

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The following guest poet is by Lower East Side-based photographer Ana Candelaria

As I was heading home this past Saturday after three hours of photographing street art on the Lower East Side — with my camera battery down to 10 percent — I unexpectedly ran into an artist whose work was unfamiliar to me. Impressed with what I saw, I introduced myself and found out that I had come upon Thailand-based artist MUEBON. Then the following day, on Sunday, I unexpectedly came upon him at work at JMZ Walls In Bushwick. What were the odds? Call it street art karma!

Pictured above is the artist at work on the Lower East Side. Several more photos I captured this past weekend follow:

Earlier on  — on the LES

At work at JMZ Walls in Bushwick

Another character at JMZ Walls

With Ana Candelaria at JMZ Walls

Photo credits: 1-5 Ana Candelaria 6. Alberto, JMZ Walls

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Currently on view at GR Gallery, one of our favorite Downtown art galleries, is Geometric Heat, a tantalizing exhibition showcasing the works of four international artists who share an inventive approach to geometric abstraction. The painting featured above, From the Top on Down, was fashioned by NYC-based Adam Lucas, known to many of us street art aficionados as Hanksy. Several more images we captured on our recent visit to Geometric Heat follow:

Italian artist Marco Casentini, On the Streets, Acrylic and glaze on canvas

Berlin-based Daniel Rich, Palestine Meredian Hotel, Baghdad, Acrylic on Aluminum Dibond

Czech artist Jan KalábDark Purple Ameba, Acrylic on canvas

Wide view with  Marco Casentini (side) and Adam Lucas (back wall)

Located at 255 Bowery, GR Gallery is open Wednesday – Sunday | 12 to 7pm. Geometric Heat remains on view through August 18.

Photo credits: 1-4 Lois Stavsky; 5 Ana Candelaria

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Tucked into a narrow passageway off Rivington Street east of the Bowery is the ever-evolving Freeman’s Alley. Even as the street art scene becomes increasingly corporate and commercial, Freeman’s Alley continues to remain a treasure trove of unsanctioned artwork. While some works can last for months, many are quite ephemeral. Featured above is “No Child Is Illegal” by Lmnopi. The following images were captured during these past two months.

Sara Lynne Leo, “It Wasn’t Supposed to End This Way”

 Dylan Egon, “Saint America,” with Sara Erenthal to his left

The Postman does Robert Smith of the English rock band, The Cure (Be sure to look up for this one!)

UK-based Coloquix

City Kitty and friends

10-year-old Ethan Armen with Thomas Allen

Captain Eyeliner, Who’s Dirk and friends

Photo credits: 1, 2, 4-8 Ana Candelaria; 3 Lois Stavsky

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The following guest post is by Lower East Side-based photographer Ana Candelaria

I first discovered Sara Erenthal‘s work on the Lower East Side several years ago. Last summer, I met Sara at Freeman’s Alley, and this past Thursday, I was delighted to view her artwork in a gallery setting.  Pictured above is the Brooklyn-based self-taught artist with The Storefront Project owner Gina Pagano to her left and curator Nina Blumberg to her right. Following are several more photos that I captured at the opening of BACKSTORY this past Thursday evening:

Sara Erenthal with gallery owner Gina Pagano

It gets busy!

Wendy aka Love from NYC and 0H10 M1ke checking out “Girl Talk,” Acrylic on thrift shop painting

Up Magazine editor T.K. Mills photographing “Emotional Support I,” Acrylic on repurposed print 

Multimedia artists Ryan Bonilla and Maria De Los Angeles next to “Emotional Support II,” Acrylic on repurposed print 

Sara Erenthal with Sandy Zabar and Ira Breite next to “I’m Infatuated,” Acrylic on thrifted print

The two Sara’s — Artist Sara Lynne Leo with Sara Erenthal

The overflowing opening reception crowd

BACKSTORY continues through August 18 at The Storefront Project, 70 Orchard Street, Tuesday- Sunday 1-6pm.

Photos: Ana Candelaria

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