All posts tagged: Ad Hoc Gallery

Brooklyn’s New “99%” Will Serve Street Art Fans and Many More

Brooklyn’s New “99%” Will Serve Street Art Fans and Many More

99% Perspiration, 1% Inspiration

Brooklyn-Street-Art-99-percent_WEB-Header_copyright_Steven-P-Harrington-L1080701

Anyone in New York will tell you that the adage holds true if you are trying to get your dream to happen in this city– a band, a restaurant, a store, a website, a clothing line.  It could be a genius idea, but you’re going to have to work for it. Gallerist/curator Andrew Michael Ford and artist Mikal Hameed, both in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Williamsburg since 1999, have put in plenty of perspiration getting separate projects off the ground over the last decade in NYC.  This spring as their shared dream of an art center and gallery in Billyburg gathered momentum, they redoubled their efforts and called every artist and source they knew.  Tomorrow, their dream, called “99%”, will open with a community fundraiser auction of prints by those artists. Ford and Hameed are going to do the necessary perspiring to make it happen.

Common Dreams, Rooted In Respect

Together, the two partners (along with a silent 3rd ) have discussed this gallery and community art space for a year and a half.  Studio talks about formal goals, bar-stool wisdom about esoteric ones, and serious footwork finally secured this location in a Brooklyn neighborhood considered a Street Art destination for artists and fans since the late 90’s.  Formerly an artist enclave, the neighborhood is rapidly changing as rezoning from 2005 allowed gentrification to rapidly bland the bohemian vibe, even as the change was slowed by the speed-bump of a huge recession.  Ironically, as the street art in the neighborhood is gradually disappearing, 99%, a gallery that celebrates it, opens it doors.

Brooklyn-Street-Art-99-percent_WEB-MIKAL_M11X_HAMEED

Mikal (known professionally as M11X), an innovative ingenious creator of art merging furniture and stereos, came from a graff background on the west coast writing as SMUGE with the WCA crew as a youth.

“So I was a writer, then I was an MC, a break dancer, whatever – all 5 elements. I started to gradually change and become well connected with people who are part of the street art scene,” says Mikal as he recounts his path to this place. He recalls how he ran a gallery called Headquarters in San Francisco and Oakland before coming to New York and running MJH’s gallery in Williamsburg.

“This is just part of my whole evolution. It’s been building up inside of me for so long. “

As he speaks about his goals for 99% he talks about the life of an artist. You can tell that he sincerely wants to bring a greater command of the craft to the newer graff and street artists out today – people he refers to often as “The Kids” .

Ford, a gallerist best known for his work as gallery director at both the pivotal Street Art gallery Ad Hoc Gallery in Bushwick and for the Dark Pop and Pop Surrealists at Last Rites Gallery in Chelsea, hopes to merge his affinities for any number of current art movements, most considered “outside” or lo-brow by the established gallery scene.

“Yeah, I think it’s more about ‘the work’, the skill levels, and the imagination.  The artist may also put up work in the street or do comic books for a profession or they are a professional illustrator but they have such a desire to do personal work.  A lot of galleries will look at them as simply an illustrator and not an artist, and I think those kinds of distinctions are ridiculous. An artist is an artist and they want to express themselves creatively and they want to have a place where they can do that. ”

Me and my shadow. Andrew Michael Ford stands by a much loved wall in the studio and a view of his portrait by Street Artist Ellis G. on the door

Me and my shadow. Andrew Michael Ford stands by a much loved wall in the studio and a view of his portrait by Street Artist Ellis G. on the door

Street Art, comic books, illustration, pin-up, animation, new media, graffiti, tattoos, folk art, – these terms pepper-spray through the conversation as Andrew, an enthusiastic conveyor of ideas about the current state of art and the gallery scene, barely keeps up with his own ideas. Clearly he hopes to create a gallery where unsung and marginalized art forms are given the respect he thinks they’ve missed. Street Art may be hot at the moment, but labels are not going to be the determining factor for whether 99% Gallery works with an artist or not.

BSA: Are we going to retire the term “Street Art” at any time in the near future?

Andrew: That obviously is a public debate, and obviously that is something that everyone should be involved with as far as what’s going to happen with these other terms like “low brow”, “pop surrealism”, “street art” and similar terms.

Mikal: They asked the same question about graffiti in the late 80s and I don’t think we were ever able to retire it.

BSA: So is there such a thing as “Street Art: Phase 2”?

Mikal: I think we are at Phase 3 or Phase 4 at this point.

Brooklyn-Street-Art-WEB-copyright-Steven-P-Harrington-99-percentL-MIKAL-ANDREW

An Educational Component

But it’s not just going to be a gallery. The guys want to create an art space that serves and educates, along with showing cutting edge art.

Sketching out their plans for the near future, Andrew explains, “We’re not talking about traditional education here – we’re talking about re-examining how the work is presented to people. I would say first phase is about lectures and talks, and we can work our way into workshops and classes down the road.”  The ideas for educational topics run the gamut, but they often touch on the basics that both partners feel have been missed by many of today’s artists.

“Yeah, kids need to learn how to do their own framing, make their own stretchers”, says Mikal, “I wish somebody taught me how to do that.”

Sounding like he is creating a new class on-the-fly, Andrew jumps in, “I do have a traditional art education background, — it was so much conceptual stuff, so much theory. There wasn’t a whole lot of practical stuff.  It was amazing that I could have this degree and yet it was after school that I had to learn a lot of stuff on my own.  It seems like a simple thing but I have this conversation with people all the time; What is the difference between a Giclée print, a hand silkscreened print, and what is a serigraph?”

A grassroots, populist philosophy enters the conversation again and again, and it becomes evident that the focus will be on the person, their approach, and the talent –rather than the formal educational background or pedigree of an artist.

“Yeah we want to create an equal playing field for a lot of artists,” stresses Mikal.

What playing field are they trying to equal out? Mikal responds, “Sometimes it just comes down to skills and imagination. You may not have the proper education but you have your passion and your motivation about this whole movement – you should be recognized as well.  Your sh*t should be up right next to the other stuff because your education could have come from somewhere else beside school.”

How often do you see this? Doze Green and Martha Cooper catching a tag on the wall of the new gallery.

How often do you see this? Doze Green and Martha Cooper catching a tag on the wall of the new gallery.

So the men have a lot in store, and they have what can only be described as a healthy dose of mutual respect.

Andrew praises Mikal’s talents and explains what he brings to the partnership, “One of the most important things is that Mikal is a very vibrant active artist who is doing shows regularly and has a different relationship with people than me because he is a working artist. It is really important to me to have Mikal because we are really good sounding boards for each other. I might be thinking a little more about the business side of things and how we are going to present it and he is thinking more about the specific piece of art and where the artist is coming from. He could say to me, ‘You may want to consider this because this is how the artist is going to feel’. I think it is a really really good match”

For his part, Mikal sounds solid in his dedication, “The people that work with Andrew just have straight up respect for him and they know that he’s the main guy in this business right now but he just needed his own platform to show everybody what’s up.”

Is this place big enough for all their dreams?

“No, but it’s a start. There is no place like that,” says Mikal.

Andrew agrees, “I’m really grateful for the fact that it is a tremendous starting point and an incredible location. I think it is going to benefit everybody that we work with”.

Brooklyn-Street-Art-WEB-copyright-Steven-P-Harrington-99-percentL1080682

**************************************************************

images of Andrew Michael Ford and Mikaal Hameed © Steven P. Harrington

**************************************************************

99% Gallery and Art Center

99 North 10th (between Berry and Wythe), Brooklyn, NY 11211

OPENING RECEPTION: JUNE 11TH, 7-11PM

FUNDRAISER PRINT GROUP SHOW SILENT AUCTION to benefit 99% and the artists.

$5 COVER

Participating artists for the print show  include:
Bast,Chris Mendoza,Cycle,Dennis McNett,Doze Green,Ellis G,Eric White,Esao Andrews,EZO,Gaia,Ian Kuali’I,Imminent Disaster,Jeremiah Ketner,Jose Parla,Kenji Hirata,Lady Pink,Martha Cooper,Martin Wittfooth,Maya Hayuk,Mel Kadel,Morning Breath,Nathan Lee Pickett,Orlando Reyes,Rage Johnson,Ricky Powell,Rostarr,Ryan Humphrey,Skewville,Swoon,Tara McPherson,Tono Radvany,Voodo Fe,Xiaoqing Ding,Yuri Shimojo

For more information about the auction

CONTACT:info@ninetyninegallery.com
WEBSITE: www.ninetyninegallery.com

32010_122553237781314_119424814760823_116437_3034853_n

Please follow and like us:
Read more

“I think it gives Brooklyn a kind of twist”; Willoughby Windows through the eyes of Brooklyn kids.

The Willoughby Windows Project, curated by Ad Hoc Gallery last summer was a big hit that helped revitalize a downtown block.

A developer who bought the block had made it look ugly by kicking out the mom-n-pop businesses that made their living there, so the street artists made it look super cool by putting art in the windows.

These four talented and insightful Brooklyn students in 4th,5th, and 6th grades made an excellent documentary about the project and it’s impact on the people they met who passed the windows. It is very funny and entertaining. Oh yeah, it’s educational too.

Brooklyn Friends Student Documentary Fall 2009 from Samuel Bathrick

The team really studied the topic and explained why they did the project. Here are some quotes from the documentary, to give you a flavor:

“We decided to make a documentary film about the different stores and that had art in them.”

“We had some questions and we wanted to find out what the general public thought about the art.”

“Personally I think the stores closed because of the economy.”

The documentary includes discussion about the project, how it came about, and interviews with people on the street. Garrison Buxton of Ad Hoc, and one of the featured artists in the project Dennis McNett, are also interviewed. The whole documentary was edited by the class instructor, Sam Bathrick.

Three cheers for after school programs!  Three cheers for teachers!  Three cheers for these amazing students!!

See a previous post on the Willoughby Windows Project

Please follow and like us:
Read more

M-City Hits Queens – and collaborates with Gaia in Bed Stuy

The country is in the grip of a COLD SNAP!  Forecasters are predicting a wind chill of -50 degrees in the Dakotas tonight.

Good thing M-City has his orange pants!

Those insulated winterized dungarees kept M-City warm in December when he was doing a one-man factory-cityscape with Ad Hoc in Queens, and right now as he finishes a collaboration with Gaia in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn.  Here’s some pictures and comments from both installations and both Street Artists.

Brooklyn-Street-Art-M-City-queens-SIGNATURE_TAG_IMG_9927

Brooklyn-Street-Art-WEB-M-City-BezNazwy_Panorama1

This panorama shot shows the whole installation like it hasn’t been seen before. (courtesy the artist)

Brooklyn Street Art: How did you get involved with this project?
M-City:
I’m on holidays in NYC. I love to travel and paint in different places, so it’s good to be here and leave my work on the streets of NYC. I asked before my trip some friend about how to get some walls to paint. They found me this space via Ad Hoc Gallery. It took me three and a half days to do this wall with snow and really bad weather.

A view of M-City's installation under a bright December sky.

A view of M-City’s installation under a bright December sky.

In this thrilling animation, see the cog-wheel bull spouting steam through his exhaust-pipe horns!

In this thrilling animation, see the cog-wheel bull spouting steam through his exhaust-pipe horns!

Brooklyn Street Art: What is the inspiration behind the piece?
M-City:
It’s a story about the industrial city jungle. There are some factories that  look like an animal. I chose bulls and elephants. They are very strong like engines in factories. In the background it’s a city landscape and leaves. Of course as always in all my works everything is black and white.

Cogs, wheels, factories, stencils and a ladder.

Cogs, wheels, factories, stencils and a ladder.

Brooklyn Street Art: Is it hard to do this work in cold weather conditions?
M-City:
Not really, of course summer is much better to paint. In my country at this time is the same weather. If you use stencils, it’s only one problem … wind. If you use one it’s easy, but I use sometimes 100-200 stencils for one piece. And if the wind is coming you must have a lots hand to catch them all.

A school bus on the sidewalk so the kids can get a closer look at the M-City mural.

A school bus on the sidewalk so the kids can get a closer look at the M-City mural.

Brooklyn Street Art: What is your wish for 2010?
M-City: Nothing special, keep all good waves from 2009, and create more good waves in the new year…

In an echo of New York's industrial past - and 14th Street present - smoke stacks churning out pollution into the air in M-City's mural.

In an echo of New York’s industrial past – and 14th Street present – smoke stacks churning out pollution into the air in M-City’s mural.

L1050716

Last night in Brooklyn M-City and Gaia worked together on a collaboration, a city scape of hundreds of buildings with two large screaming starling heads emerging from the clutter – a wall scored by Brooklynite Gallery just for the installation.

During the roughly 6 hours in 25 degree weather, many people walking by stopped to say hello and ask questions about what the art was, how it was created, and if it had anything to do with the Martin Scorcese film that is happening a couple blocks away. Two spritely teen-age girls wanted to know if we were shooting a video, because, if so, they would like to be in it. One woman inquired about how she could get her work up on the wall sometime.  Two school boys asked about 30 questions in quick succession.  The questions kept everyone entertained and distracted from the cold, which caused toes and brains to freeze. Unfortunately, the source of electricity (a beauty shop) had to go home after their last hair-do, and the artists will have to finish the mural soon.

Dramatic action shot of Gaia under the glare of a projector!

Dramatic action shot of Gaia under the glare of a projector! (photo © Steven P. Harrington)

M-City and Gaia work on their collaborative mural before the sun goes down. (photo © Steven P. Harrington)

M-City and Gaia work on their collaborative mural before the sun goes down. (photo © Steven P. Harrington)

Brooklyn Street Art: How many stencils did you use this time?
M-City: For this piece I used 3 sizes of buildings. About 50 of the small size, the medium size about 50, and the large size maybe 10 or 12. I don’t know how many stencils I have, I never count.  I probably have about 200 today.

M-City in Bed Stuy on a wall scored by Brooklynite Gallery (photo © Steven P. Harrington)

M-City in Bed Stuy on a wall scored by Brooklynite Gallery (photo © Steven P. Harrington)

Brooklyn Street Art: Are you very cold?
M-City:
No. For me, no. In Poland now it’s winter. It’s more cold than here.  It’s not a perfect time, but it’s okay. This is better for stencils because if it is too hot, the paint is sticky. And it is not windy, so I don’t need 20 hands to keep hold of all my stencils.

M-City rifles through the pile of stencils to create the cacophonic cityscape (photo © Steven P. Harrington)

M-City rifles through the pile of stencils to create the cacophonic cityscape (photo © Steven P. Harrington)

Bird is the Word! Gaia labors on one of the feathered friends. (photo © Steven P. Harrington)

Bird is the Word! Gaia labors on one of the feathered friends. (photo © Steven P. Harrington)

While M-City took a break to warm his hands on the projector light-bulb and block Gaia’s view, we asked Gaia a couple of questions:

Brooklyn Street Art: Tell me about this bird you are doing.

Gaia: I made this starling for a show in L.A. that’s opening this Friday. It’s about endangered species. So I decided it would be an interesting perspective to take a species that is, in fact, endangering other species. The starling is an invasive animal that ravages crops and out-competes. So this is a screaming starling head.  I’m going to do two.

As night takes over, the lights of the street (photo © Steven P. Harrington)

As night takes over, the lights of the projector draw more attention to Gaia’s work for passersby (photo © Steven P. Harrington)

Brooklyn Street Art: When they scream, what does that signify?
Gaia:
It’s more just a frightening gesture.  Especially when I put two of them together it forms a tarantula, kind of scary, kind of tough.  People have told me that my most successful work is stuff that’s not effeminate.  And this spot is interesting to paint because it’s totally dilapidated but with the projector, no matter how textured or dis-assembled the surface is… it works.  It’s a pretty sh*tty looking building so once you cover it over with art work it looks better.

Old Skool Technology for New Skool Street Artist - Gaia's bird on a transparency (photo © Steven P. Harrington)

Old Skool Technology for New Skool Street Artist – Gaia’s bird on a transparency (photo © Steven P. Harrington)

Brooklyn Street Art: Well, there was a local minister that just stopped by who’s building a new church in the neighborhood, and stopped by to say “Thank you” and how happy he was that this art was going up.
Gaia: Yeah that is super dope, that is so awesome.  He seemed like a very nice guy.

To be continued - the beauty shop closed and pulled the plug - so Gaia and M-City will finish the mural soon. (photo © Steven P. Harrington)

To be continued – the beauty shop closed and pulled the plug – so Gaia and M-City will finish the mural soon. (photo © Steven P. Harrington)

Brooklyn Street Art: This hot chocolate is not very good – they just dumped that Swiss Miss mix into this cup – it’s supposed to have half this much water.
Gaia:
It’s hot, that’s all that matters. You know it’s probably all at the bottom, you have to swirl it around.  (swings the cup around) Oh, yeah, that totally made a difference.  Actually, not that much of a difference.









Please follow and like us:
Read more
I Know there is AdHoc: Chris Stain and Armsrock (last installment of 3 interview posts)

I Know there is AdHoc: Chris Stain and Armsrock (last installment of 3 interview posts)

3

Armsrock in a moment of haste (photo Jaime Rojo)

Tonight marks two occasions; Ad Hoc Gallery’s last large-scale opening after blasting open the doors of Bushwick in 2005 to a new audience for street art, urban art, graffiti, tatoo, pop surrealism, screen printing, and good-natured fun-loving creative community organizing, AND the opening of a show called,
“I Know There Is Love”.

COINCIDENCE?  I think not.

2

Chris Stain at Ad Hoc (photo Jaime Rojo)

After lots of pre-planning, conversations, scores of back and forth emails, one big overnight mural, and 10 days of installation in this much respected gallery, Chris Stain knows that the show will mean different things to different people,

“It’s always subjective how people take things, when they see them.  If they hear a song, it’s going to mean something to one person and mean something different to somebody else.  I kind of think that’s the way it is with the artwork. I don’t really have any expectations or want anybody to get anything out of it more than “Here’s two people that give a sh*t about what’s going on around them in the world.”

12

Before you can get to the title of the show, there had to be discussions about a more basic question, says Armsrock; questions like,

” ‘What is love?’ And it’s not addressed so directly here but it’s sort of like everything that goes in here is somehow this “note” that comes out of this process work before the show and all the contemplations that we had and the conversations we had.

“I think we have very different opinions on it, but somehow it’s come together inside this space and whether or not people actually are able to decipher it is another question, but I think there is enough information so there is some kind of discourse that is thrown up in the air regarding themes such as ‘hope’ , which is very much at the core.”

14

Too esoteric a sentiment for street art? No, this show is knee-deep in reality, and is still hoping for a way out.

Ad Hoc show tonight; “I Know There Is Love”

Please follow and like us:
Read more
What was the name of that Show Again? Chris Stain and Armsrock (1st installment of 3 interview posts)

What was the name of that Show Again? Chris Stain and Armsrock (1st installment of 3 interview posts)

1

The back wall is done. If you want to see the lyrics to the entire song, Heather has written them in a very neat hand on the reception desk. (photo Jaime Rojo)

The crying, the screaming, the knashing of teeth

– the gates of inquisitorial mayhem have opened into the gallery here where in just mere days you will see the fearful state of the fatally flawed race called human.

But Mr. Stain says the progress of the installation at Ad Hoc’s last big shindig is going swimmingly:

“I feel really good about it. I think it all just came together very naturally.  Armsrock and I have worked together in the past and that was kind of a pre-cursor for what’s happening right now.  We’re familiar with each others’ work, each others’ style. We have similar themes.  We work in different mediums but I think it’s all come together based on the friendship we’ve already established.”

4

Chris Stain has borrowed the oil pastel and rendered large (photo Jaime Rojo)

Armsrock heralds the way they employed in the planning stages of the show:

“I’m feeling very very good about the progress. Chris said something interesting the other day. We were standing and looking at the show… only halfway finished. He’s a very dry man, and he has a very dry way of saying things. And he was like, “I knew it was going to look like this”.  Somehow I think that he was right because I knew how the process working with him would be and it was a project that I took on for ‘the process’. ”

5

Armsrock still has some work to do on this one (photo Jaime Rojo)

11

A new classic by Chris Stain (photo Jaime Rojo)

Please follow and like us:
Read more

New Mural by Chris Stain and Armsrock!

Under cover of darkness, a beacon’s hopeful signal

(photo Jaime Rojo)

Childhood reverie before the sun breaks (photo Jaime Rojo)

In preparation for their upcoming collaboration at Ad Hoc in Bushwick next week, Armsrock and Chris Stain sailed deep into the night near Brooklyn’s massive Navy Yard, hoisting up ladders to put up a large mural stirring the contemplative inner currents of child’s play entitled “I Know There Is Love”.

(photo Jaime Rojo)

(photo Jaime Rojo)

Using projections of their original work as well as improvised “chalk drawings”, the storytelling includes two tadpole-aged lads and a small harbor of imaginary vessels. In it one instantly escapes to a freer time of discovery when multiple dreams were easily set afloat.

(photo Jaime Rojo)

(photo Jaime Rojo)

As if a reaction to the rough and salty seas of daily life in New York for many, the street artist co-captains hang a huge banner across the mast of this ship to announce that it is possible to right the bow and head toward hope.

Proclaiming hope in the face of adversity (photo Jaime Rojo)
A proclamation in the face of adversity (photo Jaime Rojo)

More pics and detail of this installation to follow in the next few days.

Ad Hoc

“I Know There Is Love” Show

Please follow and like us:
Read more
Chris Stain Honoring Workers One Piece at a Time

Chris Stain Honoring Workers One Piece at a Time

Street Artist Chris Stain talks about his mural last weekend in Albany, and the people who he honors with his work.

After a stint of screen printing with friends in Philadelphia, Chris Stain hopped the train this weekend up the mighty Hudson River to NY’s state capital, whereupon he put up a blue-collar mural.

The stencil-like imagery of two guys you think you know, is a style Stain has been mining since he began in the late nineties; and so it is topically. Time and again he features the very people who keep the wheels of society turning yet who are finding themselves getting pinned under those same wheels, the workers.

S

The warehouse had a number of setbacks and planes to negotiate to cover it’s entire side.  (photo Chris Stain)

Ironically, at a time when the workers’ plight get Foxily attacked, glossed over, and dismissed in the mass media, it takes a street artist using a much older medium to restore their voices.  Chris proudly points out that these are the people he grew up around, and he has a special affinity for their lives and a respect for their contribution.

Brooklyn Street Art: Who’s the 518 posse who asked you put of this piece?

Chris Stain: 518 Prints was founded by Jesse Brust, Don Naylor, and Justin Louden. I had worked with them over the years at Equal Vision Records. They put their heads together and started their own shop in the basement of Jesse’s house just about the time I made the move down to the City about 3 years ago.

The shop has flourished, printing mostly merch for touring hardcore bands on everything from basketball jerseys to short shorts. They now run a full shop with several employees, automatic and manual printing equipment, a warehouse and an online merch store for bands. I was asked to come up and paint the building they have taken over.

Brooklyn Street Art: The mural is huge; did you have any help?

Chris Stain: Jesse provided the ladders, paint, food, and space.  I started painting around 8:30 pm and finished about 2:30am. I set up my projector and went for it. The piece itself is about 30 ft wide by 14 ft high. It was a nice night. They had a bonfire going, a BBQ, and a bunch of friends I hadn’t seen in a minute.

Brooklyn Street Art: These images, which appear often in your work, look like working folk we see every day.

Chris Stain: Many of the images I choose have some relation to my upbringing;  whether they’re working class or inner-city, it all stems from growing up in Baltimore. I find myself drawn again and again to the subject matter. I cant seem to shake it but don’t find a reason to right now.

***************************************

Now Chris is back in Brooklyn and feverishly preparing for a much-anticipated collaboration at Ad Hoc Gallery, where he is paired with a kindred soul in street art, Armsrock.  The two are preparing “I Know There is Love”, based on the lyrics of a song the same name by the 70’s punk band Crass.

A Return to the Simplicity of All Things

“A Return to the Simplicity of All Things” a very recent piece by Armsrock (image courtesy the artist)

A better pairing of styles may not happen for a while – both artists use the humanity of their subjects, unpolished and unassuming, to reflect back at us the state of our condition (or is that the condition of our state?)

[AUGUST72009frontfinal.jpg]
Stay tuned to BSA for exciting developments en route to the show!
Please follow and like us:
Read more
Sneaking a Peek at Imminent Disaster and Gaia at Ad Hoc

Sneaking a Peek at Imminent Disaster and Gaia at Ad Hoc

Okay Street Art fans!

It’s a winning artist combination that you look forward to, and that Ad Hoc is getting nearly famous for – a new show featuring two of the strongest allegorical voices in street art together in one space this Friday, Imminent Disaster and Gaia.

The two use a similar palette (black and white), have an ardent respect for the hand drawn, and both make reference to mythology and symbolism.  They even labored for this show in the same studio in industrial Bushwick/Ridgewood. That said, these two wheat-pasters have styles quite distinct from one another.

First glances will draw comparisons to the work of some of their peers on the scene, Swoon, Elbowtoe and Dennis McNett come to mind.  After a moment you can also see two distinct styles that are clarifying and evolving and, in the case of the piece-de-resistance by Imminent Disaster, breath-taking.  For his part, Gaia has his hands in the bushes.

*********************

Brooklyn Street Art visited the gallery a few days before the show while both street artists were preparing for the opening. Ms. Disaster was on her knees, literally, cutting long curving slices into a black swath of backdrop paper mounted on a muslin canvas, partially hanging from an overhead pipe. The central figures, Persephone and Hades; sinewy, sexual, and heroically strong, share the boldly ornamental ironwork with a spread-winged eagle, stallions, flying bats, and what might be an arched church window, all afloat in a foaming undulating sea. It is not clear at once what the scene depicts, but I.D. is not bothered by the idea that you may not understand immediately. This is a long path she has almost completed, and she is pleased.

Brooklyn Street Art: So how long did it take to do this giant piece?

Imminent Disaster: Like 400 hours. The first part, with the main figures, was about 200 hours, or 3 solid weeks.  Then it was spread out over time. Total time was about 6 weeks.

The first three weeks it was February, it was really cold. I was mostly alone except for my studio mates. I find it hard to work when people are around, at least really work. Like all the cutting, I really need to be in my space for. The finishing work, like some of the sewing (tacking the piece to canvas) was much more social with my friends because we would chat while doing it.  It was more of the “repetitive motion” work that didn’t require as much careful thought so it was easier to do with friends.

Brooklyn Street Art: You were also cutting 4 layers, which can more difficult and tedious.

Imminent Disaster: Yeah, it’s thicker but with a really sharp blade…. I probably went through a thousand open tips.

Rounding the final corners. Disaster at work. (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Rounding the final corners. Disaster at work. (photo Steven P. Harrington) (courtesy Ad Hoc Gallery)

Brooklyn Street Art: Do you work also on a smaller scale?

Imminent Disaster: Occasionally, but I don’t enjoy it as much. Like I don’t think any of my “real work” is the small stuff. The stuff that I’ve been doing small lately has been the photo collages, but it is a totally different process. There’s very little drawing involved.

Brooklyn Street Art: Can you describe your process a little? You’ve said that these days you are not pre-thinking the work as much as just “letting it happen and develop”.

Imminent Disaster: Right. I think some people call it  “the muse” – like you are channeling “the muse”.  I don’t at this point have a fixed idea or intention of what I’m doing before I make it.  Like a lot of times I can’t explain why things are in it.  It’s just that I knew it was the right thing to be there and that it doesn’t have a narrative or a purpose or a thing that is trying to communicate.  It just happens.

An epic installation (photo Steven P. Harrington)

An epic Disaster installation (photo Steven P. Harrington) (courtesy Ad Hoc Gallery)

Brooklyn Street Art: Is it important to you that someone understands a piece in any particular way?

Imminent Disaster: No. I think that most people aren’t taught how to understand art anyway.  They are used to art that does communicate a message succinctly like Banksy, who uses that as a huge element in his art.  I think that is a kind of idea of art that is dangerously close to advertising and what society has reduced art to, something immediately communicable.  If people don’t want to spend time with the piece or really look at it and get more out of it then what I have to say doesn’t matter to them anyway – if they don’t want to try.  I spent 400 hours trying to make it, and if they don’t want to spend an hour trying to think about what I made, then they are not invested in what I have to say.

Brooklyn Street Art: If we were to apply those same values you just described to your human relationships outside of the artist-viewer relationships, I would imagine you also feel that way about who is a friend and who isn’t.

Imminent Disaster: I’d say that yes, that’s also true.  I don’t have many close friends, but the ones that I have are actually paying attention to what I’m saying. They actually care about it and we have conversations about emotions, so it goes a little bit deeper than just hanging out at a bar.

Herstorical Persephone (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Herstorical Persephone (photo Steven P. Harrington) (courtesy Ad Hoc Gallery)

Brooklyn Street Art: Are there a lot of women doing street art today?

Imminent Disaster: Street Art, like a lot of things, is definitely male dominated but there is a solid handful.

I know a lot of the “New York” crowd personally, but internationally, not so much. But I do know from other friends that have traveled internationally that once you get kind of “tapped in” to the street art community internationally you get taken to places like Italy or Brazil or Chile and you meet other street artists and they’ll take you around to all the cool spots and give you a place to stay.  Internationally, the community is tremendously welcoming and there is a lot of helping one another.  But I haven’t really traveled a whole lot since I’ve been doing this.  I’ve kind of been staying in the hood – it’s all about Brooklyn.

Brooklyn Street Art: You’ve talked before about feminism and the role that it plays in your work previously. In what way is feminism involved here?

Imminent Disaster: I think women in general are not expected to do work that is as time consuming, large, or ambitious as this.  Female artists are always working with textiles, or kind of “cute” things  – that’s a pretty broad stereotype and it not true… for example women like Kara Walker do huge ambitious things, and good work, that disproves the stereotype.  I think there is something in working at such a large scale and dedicating so much time to my work that is empowering to me.

Detail from Imminent Disaster at Ad Hoc (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Detail from Imminent Disaster at Ad Hoc (photo Steven P. Harrington) (courtesy Ad Hoc Gallery)

Brooklyn Street Art: Do you tire of the subjects after working on it for so many hours?

Imminent Disaster: You have to be really, really dedicated to an idea in order to spend so long on it. There were definitely points during making this that I was like, “Why am I doing this, what and why am I doing this. Why did I just spend two months doing this?”  But you have to have the confidence in yourself that it is worth it, or will be worth it and know that and it has to keep you going.

Brooklyn Street Art: When you talk about working by yourself a lot, how important is personal independence to you as opposed to working collaboratively for coming to decisions?

Imminent Disaster: When I do work collaboratively I kind of have an understanding that the project is a different “thing” – like it’s more of a social reason to be doing it.  But the work I do by myself is my best work and it’s because a lot of times when I’m working I can’t communicate why or what I’m doing.  Any kind of interference would ruin the whole process.  Like this big piece – I would never, ever even consider having another person telling me or trying to participate in it.

Detail from Imminent Disaster (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Detail from Imminent Disaster (photo Steven P. Harrington) (courtesy Ad Hoc Gallery)

Brooklyn Street Art: You have done some collaborative pieces on the street, is that right?

Imminent Disaster: Yes, I’ve done some murals collaboratively but that was just like “fun”, you know. It was fun to hang out with my friends and do something I would not otherwise do.  For the most part, I think that work is far less developed.  I’m not a painter! I have horrible “can control”.

Brooklyn Street Art: So for those people who care about these labels, you would never call what you do “graffiti”?

Imminent Disaster: No, I mean, I’m definitely not a graffiti artists.  If you talk to a real vandal, they are really into being a vandal — they just want to f*ck some sh*t up and destroy some property.  I’m glad they are doing that, but that’s not my intention, I just want to put up beautiful things on the street because they are beautiful.   (laughing) So I guess that is kind of the opposite reason.

*********************

To catch up with wildly talented Gaia, BSA had the pleasure to go with him and a friend out to the freight train rails and help with the harvest of “weeds” to complete his installation in the gallery.  Foraging in the overgrowth that blooms among urine-filled water bottles (don’t ask), we snapped dead weeds (someone thought they were wild asparagus) and piled them on the tracks for pick up on the way home to Ad Hoc.  In between swatting flies under punishing sun and yelling over roaring airplanes, Gaia talked about his work as a street artist and this show:

Brooklyn Street Art: So why are we out here anyway?

Gaia: We’re collecting weeds for the show at Ad Hoc.

Weeds on the rails (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Weeds on the rails (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Brooklyn Street Art: What are the weeds going to be used for?

Gaia: Hopefully they are going to be used to establish a nature-like feel in the gallery.  Logistically they are just going to be used for framing the pieces.

The subjects of the pieces are these strange mythological creatures that marry human and animal form.  I thought it would provide a nice setting for them.

Brooklyn Street Art: Aren’t you afraid of getting poison ivy?
Gaia: No.

Please, somebunny help me! New work by Gaia (photo Steven P. Harrington) (courtesy Ad Hoc Gallery)

Please, somebunny help me! New work by Gaia (photo Steven P. Harrington) (courtesy Ad Hoc Gallery)

Brooklyn Street Art: The figures that are part human, part animal amalgams, what are they about?

Gaia: They have a primary stake in the body of work on the street. They are becoming these figures that convey an open narrative.  It’s like encountering a piece on the street.  You see this piece and it is about this moment of discovery.

Brooklyn Street Art: Does that mean you know what they are, and no one else does?  Or are you discovering it too?

Gaia: I have this sort of romantic feeling about these things… like there was once a point where animals and man had a deeper connection but I feel like there is a sort of contemporary drive to romanticize what it means to be connecting with nature.

For me the human (in the gallery pieces) becomes the emotive symbol for the animals, they signal toward the thing that is being expressed by the animal.

The animal carries it’s cultural significance and the hands sort of direct it toward something.  Hopefully the hands are pretty clear.

Just look at those hands (photo Steven P. Harrington) (courtesy Ad Hoc Gallery)

Just look at those hands (photo Steven P. Harrington) (courtesy Ad Hoc Gallery)

Brooklyn Street Art: How do you choose a location to put up your work?

Gaia: Usually just by biking around, looking for a spot.  Obviously I look for that aesthetic of neglected space; It’s something that attracts me.  I look for that space that has been forgotten and can be re-activated.

Also, sometimes it’s just a spot that gets a lot of traffic; like in a place like Williamsburg that everybody goes to.  Also sometimes I look for something that is specific to that place, like where the composition mirrors that of a shadow that appears at a certain time, or like a doorway that is adjacent to it, and sometimes it’s just a perfect rooftop spot.  It does seem like, for the most part, site-specific work that works in tandem with the location is something that is more appreciated. I appreciate it too. I also think there is a lot of interest in finding new locations…  It’s a lot of different strategies.

Mythical owl in the weeds by Gaia (photo Steven P. Harrington) (courtesy Ad Hoc Gallery)

Mythical owl in the weeds by Gaia (photo Steven P. Harrington) (courtesy Ad Hoc Gallery)

Brooklyn Street Art: What do you learn from other peoples reaction to your work?

Gaia: Listening to people’s reactions allows me to understand my strategies and the paths I’ve lead someone on; which ones lead to a dead end and don’t necessarily open more doors and which ones continue to reference things in peoples lives and allow them to connect.  So I do understand that connectivity to other peoples’ references and other peoples’ capacity to understand the work allows me to take it back to the studio, so in that way it is a refining process, definitely.

Brooklyn Street Art: Have you ever happened upon someone looking at your work and listened to what they said?

Gaia: Yes, definitely.

The Goat Illuminati Knight! - Gaia (courtesy the artist)

The Goat Illuminati Knight! – Gaia (courtesy the artist)

Brooklyn Street Art: Do they tell stories that you never intended?

Gaia:
Yeah, that goat guy with the triangle that I put up once, this man told me that it was all about the Illuminati.  He told me about this story about King Joseph and how King Joseph had some kind of connection with the goat and that it was a symbol of the Knights Templar.  I couldn’t disagree because it was close to a Mason meeting place.  He was positive that he was right.

See more Imminent Disaster HERE

See more Gaia HERE

See them both at Ad Hoc this Friday, June 26, 2009 from 7-10.

Please follow and like us:
Read more

JEF AEROSOL “ALL SHOOK UP” NYC DEBUT AT AD HOC GALLERY

All Shook Up: Jef Aerosol

All Shook Up: Jef Aerosol
January 29 – February 21, 2010
Opening Reception – Friday, January 29, 2010, 6-10pm

Ad Hoc Art
43 Bogart Street
Brooklyn, New York 11206
(via subway take the L Train to Morgan Avenue Station)

For an online version of this document and pictures to download go to this link http://mim.io/3a6f1

Ad Hoc Art presents international stencil master Jef Aerosol in New York City for “All Shook Up”, a stunning show of cultural icons by a Street Artist with 30 years in the game.**

The show with Ad Hoc Art, a gallery widely regarded as one of Street Art’s polestars, features brand new stenciled works as well as the now-classic pieces that have made Jef Aerosol’s name itself iconic; on paper, wood, and found objects.

A true originator who helped spark what is now known as “Street Art” when he sprayed his first stencil series across the city of Tours, France one night in 1982, the self-taught Aerosol has continuously rocked the streets with his oversized portraits and helped define a new public art nomenclature with other French artists like Blek Le Rat, Miss Tic, and Speedy Graphito.

Steadily from the ’80s to the ’10s Aerosol has cut and sprayed stunning portraits of his heroes; cultural icons who stand undiminished by the hype.  They connect directly with the masses and shake public opinion with humor and provocation; Strummer, Cash, Vicious, Hendrix, Bowie, Bardot, Cobain, Lennon, Smith, Jagger – all brainy agitators and vixens cut and sprayed in stark layers of black, grey and white. And each with Aerosol’s signature hot red arrows affixed nearby for exclamation.

In Street Art and in the gallery, Aerosol has not purely focused on those well-known personages. Among the faces you’ll find a number of self-portraits and portrayals of the more anonymous among us such as those living and working in the streets.

Like the best photographers, Aerosol catches the instant of truth in his portraits, and reveals a universal humanity in each subject.  “In my work I love to call up my feelings and emotions to honor these modern day heroes who have fed my life with their music, art and ideas.  This new show is a powerful and vivid collection of these inspirations that I am really excited to bring to New York for the first time,” Jef Aerosol.

Three decades of getting up on walls in cities including Paris, London, Lisbon, Chicago, New York, Bejing, Venice, Amsterdam, Rome, Zurich, Berlin, Dublin, and Tokyo have given him all the “street cred” Jef Aerosol will ever need.

Sighted in numerous books and by authors like Tristan Manco (Stencil Graffiti, Street Logos), blogs like Wooster Collective and Brooklyn Street Art, and newspapers like The New York Times as one of the lynchpins in the stencil art movement that came to be called “street art”,  Jef Aerosol’s work has become a perennial favorite of collectors.  His work resides in hundreds of private collections, has exhibited in numerous galleries in Europe, the U.S. and Australia (list below), and is regularly auctioned with Bonhams (London, New-York), Artcurial (Paris), Drouot (Paris), and Dreweats (London).

In 2007 Aerosol published a gallery of portraits in VIP Very Important Pochoirs (éditions Alternatives, Paris, 2007).

Galleries where the work of Jef Aerosol has been shown include: Galerie Brugier-Rigail (Paris), Galerie Raison d’Art (Lille), Signal Gallery (London), Zozimus Gallery (Dublin), Art Partner Galerie (Brussels), Galerie Anne Vignial (Paris), Galerie Storme (Lille), Galerie Onega (Paris), Carmichael Gallery (Los Angeles), ATM Gallery (Berlin), and Famous When Dead Gallery (Melbourne).

*********************************
Sponsored by BrooklynStreetArt.com
Brooklyn Street Art Loves You More Everyday

********************************

New York Post says Aerosol’s Solo Show Soars http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/brooklyn/jef_aerosol_solo_show_soars_RX6reY7nAmqrUWWJK3aUJM

Jay-Z stencil done to commemorate this show by Jef Aerosol

Jay-Z stencil done to commemorate this show by Jef Aerosol

Please follow and like us:
Read more

Rock On! Sticker Madness at Ad Hoc With Martha Cooper Going Postal

Long before Flickr was a Flicker in your daddy’s eye, Martha Cooper

was “all-borough” out on the streets and subways of New York with her camera capturing and documenting the legacy of graffiti images for future generations. A quarter century later, Ms. Cooper picked up her first digital camera and found it’s diminutive size and ease of use was perfect for capturing one of her new street loves, the postal sticker, in it’s multitude of incarnations.

*******************

On Friday night Ad Hoc Gallery hosted a lively show, party, and sticker fair to fete Martha and her new book “Going Postal”, the bound document that presents what she’s been snapping since 2002. To paraphrase Ms. Cooper, the book recognizes the aesthetics of the postal label and preserves the ephemeral form in print.

*******************

Lined up outside in the cold Bushwick night, the guests ranged from 7 to 77, the widest demographic we’ve ever seen at a show like this, attesting to the regard people have for sticker art as an art form, and, more likely, their regard for this strong proponent of the creative spirit, Martha Cooper.
Martha Cooper Basking in the Sticker Glow

Martha Cooper basking in the sticker glow (with family helping at the sticker table) (photo Steven P. Harrington)

The Crowd Stuck for Hours before Peeling Away

The Crowd Stuck for Hours before Peeling Off to the Afterparty (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Retrieving the newly dry stickers from the clothesline (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Retrieving the newly dry stickers from the clothesline (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Fans flipped through books to select their favorite (Kosbe) (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Fans flipped through books to select their favorite (Kosbe) (photo Steven P. Harrington)

This troupe of art fans added a new energy to the night! (photo Steven P. Harrington)

This troupe of art fans added a new energy to the night! (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Tazz Red Nose says he's been on the scene since back the day (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Tazz Red Nose says he's been wreckin' stickers since way back in the day. This piece is a full size canvas tribute to two of his most popular characters. (photo Steven P. Harrington)

9 Panels like this

9 Panels like this with stickers dating back to 1990, were placed around the Ad Hoc gallery. Martha likes the way the two distinct disciplines of graff-styled lettering and street art have intersected on stickers. (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Looking hard while posing for a pic. (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Looking hard while posing for a pic. (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Trading and giveaways between fans were happening all around (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Trading and giveaways between fans were happening all around (photo Steven P. Harrington)

A new giant bear by C.Damage (photo Steven P. Harrington)

A new bear by C.Damage (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Kosbe covers the options  (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Kosbe covers the options (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Blanco Explains Why BK is Down (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Blanco Explains Why BK is Down (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Dwell and One Unit win the award for most fanciful and otherworldly use of materials

Dwell and One Unit win the award for most fanciful and otherworldly use of materials on stickers. A small collection of their work incorporated wood patterned shelf-lining vinyl collage on postal labels. (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Chris Stain pulls at your humanity with his depictions of our neighbors. (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Chris Stain pulls at your humanity with his depictions of our neighbors. (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Depoe had more colorful abstracts on canvas in the show. Here is one of his stickers. (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Depoe had more colorful abstracts on canvas in the show. Here is one of his stickers. (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Aiko bunny with splashes of paint (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Aiko bunny with splashes of paint (photo Steven P. Harrington)

PC? - This may stand for Prince Charming (photo Steven P. Harrington)

PC? - This may stand for Prince Charming (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Giving generously, Chris from Robots will kill prepared envelopes containing 3 stickers and a button for the show. (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Giving generously, Chris from Robots will kill prepared envelopes containing 3 stickers and a button for the show. (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Blanco obliterated a postal label completely (almost) to create these stencil tributes to Norman Rockwell. This one refers to

Blanco opaqued a postal label completely (almost) to create this stencil tribute to Norman Rockwell. This girl walks the red line - the original "The Problem We All Live With" by Norman Rockwell appeared in Look magazine in 1964, ten years after the Brown Vs. Board of Education decision and during the height of the Civil Rights Movement. (photo Steven P. Harrington)

James Brown Blanco

Hilarious tributes to the cassette tape, Blanco made multiple variations of this stencilled sticker and, with an actual typewriter, gave them labels, including MixTape groupings of old-skool jams, as well as iconic album titles like "in Utero" by Nirvana, and this one. (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Click here for “Going Postal” by Martha Cooper

Please follow and like us:
Read more

EKUNDAYO & JOSHUA CLAY at Ad Hoc

EKUNDAYO & JOSHUA CLAY

“Duality”

April 3rd through May 3rd 2009

Opening Reception: Friday, April 3rd, 7pm-10pm

EKUNDAYO

Ekundayo was born in Honolulu, HI, but spent most of his childhood moving from place to place with his father, living a life on the run. At the age of 13 Ekundayo discovered one of his uncle’s black books, which completely changed his life. Ekundayo became obsessed with drawing and copied every single page of that little book.

Ekundayo combines both subversive graffiti aesthetics in combination with art-historical erudition using acrylic, gouache, watercolor, ink and various carving techniques. Ekundayo’s work expresses the struggle of life and how those struggles and burdens can either inspire us to change in a constructive way or weigh us down by our own inability to change.

JOSHUA CLAY

Joshua Clay was always destined to become an artist, choosing pencil and paper over toys and technology. Throughout his high school years Clay found himself consumed by the act of painting creating over fifty original works and several large scale murals. Following college Joshua relocated to Los Angeles where he apprenticed under artist Blaine Fontana. In under 2 years of living and working as a fulltime fine artist Clay found himself immersed in the emerging Los Angeles new contemporary art movement.

With four successful solo exhibits and dozens of group exhibits under his belt, Clay has been busy making quite a name for himself. In addition to having his work featured in several books and magazines in recent years, Clay has also caught the attention of the music industry creating artwork for bands including Nine Inch Nails, Linkin Park, Gym Class Heroes and Fall Out Boy. Joshua Clay is sure to be a name you’ll be seeing again.

Please follow and like us:
Read more