Mr. Mustart

"Alice Pasquini"

In my meanderings around Jersey City this past year, I came upon a number of first-rate murals by a wonderful array of artists signed Savage Habbitalong with the artists’ signatures. Just who or what is Savage Habbit? I found out this weekend as Inez, its founder, gave me a tour of Savage Habbit’s walls and answered some questions about its mission:

"Mr. Mustart"

Just what is Savage Habbit?

It is foremost a blog that was founded in 2011.  It is dedicated to showcasing the best art that has made its way onto the streets across the globe.  Among Savage Habbit’s missions today is to bring more street art to our local community.

What motivated you to launch Savage Habbit?

I wanted a blog that represented the art that I love, and the only way I could do that was to start my own.

"Li Hill"

And what about the murals?

I’m a New Jersey girl. I was born and raised here. I wanted to walk around my neighborhood and see art in my community. And I wanted to give back to my state. These murals benefit everyone!

When did your first mural surface?

Last year — in 2013.


What has been your greatest challenge?

Finding walls.

You seem to have facilitated quite a few murals. How do you find the artists?

Some contact me, and others I contact when I see that they are in town.

"Sean Lugo"

What’s ahead?

There are five confirmed walls.  Savage Habbit’s next wall will feature Nanook and Mata Ruda.

And what about the name “Savage Habbit?” What does it represent?

The name is derived from a Wu Tang quote:  Ricochet Rabbit had a habit, he was a savage. We are savagely passionate about our habit, art!

"case maclaim"

That sounds right!  We look forward to seeing more art on the streets of Jersey City.

Brief interview and photos by Lois Stavsky

1. Alice Pasquini, close-up

2. Mr. Mustart

3. Li-Hill at work yesterday

4. Ekundayo

5. Sean Lugo

6. Case, MA`CLAIM, close-up

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I came upon Serringe’s artwork on the streets of Jersey City earlier this year. I soon discovered that he was the force behind Element Tree and dozens of first-rate videos. I was delighted to finally have the opportunity to meet up with him at his store in Weehawken — just minutes away from Manhattan.

Christian Serringe

Tell us something about Element Tree. When did it launch?

Element Tree started as a blog in 2009.  I grew up in Jersey City around a bunch of talented people, and I needed a platform to post their work and share it with others in hopes of promoting them and myself.  Artists like Snow, T.Dee, 4sakn, Loser, Then One, Mr. Mustart and Distort —  to name a few.  There are others, but these are some of the original artists I felt people should definitely know about if they already didn’t.

When did Element Tree become a store?

I rented the space in Weehawken in February 2012. If I can’t do graff 24/7, I want to be around it. I also like the idea of nurturing the culture and keeping it healthy, and this store gives me the platform to do that.


What inspired you to start your own business?

I have a strong entrepreneurial streak. I don’t want people telling me who the “real artists” are. I want to help the people – whose work I love — make money.

Besides the first-rate art that you show here, you also sell art supplies. What do you see as the future of this space?

I will continue to provide affordable art for folks who love graffiti and street art. Not everyone can afford to spend $1500 on a canvas. And I’m interested in providing opportunities for artists — such as commissioned murals, design work for album covers and general creative direction. I see Element Tree as a house of creative energy and incubator for ideas.


What initially spurred your interest in graffiti?

I was always into graffiti from the time I was six years old. My older brother was a writer for a short period of time in the 90’s, and he sparked my brain, along with all the other local writers that were doing their thing when I was a kid. If they could do it, so could I. When I was a young teenager, my mom became ill and begged me not to write graffiti on the streets. She believed in my art, though… so until I was 19 years old, I detached myself from graffiti out of respect for her. She passed in 2004 — and aside from the occasional tag, I know she would be proud of me.

Did you develop any other passions while growing up?

I grew up in 80’s and 90’s: DJs, producers, skateboarders, punk rockers were everywhere. I became interested in all kinds of creative expression, and I began to create home videos with friends as a way to explore filmmaking.  Within the past three years, I created 140 videos.

Mr Mustart

And you also paint in public spaces these days.  Since you began doing so, have you had any particularly memorable experiences?

Art Basel 2012. It was the first time I traveled to paint on a wall that was sponsored at a major art event like Basel.  Art Primo powered us with the paint and Element Tree’s Mr. Mustart and Distort showcased their talents for all who passed by. It was great experience to paint among people we respected.

Have you exhibited your work?

I’ve been in a handful of shows, but Mustart, Then One and Distort stay doing their thing, showcasing and exhibiting through Element Tree-based projects and also on an independent level.  We are currently working on setting up the first Element Tree official group show… so if you’re a gallery owner, don’t hesitate to reach out!


Any thoughts about the graffiti and street art divide?

Eventually they will meet. Street art is still a baby in relation to graffiti. There are many street artists I respect. Banksy is a genius! Other favorites include: Blek le Rat, Invader and Shepherd Fairey. Oh, and if you don’t know… check out LNY. I see good things in him.

How would you explain the reluctance of the art establishment to embrace graffiti and street art?

Most people don’t understand it, and if you don’t understand something, you don’t know how to deal with it.


What do you see the future of graffiti?

It can’t be stopped. And eventually, it will gain acceptance as a legitimate art form.

No doubt!

Interview and photos by Lois Stavsky, photos 1,2 and 3 of Serrenge; photo 4, Mr. Mustart; photo 5, Distort and final image, Then One.


Just over the river — about ten minutes away from Manhattan — a street art scene is flourishing in Jersey City. Here’s a sampling of what was seen yesterday:

Italian artist Pixel Pancho paints in celebration of the 23rd Annual Jersey City Artists Studio Tour

Pixel Pancho



 MOR on the exterior of Hudson County Art Supply


Dulk from Valencia, Spain




Nose Go

Mr. Mustart, Serringe, Distort and Then One


S.A.G.E Collective, segment of huge mural


Hawaiian native Ekundayo, close-up


Photos by Lois Stavsky 

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Just a short drive from NYC, a seemingly abandoned warehouse is home to a treasure trove of urban images — from sundry tags to stylish graffiti to wondrous murals. Based in Jersey City, the Green Villain serves as a gallery, a studio space for artists and musicians, a lounge, a showroom and more. Mesmerizing images — by both local and international artists — grace its interior and outdoor walls. Here are a few captured on our recent visit:

Newark-based Mr. Mustart, close-up from huge murals on interior walls




Then One, Mr. Mustart and Nasko artwork — for sale


Tags, tags and more tags!




And among the dozens of images gracing the outside —



 French writer Ezor


And currently underway are plans for the Green Villain’s first NYC event.

Photos by Lois Stavsky