new york

Cake at Living Walls: Albany


Street Artist Cake brought her hand painted people to Albany yesterday, with these portraits of a “wondrous traveler”named Saige. A fine artist who makes one of a kind wheate-pasted pieces as a means of therapy and tribute, Cake has a unique style that is at once melodic and medical, enabling the viewer to have x-ray vision. Recently Cake has been introducing metallic, as in these two new pieces using silver leaf.

Learn more about Cake and see Jaime Rojo’s photos of her work in our recent interview with her on Juxtapoz.


Knock knock, Cake is at the door. (photo © Cake)


Cake (photo © Cake)


Cake (photo © Cake)

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Living Walls Albany: The City Speaks (Albany, NY)

Living Walls Albany


*For the most up to date information follow us Mural by Mural on-
and also


Living Walls: Albany is a project designed to raise awareness about the use of public space. It is about exploring options that a smaller city like ours has and giving the people here a chance to interact with public space as they never have before. Through a series of lectures, performances, and the involvement of some of the world’s great mural artists, we are looking to provide and education into public art. The Living Walls project is intent on creating an open dialogue between the people and city.

The Living Walls conference was started in Atlanta GA. Along with changing the urban landscape, the Living Walls conference set out to highlight a number of problems facing the city. Living Walls did not just showcase art, but also built a platform for much-needed dialogue in the city. The success of the event was so great that Living Walls is returning this year to take place in Atlanta, Ga and Albany, NY.

Dates For 2011

September 16th – 18th

Venues for Living Walls: Albany

St. Joe’s– 38 Ten Broeck
The Marketplace Gallery
– 40 Broadway
Grand Street Community Arts
– 68 Grand St
“Arrival and Departure” Performance Art venue-99 Pine St.


For more information please feel free to contact us by email:

or visit our site at:

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Chris Stain in Church, Museum : 9/11 Mural With “Living Walls: Albany”


The Street Artist Creates 40 Foot Mural Marking 10th Anniversary

brooklyn-street-art-chris-stain-andrew-franciosa-living-walls-albany-09-11-web-4Chris Stain (photo © Andrew Franciosa)

Living Walls with Chris Stain

Words by KC Orcutt
with photos from Andrew Franciosa, Frank Whitney, and Ken Jacobie

Working in the monumental landmark of St. Joseph’s church, the focal point marking Albany’s Ten Broeck Historical District, everything echoed. The shake of the spray paint can, Chris Stain’s soft but direct voice, friends casually eating out of take-out containers and the sliding of a huge ladder against the wooden floor echoed against the high, detailed ceilings of the church, breaking the silence in what felt like both a privileged and private setting to be working in.


Samson prepares the wall at St Joseph’s church for Chris Stain (photo © Ken Jacobie)

This portion of the “Living Walls: Albany” project directly faced the challenge all artists face: make something out of nothing. For the organizer, Samson Contompasis, that challenge was making a 40 by 16 foot wall out of 20 wooden pieces for Chris Stain to create his contribution to the project. Challenge met. Next.


Chris Stain (photo © Andrew Franciosa)

As Chris Stain humored me in talking about Albany, the culture of zines and independent art books, doing his art homework on the train up here and how the quietness of the church was peaceful, he worked very swiftly. With one can of spray paint on deck in his back pocket and one in his hand, he got to work on his installation piece, depicting a scene of firefighters, an American flag and slanted city buildings, working with the ‘perfect’ red and an assortment of spray paint cans aligned like soldiers ready to go.


Chris Stain (photo © Andrew Franciosa)

The finished piece alongside the ornate details of the church allowed for a natural moment of silence, soaking in what Stain sprayed before us, ready to be taken apart and installed in the setting of the New York State Museum the next day as a part of the new exhibit, “Reflecting on September 11, 2001.”


Chris Stain (photo © Andrew Franciosa)


Chris Stain (photo © Andrew Franciosa)


Chris Stain (photo © Andrew Franciosa)


Chris Stain (photo © Andrew Franciosa)


Chris Stain (photo © Andrew Franciosa)


Chris Stain (photo © Andrew Franciosa)

brooklyn-street-art-chris-stain-Frank Whitney-living-walls-albany-09-11-web-1

Chris Stain’s mural being installed at the New York State Museum (photo © Frank Whitney)

brooklyn-street-art-chris-stain-Frank Whitney-living-walls-albany-09-11-web-2

Chris Stain’s mural being installed at the New York State Museum (photo © Frank Whitney)


“Reflecting on September 11, 2001” opens at the New York State Museum Friday 10.9.11. Please click here for more information.

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Fun Friday 08.05.11


Check out the Flaming Cacti in Astor Place (NYC)

A bunch of light posts around the periphery of Astor Place have been tied with eye popping colors as part of a project by Animus Art. “Cable ties (or “zip ties”) are linked together in order to go around the circumference of the lampposts.  This done thousands of times creates a brightly colored lamppost with thousands of little “hairs” (the ends of the cable ties), just like a cactus.”

This is a quick cell phone photo shot during this mornings wandering rush.


“Mind Control” at Peep Show Tonight (LA)

The Site Unscene curates “Mind Control” at the Peep Show Gallery with a hypnotizing theme! Featured Street Artists are Eddie Colla, Bughouse, Destroy All Design, Insurgency Inc, and DDS

brooklyn-street-art-mind-control-the-site-unsceneFor more information on this show please click on the link below:

VHILS New Wall in Venice, CA (VIDEO)

Carlos Gonzalez shot this great video of Street Artist Vhils as he removed parts of a building to reveal the portrait inside. The Portuguese urban naturalist was in town in conjunction with the “European Bailout Show”, a print show at the Post No Bills showspace, across the street from the BSA/ThinkSpace show at CAVE next Friday “Street Art Saved My Life: 39 New York Stories“.

Carlos Gonzalez also shot photos of the show for Arrested Motion here>>>>

LUSH Hangs with the GAYS in San Francisco Tonight

That other Australian Bad Boy LUSH “Sells His Soul” at the Fifty24SF Gallery


For more information about this show and for NSFW juicy, literally, images click on the link below:

Shepard Fairey Posts “Your Ad Here” at V1 Gallery (Copenhagen, Denmark)

Street Artist Shepard Fairey has been in Copenhagen all week putting up gigantic murals while hanging his new  show “Your Ad Here” at the V1 Gallery.

Stay tuned for more action images of Mr. Fairey and crew going big on this wall with photos from Sandra Hoj tomorrow on BSA.


Shepard Fairey installing a big mural in Copenhagen photo © Sandra Hoj.

For more information about this show click on  the link below:

“Electric Projected” in Beacon, New York Saturday Night

Dan and Kalene run the gallery Open Space in Beacon, NY. They also love to bring the art outside in the summer and for the past few years they have been inviting many artists to come and paint on the abandoned buildings in this former industrial town along the Hudson River a little north of NYC. This year they are showing films and projections on the buildings and they invite you to come and watch and dance to live music from some local talents. Sounds like a great way enjoy natural and artistic beauty.

brooklyn-street-art-open-spFor more information about this event click on the link below:

Septerhead “Subversive Holiday” at Hold Up Saturday (LA)

“Subversive Holiday” features a closer examination of three of Septerhed’s most recognizable characters (The GEO-HEDs, Toxins and Wolves), explaining the existence and nuances of each style as a specific mode of design.


For more information about this show click on the link below:

DJ MAYONNAISE NEW VIDEO ART – Interviews at Miss Bugs Show at Brooklynite – NOT SAFE FOR WORK or QUEASY STOMACHS

DJ Mayonnaise explores the existential question of the goodness of VIDEO.  Insect Alert! Tooth Pulling Alert! Fun Alert!



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Open Space Gallery Present: “Electric Projected Reboot” (Beacon, NY)

Electric Projected

Hello Everyone,

We’d like to start by saying thank you! People from our amazing community and beyond came together to support this amazing project. Now that the Electric Projected ReBoot kickstarter campaign is fully funded we have shifted into high gear to get everything in order for Saturday. We have a few new animations for you and some special surprises. You may remember this from last time, but we wanted to remind you again:

Bring your lawn chair and your dancing shoes,
you will be glad you have both!


Animated Short Films and Live Music

Saturday, October 1st,

6:00 pm to 12:00 am

1 East Main Main Street,

Beacon, New York 12508

Ran Date: October 2nd 2011

more info:

like us on facebook

See you on the 1st, tell your friends!


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Images of the Week 05.28.11

Our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring 9, Bast, Death is Free, Deform, Enzo & Nio, Hellbent, Mauro Fassino, Kophns and QRST.

brooklyn-street-art-qrst-jaime-rojo-05-11-web-8QRST (photo © Jaime Rojo)


QRST (photo © Jaime Rojo)


QRST (photo © Jaime Rojo)


9 (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Bast (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Death is Free (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Deform. Caution Ribbon in Dubai (photo © Deform)


Doesn’t he look pretty Mao? Unknown (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Enzo & Nio (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Unknown (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Hellbent reminds us of the importance of dental hygiene. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Kophns on an abandoned motel in Silverlake, CA (photo © Carlos Gonzalez)


Unknown. I imagine he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Discuss! (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Mauro Fassino “BIOmorphing” street installation in Trento, Italy. “My work describes the integration between humanity and nature, it is made by steel painted with enamel, artificial turf and stickers” MF (photo © courtesy of the artist)


David Foote and Anne Koch “The Nest”. It’s not Street Art but it is a beautiful installation at Honey Space Gallery in Chelsea on view through May 29. We’ll keep you apprised of any golden eggs that may appear. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Unknown (photo © Jaime Rojo)


A haunted scene on Cayuga Lake. Ithaca, NY (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Jonathan Levine Gallery Presents: Miss Van “Bailarinas” and Gaia “Succession” (Manhattan, NY)


brooklyn-street-art-Miss-Van_Bailarinas-jonathan-levine-galleryMiss Van “Bailarinas 5” (image courtesy of the Gallery)


Gaia “Incredulity of Redevelopment” (image courtesy of the Gallery

Miss Van

Gallery I
Solo Exhibition

May 26, 2011 through June 25, 2011

NEW YORK, NY (May 3, 2011) — Jonathan LeVine Gallery is pleased to announce Bailarinas, new works by French-born, Barcelona-based artist Miss Van, in what will be her second solo exhibition at the gallery and first solo show in New York in six years.

Miss Van’s signature aesthetic revolves around sultry female subjects, which she refers to as poupées (or dolls, in French), alluding to elements of fantasy and narrative in her work. Their direct gaze, pouty lips, voluptuous curves and erotic gestures have a provocative appeal—some playful, others dark—emotionally charged and empowered by uninhibited sexuality. ?Miss Van began painting these alluring figures in the streets of Toulouse, France, as a teenager nearly twenty years ago. The characters have since matured along with the artist who now works mainly in the studio, allowing time to refine her imagery through delicate pencil renderings on paper and loose brush strokes on canvas and wood. Recently, Miss Van was invited to participate in Art in the Streets, a major group exhibition currently on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles, California.

Along with her ultra-feminine figures, Miss Van has been known to incorporate animal familiars such as deer, rabbits and foxes. These creatures have a pet-like relationship with the mysterious temptresses who wear doll-like princess dresses or ballerina-tulle skirts with hints of lingerie textures such as corsets, ruffles, lace and fishnet. The women frequently appear topless and often wear masquerade-style masks, as well. Recently, the masks have become less decorative and increasingly more animal-like, adding significance to the dialogue created by the character’s human-animal relationships by amplifying themes of identity, role-play, fetish, and freedom to express the wild (animalistic) side of natural human instinct.

The joie de vivre pleasure principle, innate in French culture, informs much of Miss Van’s body of work. In Bailarinas, a series of pastel works on paper portray isolated figures in nostalgic poses inspired by vintage erotic portraiture. Additional acrylic and mixed media works on canvas and wood panel feature subjects inspired by dancers, driven by the sensually liberating experience of self-expression through physical control and movement of the body. The performance aspect of dance and the act of putting on a seductive show for a viewer or audience reinforces themes of fantasy and desire while also offering an interesting parallel to the artist’s craft, as both are forms of visual storytelling.

Miss Van was born in 1973 in Toulouse, France and is currently based in Barcelona, Spain. In 1991, at the age of 18, the artist started painting the streets of Toulouse as one of the first female artists in the European street art scene. In 1993, Miss Van began to include poupée (doll) figures in her work, her own stylized interpretation of pin-up posed Manga-inspired characters, which would become her signature imagery. In 2003, she left France, re-locating to her current home in Barcelona, Spain. In the years since, her work has been widely published and exhibited in galleries and museums, worldwide.


Project Room
Solo Exhibition

May 26, 2011 through June 25, 2011

NEW YORK, NY (May 9, 2011) — Jonathan LeVine Gallery is pleased to present Succession, new works by Gaia, in what will be the artist’s first solo exhibition at the gallery. ?Works in Succession—comprised of drawing, painting and various relief-cut printmaking techniques—will be incorporated into a site-specific installation in the gallery’s project room. Re-creating street scenes as a background setting for his work, Gaia will transform the space, bringing the texture and energy of his urban interventions into the white box environment.

The artist’s chosen pseudonym, Gaia, is a name taken from the primordial Greek goddess personifying the Earth, more universally referred to as Mother Earth or Mother Nature. While he has been known to create portraits of human faces, Gaia’s ambiguous imagery most often depicts totemic creatures with animal heads and human bodies as well as expressive hand gestures. He occasionally fuses the features of different animals together, forming imagined, amalgamated hybrids. These chimeric subjects are filled with Art History references, inspired by various sources including biblical figures, ancient mythology and mystical folklore.

Additional layers of symbolism and interpretation emerge as Gaia’s works are encountered within the context of the urban landscape. Like apparitions, they confront the viewer as oracles with a powerful capacity to address contemporary social and environmental issues concerning consumer culture, consumption and sustainability. The juxtaposition of wild animal imagery pasted onto man-made architecture was a significant choice for the artist because, in his own words: “Having lived most of my life in New York City, I personally felt like I never had a connection to nature; it was so distant and idealistic.”

Born in 1988 in New York City, Gaia currently divides his time between Brooklyn, New York and Baltimore, Maryland. In 2007, as a senior in High School, Gaia became interested in the growing global street art movement. Drawing influence from contemporary artists such as Swoon and Elbow-toe, he began to paste his artwork on the streets of his native New York. After experimenting locally, it was only a few years before he would expand his imagery to urban spaces in other U.S. cities as well as International locations. In May 2011, Gaia received a BFA from Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, Maryland, with a concentration in printmaking and sculpture. With sophistication beyond his years, the promising young artist’s studio work has been exhibited in galleries in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington, DC. His street art has been documented, followed widely online and published in a number of recent publications including Beyond the Street: The 100 Leading Figures in Urban Art.

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Pandemic Gallery Invites You To The Closing Party for H. Veng Smith Show “Identifiable Reality” and Private Viewing of Florian Gaag Film “Wholetrain” (Brooklyn, NY)

Pandemic Gallery

On Friday, Jan. 7th we will be hosting a closing party,
and will be screening the film “Wholetrain” by German filmmaker Florian Gaag

7-11pm film will start @ 8pm. BYOB.
hope to see you there!



Florian Gaag tells the story of a crew of four “writers” – David, Tino, Elyas und Achim – who observe the hierarchies, the values, the rules and the codes of the graffiti scene. Night after night they make off for the subway stations of the city, intent on leaving opulent images behind. But as another crew appears on the scene, and the four feel challenged, a creative battle ensues, one that will change the lives of these young people for ever.
We are confronted with life taken to the limit. Constantly on the edge of legality. Always on the run from the law.  Urban space must be reclaimed. Friends are made and lost. Unbridled creativity and doing things for the sheer love of it are watchwords too.

To read more about WHOLETRAIN and to watch the trailer click on the link below:

PANDEMIC gallery
37 Broadway btwn Kent and Wythe
Brooklyn, NY 11211

Gallery hours:
Tues.-Fri. 11-6pm
Sat. & Sun. 12-7pm
closed Monday
or by appointment

L train to Bedford ave, J train to Marcy ave, or Q59 bus to Broadway/Wythe

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Saratoga Smackdown: General Howe Goes To College

Street Artist Uses Art Installations to Study History, distant and close.


This scene depicts Jane McCrea, a British loyalist who was engaged to a man in the British army, who was captured by two Native Americans (photo © General Howe)

Street Artist General Howe participated this fall in an art/history show at Skidmore College by doing a site specific installation in Saratoga Springs, New York.  The project; “Saratoga Smackdown: The Expendable Jane McCrea and the Soldiers of Fortune” consisted of a series of installations showcasing the 1777 “Battle of Saratoga” on a farm in the Adirondack Mountain region. According to historical accounts, Jane McCrea, a preachers’ daughter, was killed during a perhaps botched hostage-taking, and her death was used for propaganda purposes to enrage locals to enlist with the Patriots against the British.

brooklyn-stree-art-general-howe-saratoga-smackdown-skidmore-college-web-5As with his street pieces the General’s unusual approach to this outside environment and his choices of materials can call into question an observers feelings and perceptions of historical events, war history, and their relative meaning. Usually warriors are depicted in public space by grand and substantial sculptures of mountainous scale, adding to the perceived heroism of the actor depicted. General Howe miniaturizes the size and sometimes simplifies the rendering to merge with the memory of a child’s imagination and concomitant exaggerations, where many are encouraged to ‘play’ war. The Street Artist frequently refers to his own childhood and the endless hours of play in nearby woods with his multiple war toys.


“The Death of Jane McCrea,” oil on canvas, by the American artist John Vanderlyn, 1804. Courtesy of the Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, Connecticut.

Below are excerpts from General Howe’s experience and from the project’s statement:

“The Battle of Saratoga occurred in September/October of 1777.  2 battles occurred, the first was a draw and the second was won by the Americans.  The Jane McCrea incident was a Pearl Harbor/9-11 incident of the Revolutionary War.  American media propagated it to increase enlistment into the war.  Though not an explicit point in the project, this incident also illustrates the deceiving treatment of Native Americans by the “white man”, in this case the British.  The terror these Native Americans brought was much scarier then anything we hear about today.

In preparation for the project my research on mercenaries brought me to the company formally known as Blackwater, now Xe Services LLC. According to many news accounts, they were hired by the US Military as contractors to provide various services in Iraq during the war.  One of the main jobs they had was security for important peoples traveling in Iraq.  There are reported incidents where these “security agents” opened fire on innocent people, causing much controversy.  On the flip side there were incidents where members of the organization were caught off guard and were horribly killed.  The multiple incidents eventually led to the Iraq government canceling Blackwater’s contracts to work in Iraq.” ~ General Howe


Americans in battle with Native Americans (Photo © General Howe)

As is customary and expected for General Howe and other historians, parallels are drawn between those events and the wars the US is currently conducting in The Middle East. It’s one thing to pose historical plastic soldiers around to commemorate a long ago event with people who have long been dead, as well as their loved ones, their politicians, religious leaders, and their captains of industry.  This mornings’ free paper that they hand out at the subway entrance contains a special tourism section on Colonial Williamsburg, Va., featuring a misty glowing snowflake inflected photo of “re-enactors” dressed in uniform with “historically accurate” weapons in hand. When depicting war scenes of contemporary times, this art can be much more difficult to encounter, especially if you didn’t pay to get in. Perhaps because of the scale and it’s direct connection to current events, the installations can even inflame a viewers’ passions.


General Howe describes this scene as a contemporary middle eastern building with insurgents and military contractor soldiers (photo © General Howe)


In this piece General Howe refers to news accounts of an event during the Iraq war where military contractors were hung and their bodies were burned publicly. (photo © General Howe)


An overview of the art installation at one of the galleries on campus (photo © General Howe)

“While I was on this journey I captured images of other interesting things going on at the school, anti-war projects, graffiti, and street art” General Howe


A wheatpaste of a squirrel carrying a tomahawk. (photo © General Howe)


A student project on campus questioning war gives a platform for the people to voice their opinion (photo © General Howe)

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H.Veng Smith Solo At Pandemic: Studio Visit And Interview

Aerosol, Arsenic and Squared-Jawed Vikings

Forging Identity in “Identifiable Reality”

brooklyn-street-art-veng-jaime-rojo-12-10-web-1“Visual Thought”, by H. Veng Smith (photo © Jaime Rojo)

A traditional A-frame wooden easel smacked up with street art stickers sits in a tiny pitched roof attic studio. The focused artist sits, poised brush in hand, staring intently at his palette of carefully selected and mixed pigments with linseed oil, deciding how to recreate a spray painted tag by Street Artist Dark Cloud onto the stone walled bridge in his canvas.

“With these pieces I’m more interested in trying to have fun with them. I want to give you a reality, but at the same time an alternate reality,” so explains Veng of Robots Will Kill, now H. Veng Smith.  The name itself indicates his desire to consolidate two extremes in his career so far – “Veng” from his days as a graff/street artist and member of the New York collective Robots Will Kill – and the formal name “H. Smith” under which he first showed his finely rendered oils on canvas.

brooklyn-street-art-veng-jaime-rojo-12-10-web-2Detail from “Visual Thought”, by H. Veng Smith (photo © Jaime Rojo)

As Veng painted canvasses over 3 months for his first solo show as a “Street Artist” on display indoors at Pandemic Gallery this Friday, he found himself again reconciling his two distinct interests – graff culture and the Dutch Masters. Looking at the oil painting of a survey of the expanse of a river alongside a non-descript European town from perhaps a few centuries ago, you see he has included tags from Street Artists circa 2010 like ECB, Chris from RWK, and Dark Cloud on walls in the village.

Brooklyn Street Art: I like the way that you pay homage to street artists and graffiti artists in these formal, painterly, old-world settings

brooklyn-street-art-veng-jaime-rojo-12-10-web-19Veng: That to me is the ideal world. I really enjoy that piece because it mixes the things that I like all in one. It’s got the street art, which I like, it’s got the graffiti, which I like, it’s got some modern conveniences like trucks moving because obviously you need to drive. I don’t want to be sitting around with a horse and buggy or something. Airplanes…. I like my laptop.  At the same time I like the simple quiet old times, and the ideas of them, the old buildings.  You know if you look at the city today I don’t think it looks as nice as it did a hundred years ago or in the 1800’s.  If you go to some of the old Brooklyn or Manhattan buildings, you see that they’re beautiful. And the Manhattan skyline is beautiful too – it’s world-famous obviously. But I’m for classy, rustic, old world aesthetics. And I hope that’s what you get when you look at these pieces.

brooklyn-street-art-veng-jaime-rojo-12-10-web-4“Jerome”, by H. Veng Smith (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“Identifiable Reality”, his first solo show as a Street Artist will showcase his own version of reality, which is to say, fictional.

Brooklyn Street Art: What does the title of the show refer to?
Veng: Just to all the pieces in the show that are realistic – you know what you are looking at, nothing is abstract in the design. But at the same time the ideas are a little abstract. You don’t usually see somebody with a hat made of books on their head with candles.  Even though the candles on the hat is a realistic idea, because in olden days they would put candles on their hats for visibility to paint at night.  Michelangelo and Goya both wore hats with candles when they were painting. A lot of people assume that this is all fantasy but it is not completely fantasy.

Brooklyn-Street-Art-Goya- Self-Portrait in the Workshop, 1795Goya’s ” Self-Portrait in the Workshop”, 1795, shows the artist with candles in his hat. (Courtesy Museo de la Real Academia de Bellas Artes, Madrid)

Out the open hinged window comes the sound of two Black-capped Chickadees calling each other in the branches of the blazing fall yellow trees. The conversation turns to the poker-faced man who appears throughout his giant street pieces and in these smaller canvasses. Veng calls the reappearing ever morphing costume-changing dude his “character”, and his blunt center stage presence is always beguiling with a hint of the comic.  Truthfully, these “characters” are all probably versions of Veng, exhibiting different qualities of his own character, if  only slyly.


Detail of “Jerome”, by H. Veng Smith (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: In a lot of your work there is a healthy dose of humor, however subtle.
Veng: Yeah – I wouldn’t consider it too serious. It’s kind of playful.

Brooklyn Street Art: Your character for example; It’s got this expression in this piece. What is that expression? Is he tasting a sour lemon?
Veng: He’s an unhappy Viking. You know, he’s plundering and he’s just not in the best of times I guess.

Brooklyn Street Art: I’ve noticed the shape of the face of the character has now become completely square, even with corners now.
Veng: I started off doing a more circular shape and I like it because it is recognizable and I always want to stick to more simple shapes, and I like them to be unrealistic. So no matter how realistically you paint an eye or a nose, no matter what you ever do to it, it is never going to look real because the shape alone is going to kill that for you totally.  I would never use, say, a triangle or something.  I like the idea of having that clean edge circular or square shape to break up the reality that you might otherwise get.  I think it separates it from other things that are going on.  I could sit here and do all of these with more realistic facial proportions but I feel like, for me, it would take out some of the fun of the character.

Brooklyn Street Art: And in fact, the character is fun.
Veng: Yeah, you look at first and it almost looks “identifiable” but then you realize it’s completely square. You take away the eyes and nose …..

brooklyn-street-art-veng-jaime-rojo-12-10-web-11(image © Jaime Rojo)

For a minute you forget you are talking to a well known aerosol wielding Brooklyn Street Artist in this cozy Staten Island hideaway. It’s stillness is free of clutter and there are neatly stacked glass jars of pigment, oils, a mortar and pestle. Reconciling these two worlds must be work in itself.

Brooklyn Street Art: Recently there was a show at 17 Frost Gallery with Erik Burke & Cahil Muraghu where they married graffiti techniques and vocabulary with the Hudson School of painting.  When I saw some of their pieces I was impressed and I was also thinking of the way that you are marrying two styles are a few centuries apart from one another.
You know if you look at the books I have on my shelf, people usually get a kick out of it because there will be a Chuck Close book next to a book on Jan van Eyck, or some Dutch guy. I personally find great interest in all of them and I reference them and I think when you can combine them using creativity it is a great luxury. Technique-wise, we have a lot to learn from the past.

Brooklyn Street Art: I’ve heard you talk before about having within your style these polar opposites and you’ve withstood some criticism from people like your peers for example. When you were doing graff on the street and you started to do Street Art based stuff – let alone Dutch Masters influenced pieces- what were some of the responses you were getting?
Veng: It’s definitely been tougher from the graffiti crowd than the Street Art crowd. But the graffiti crowd, especially here in New York, has loosened up on it’s ideas basically due to a lot of Europeans coming over doing graffiti too.  The graffiti scene was always sort of A-B-C-D.

Brooklyn Street Art: In what way?
Veng: You spray paint, you use your caps, that’s it. You do it illegally, you never get too artsy. Whereas with Street Art, you can kind of get almost as artsy as you want.

Brooklyn Street Art: So you are saying that those people who might have given you a hard time before might not be doing it now.
Veng: Now they don’t do it at all. But at the same time, a lot of people won’t consider it graffiti. They’ll say, “Oh, he uses spray paint to do it but it’s not graffiti”. So I think a lot of the borders have all been cut down.

Brooklyn Street Art: So would you say a certain level of respect exists across all of it?
Veng: Yeah. I mean I’ve always been pretty peaceful and I’m pretty easy going. I’ve never really had any personal problems.  I mean some people give their opinions, which is fine obviously, because not everybody likes everything the same and thank God.

brooklyn-street-art-veng-jaime-rojo-12-10-web-12(image © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: So you pick all of your paints.
Veng: Yeah, a lot of the paints, about 85% of them, I mix myself from the pigments.  There are certain pigments I don’t use.

Brooklyn Street Art: What do you mix the pigments with
Veng: Oil – linseed oil or possibly walnut oil. – Which you can kind of smell in here. And then I add to them different stuff like resin, which will speed up the drying and give it a glossy hardened feel.

Brooklyn Street Art: Where do you get your pigments and supplies?
Veng: A lot of the supplies I get from a local colorman in Brooklyn, Robert Doak in Dumbo.  His business has been around longer than I’ve been living.  A lot of the pigments and materials I use come from him. It’s really specific, not just to oil paintings but to traditional materials.  Also I get a lot of stuff from a company out in California called Natural Pigments, which specializes in all the hard-to-find pigments. Also I use the more dangerous stuff like lead-based paints and paints that contain arsenic.

Brooklyn Street Art: Really? Arsenic?
Veng: Yes, it’s a color called Opiate. It’s a really gorgeous yellow, but it contains arsenic.

Brooklyn Street Art: So do you have to wear a mask using some of these pigments?
Veng: When I mix the pigments I have little dust mask on for the super dangerous ones.  – Not that I feel like I really need one because I’m dealing with it in very small doses. Obviously I don’t have the window open in front of me or the fan going. But just to be on the safe side I do wear a dust mask. Some are more dangerous if absorbed through the skin.  Like Vermillion – (takes the glass bottle to show) – it’s a really really nice red.  But if you absorb it through your skin it’s dangerous.

Brooklyn Street Art: This is a pestle.
Veng: It’s a grinder for the paints. You put it on here with the oil.  Here are different oils, here is the walnut you can smell if you want.

Brooklyn Street Art: Yeah I think I can smell the linseed. That is really understated.  I think people use linseed oil for furniture.
Veng: Yup, linseed oil – if you would ask people, probably 80% of them use linseed oil for their paints.

brooklyn-street-art-veng-jaime-rojo-12-10-web-13A partial lineup of pieces by H. Veng Smith (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: How does it feel doing a solo show?
Veng: It feels great. I’m nervous. I hope everyone enjoys the work and likes it and shows up. It’s been good to get a body of work together in this genre because I’ve never really had a full collection of these pieces before that is more influenced by my Street Art. I’ve done a single piece for a commission or a group show here or there. So I’m really excited putting them together and coming up with similar ideas, breaking them down into groups, and having them all come together.

Finally it’s like a family of these street art pieces.  To be honest I’ve never seen so many of these character paintings together in the studio.

Excerpt: Painting Birds


Veng photo © Jaime Rojo

brooklyn-street-art-veng-jaime-rojo-12-10-web-9A Nuthatch by H. Veng Smith (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“I think they are the neatest things to paint. They give you all sorts of texture, they give you colors. I just think that technically they are great to paint, they give you the details, you can keep them super rendered. I’ve always been a big fan of birds in general – watching them, taking pictures of them. When I lived in Pennsylvania I did a lot of bird watching.  So I just like them in general, and to paint them it’s a lot of fun and so far people have shown a lot of interest in my birds.”


“Alone in Thought” by H. Veng Smith (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Excerpt: Swedish/Norwegian Architecture



“Gotland” by H. Veng Smith ( photo © Jaime Rojo)

We had relatives from Sweden here and they gave me this tile, which has a Stave church in it, which I thought was really great. So I looked up these churches and they all have these really good architectural features, so I did my character like them. It’s a church. Instead of saying church building, you would say “stave”


Norwegian Stave Church (photo © Sue Renault)

“I thought the buildings looked amazing so I automatically thought of  putting it in.  I just like the old wooden buildings like that.  They are fun to paint and not a lot of people reference stuff like this.  It’s not secret, everything I have at home is kind of European, or fantasy based.  But at the same time, this church is an actual architectural design that exists.

brooklyn-street-art-veng-jaime-rojo-12-10-web-8Detail of “Gotland” by H. Veng Smith ( photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-veng-jaime-rojo-12-10-web-15Portrait of the Artist by Jaime Rojo ( © Jaime Rojo)


“Identifiable Reality” at Pandemic Gallery with H. Veng Smith

Friday December 17, 2010, 7-9 pm

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Images of the Week 12.12.10

Images of the Week 12.12.10


Our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Burning Candy, Deeker, DsCreet, Earl Greyhound, Goya, Jimmy Snatch, KARMA, Kill, Nineta, Paul Richard,Plasma Slug, Shin Shin, Skewville, Tek33, and UFO


Burning Candy Tek 33 and Dscreet at Factory Fresh Gallery (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Burning Candy Tek 33 and Dscreet at Factory Fresh Gallery (photo © Jaime Rojo)


A cluster of original pencil drawn faces by an anonymous artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Whatever you say, Paul! Paul Richard (photo © Jaime Rojo)


A B&W photograph of a boy by an anonymous artist. And by the way, Brooklyn trio Earl Greyhound Rocks! (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Deeks offers this withering assessment: “Good For Nothing”. And there’s a little pink Plasma Slug too. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Skewville sayz: “You are not in Kansas anymore” (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Skewville (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Goya and UFO (photo © Jaime  Rojo)


A Death Panel of some sort. Kill (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Nineta (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Dashing through the snooooww.  ShinShin (photo © Jaime Rojo)


KARMA “Be Kind To One Another Because Most Of Us Are Fighting A Hard Battle” Dublin, Ireland (photo © Jimmy Snatch)

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Fun Friday 12.10.10


It’s beginning to look a lot like Kwanzannukah

Roman Klonek & Jim Avignon at Factory Fresh


An unusual breed of pop art with two oddities that are well jump-suited for each other. Expect the unexpected, including a special appearance by His Doodleness Jon Burgerman.

Speedy Wonderland

Factory Fresh Gallery Presents: Roman Klonek & Jim Avignon “Speedy Wonderland” (Brooklyn, NY)Opening Reception FRIDAY, DECEMBER 10, 7-10pm

ART to be Sold Off the Walls at “12×12”

Hopefully no one will be trampled for the holidays just getting in the door tonight, but you are bound to see something dope here, including a number of street artists you are familiar with at this group show.  Wonder how big the pieces are?



Opening Reception, Friday, December 10th, 6pm – 9pm!Mighty Tanaka presents:
12×12 -A Group Show for the Holidays

Abe Lincoln Jr., Adam Miller, Alexandra Pacula, Alexis Trice, Anthony Sneed, AVOID, Briar Elyse, Bruno Perillo, Bryan Raughton, Buxtonia, CAM, Chris RWK, Chris Stain, Dark Clouds, Destroy and Rebuild, DOIT, Don Pablo Pedro, DROID, Ed Shawn Herrera, Ellen Stagg, Ellis G, Eric DeFrancesco, Fedele Spadafora, Gary Carlson, Gigi Chen, Gigi Spratley, Hannah Rose Fierman, Hellbent, Hiroshi Kumagai, Infinity, Jac Atkinson, Japa, Jason Grunwald, JMR, John Breiner, John McGarity, John Sunderland, Julia Colavita, Julian Duran, Justin Rymer, Katie Decker, Keely, KOSBE, Lauren Asta, Lee Trice, Lionel Guzman, Mari Keeler, Matt Siren, Max Greis, Melissa Carroll, Mike Schrieber, Nathan Pickett, Nathan Vincent, Nick Chatfield-Taylor, QRST, Quel Beast, Reginald Pean, Rick Midler, Robbie Busch, Royce Bannon, SADU, Skewville, Soosan Joon Silanee, Steven Schreiber, Thomas Cecchi, Tony Bones, Tony DePew, Toofly, UFO, URnewyork, Veng RWK

New Video from Sten & Lex

Street Artist Cake: A Collection of Drawings

Brewer’s Mansion is happy to present A Collection of Drawings, a show by Brooklyn street artist Cake, opening Saturday the 12th at this little known place where artists hang out.


From the artist, “I use anatomy to describe the intricate relationship structures humans have with themselves and others. I frequently take from the pool of human suffering for subject matter and inspiration. When people disconnect from themselves in any way, it will somehow show up in their faces, bodies and gestures. I prefer to make drawings describing those results.”

Brewer’s Mansion

Cake Opening December 11, 6-9

55 Waterbury between Scholes and Meserole in Bushwick, Brooklyn

Kid Zoom Pop-Up Saturday

“Kid Zoom, Rembrandt with a Spray Can, represents the future of this movement.” – RON ENGLISH

With a Street Art celebrity endorsement like that, you know he’s going to wear a clean shirt to the show, right?  But wait, this is Lo-Brow so maybe just a freshly stained t-shirt.  See our studio visit Here.



72 Gansevoort St
NEW YORK, NY, 10014
Meatpacking District
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