Penned by photographer, writer, neuroscientist and street art aficionado, Yoav Litvin, 2Create: Art Collaborations in New York City is a distinctly elegant ode to the art of collaboration. Recently released by Schiffer Publishing, it was formally launched last month at the Bronx Museum of the Arts alongside a collaborative photography exhibit, 2gether: Portraits of Duos in Harlem and the South Bronx by Litvin and Tau Battice. A textual and visual documentation of the creative and collaborative process among nine pairs of artists, 2Create also presents first-hand accounts of each one’s early life and work.


Featuring such duos from NYC-based Al Diaz and Jilly Ballistic to the Iranian brothers Icy and Sot, 2Create: Art Collaborations in New York City showcases a broad range of styles, sensibilities and processes. It also introduces us to the specific locale — from Manhattan’s Union Square Subway Station to a Greenpoint, Brooklyn rooftop — of each of the collaborative works featured. With its astute insights and superb design, it stands out among the dozens of street art-related books published last year.

bunnyM-and- Square-paint-street-art


After reading the book, I posed a few questions to Yoav:

Your first book, the highly acclaimed Outdoor Gallery: New York City, focused largely on individual artists. Why did you decide to focus on duos in this book? 

In contrast to other art forms, such as music or dance, the visual arts involve a more solitary practice. Painters are famous for being hermits: closing themselves off from the world in their studios where they paint their masterpieces. At least, that’s the popular narrative. I feel that because the visual arts are easily commodified and objectified, they have evolved in such a way.  While I was working on Outdoor Gallery, which focuses on 46 individual artists, I noticed several duos of street and graffiti artists who produced incredible works, and I was fascinated by their practices. In 2Create I seek to investigate the art and practice of collaboration in different mediums — collage work, screen printing, stenciling, graffiti and mural making. My goal with 2Create is twofold: to present the behind-the-scenes processes of these artists and to investigate the secrets of collaboration, with the ultimate aim of encouraging others to create together. Just like any skill, collaboration needs to be practiced!

Dain-and-Stikki- Peaches

How did you decide which duos to feature in 2Create?

My process with 2Create was mostly democratic. I was looking to present a diversity of styles, messages, mediums and locales. I am cognizant and weary of the politics involved in the arts and attempted to focus on artists that I felt were doing radical, innovative work and were constantly challenging themselves. Throughout my research on collaborations, I discovered there were two major categories that lie on a continuum — from complementary collaborations – individual works presented side by side – to integrative, a single piece that seamlessly integrates the work of two artists. I chose nine duos that present the full spectrum.



What insights did you, yourself, gain into the collaborative process, particularly among visual artists?

Collaboration is a skill that should be practiced by any visual artist as part of his/her development. Collaboration is an exciting and stimulating process that can produce immense growth if approached correctly, but can be very challenging at times. An artist needs to respect and trust his or her collaborator and be willing to be adaptable and open to critique. The collaborative process can open new doors for an artist  — in techniques, messages, ideas and human connections that can be useful moving forward.


The book, itself, is masterfully designed. Can you tell us something about that? 

For the design I worked with the designer Dan Michman, who is also an excellent childhood friend. It was important for me that every aspect of this project be collaborative. Dan is the best designer I know, plus I like him a lot and knew from experience that we’d collaborate well. Our process was incredible. Dan took my materials — images and texts — along with my notions on the artistic process and on collaboration, and created a stunning design “language” for the book. It was a truly integrative collaborative process. I could not be happier with the way it turned out. Plus, the cover design is simply stunning. Lastly, Schiffer Publishing did a great job in the book’s production.


How has the response been to 2Create?  Is there any particular readership you’d like to reach?

The response has been overwhelmingly positive. In addition to appealing to the street art and graffiti fan crowd, my hope is that 2Create will integrate as a text book for art schools, colleges and universities. I believe the behind-the-scenes process shots, the revealing interviews and the insight into the art of collaboration make it a unique resource for artists in general, and visual artists in particular. But 2Create is more than a book on art. It is a document that presents the collaborative duo as the basic unit of a collective humanity in which empathy and collaboration trump disregard and domination. In an era of the cult of celebrity, war and climate change, collective action is not only beneficial, it is necessary. 2Create expresses these radical notions and I hope it will serve to inspire activists fighting for the greater good.

For more listen to Yoav speak on Counterpunch Radio here.


1 & 2 Rubin and Dasic 

3 & 4 Bunny M and Square 

5  Stikki Peaches and Dain

6 & 7 Icy & Sot


All images © Yoav Litvin

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

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Back in March, Joshua B. Geyer‘s splendidly curated exhibit introduced us to the World Trade Gallery.  We recently returned as its current exhibit, Deep Calls Deep, again features some of our favorite artists. Pictured above is a recent work by the wonderfully talented and highly imaginative Michael Alan.

Also by Michael Alan





With Erasmo to his left


Located at 120 Broadway in Manhattan’s Financial District, the World Trade Gallery is open Monday – Thursday 9am-7pm; Friday 9am-6pm and Saturday 11am-5pm.

Photo credits: 1, 4 & 5 Tara Murray; 2 & 3 Lois Stavsky

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

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Recently released by Dokument PressRUBIN NEW YORK SCANDINAVIA is a stunning survey of Rubin‘s distinct abstract and geometrical artworks that are rooted in traditional graffiti. With dozens of images documenting Rubin‘s journey — from Sweden, where he grew up, to NYC, where he is now based — Rubin New York/Scandinavia  offers an overview of the works of an exceptional artist, who has brought a singular beauty to our NYC landscape.


The book’s succinct text by Björn Almqvist introduces us to Rubin’s experiences as a child of Finnish immigrants who made their way to Sweden in search of work. The alienation that Rubin felt among Swedes, along with the stark grey concrete walls of the housing complex that enveloped him, were calls to pick up a can and make a mark.


Inspired by Scandinavian design, Rubin has developed a unique aesthetic that uses geometrical, symbols in lieu of letters. With his splendid craftsmanship and unique aesthetic, he transforms the gritty language of graffiti into his own distinct expression that is as effective on the streets of the South Bronx, as it is inside a church yard or on the outside of a Manhattan boutique.


Rubin New York/Scandinavia also provides us with a handsomely curated survey of Rubin’s studio work that has been increasingly making its way into galleries.


Rubin New York/Scandinavia is a splendid ode to a distinctly wonderful artist. Its NYC release took place last month at WallWorks, where the artist’s  works remain on exhibit through June 29th.



1. & 2. Brooklyn, 2014

3. Brooklyn, 2014

4. Gothenburg, 1989 

5. Brooklyn, 2015

6. Gallery nine5, 2014

Photo credits: Tony “Rubin” Sjöman and Mika Tuomivuo; all photos courtesy of Dokument Press; book review by Lois Stavsky

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

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While in Baltimore earlier this month, I stumbled upon an intriguing medley of murals just a few steps from Station North. I soon discovered that they were sponsored by Section 1, an ambitious urban art project aimed at transforming an adjacent abandoned 3.5-acre site into a huge urban art park with over 70,000 square feet of paintable surfaces. Here are a few more murals I sighted that day, some of which are certain to have been repainted in this open-air revolving canvas.

Baltimore native Nether


New Orleans native Adam Estes


Baltimore-based Adam Stab


La Anarchy


Baltimore-based Colombian tattoo artists Kike Castillo and Jesse Kuzniarsk


 Note: The first image pictured is a collaborative mural by Werc, Rubin and Billy Mode

Photos by Lois Stavsky


gallery nine5 will host a block party this evening — from 6-8pm — to celebrate the transformation of its gallery walls into a vibrant, magical public sphere. Here are a few recently captured images:

Vor138‘s completed piece with TATS CRU on the left and Bisco Smith to the right

"group ink"



Shiro at work

"Shiro at Gallery nine5"

And her completed piece


Ket — who has been transforming his original piece with political references and names of victims of violence and war; it’s certain to look different this evening from the close-up captured here!

"Alan Ket"

And the always-wonderful Rubin415 at work on Monday


gallery nine5 is located at 24 Spring Street, and if you can’t make it this evening, you can check out the site-specific exhibit through July 30.


Photos: 1-4 by Dani Reyes Mozeson; 5-6 by Lois Stavsky


Speaking with Rubin

January 16, 2013


Rubin’s exquisite murals surface here regularly in NYC on the streets of Brooklyn and the Bronx.  Each one is a cause for celebration.  We recently had the opportunity to speak with the talented artist.

When and where did you start getting up?

I started tagging in 1985 – age 10.  I was living in Gothenburg, Sweden. I grew up there among the concrete projects. Their walls were my first canvas.

What inspired you?

I watched the movie Beat Street at my friend’s house. That started everything. The movie had a huge impact on me, as did growing up in the projects.

How did your family feel about what you were doing back then?

My mother worried a lot. But she was supportive.

Rubin graffiti

Do you have a formal art education?

No. I never wanted to go to art school. I studied music and played in several bands in my native Gothenburg.

Back in Sweden, did you work alone or with a crew?

I painted with NTA (Night Time Artists) back in Sweden. But I also painted alone.

What about here – in NYC?

I’ve collaborated mostly with 4Burner members:  Sen2, Dasic, Owns, Deem, Gusto and Logek.

Would you rather paint alone or with others?

I like painting alone, but painting with others is important for artistic growth.


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

I would love to collaborate with Futura. That would be something.

Have you any preferred spots and/or surfaces?

I love the concrete walls up in Hunts Point in the South Bronx.

What is the riskiest thing you ever did?

I climbed five or six stories on a drain pipe to get to the top of a building.


Because it was an impossible spot that no-one had reached before.


Your artwork seems to blur the lines between graffiti and street art. How do you feel about the graffiti/street art divide?

We should be on the same side, but we’re not. There is definitely a beef between street art and graffiti. I have always tried to bring these two opposites together in my art. It’s very challenging. There is so much ego in graffiti and street art trends seem to come and go.

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

It’s exciting and interesting. I see it as a natural progression.

Have you exhibited in galleries?

Mostly in Sweden, but I exhibited along with Cope2 two years ago in Nolita.


What is your main source of income these days?

My main source of income is photography. I’m also involved with the production of a Swedish/Finnish arts and culture magazine.

How do you feel about the role of the Internet in all this? And do you follow any sites?

I think it’s great. I follow 12ozProphet and StreetArtNYC.

What inspires you these days?

Craftsmanship, Kraftwerk’s minimal electronic music and the contrasts between my two homes: Bushwick, Brooklyn and the gorgeous woods of Lapland, where I spend the summers with my wife.

Are you generally satisfied with your finished pieces?



When you look back to what you did two years ago, how do you feel about it?

Two years ago feels like an eternity, especially when living in NYC. I tend to look forward instead of looking back.

How has your artwork evolved through the years?

In the nineties, I was one of the most active writers in Sweden. In the mid-nineties my graffiti took a turn to the geometric. From 1999 to 2008, I took a break and focused on my band, Kingston Air Force. I can’t really describe my usual style. Someone once called it abstract geometry; that’s a pretty good description, but my style is still evolving.

 Of all the cities in which you painted, which is your favorite?

New York City. I love the energy and the mix of people. Nothing beats New York.

 Who are some of your favorite artists?

The Swedish artist Gouge. He’s amazing!  Bates from Denmark, Dondi and Riff 170 from NYC, C215 and Nelio from France, Boaone from Germany and  Sofles and Fecks from Australia.


 What advice would you offer young writers and younger artists?

 Work hard. Learn the craftsmanship. Perfect your technique. Practice. Be a good role model to younger writers. Be nice.

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

Every artist is an egoist, and I’m no exception to the rule. I interpret what I see and how I feel through my art. I create for myself, but I’m very humbled every time someone appreciates my pieces. It means that they appreciate my take on what’s going on around us. That’s very flattering.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I don’t even know where I’ll be next week. NYC has taught me how to live right here and now, and I’m really enjoying taking a day at a time.

Interview by Lois Stavsky with Lenny Collado and Tara Murray; photos by Lenny Collado, Dani Mozeson. Tara Murray and Lois Stavsky


We are thrilled that both Dasic Fernandez and Rubin415 are back in town. Earlier this month, they were joined by Madrid’s Okuda as they fashioned  intriguingly captivating murals on White Street in Bushwick.

Chilean artist Dasic Fernandez at work


Dasic Fernandez and Okuda

Dasic and Okuda

 Okuda at work




Swedish artist Rubin415 at work




 Photos by Lenny Collado, Tara Murray and Lois Stavsky


"Rubin415 and Dasic"

The walls in the industrial neighborhood of Hunts Point up in the Bronx are among NYC’s most vibrant. Within the past few weeks, over a dozen diverse pieces have surfaced. While some are rooted in traditional graffiti and others cross genres, they all exude distinct charm and energy. Here is a sampling captured this past week:

Swedish artist Rubin415 and Chilean artists Dasic Fernandez and Zewok

"Rubin415, Dasic and Zewok"

Zewok close-up


Bristol legend Inkie in from London

"Inkie graffiti"

The legendary Bronx native John Matos aka Crash

"John Matos aka Crash"

Bristol’s famed Nick Walker and West coast artist Mark Bode

"Nick Walker and Mark Bode"

 New York City’s Yes2

"Yes 2 graffiti"

Photos by Lenny Collado, Tara Murray and Lois Stavsky

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Since early March there has been a surge of stylish walls up in the Bronx. We are looking forward to the many more certain to surface.  Meanwhile, here are three of our favorites:

LA Retna’s collaboration with COPE2.  This is a segment–

"Retna and Cope street art and graffiti in the Bronx"

More after the jump!


Few NYC walls successfully fuse as many distinct styles and sensibilities as those up in the Bronx. Among these is the huge wall on Boone Avenue in the West Farms district.  East meets West; graffiti couples with street art and comic art merges with folk art. Here are a few images:

Shiro, Deem, Rubin415, King Bee, Logek & Obey

"Shiro, Deem, Rubin415, King Bee, Logek & Obey Bronx street art & graffiti"

More after the jump!