Nic 707

Not only was the late legendary writer Fernando Miteff — known to most of us as Nic 707 — a master of multiple styles, but he was also the founder and curator of one of NYC’s most distinctly impressive public art projects, InstaFame Phantom Art.

Beginning in 2009 until his untimely death last year from Covid, Nic 707 regularly rode the MTA trains with the singular mission of transforming their interiors into a one-of-a-kind pop-up gallery in motion. Having accompanied him on many of these adventures, I witnessed first-hand not only his boundless passion for graffiti, but his deep love for all art, as he showcased contemporary artworks in styles ranging from figurative to abstract, along with his and other writers’ tags, throw-ups and pieces.

And the response of the train riders who viewed Nic’s pop-up shows was almost always overwhelmingly positive. Many posed questions to Nic as they photographed his installations, and in response, Nic would graciously school them on the history of graffiti, its impact on contemporary art, the personal histories of the varied artists and more.

InstaFame Phantom Art (Volume 1): The Nic 707 Collection (NYC Transit Exhibition Catalog) is the perfect tribute to Nic — a paean to his creative energy and vision — and a gift to us all. Penned by his brother, Karim Miteff, it not only features dozens of images of works by Nic and by several other artists that rode the trains between 2009-2013, but it tells the story of graffiti and of Nic’s particular circumstances, including his 27-year hiatus from the culture. Much, in fact, is presented in Nic’s own words, as told to Karim.

Among the key subjects the book covers — in addition to Nic 707’s story — are: the tools writers use, the evolution of their styles, their code of ethics and the development of crews. Nic 707 was, in fact, the founder and first President of the Bronx-based OTB Crew.

And featured, of course, are dozens of images of variations of Nic’s iconic Kilroy character, described by the artist as “a kind of an entity…a presence. Even though he has no eyes, he sees all…but he doesn’t judge. He promotes love and holds the key to a silent and ancient wisdom. He represents the potential for alien intervention to help save mankind.”

Nic 707 was one-of-a-kind. He was, as his brother accurately describes him, a “Style Master. Visionary. Time Traveler.”

Writing about InstaFame Phantom Art back in 2015 in The New York Times, David Gonzalez described the project as one “with hundreds of one-of-a-kind panels that would be the envy of any urban gallery.”

I am already looking forward to the second volume of InstaFame Phantom Art: The Nic 707 Collection (NYC Transit Exhibition Catalog). 

Images:

1 Book cover, 2021

2 Black Star Bumper Car on the IRT 4 train, 2013

3 Lollipop$, 2012

4 Souls in Transit, 2013

5 Choose Your Palette, 2012

Photos 1, 3-5 Courtesy Karim Miteff; Photo 2, Lois Stavsky

Book Review by Lois Stavsky

Note: The book is available here.

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With his extraordinary passion for art and his penchant for sharing it with others, Nic 707 touched so many of us. Beginning in 2013, I accompanied Nic several times a year — often along with other artists and photographers — on his subway train interventions, as he transformed dull, ad-saturated subway cars into vibrant moving canvases. Nic 707 was as eager to showcase other artists’ work — from old school writers to contemporary creatives — as he was to share his own, and he always had a “new” artist to introduce me to.

Each trip with Nic was a distinct adventure. And I was waiting for the current crisis to end, so that we could hit the trains — where I would, once again, serve in my dual role as look-out and documentarian. Sadly, that won’t happen, as Nic passed away last Sunday, April 12 — a victim of the cruel Coronavirus.

The image pictured above features Nic 707 and the legendary Taki 183 — whose tag Nic brought back to the trains — outside Taki 183′s Yonkers workplace. What follows are several photos of Nic 707 and his artworks riding the trains:

Nic 707 eagerly waits for the train to arrive

Nic 707′s iconic character, Kilroy

Kilroy in love

Kilroy as spaceman

Nic 707 schooling a subway rider on the history of subway graffiti

Two Upper East Side ladies on the 6 train discussing Nic 707‘s abstract art with him

Keep posted to the StreetArtNYC Instagram feed for images of works by other artists who participated in Nic‘s InstaFame Phantom Art project.  You can check out the interview I conducted with Nic 707 back in 2013 here.  And you can read David Gonzalez‘s obituary of Nic (Fernando Miteff ) in The New York Times here.

R.I.P. Nic 707. We will miss you.

Photos of images by Lois Stavsky

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Curated by Nic 707, the ingenious InstaFame Phantom Art continues to bring old school writers, along with a diverse range of younger artists, onto New York City subway trains. Pictured above is photographer/arts educator Rachel Fawn Alban snapping graff pioneer Dr Revolt, an original member of the historic NYC subway graffiti crew the Rolling Thunder. Several more images captured while riding the 1 train last week follow:

Al Diaz aka SAMO©

NYC-based multi-disciplinary artist Paulie Nassar

Bronx-based InstaFame Phantom Art founder and curator, Nic 707

Sweden-born, East Harlem-based Scratch

       Japanese painter and performance artist Pinokio

Social worker Luca Sanremo checking out the legendary Taki 183 with background by Nic 707,

Photo credits: 1, 3, 5-8 Lois Stavsky; 2 & 4 Rachel Fawn Alban

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Conceived and curated by Nic 707, the ingenious InstaFame Phantom Art continues to bring old school writers, along with a diverse range of younger artists, from NYC and beyond onto New York City subway trains.  Pictured above is Nic 707; several more images I captured while riding the 1 train last week follow:

South Carolina native Thomas Crouch

The legendary KingBee — with background by Nic 707

Veteran graffiti writer Spar One

Yonkers-based Fabian “Skaer” Verdejo

Brooklyn-based mixed-media artist Bianca Romero

Japanese artist Minori

Photos by Lois Stavsky

Note: Hailed in a range of media from WideWalls to the Huffington Post to the New York Times, our Street Art NYC App is now available for Android devices here.

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My latest adventures with Nic 707‘s famed InstaFame Phantom Art project had me riding the 1 train from the Bronx to the Financial District with several NYC graffiti veterans, along with some newer talents. Pictured above is an image of Salvador Dali fashioned by veteran writer Gear One. Several more images captured on this ride follow:

The legendary Taki 183 in collaboration with Nic 707

Brazilian artist Micheline Gil and Nic 707

Canadian artist Stavro and the renowned Easy

Legendary writers Al Diaz and Taki 183

Bronx graffiti veteran Tony 164

Photos by Lois Stavsky

Note: Hailed in a range of media from WideWalls to the Huffington Post to the New York Times, our Street Art NYC App is now available for Android devices here.

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taki-183-and-cornbread-graffiti

Nic 707’s InstaFame Phantom Art movement continues to hit the NYC subway trains with classic graffiti along with contemporary urban art. Pictured above are graffiti pioneers: Taki 183 and Cornbread. Here are several more featured on recent rides heading Downtown:

Classic graffiti writer Flint

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Colombian artist Praxis with a message

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Veteran writer and founder of the InstaFame Phantom Art Movement Nic 707

nic-707-abstract art

Veteran writer Spar One

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Steven Cogle and Gabriel Camacho

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Canadian artist Stavro

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Abstract urban artist David Lyman 

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Photo credits: 1, 5, 6 & 8 Lois Stavsky; 2-4 & 7 courtesy Nic 707

Note: Hailed in a range of media from Wide Walls to the Huffington Post to the New York Times, our Street Art NYC App is now available for Android devices here.

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in-chicago-with-cornbread

Earlier this fall, several Old School East Coast writers — including the legendary Cornbread — made their way to Chicago for a one-night exhibit and a day of painting alongside local Chicago artists. We recently spoke to Brian M Convery aka Booey who curated the exhibit that took place on October 15 at Loft Zero Gallery.

How did you guys end up in Chicago? What brought you there?

Skeme had told me about an opportunity to exhibit my artwork in a solo show at Chicago’s Loft Zero Gallery. I decided that I would prefer showing in a group exhibit — that I would curate — as it would be more inclusive.

How did you decide which artists to include?

I was particularly interested in showcasing the work of classic East Coast writers. And so I largely reached out to folks I know who were painting back in the day. It was my way of giving back to the community.

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What were some of the challenges you faced in curating an exhibit of this nature?

The greatest challenge was collecting all of the art I’d wanted to feature before heading out to Chicago. There were some kinks along the way. And then after twenty minutes of waiting in Newark in a rented van to drive five of us out to Chicago, Gear One called to tell me that Nic 707 was no where to be found!  But, eventually, it all came together.

What about the night of the exhibit? Any challenges? 

Having to compete with the Cubs who had a home game the same night!  We had to work on getting the info about our show out on Cubs’ message boards.

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Any particular highlights of the trip?

Having the opportunity to paint alongside several first-rate Chicago-based artists in Logan Square the following day. The interaction was awesome!

Can you tell us something more about that? How did it happen?

Constantine Ashford, the owner of Loft Zero Gallery, reached out to several local artists and made it happen.

dtel-graffiti-chicago

 What’s next?

I’ve been working on another show — Gold Standard — that will place this Saturday evening — December 10th at Lovecraft Bar NYC, 50 Avenue B. It will feature a range of artists from the legendary Taki 183 to such contemporaries as Tomas Manon and Gem 13.

gold-standard

Good luck!

Images

1. Constantine Ashford, Booey and Cornbread

2. Fritos and Gear One at work; also featured on mural are Booey and Nic 707

3. Chicago-based Boar1

4. Chicago-based Dtel

Photo credits: 1 & 2; courtesy Brian M Convery; 3 & 4 Tara Murray

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rocky184-and-kerz-graffiti

Nic 707’s InstaFame Phantom Art movement continues to bring dozens of classic writers back into NYC subway trains. Pictured above is Rocky 184 and Kerz. Here are a few more images recently captured while heading from the North Bronx to Midtown Manhattan:

Kerz

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Lava

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Taki 183 & Easy

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Slave, FAB 5

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Ree

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Nic 707

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And a recent Nic 707 abstract

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Quik

quik-graffiti-subway-train-nyc

Photos by Lois Stavsky

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"Part One" graffiti

This past Sunday, Elmhurst’s ELKS Lounge was home to Street Art Expo NYC, as it celebrated three generations of first-rate graffiti artists. Visitors — of all ages —  had the opportunity to meet a wonderfully diverse range of artists, become acquainted with new products and purchase original artworks directly from the artists. Pictured above is the legendary Part One. Here’s a small sampling of what we saw:

Veteran writer and photographer Flint Gennari with photo he’d captured back in the day of Flip One in action

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 Old school writer and a sponsor of Street Art Expo NYCAlski

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Bronx-based veteran writer and founder and curator of InstaFame Phantom Art, Nic 707

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Contemporary graffiti and street art legend Moody Mutz, AA Mobb

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The prolific Brooklyn-based Plasma Slug

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Bronx-based b-boy and graffiti artist, Chief 69

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In addition to The Alski Show, other sponsors of Street Art Expo NYC included: Ironlak, TYOTOYS and Art Primo.

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

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flint-tags-centrefuge

Among the intriguing images that recently surfaced on the once-abandoned East Village trailer, curated by the Centre-fuge Public Art Project, is Balu‘s rendition of Ex-Vandal Flint Gennari’s photo of old school writer, Flip One. This past Sunday several legendary writers graced the trailer with their tags.

Balu captured at work earlier this month

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Nic 707 — to the right of Al Diaz aka Bomb 1 tag

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Rocky 184

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Kool Kito

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Snake 1

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Coco 144

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Nic 707, Snake 1, Coco 144, Rocky 184 and Flint

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All photos by bytegirl

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