SoHo

Although dozens of boards that have served as canvases for a diverse range of artworks are no longer part of Soho’s visual landscape, the neighborhood remains my current favorite destination for street art. The image featured above was created by the talented, NYC-based writer and painter Gerry Vewer. Several more images — some discovered earlier this week and others captured within the last month — follow:

West Chester, PA-born, NYC-based Maeve Cahill’s homage to Black inventors, who’ve been largely “written out of history”

Documentarian Middlemen Doc and NY-based filmmaker and multidisciplinary artist Rochelle Leanne to the left of the widely-posted “Black Lives Matter” image

Artist and self-described cosmic anthropologist Loren Crea Abbate to the left of multidisciplinary artist Beatriz Ramos

Multidisciplinary artist and designer K O FF EE

Visual artist and poet Android Oi in collaboration with Brooklyn-based MaryKathryn Medlock — to the right of  NYC-based UNLOK

To be continued next week!

Photos by Lois Stavsky

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A diverse range of artists — from self-taught to those with advanced degrees in Fine Art — have been busy these past few weeks in Soho, transforming the Lower Manhattan neighborhood into an open-air museum.  Although dozens of artworks on boards have already vanished as stores begin to open, others continue to surface. The works above were fashioned by — from left to right — Tyler Ives, Calicho Arevalo, and Loren Crea Abbate. Several more images in this ongoing series follow:

Multimedia artist and environmentalist Luca Babini aka Acool55 to the left of Erin Ko‘s portrait of  the late noted African-American writer James Baldwin

Savior Elmundo, “Enough Is Enough,” to the left of Lady JDay’s portrait of Breonna Taylor

Lower East Side-based multidisciplinary artist Michael Rimbaud does the late noted poet Gil Scott-Heron with a play on his famed poem “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”

Queens-native Jeff Rose King in collaboration with Colombian artist Calicho Arevalo

Lower Manhattan-based creative agency Vault49

Brooklyn-based artist/calligrapher Max Gibbons

To be continued next week!

Photos: Lois Stavsky

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From the playful to the political, the artworks surfacing daily on Soho’s boarded-up doors and windows delight and provoke. Featured above — in the second of our series documenting Soho’s open-air museum — is Maeve Cahill‘s tribute to the late African-American journalist Ida B. Wells, alongside alluring images by an artist identified as A V.  Several more artworks captured earlier this week follow:

NYC-based Nick C. Kirk, stencil of civil rights activist and football quarterback, Colin Kaepernick 

NYC-based Urban Russian Doll, Portrait of Breonna Taylor, the black emergency medical technician who had been shot to death in her Louisville, Kentucky home

 NYC-based Hektad

 Athens, Greece-born, NYC-based Lydia Venieri, “Say Their Names,” Portraits of African-Americans murdered by the police

NYC-based artists Tiger Mackie (L.) and Beelzebaby (R.)

Newark, NJ-based Goomba at work

Photo credits: 1-6 Lois Stavsky and 7 Ana Candelaria 

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Soho’s boarded-up windows and doors now host a wide range of varied artworks. While combing the streets this past Monday, I came upon works by several artists new to me, as well as by those familiar to all of us street art aficionados. The image featured above is the work of Brooklyn-based Dena Paige-Fischer. A small sampling of more images that have transformed the blocks in the vicinity of Grand and Mercer Streets into an open-air museum follow:

Miami-native, NYC-based SacSix

NYC-based multidisciplinary artist Jo Shane at work posting political texts

Some musings from an anonymous source

Brooklyn-based Kamila Zmrzla-Otcasek, to the left of Mia and Adrien Otcasek

NYC-based artist and animator  Sara Lynne Leo

 Brooklyn-based Denis Ouch

The prolific Optimo NYC

Photos by Lois Stavsky

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

This past Saturday, I joined a group of 21 Shooters Street Art hunters, scouring the streets of SoHo and Tribeca. On a mission, organized by Shooters Street Art founder Omar Lopez aka Omar Victorious, we competed to be the first to locate 17 wheatpastes featuring works by one of my favorite street artists, Dee Dee Was Here. After our two-hour search had ended, and the winner, John Domine, was presented with an exclusive original print, Dee Dee, who remained undisclosed throughout the hunt, offered me her feedback:

How do you feel about the concept behind the Shooters Street Art Scavenger Hunt?

I love the concept. I love walking in the city myself, just wandering. It reminds me of back when I came upon art that I loved…like Bäst  and Aiko. It was a great surprise to run into one. The idea of bringing a group of people together for a fun day in October outside to find art was too good to pass up!

This hunt seemed to motivate you to put up even more work on the streets.

Honestly, it only motivated me more THIS week. I did look around SoHo with a new eye to put a few more out, as I wanted it to be really fun for everyone. Not everything was new. I brought some old favorites out, since I know that some people may be new to me and not know them. It was a nice overview of pieces from the past few years.

What inspires your works?

All of mine are inspired differently. Each has a story and a mood I am trying to convey. A lot starts with songs; then a story begins from there.

How does it feel to have so many people hunting for you?

It’s a little overwhelming, really! I am very lucky. I am told over and over how many people deeply connect with my work  — on a very personal level. One gallery owner once told me, “Your fans don’t love you; they LOVE you!” I feel that, and I feel very connected to them. I make my art for me. It’s the art that I want to see, so having everyone excitedly coming to find it is quite amazing. The fact that it makes them happy and they get to enjoy the day — while making new friends — is just icing on a pretty great cake.

What was it like to participate anonymously in this Shooters Street Art Scavenger Hunt?

I also got to enjoy it out there myself — as a few people ran right by me to find their next location. It’s Halloween, and I get to be a real-live ghost. What could be more fun that that?

Thank you so much, Dee Dee. We loved it. I greatly appreciate your feedback and kindness. I can’t get over how much fun I had on this hunt. It was filled to the brim with excitement. 

My pleasure. I wanted to do something fun for Halloween, and we had such a beautiful day for it. So many people told me what a great time they had…we may have to do it again sometime.

Interview and photos by Ana Candelaria

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Hoacs-graffiti-H-Eden-Fine-Art

Currently on view at Eden Fine Art in SoHo is No Days Off, an ingenious installation of vibrant images in a range of media by the wonderfully gifted Queens-based graffiti master Hoacs.  While visiting the space this past Friday — while Hoacs was adding the final touches to No Days Off for his Saturday evening opening — I had the opportunity to speak to him.`

This is amazing! What a brilliant installation! How long have you been working on it?

I began several months ago — in mid-December.

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Integrated within the huge pieces painted on the walls is a range of media here. I love the varied surfaces you’ve painted on. Can you tell us something about that?

Yes! With the exception of several canvases, everything has been painted on pieces of discarded wood that I found. I hand sanded and treated them all before painting on them. Each is distinct.

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What would you say was your greatest challenge in executing the installation — as everything seems to work so well together?

My chief concern was my choice of colors. It is important to me that the individuals walls — particularly those across from one another — work well together.

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This space and this neighborhood couldn’t be more perfect! How did this wonderful space come your way?

A friend of mine, the jeweler Mr. Flawless — another Queens native — knows the owner of this gallery and introduced us.

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What would you say is the principal difference between working on the streets and working in an indoor space like this one? 

When I paint outdoors, I am at the mercy of the elements — the cold, the heat, the rain, the winds — and I often stop what I’m doing to speak to folks who drop by. I also tend to paint with others. Here  — I am in my own world!

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Are you satisfied with the way it is looking?

Yes! I got to do exactly what I wanted to do!

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What about the title of the exhibit, No Days Off?

Graffiti is a passion that comes with huge demands! There are “no days off” for a graffiti writer!

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How can folks see the exhibit?

Eden Fine Art SoHo is s located at 470 Broome Street and is open seven days a week, 9AM to 9PM.

That’s perfect! Congratulations!

Interview by Lois Stavsky

Photo credits: 1-3, 5.-8 Lois Stavsky; 2 & 4 Tara Murray

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

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Misha-Tyutyunik-MDOT-SoHo-Mural-Art

Based in Brooklyn, Misha Tyutyunik aka MDOT is an accomplished painter, muralist and illustrator. His recent venture, fashioned along with a team of Groundswell youth, looms large at 11 Howard Street in SoHo. Earlier this week, we visited his studio and had the opportunity to speak to him.

When and where did you first make your mark on the streets?

Back in 1999, Wisher 914 and I hit up the water tower in Mohegan Lake in North Westchester where we grew up.  But my outdoor work is largely commissioned murals. I painted my first one for SoBro in the Bronx in 2006.  My most recent one is a collaboration with Groundswell youth at 11 Howard Street in SoHo, the site of Aby Rosen’s latest hotel venture.

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You’re also a prolific painter of smaller works – from works on paper to paintings on huge canvasesHave you exhibited your works in gallery settings?

Yes!  I’ve exhibited throughout NYC in a range of spaces from CATM in Chelsea and  Tambaran on the Upper East Side to a variety of alternative venues.

Do you have a formal arts education? And was it worthwhile?

Yes, I have a BFA in Design and Illustration from Pratt. And, yes, as I learned how to problem solve through creative means.

Are there any particular cultures that have influenced your aesthetic?

I spent my first seven years in the Ukraine, and was definitely influenced by social realism. Other influences include: graffiti in its heyday; Japanese prints; abstract expressionism; traditional mural painting and German expressionism.

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What about artists? Any particular influences?

Among the many artists whose aesthetic has influenced me are: Diego Rivera, Klimt and Egon Schiele.

Do you prefer working alone or collaborating with others?

I used to prefer working alone, but lately I’ve become more open to collaboration. I recently collaborated with Chris Soria.

If you could collaborate with any artist – alive or deceased – with whom would you collaborate?

Picasso – all day every day – and Max Ernst.

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How does your family feel about what you are doing?

They love it!  None of them are artists, but they all love what I am doing!

What percentage of your time is devoted to art?

Pretty much all of it.

Is art the main source of your income?

Yes, the money I earn from commissions, along with income from teaching mural-making and art sales. I’ve also begun working on fashion design.

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How you feel about the role of the Internet in this scene?

It’s everything! Without the Internet I’d be nowhere.

Are you generally satisfied with your finished work?

I think so. But the question is: Is anything ever really finished?

How has your artwork evolved in the past few years?

By leaps and bounds! I’m much more comfortable than I used to be with different styles. My visual language has become more confident.

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As your work on the streets is largely commissioned murals, have you run into any conflicts with street artists or graffiti writers?

On occasion.  While painting a commissioned wall down in DC, for example, I was approached by graffiti writers who told me that the wall was theirs. When I explained to them what I was doing and they saw my work in progress, they came around.

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

I see my role as to reflect on our times, while bringing a strong aesthetic sensibility back into a largely conceptual realm.

What’s ahead?

Everything! Taking over the art world!

misha-Tyutyunik-SoHo

That’s quite ambitious! Are there any particular projects we can look forward to?

I am currently painting an anti-gun violence mural in conjunction with BRIC, and I will soon begin working on a mural with Groundswell youth at Stapleton in Staten Island. And opening tonight and continuing through March 31 is The Internal Muse, a selection of my new paintings at Melet Mercantile at 84 Wooster Street in SoHo.

It all sounds great! Congratulations!

Interview conducted by Lois Stavsky with Tara Murray

Photo credits: 1 & 2 courtesy Lindsey Brown McLravy | SLATE PR; 3, 5 & 6 Lois Stavsky; 4 Tara Murray 

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

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Allan-Ludwig-photo-by-Julie Dermansky

Still out there each day with camera in hand documenting what has surfaced overnight, photographer Allan Ludwig aka Elisha Cook, Jr recently shared with us some of his thoughts on the changes that he’s witnessed in his downtown Manhattan neighborhood and more:

You’ve lived here in Soho for decades.  At what point did the changes in your neighborhood become most apparent?

Around 2003, I noticed that the new stores in my neighborhood were — for the most part — only selling expensive items.  I no longer recognized my neighbors’ faces on the streets. Tourists and shoppers were everywhere. I knew then that I must turn my lens onto the graffiti and street art here before it all disappeared.

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And what are some of the changes that you have observed in the street art that surfaces here these days?

It has largely lost its edginess.  Much of the street art here has  gotten exceedingly commercial.  It’s often difficult to tell the difference between what is sanctioned and what is done without permission. Street art and ads have become increasingly interchangeable. And too many “street artists” these days seem to use public space primarily to promote their gallery shows.

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What do you suppose has caused these changes?

The monetization of it all.  And I feel that the street art festivals have not only legitimized an underground movement, but have created an elite — not all that different from the mainstream art world.

 We’ve noticed that you tend to focus your camera on illegal works, particularly tags and bombs. Why is that?

Because they are real and raw. I love their poetic spontaneity. I can feel the artist’s pure passion and love for it.

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Not everyone would agree with you! Any thoughts about Mayor de Blasio’s proposed efforts to keep the city graffiti-free?

I don’t see any point to it. It’s a misdirected use of funds. The money should be used, instead, to help the homeless.

We noticed that you were daily documenting the impromptu David Bowie memorial in front of his home. Did you know Bowie personally?

I live just down the block from him, so I’d see him from time to time around the neighborhood. But, no, I didn’t know him personally. I would simply nod in acknowledgement and respect when I saw him. I sensed that he was my kind of person. But I did not want to invade his privacy.

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And what about the memorial? What spurred you to photograph it daily and in such detail?

I loved it! I loved that it was spontaneous and inclusive. There was no hidden agenda!

Interview conducted by Lois Stavsky with Tara Murray

All photos by Allan Ludwig aka Elisha Cook, Jr, except for the first one — featuring Allan alongside Buff Monster — which was photographed by Julie Dermansky; photo 3 features Dylan Egon; photo 4 features Dee Dee  and photo 5, Dasic Fernandez

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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Paul-wackers-street-art-tribeca-NYC

This past winter, a huge public mural, Slow Dance and the Daylight, surfaced outside the James Hotel on 6th Avenue off Grand Street. The work of Brooklyn-based artist Paul Wackers, its vivid colors and creative composition intrigue.

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On view through Friday at Morgan Lehman is Thank You for Being Youfeaturing a series of stunning paintings, along with ceramic sculptures ranging from the recognizable to the surreal. It is Paul Wackers‘ second solo exhibit at Morgan Lehman.

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A wide view with ceramic sculptures

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Morgan Lehman Gallery is located at 535 West 22nd Street between 10th and 11th Avenues in the Chelsea gallery district.

Photos 1-3 by Lois Stavsky; 4-6 Dani Reyes Mozeson

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Cernesto

Within the last month ArtBattles local champion, Cernesto, and European ArtBattles champ, El Niño de Las Pinturas, have painted — to our delight — huge murals in the East Village and in Soho.

Cern‘s completed mural in the East Village

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El Niño de Las Pinturas, completed mural in the East Village

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El Niño de Las Pinturas, close-up in the East Village

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Cern in Soho

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El Niño de Las Pinturas in Soho

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 Photos: 1-3 & 5-6 Tara Murray; 4 Lois Stavsky

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