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Brooklyn Street Art

…loves you more every day.

DAZE: “Daily Commute”, Solo in NYC

Posted on February 19, 2018

Most people commute to and from work. Some spend hours caught in rush hour traffic, trapped in their cars. Others use their bikes or skateboards or a bobbing, roaring ferry. Some lucky ones just walk. In New York City most commuters use the subway and the buses to get to their offices, kitchens, stores, classrooms, campuses, and after a while, the commute disappears.

On trains and buses we are packed like sardines, avoiding eye contact, keeping to our phones and books or staring at our shoes or out a window. Maybe you get a seat, otherwise you sway back and forth tethered to a silver bar, banging into others, observing or zoning out.
On your commute you may have serendipity, a discovery, a newly germinated idea.

Chris DAZE Ellis. “Subway Interior” 2017. P.P. O. W. Gallery. NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

You may feel ill, or fall asleep, or become riveted by an evesdropped conversation. Children’s faces pressed against windows, parents catching a catnap, helping with homework, putting on eyeliner. Actors practice lines, others rehearse standup routines. Lust is awakened, love blooms, loneliness aches.

The act of commuting in NYC is rarely solitary. Or quiet.

A lifelong New Yorker, artist Daze has found inspiration in the train lines the way many authors do, relishing and memorizing details. Since hitting up trains in the golden 70s-80s era, he has never lost his love of the daily commute and the millions of idiosyncracies. Now in his first ever solo exhibition in New York City, Daze returns to the subways and streets for inspiration, bringing vibrancy and color and a few ragged edges.

Chris DAZE Ellis. “242nd Street” Detail. P.P. O. W. Gallery. NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

For “Daily Commute” the artist revisits some familiar spots, paying tribute to known and unknown characters in a familiar way of someone who knows the city very well, without condescension or sentimentality but with the respect for a city that takes you and shakes you and throws you away and embraces you and comforts you and reads you a line from a play or a poem. If you’re lucky.

We spoke to the artist about his love for his city and his experience on its streets:

BSA: You have never lost your love for New York and its public spaces. Can you talk about something that stays true about the city decade after decade?

DAZE: I think of New York as always being a rather inclusive and diverse city. It has a long history of both that continues till this day. These are a couple of the ingredients that would make it difficult for me to live anywhere else.In choosing subject matter I am always searching for examples that represent these qualities.

BSA: The palette for many of these new works is bright and saturated with vibrant color, even though the actual city can be more subdued and grey. Is this emotion, or possibly imagination at work?

DAZE: I actually have two approaches to creating the “look” of my paintings. One is a more monochrome affect which is usually in greys,whites,and blacks. They are part of a series I call the” Grey Scale paintings” although because there are little bits of color they are not truly monochromatic. These paintings are based on black and white photo’s that I shoot on film.

The other approach is to use make work that is more color saturated. I begin with a color that will establish the overall look or mood of the painting and then work from there. I think that even though my paintings are very urban there can sometimes be something tropical about them.

Chris DAZE Ellis. “Midtown” 2016.  P.P. O. W. Gallery. NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Chris DAZE Ellis. “Rush Hour Reflection” 2017. P.P. O. W. Gallery. NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Chris DAZE Ellis. “Blue Portal” 2017. P.P. O. W. Gallery. NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

BSA: When looking at many of the paintings it strikes the viewer that perhaps you are attracted to portals, small viewers that allow one to see further inside a situation.

DAZE: The use of portals is almost voyeuristic. It’s the old looking out at the contemporary. I got the idea for this from my memories as a child. The subways had these portal shaped windows on all of the doors. I really enjoyed looking out of them and watching the neighborhoods change as I rode by.

Chris DAZE Ellis. “Jackson Heights” 2017. P.P. O. W. Gallery. NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Chris DAZE Ellis. “Masquerade, W.H. in Times Square” 2017. P.P. O. W. Gallery. NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

BSA: One of your opus pieces in this show, which we had the pleasure of seeing at its genesis in studio a little while ago, features an iconic personality who creates his own splendid costumery, and has for years.

DAZE: The subject of the painting,” Masquerade” is Wendell Headley. He is an artist that I’ve known since my early days at Fashion Moda gallery in the Bronx circa 1982. When I first met him he would come into the gallery wearing these elaborate outfits that he made himself and just hang out. People would donate clothes and he would take the clothes apart, reconstruct them, and give them new life. He is not only a brilliant designer but truly a living sculpture.

Wendell is not someone that is trying to perform, his life is his art. I had wanted to do a portrait of him for a long time but I would only run into him sporadically in different areas of the city, usually highly populated areas.

One evening I ran into him in Times Square and I photographed him for a bit. It was really great because in the midst of all these people dressed up as Disney or Marvel comic book characters he was just being himself. He was embodying his art and that’s what defines him. I have a lot of respect for him as a creative.

Chris DAZE Ellis. “Generations” 2017. P.P. O. W. Gallery. NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

BSA: Can you speak about P.P.O.W and its connection to the graffiti and Street Art scene and what it means to you to be having your solo show here?

DAZE: PPOW is an amazing gallery that is very much like a family to me. I was close friends with many of the artists that they show and represent so it feels very natural to be there. I’ve watch them grow over the years from The east village scene in the 80’s until now and always respected what they do and how they present exhibitions, no matter how difficult.

Being represented by them continues the dialogue I’ve had with people like Martin Wong and Charlie Ahearn. I don’t think they see my work as “graffiti”. I’m not trying to do graffiti paintings. There are elements of it that appear within the layering of my paintings but my work is more about the the urban diaspora of New York and what I have lived here.

 

Chris DAZE Ellis. “Times Square blizzard” 2016 P.P. O. W. Gallery. NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Chris DAZE Ellis. “Interior of an IND Subway Car” 2017.  P.P. O. W. Gallery. NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Chris DAZE Ellis. P.P. O. W. Gallery. NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Chris DAZE Ellis (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 


DAZE “Daily Commute” is currently open to the general public at P.P.O.W. Gallery at 535 West 22nd Street in NYC. Show closes on March 17th.

BSA Images Of The Week:02.18.18

Posted on February 18, 2018

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Welcome to Images of the Week! Great stuff this week from Portugal, Spain and good old NYC to flip your Aunt Betty’s wig.

The big news this week of course was that the 5 Points graffiti compound case was awarded to the 21 plaintiffs. But its not just local: it may have national implications when building owners will be insisting on contracts with anyone who paints their property. It may also confuse and scare off many opportunities for artists, where building owners will simply say no to the proposal.

The settlement, which we covered in Tell It to The Judge ; Graffiti Artists Win in 5 Pointz Case, has infuriated many and thrilled others expressing their opinion on social media. One of our 5 Ptz postings on Facebook this week garnered 1,300 comments, a nest of misunderstanding mediated by the occasional level head, offset by congratulations and victory laps. Naturally, folks from other parts of the country insulted us New Yorkers. Welcome to the world of graffiti and Street Art!

The Black Panther movie has many New Yorkers enthralled as it premiered on Tuesday night at the Museum of Modern Art. Theaters drew entire families and school groups many standing in line in costume as they waited to see powerful and positive black super-heroes and heroines. #HR620, the ADA Education and Reform Act, limiting the power of the Americans with Disabilities Act and turning back the clock on disability rights, and Trump’s new budget proposes actually steals from the mouths of the poor, taking away food assistance from millions of low-income Americans, on the heels of a tax cut that favored the wealthy and corporations. Do you know how much an average SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) recipient receives per month for food? $126 dollars. And you want to cut that somehow? https://www.ncoa.org/news/resources-for-reporters/get-the-facts/senior-hunger-facts/”>The Times Magazine says it is a defining moment for black America .

Nationally we are all still trying to grapple with another school shooting, producing more Thoughts and Prayers, and another round of Mueller indictments that continue to encircle the White House.

Finally, Brooklyn’s Kehinde Wiley pulled the curtain down with Barack Obama at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery to reveal his official portrait  – HERE.  Just kidding, here are Barack and Michelle’s official portraits.

Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Atomik,  Bigod, City Kitty, Daniel Eime, Desla, Exit.Enter.K, Fatal Fake, Free the Nipple, Gane, Gebraël, Kram, Little Ricky, Obey, Texas, We’kup, and Zest B.

Top Image: Daniel Eime in Lisbon. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Going out on a limb here to say you may see MOMO, Vhils, and James Bullough similarities merged here. Nonetheless, its a solid mural by Daniel Eime here in Bairro Padre Cruz, Lisbon. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Bigod. Bairro Padre Cruz. Lisbon. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified artist (we couldn’t decipher the signature) Lisbon. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

City Kitty (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Atomik. Lisbon. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Gane . Texas (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Free Boobies. Lisbon. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Triple Nipple. Lisbon. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Free The Nipple. Yeah! Lisbon. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified artist. Lisbon. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Little Ricky (photo © Jaime Rojo)

We’kup . Exit. Enter. K. Obey. Lisbon. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified artist. Lisbon. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified artist. Lisbon. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Desla (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Zest B. Lisbon. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Gebraël. Lisbon. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Smile. Bairro Padre Cruz, Lisbon. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Fatal Fake . Kram. Barcelona, Spain.  (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

Fatal Fake . Kram. Barcelona, Spain.  (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

Fatal Fake . Kram. Barcelona, Spain.  (photo © Lluís Olivé Bulbena)

Bill S. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Untitled. Yawn. Brooklyn, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Thoughts and Prayers; Writing on the Walls of Social Media

Posted on February 17, 2018

The messages on public walls today seamlessly extend to the discourse on your Facebook wall and Instagram post, in addition to the walls on the street. In all cases it looks like the writing is on the wall regarding the US public’s attitude toward mounting gun massacres and firearm regulation and how it is evolving.

It’s a volatile conversation in the digital public sphere – rather like the the actual public sphere, complete with attempts to censor by shouting down and ridiculing, and the presence of disinformation-spreading agents and agent(s) provocateur.

With all that said, FB uses tailored formulas for presenting friends, followers and advertisers to you so the idea of true democratic speech is skewed by algorithms that produce an echo chamber, so the memes and cartoons and opinions we all see are sifted.

While BSA is seeing a shift toward disgust at the inaction of the our so-called representatives toward gun control laws, others are probably seeing continuous memes on their social media walls that depict an oppressive government that wants to take away their gun-ownership rights, or evidence that Godless black and brown people are trying to take over the society, or something.

One thing that seems for sure, most people are tired of “thoughts and prayers” being offered reflexively – as if intermittent but increasing public mass murders are a natural occurrence over which we have no influence, like the sun and the moon rising and setting in the sky.

Many cartoons and artworks critique our maddening collective inability to solve a growing social problem that we think we should be able to address, producing an underlying feeling of learned helplessness and fear.

Here’s a quick and ragtag selection of visual messages we grabbed from our walls, our social feeds, by way of preserving the conversation in the moment, before it passes.

Try your luck at Thoughts & Prayers, the Arcade Game (click here)

 

BSA Film Friday: 02.16.18

Posted on February 16, 2018

bsa-film-friday-JAN-2015

Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.

Now screening :
1. “The Clown” Harmen De Hoop
2. Artist’s Artist: The Process of Gary Lichtenstein
3. FinDAC: “The Wild Rose”
4. Ultra Wide by Good Guy Boris

bsa-film-friday-special-feature

BSA Special Feature: “The Clown” Harmen De Hoop

Harmen De Hoop is always playing with you. Ignoring the established almost calcified “rules” that have become encoded in the Street Art and graffiti game, his public interventions abide by a certain set of guidelines known mainly to him. By questioning nearly every assumption in the planning of public space he typically selects an unassuming, unflashy route of interaction to tweak your perceptions.

In this new direct street action he freshens the visage of a clown with some new hand paint. If he had an aerosol can or fat drippy marker in his hands this would produce a different reaction from an observer. Street Art, anyone?

Artist’s Artist: The Process of Gary Lichtenstein

“I’m an artists’ artist because I can think as an artist with the techniques I can use in printmaking,” says master printmaker Gary Lichtenstein as he narrates a brief visit to his Jersey City studio where he collaborates with photographer Janette Beckman and visual artist/graphic designer Cey Adams.

By showing us a process of evaluation and hearing the deliberations that go into final selection of materials and techniques, we are allowed to grasp the basics here and appreciate that there is artistry in bringing the image forward in a new way.

FinDAC: “The Wild Rose”

The English street muralist and portraitist FinDAC somewhat secretively painted a roof in Miami at the most recent Basel in December with the organizers of Wynwood Walls. Just now he has released “The Wild Rose” to fly free upon the wings of the Internet.

Ultra Wide by Good Guy Boris

Would this be good guy Boris or bad guy Boris? You decide.

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