All posts tagged: H. Veng Smith

A Dying Breed Presents: “Detention” Pop-Up Art Show (Manhattan, NYC)

Detention

A Dying Breed art collective Presents: Detention.

Featuring:
Sen 2
Zimer
See One
Rimx
Chris RWK
Veng RWK
Bishop 203
ND’A
Icy an Sot
Cern
Dice the God
Pun 18
Fibs

Schools out but we didnt pay attention to the teacher and drew pictures in class… and on the walls too. Now we’re all in detention. Lucky for us we have some friends joining us for this pop-up graffiti/ street art show!

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Fun Friday 04.13.12

 

Uh-Oh, should I be wearing a necklace of garlic today? It might not be too cool to wear it indoors. Oh snap it’s only a movie. Happy Friday the 13th everybody!

1. “Vice & Virtue” Shai Dahan (Stockholm)
2. “It Felt Like a Kiss”, Alexandros Vasmoulakis at Gallery Nosco (London)
3. “The Birds & The Bees” with H. Veng Smith and Gigi Chen (BKLN)
4. Isaac Cordal Solo tonight in Barcelona
5. Hellbent at C.A.V.E. Saturday (LA)
6. Buff Monster at Corey Helford Saturday (LA)
7. Sowat and Lek present: “Mausolee”
8. Arabic Graffiti and Egyptian Street Art in Frankfurt
9. John Crash Matos’ “Study In Watercolors” at the Addict Galerie in Paris
10. ARMO and his world of color, shapes and textures. (VIDEO)
11. Ana Peru Peru Ana “meanwhile, in new york city (VII)” (VIDEO)

“Vice & Virtue” Shai Dahan (Stockholm)

Shai Dahan’s solo show  “Vice & Virtue” opened last night at the Scarlett Gallery in Stockholm, Sweden and is open today to the public.  Are your virtues bigger than your vices?

For further information regarding this show click here.

“It Felt Like a Kiss”, Alexandros Vasmoulakis at Gallery Nosco (London)

An exploration of the seductive kiss and the female power of attraction – sounds like a valiant pursuit, doesn’t it? Alexandros Vasmoulakis’s solo show is open to the general public at Gallery Nosco in London today.

For further information regarding this show click here.

“The Birds & The Bees” with H. Veng Smith and Gigi Chen (BKLN)

A perfect theme for a show right now as the temperatures rise and skirts rise and shirts come off on the grassy knolls in Prospect Park.  “The Birds & The Bees” H. Veng Smith show with Gigi Chen at the Mighty Tanaka Gallery opens today in Brooklyn as Spring time’s gallant breeze calls you hither to Dumbo.

Veng (photo © Jaime Rojo)

For further information regarding this show click here.

Isaac Cordal Solo tonight in Barcelona

Curated by Street Art author Maximiliano Ruiz, this solo show gives platform to Isaac Cordal, a small-scale sculptor who has thus far used the street as the only necessary stage. Mr. Cordal’s little cement characters at RAS Gallery will stop you in your tracks and reconsider your giant self.

Isaac Cordal (photo © Isaac Cordal)

For further information regarding this show click here.

Hellbent at C.A.V.E. Saturday (LA)

New York Street Artist and fine artist Hellbent shares the space at C.A.V.E Gallery in Venice Beach, California this weekend with his offering “A Quilted Life”.

Hellbent (photo © Jaime Rojo)

For further information regarding this show click here.

Buff Monster at Corey Helford Saturday (LA)

Buff Monster is back at his most mischievous at the Corey Helford Gallery this time all covered in delicious pink. His solo show “Legend of the Pink” opens tomorrow in Culver City as the monster celebrates 10 years of work on the street.

Buff Monster (photo © Jaime Rojo)

For further information regarding this show click here.

Also happening this weekend:

Maya Hayuk solo show “2012 Apocabliss” in Mexico City at Anonymous Gallery. Click here for more details on this show.

Sowat and Lek present: “Mausolee”. An art show and book release in Paris, France. Click here for more details on this show.

From Here to Fame Publishing Presents: Arabic Graffiti and Egyptian Street Art in Frankfurt, Germany. Click here for more details on this show.

John Crash Matos’ “Study In Watercolors” at the Addict Galerie in Paris, France. Click here for more details on this show.

ARMO and his world of color, shapes and textures. (VIDEO)

Armo (photo © Armo)

“meanwhile, in new york city (VII)” (VIDEO)

Peru Ana Ana Peru are Street Artists, jokesters, and film makers in New York. Here is their new mini-movie of unscripted New York scenes, sounds and soliloquies collected together for your amusement and befuddlement.

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Fun Friday 01.06.12

That was a short week, right? Let’s resolve to have short weeks for the rest of the year! Welcome back to Fun Friday, which took a little vacation. Here are our stories this week;

1. LUDO and FKDL Welcome 2012
2. “Rather Unique” Saturday at Woodward Gallery
3. New Labrona Prints
4. Droid and Avoid “Live the Dream, Learn to Die II”
5. VHILs Video of his Skulls at Nuart
6. “En Masse”, Miami 2011 Parts I and II by Fred Caron

LUDO and FKDL Welcome 2012 with New Pieces

LUDO thinks of the new year as a big green pumpkin, an allusion to harvesting something that has grown gargantuan on the ground. (photo © Ludo)

FKDL prefers to look at 2012 as a dancing, strutting, posing proposition; an interpretive welcome to the new year. (photo © Courtesy of FKDL)

“Rather Unique” Saturday at Woodward Gallery

Taking advantage of the fact that a lot of New York street art goes into hibernation this time of year, artist/curator Royce Bannon ia collecting a “Rather Unique” group of Street Artists for this new show at Woodward, opening January 7.  A group show opening the 7th at the Woodward Gallery in Manhattan.

Along with the new piece, “Personality”, pictured above by Street Artist Infinity, the roster includes many of the names on the scene today bringing it inside from the cold, including Cassius Fowler , Celso , ChrisRWK , Cope2 , Darkcloud , H. Veng Smith , Indiw 184 , KA , Keely, Kenji Nakayama , Kosbe , Manhattan , Matt Siren , Moody , Nose Go, Royce B , Russell King , UR New York, and Wrona

For further information regarding this show click here

New Labrona Prints

Walls, freights, canvasses – all are attractive sights for Labrona, and now he’s hawking some new prints he made, like the one below, which he’s selling here.

Dogman Rides Again (yellow), by Street Artist/ Fine Artist Labrona

Droid and Avoid “Live the Dream, Learn to Die II”

Speaking of trains, Avoid and Droid have collected tales of their freight-hopping journey up the West Coast in the summer of 2011, and include fun stories told in rusted rail haiku like ones about the pot-growing subculture they discovered in California. Also they give helpful hints about how to pick your spot in the weeds to catch some shut-eye, how you should not defecate in the pathways, and that urine flows downhill. Welcome to the Jungle! Call it a punk-rock travel guide.

You can check out their publishing enterprise of zines here

VHILs Video of his Skulls at Nuart

Courtesy of Martyn Reed, here’s a new video of Street Artist Vhils’ work at Nuart 2011.

Vhils (Image © Courtesy of Nuart 2011)

 

En Masse. Miami 2011 Part I by Fred Caron

 

En Masse. Miami Part II by Fred Caron

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Mighty Tanaka Gallery Presents: Robots Will Kill & Friends. A Group Show (Brooklyn, NY)

RWK

 

The upcoming show at Mighty Tanaka entitled “Robots Will Kill and Friends” brings together a collection of artists who have collaborated, shown, worked etc directly with the members of RWK. The show also marks the second anniversary for Mighty Tanaka. The show brings together a eclectic group artists, not just street artists and graffiti artists.

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Fun Friday 01.07.11

Fun-Friday

Tonight in Brooklyn: “Wholetrain” Screening at Closing Party for H. Veng Smith

WEB-brooklyn-street-art-veng-jaime-rojo-12-10-web-3

Tonight at Pandemic they’ll be screening the film “Wholetrain” to close the “Identifiable Reality” show by H. Veng Smith.

“Florian Gaag manages to recount a tale colored by tension and aggression. The result is a many-sided portrait of characters whose world has never been documented in this way before. Their subculture remains authentic and realistic. Edgy editing and grandiloquent camerawork, a pulsating soundtrack and an excellent ensemble of actors, make WHOLETRAIN a film experience not to be missed.” – Wholetrain Website

SCREENING BEGINS AT 8:00 PM.
brooklyn-street-art-wholetrain-florian-gaag-pandemic-gallery

PANDEMIC gallery
37 Broadway btwn Kent and Wythe
Brooklyn, NY 11211
www.pandemicgallery.com

Walk All Over Shepard Fairey If You Like

On the streets of Milan, Italy five artists (Shepard Fairey, Invader, The London Police, Flying Fortress and Rendo) has been invited to create about 20 manhole covers.

more at The Street Art Blog

Brooklyn-Street-Art-Milan-Manholes-Project-Obey-Invader-00-578x422

West Coast Holla! – Here’s Three;

Carmichael Gallery “After the Rain”

Brooklyn-Street-Art-After-The-Rain-Carmichael-

brooklyn-street-art-carmichael-gallery-logo
Carmichael’s first show of the year “After the Rain” featuring new work by Boogie, Guy Denning, Aakash Nihalani, and Pascual Sisto.

5795 Washington Blvd Culver City, CA 90232
January 8 – February 5, 2011

Opening Reception: Saturday, January 8, 2011, 6-8pm

Whoops, “There It Is” at ThinkSpace

“There it Is” at ThinkSpace

brooklyn-street-art-think-space-gallery
‘There It Is’
Featuring new works from three Oakland CA artists:
Brett Amory / Adam Caldwell / Seth Armstrong
(Main Gallery)
Paul Barnes
‘Happy Valley’
(Project Room)
Both exhibits on view: January 8th – January 29th
Opening Reception: Sat, January 8th 7-10PM

Thinkspace Art Gallery
6009 Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232
(310) 558-3375 | Open Wed. – Sat.
1pm-6pm
or by appointment
contact@thinkspacegallery.com

“Street Degrees of Street” – Abztract Collective

Brooklyn-Street-Art-Abztract-Boards-6-degrees-Jan2011

Abztract Collective and Crewest Gallery group show “Street Degrees of Separation”

Opening Reception Jan 2008

CREWEST GALLERY

110 Winston Street

Los Angeles, CA

213 627 8272

BOXI and BANKSY TAKE No. 1 Spots

Here are the Final Results of the Year End 2010 BSA Polls

It was a blast to watch the images jumping positions like a horse race for the last weeks of the year as two BSA Polls were up on the Huffington Post.  Thousands of people participated in the voting and we got lots of funny emails, and some varying opinions – and here are the results;

As voted by readers on Huffing Post Arts page , here are the top 10 Brooklyn Street Art images from 2010.

1. Boxi

Brooklyn-Street-Art-copyright-Jaime-Rojo-1-Boxi

2. ROA, “Ibis”

Brooklyn-Street-Art-copyright-Jaime-Rojo-2 ibis

3. ROA, “Squirrel”

Brooklyn-Street-Art-copyright-Jaime-Rojo-3-roasquirrell

4. Retna & El Mac

Brooklyn-Street-Art-copyright-Jaime-Rojo-5-retna-el-mac

6. Os Gemeos and Futura

Brooklyn-Street-Art-copyright-Jaime-Rojo-6-os-gemeos

7. Jef Soto

Brooklyn-Street-Art-copyright-Jaime-Rojo-7-jef-soto

8. El Mac

Brooklyn-Street-Art-copyright-Jaime-Rojo-8-El Mac

9. Gaia

Brooklyn-Street-Art-copyright-Jaime-Rojo-9-Gaia

10. Gaia

Brooklyn-Street-Art-copyright-Jaime-Rojo-10-Gaia

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

And in our highly subjective and fun compilation of 10 Best Street Art Moments of the Decade, here are the results of the votes – The Top Five

1.     “Exit Through the Gift Shop”, Banksy

Brooklyn-Street-Art-copyright-Jaime-Rojo-DECADE 1 BANKSY

Image promotional still from movie.

2.     Tate Modern hosts “Street Art”

Brooklyn-Street-Art-copyright-Tate Photography-DECADE 2 TATE

© Tate Photography

3.     Nuart Festival Established by Martyn Reed

Brooklyn-Street-Art-copyright-CF Salicath-DECADE 3 NUART

© CF Salicath

4.     Shepard Fairey’s Obama Posters

Brooklyn-Street-Art-copyright-Jaime-Rojo-DECADE 4 Fairey

© Jaime Rojo

5.     Swoon’s Swimming City Arrives at Venice Biennale

Brooklyn-Street-Art-copyright-Tod-Seelie-DECADE 5 Swoon

© Tod Seelie

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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
WEB-brooklyn-street-art-veng-jaime-rojo-12-10-web-3

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!

brooklyn-street-art-wholetrain-florian-gaag-pandemic-gallery

WHOLETRAIN

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:

http://www.wholetrain.com/english/home_fs_engl.htm

PANDEMIC gallery
37 Broadway btwn Kent and Wythe
Brooklyn, NY 11211
www.pandemicgallery.com

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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Happy New Year! BSA Highlights of 2010

Year-in-review-2010-header

As we start a new year, we say thank you for the last one.

And Thank You to the artists who shared their 11 Wishes for 2011 with Brooklyn Street Art; Conor Harrington, Eli Cook, Indigo, Gilf, Todd Mazer, Vasco Mucci, Kimberly Brooks, Rusty Rehl, Tip Toe, Samson, and Ludo. You each contributed a very cool gift to the BSA family, and we’re grateful.

We looked over the last year to take in all the great projects we were in and fascinating people we had the pleasure to work with. It was a helluva year, and please take a look at the highlights to get an idea what a rich cultural explosion we are all a part of at this moment.

The new year already has some amazing new opportunities to celebrate Street Art and artists. We are looking forward to meeting you and playing with you and working with you in 2011.

Specter does “Gentrification Series” © Jaime Rojo
NohJ Coley and Gaia © Jaime Rojo
Jef Aerosol’s tribute to Basquiat © Jaime Rojo
***

January

Imminent Disaster © Steven P. Harrington
Fauxreel (photo courtesy the artist)
Chris Stain at Brooklyn Bowl © Jaime Rojo

February

Various & Gould © Jaime Rojo
Anthony Lister on the street © Jaime Rojo
Trusto Corp was lovin it.

March

Martha Cooper, Shepard Fairey © Jaime Rojo
BSA’s Auction for Free Arts NYC
Crotched objects began appearing on the street this year. © Jaime Rojo

April

BSA gets some walls for ROA © Jaime Rojo
Dolk at Brooklynite © Steven P. Harrington
BSA gets Ludo some action “Pretty Malevolence” © Jaime Rojo

May

The Crest Hardware Art Show © Jaime Rojo
NohJ Coley © Jaime Rojo
The Phun Phactory Reboot in Williamsburg © Steven P. Harrington

June

Sarah Palin by Billi Kid
Nick Walker with BSA in Brooklyn © Jaime Rojo
Judith Supine at “Shred” © Jaime Rojo

July

Interview with legend Futura © Jaime Rojo
Os Gemeos and Martha Cooper © Jaime Rojo
Skewville at Electric Windows © Jaime Rojo

August

Specter Spot-Jocks Shepard Fairey © Jaime Rojo
“Bienvenidos” campaign
Faile studio visit © Jaime Rojo

September

BSA participates and sponsors New York’s first “Nuit Blanche” © Jaime Rojo
JC2 © Jaime Rojo
How, Nosm, R. Robots © Jaime Rojo

October

Faile “Bedtime Stories” © Jaime Rojo
Judith Supine © Jaime Rojo
Photo © Roswitha Guillemin courtesy Galerie Itinerrance

November

H. Veng Smith © Jaime Rojo
Sure. Photo courtesy Faust
Kid Zoom © Jaime Rojo

December

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Fun Friday 12.17.10

Fun-Friday

Fun Friday

Bing and Bowie Reunion 2010!

To put you in the right spirit for your holiday shopping and spray painting, BSA reader Jodi has alerted us to this charming holiday classic, remade by two of today’s singing sensations!  Grab your cardigan and pipe!

Veng from RWK Flies Solo

WEB-brooklyn-street-art-veng-jaime-rojo-12-10-web-3

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

H. “Veng” Smith “Identifiable Reality”at Pandemic
BSA Interview with H. Veng Smith this week.

Legacy of Letters

Luca Barcellona really impresses with his command and his almost choreographic hand style at calligraphy. Sit back and enjoy on this fun friday.

New SWOON “Walki” Print

As she readies to return to Haiti (interview next week), Swoon is offering a new print to support The Konbit Shelter Project.

brooklyn-street-art-swoon-walki-print-upper-playground-

“The Walki print is an immediately touching portrait by Swoon of a boy named Walki who lives in the village of Bigones and spent time with the Konbit Shelter team at the community center building site this last summer. The print is made of a three-layer screenprint on handmade Indian jute paper measuring 13″ x 21″ and is limited at an edition of 300 – all proceeds from the sale will go towards support of the Konbit Shelter Project.

The Konbit Shelter Project was created with the idea that a group of artists, engineers, architects and builders could pool their individual knowledge, resources and time to make a lasting difference in post-earthquake Haiti”

Learn more here at Upper Playground

Looptaggr: Endless tags on the Run

BSA Technology and Art UPDATE: This weekend the new Tron movie comes out to thrill and chill techno geeks everywhere. Apparently they took 28 years off of Jeff Bridges with new developments in CGI. I’ve pre-ordered the personal CGI device coming out this spring by Apple – the iDigress personal age reducer should enable me to jump fences and run through empty lots with more agility.  Speaking of Hi-Tech wizardry, take a look at the new LoopTaggr, which really cuts down on your stenciling time.

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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.

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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.
Veng:
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

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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.”

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

Excerpt: Swedish/Norwegian Architecture

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“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”

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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)

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

Friday December 17, 2010, 7-9 pm

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