Washington DC

A huge sticker fan, I first discovered iwillnot‘s stickers almost a decade ago while combing the streets of DC in search of striking street art. Soon afterwards, I met him and was struck by not only his outstanding aesthetic sensibility, but his huge passion for stickers and its wonderfully democratic collective culture.

In his recently released and hugely popular book, Smashed: The Art of the Sticker Combo, iwillnot shares not only his story, but provides us with tremendous insights into the entire sticker culture.

Intent on trading his stickers with other sticker artists, iwillnot had early on established a network of artists to exchange sticker packs. He was soon installing sticker combos in cities throughout the East Coast. And in 2011, he began to envision “smashing an art gallery in a major city with thousands and thousands of stickers.” Smashed: The Art of the Sticker Combo documents the realization of this dream.

With the support of street art enthusiast and Fridge Gallery founder and curator Alex Goldstein, iwillnot curated a 12.5 feet tall by 20 feet wide 10,000 sticker installation in 2013. By 2016, the entire gallery was smashed with hundreds of thousands of stickers, representing over 500 artists from 15 countries. The 2016 DC Street Sticker Expo reached over three million people.

With dozens of photographs documenting it all, Smashed: The Art of the Sticker Combo is certain to appeal to all of us sticker art fans and street art aficionados. The book can be purchased through Amazon or directly from the author here. And if you would like to participate in this year’s DC Street Sticker Expo, you still can!

All images courtesy iwillnotthe third image features — Foes, Mr Say, Skam, Sore Infest (top) RX Skulls, Obit, Who, and Ride (bottom); book reviewed by Lois Stavsky

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POW! WOW!, an international art movement that celebrates culture, music and art in cities throughout the globe, recently returned to Washington DC’s NoMa neighborhood. While down in DC last week, I had the opportunity to check out several recent murals. Pictured above is by Brooklyn-based Mexican artist Ricardo Gonzalez aka It’s a Living. What follows are a few more images I captured:

Spanish artist Muro, segment of larger mural

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DC-based Juan Pinada aka CRI

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 Hawaii-based Kaplan Bunce aka Kapache1

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LA-based Mark Paul Deren aka Madsteez

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DC-based Martin Swift, captured near completion

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DC-based Mas Paz at work

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DC-based Miss Che Love at work

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Arlington-based KeyHan, one segment of huge mural

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Among this year’s man sponsors were: the NoMa BID, neighborhood real estate developers Skanska and Folger-Pratt, Whole Foods and Montana Cans.

Photos by Lois Stavsky

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 early fall, Blind Whino x Art Whino brought 10 internationally acclaimed street artists to Washington DC. A melding of abstraction, fine art, graffiti and street art, their murals further enhance DC’s thriving visual landscape. Pictured above is a huge segment of a mural painted by the Polish artist, Robert Proch. Here are several more captured on our recent visit to DC:

Berlin-based Australian artist Reka, segment of huge mural

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 Ukranian artist Waone of Interesni Kazki

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Baltimore-based Jessie and Katey

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UK-based Remi Rough

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Berlin-based Above, close-up

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NYC-based Jason Woodside

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Photo credits: 1 & 7 Lois Stavsky; 2-6 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 for Android devices here.

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Currently on view at the FridgeDC is DC Street Sticker EXPO 3.0, an extraordinary ode to street art stickers. Curated by iwillnot and hosted and sponsored by the Fridge Gallery, it features over 100,000 striking stickers. They’re all here: handsome handstyles, curious characters, political posits and social statements. While in DC, I had the opportunity to speak to iwillnot.

When did you first become involved in the sticker art culture? And what attracted you to it?

It was about ten years ago. I liked the way I could easily transport stickers in my pockets and get them up quickly on the streets.

And what was it about the streets that appealed to you?

Getting my name and message across in a public space.

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This is the third sticker art exhibit that you’ve curated at the FridgeDC. What inspired you to bring it indoors?

My son was born five years ago. I no longer had the time to hit the streets. Nor could I take the legal risks. DC’s laws are harsh. One can get fined $1,000.00 and be sentenced to 3o days in jail just for getting a slap up.

Gee… And with Trump here, the penalties could get even harsher.  How does this current exhibit differ from the previous two that you curated?

This is the first one that covers the entire gallery. There’s been more involvement, and — with a six-week run — it will be the longest-running sticker expo that I’ve curated.

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What were some of the challenges involved in curating such a huge exhibit?

It’s quite costly. Getting something like this together is expensive. And it demands endless hours of work, including time spent training volunteers.

How were you able to collect so many stickers? There are tens of thousands here!

When I first started posting my stickers online, Skam reached out to me to trade stickers. I’ve been trading with artists all over the world ever since. Every participant in the expo gets a return pack from me. It takes months to get them mailed out… but a trade is a trade.  After years of trading with artists I have hundreds of thousands of stickers.

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And how do you keep track of them?

I document each and every entry. I tag each one and acknowledge receiving it.

That must be some task!

It’s a year-round lifestyle.

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How has the response been to this show? The opening was packed with folks of all ages!

The reaction has been great. People seem to have discovered an untapped passion for this art form. All year round, I’m asked about the “next sticker expo.”

How can folks see the exhibit?

It continues through New Years Eve at the FridgeDC, 516 1/2 8th Street SE, and is open Thursday-Saturday 1–8pm & Sunday 1-5pm.

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Great! I’m already looking forward to next year’s!

Note: Among the many artists featured in the above close-ups are: SkamBeas, Klozr, Jamie XV, Ed Geiniwillnot Hugh BrismanSarah JamisonSladge & Konjak, 2front, Psyco, Nikolay Milushevda_weiss, 702er, P Lust, Zas, Chris RWK, nite owl, Feln One,…(more to come!)

Photo credits: 1 Tara Murray; 2 – 6 Lois Stavsky; interview by Lois Stavsky

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joe-iurato

This past summer, Red Bull reached out to Joe Iurato — one of our favorite artists — to create his signature wooden cutouts to help support and promote the upcoming Washington DC tour dates of Red Bull Flying Bach, a new dance tour that fuses classical music, break dancing and modern dance, set to Bach’s “The Well-Tempered Clavier.”

An interview with the artist follows:

Can you tell us something about the process of creating your distinct cutouts? 

It begins with a photograph of a central subject and a story in mind. Once I have the image I want to work with, I create my layer separations for the stencils.  I don’t use a computer program or a filter to create my layers. I just print the photo out multiple times in black and white at the exact size I want the wood cutout to be. Then, I cut my stencil layers by working directly from the unaltered photos, more or less drawing the tones loosely with a knife.  Once my stencils are cut, I make an impression of the first layer, a silhouette, on a piece of wood.

And how does the piece get cut? At what point is it ready for placement?

The piece gets cut on a scroll saw, which is good for making cuts up to 24”, as it has a thin blade and allows me to maneuver intricate cuts. The cut then gets sanded and primed. Then, I lay in my stencils – spraying them one layer at a time. When the piece is completed, I’ll varnish and seal it. Lastly, I’ll add any hardware to make it stand, float, whatever– all depending on the intended interaction. At that point, the piece is ready for placement.

Joe Iurato

How do you decide where it will be placed?

Sometimes I know where the completed work will be placed; other times, it’s a matter of hunting for the right location. I always install them by myself, mounting them securely. The challenge is finding a location where they will last for awhile! For this project, Red Bull is securing several locations, based on where they will work best, for 10-12 of my 16″ pieces. Three similar large scale wood cut pieces — roughly 6 feet tall — will be on display from January 6-8th at the Warner Theater for the DC performances of Red Bull Flying Bach.

How long does it generally take to create a 16 inch piece? 

It depends on the level of detail in the particular  piece and where I am in the process. If I’m going from initial concept through to final, then it usually takes me about three to four days to create the first one. But once the stencils are cut and it’s a matter of ripping wood cutouts and spraying them out, I can make duplicates within a day.

Joe Iurato

How does creating this work for Red Bull differ from the way you generally work?

I generally work from my own imagery, but in this case, Red Bull has provided me with photographs of the Red Bull Flying Bach dancers to work with and is involved in securing locations. As I don’t know specific locations, I’ve chosen a variety of movements that could work in a range of location.

Can you tell us a bit about your experience of working with Red Bull? 

It’s been very exciting. I, myself, was once a breakdancer! And Red Bull has given me complete creative freedom — something very important to my artistic process.

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Special thanks to Karin du Maire who met up with Joe Iurato at Red Bull Studios in Chelsea last week.

Photo credits: 1 & 4 Karin du Maire; 2 & 3 Drew Gurian, courtesy Red Bull

Note: Red Bull Flying Bach dancers will be performing in DC at the Warner Theater, January 6-8. Check out dates of all upcoming shows here

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A member of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, Colorado-based Gregg Deal is an accomplished muralist, painter and performance artist. I first encountered his artwork awhile back on the grounds of the EBC High School For Public Service in Bushwick, Brooklyn. This past weekend, I met him down in DC at the Smithsonian Arts & Industries Building, where he was one of 40 artists featured in CrossLines, presented by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center.

"Gregg Deal"

What spurred you to so fervently embrace your Native American identity?

I don’t know that I specifically embrace it. It is just one of my many identities. I am, foremost, a human being. I am also an artist, a husband and a father.

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You are sitting here in a tipi. What does this particular setting represent?

This tipi represents Washington DC. It is where museums, politics, sports and commerce all contribute to a view of Native Americans.

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What about the paintings inside this tipi? How did you decide which to include?

I had to include works that would be acceptable to the Smithsonian. They had to be safe. And so I chose identifiable stereotypes of Native Americans — the only image most others have of us.

And as today’s event progresses, you continue to cross out the mouths of your portraits with bold red lines.

Yes! That is because of voices our censored. We have not been permitted to speak for ourselves. I, myself, have been censored.

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What about your interpreter? You often speak through an interpreter.

That is because our lives — our experiences, feelings and thoughts —  are almost always interpreted through others. Authentic indigenous voices have yet to be heard or recognized.

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You are certainly creating awareness of that here.

Photo credits: 1, 2, 4 & 5 Lois Stavsky; 3 Sara C. Mozeson; interview by Lois Stavsky

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Founded in 2010 by artist and curator Jasper Wong, Pow! Wow! has since staged several cultural festivals across the globe. While down in DC this past weekend, we had the chance to check out the final days of  Pow! Wow! DC in the Capitol’s NoMa district.  Organized by DC artist and designer Kelly Towles, Pow! Wow! DC features the talents of 17 local, national and international artists. Above is a segment from a huge mural painted collaboratively by the Yok, Sheryo and Persue. Here are several more images we captured:

Hawaiian duo Wooden Wave

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Hong Kong-based Caratoes

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Miami-based Hoxxoh

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DC-based Decoy at work

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Puerto Rican artist Vero

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Richmond, Virginia-based Jacob Eveland, close-up from huge mural

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Local artist HKS181 at work

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DC-based Naturel

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LA-based Drew Merritt and London-based Insa

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Photo credits: 1, 3, 5. 7-10 Tara Murray; 2, 4 & 6 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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On our recent visit to Washington DC, we came upon dozens of intriguing murals, representing a huge range of styles from abstract designs to photorealistic portraits. Featured above is a close-up from a huge mural by Australian artist Kyle Hughes-Odgers covering two sides of a four-story building in the District’s NoMa neighborhood. Here are a few more:

Berlin-based James Bullough, who grew up in DC

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Munich-based SatOne

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Baltimore-based NYC native Gaia, close-up of huge mural at The Fridge DC

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DC artist Eric B

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Bronx-native Pose2

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Polish artist Bartek Świątecki aka Pener

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And with the launch of POW WOW! DC tomorrow, DC will be home to dozens of more public artworks by local, national and international artists.

Photo credits: 1 & 5 Lois Stavsky; 2-4, 6 & 7 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 for Android devices here.

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