All posts tagged: Judith Supine

BSA Images Of The Week: 06.23.24

BSA Images Of The Week: 06.23.24

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Welcome to BSA Images of the Week!

We were looking at the description and lineup of this new Punk exhibit and thinking about how it extends to the early and current mural/street art scene at play today… Opine, as one may, about the roots of this scene and our rigorous academic attempts at qualitative mastery, but the average street artists cares nary a whit what you think, for the most part. It isn’t just our anti-intellectual age; it may simply be antithetical to what street art was ever intended to be. There are those who construct gates to enclose a favored few to make pronouncements about what street art is or isn’t, but the artists who produce work on the streets may not bother climbing the fence to get in their club.

It’s the ironic, rebellious, spirit of D.I.Y. that makes street art and graffiti most attractive for us —not its ability to make money for some nor burnish the reputation of another but to draw us together. The open access to self-expression is so alluring, and it is a testament to how truly innovative artists know how to seize a moment, transform a space, begin a dialogue, or weigh in on one. Create camps? Attempt to consolidate power? It is a folly. Why reject a corrupted and unfair pecking order only to reconstruct one? As we see more anniversary shows heralding punk and its origins, we recall that it was the liberty promised that was so appealing and the destruction of corrupt institutions that was most needed. The aesthetics may have become commodified. It’s spirit, never.

Here is our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring Alice Pasquini, Homesick, Judith Supine, Mike King, WERC, Pussy Power, Kane, Kone, Chris Haven, 6147, SLASH FTR, Geraluz, Coes Sneakers, AIC, and Skribblz.

KANE (photo © Jaime Rojo)
SLASH FTR. The Bushwick Collective. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
SLASH FTR. The Bushwick Collective. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Judith Supine (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Unidentified artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Pussy Power (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Chris Haven (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Chris Haven (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Chris Haven (photo © Jaime Rojo)
KONE. Hit The North Festival 2024. Belfast, Northern Ireland. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
6147 (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Homesick (photo © Jaime Rojo)
SKRIIIBLZ (photo © Jaime Rojo)
AIC (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Alice Pasquini. Hit The North Art Festival. Edition 2018. Belfast, Northern Ireland. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Mike King (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Coes Sneakers. The Bushwick Collective. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Werc. Geraluz (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Werc. Geraluz (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Untitled. Spring 2024. Brooklyn, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
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ROA Paints a Memorial Tribute in BK : “Pet Bird RIP”

ROA Paints a Memorial Tribute in BK : “Pet Bird RIP”

“I could paint a regular parakeet – something pretty – but that’s not me and anyway Peter would f*cking like this!” says Belgian Street Artist ROA as he talks about his newest gift from the natural world to Brooklyn. A tribute to his friend who lived not far from this spot and who hit the streets with his “Pet Bird” stickers, this new large wall near a subway entrance reminds us of the sudden discoveries we come in contact with when our eyes are open.

ROA for Bed Stuy Art Residency. Brooklyn, NY August 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

This is a city that is in constant movement, undergoing evolutions and revolutions we can’t control and others that we can. As is the nature of Street Art, the entire city can have this temporary, ethereal quality of a moment captured. Coming two years since his friends passing, this important work reverberates through the chests and heads of a community of friends, some as close as family, who appreciate it as a gift of kindness.

The lady who stops by? Not so much. “I don’t really want to see a dead bird on the building,” she says with a long face as she slouches away with shoulders rounded forward in a perpetual state of doom.

ROA for Bed Stuy Art Residency. Brooklyn, NY August 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

It just so happens that the world-traveling ROA is in New York again as part of a new artist residency in the Brooklyn neighborhood that gives it its name – Bed Stuy Artist Residency. While he’s slept on couches and spare rooms and on floors in previous visits over the last decade when here to paint walls or prepare for shows at Factory Fresh and Jonathan Levine Gallery, this quiet brownstone apartment provides a bedroom, kitchenette and a separate studio space with plenty of light, an old decorative fireplace mantel and a small rusty chandelier with tiny skeletons dangling from it.

It’s an unassuming and welcoming environment for an eclectic array of artists who so far have included folks like Judith Supine, Yarrow Slaps, SS Powell, and Lucien Shapiro. Upcoming artists confirmed include SWAMPY, Amanda Marie, Monica Canilao, and Revok.

ROA for Bed Stuy Art Residency. Brooklyn, NY August 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Established last year by two down-to-earth and ardent Street Art fans, Kathy Kupka and Erwin Bakx, word has spread quickly about this opportunity and they have already completed the planned calendar for all of next year. A warm and spare environment to contemplate some new ideas without the stresses that this city brings to artists, ROA has been planning here for his next big show in 6 weeks – and of course making new work in studio and on walls. The vibe is relaxed and open, yet artists are expected to create new work as well, which ROA compulsively does anyway.


We asked Ms. Kupka about the new residency and how it has been with one of Street Art’s best known and regarded urban naturalists.

BSA: How has the experience with ROA been? How long has he been with you?
Kathy Kupka: Its been big fun hanging out w ROA. A lot of beer drinking, rolling smokes, talking & doing art and finding the perfect croissant.

ROA for Bed Stuy Art Residency. Brooklyn, NY August 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

BSA: Did you have the opportunity to see his creative process in studio? What aspect of his work or process did you find interesting?
Kathy Kupka: We were so lucky to have seen ROA work! He is a thinker and wise way beyond his years…  he definitely makes it all look effortless and easy but in watching him work it is clear how amazingly talented he is.

BSA: Is it a challenge to find walls for an artist to paint in New York? The availability of walls to paint seems to vary quite a lot from city to city.
Kathy Kupka: We were lucky that Judith Supine knows everyone and everything and through him we got ROA a fabulous wall on Metropolitan and Lorimer. Thanks to Dr. Phil, for his great love of art and excellent idea of curating his doctors office wall! Dr. Phil not only has excellent taste but is an excellent doctor. You should hit him up if you’re sick!

A Pet Bird sticker from the early 2010s (photo © Jaime Rojo)

BSA: We saw a number of people stopping by to comment on the work or ask questions while ROA was painting. Do you enjoy interacting with passersby?
Kathy Kupka: Oh yeah!  Especially if one of your favorite artists just happens by and you get to meet her – like Maya Hayuk!  It is really nice to see people interested in the wall and being inquisitive but so sad that many were unaware of all that was happening around them because they were so wrapped up in their cell phones.  I mean a 20 foot long bird didn’t even register!

ROA for Bed Stuy Art Residency. Brooklyn, NY August 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

BSA: This new residency has been a learning experience for the first few months. Why do you think it is important to offer artists opportunities like this?
Kathy Kupka: Because who doesn’t want to come to Brooklyn?  There are so many amazing artists who don’t have a connection here in NYC and NYC is, let’s be honest, a place you have to see, a place you have to experience as an artist – and we can make that happen! For us it is an honor to be part of their growth, their NYC experience. We also are super happy to provide a homey space in a beautiful brownstone allowing them a place to stop, work their asses off or just be without worry or stress.

ROA for Bed Stuy Art Residency. Brooklyn, NY August 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

ROA for Bed Stuy Art Residency. Brooklyn, NY August 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

ROA for Bed Stuy Art Residency. Brooklyn, NY August 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

ROA for Bed Stuy Art Residency. Brooklyn, NY August 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

ROA for Bed Stuy Art Residency. Brooklyn, NY August 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

ROA for Bed Stuy Art Residency. Brooklyn, NY August 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

ROA for Bed Stuy Art Residency. Brooklyn, NY August 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

ROA with Kathy and Erwin founders of Bed Stuy Art Residency. Brooklyn, NY August 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Kathy Kupka and Erwin Bakx shown above with ROA in the middle are the co-founders of the Bed Stuy Art Residency. Please follow them on IG @bedstuyartresidency

Peter Carroll AKA Pet Bird ( 7/1/77 — 9/28/15 )

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Judith Supine: Unmasked Bridge Climber, Gender Bending and Art

Judith Supine: Unmasked Bridge Climber, Gender Bending and Art

Looks like Judith Supine is probably having a helluva week. He unmasked himself publicly for all, opened a new gallery show, climbed a NYC bridge over the East River to install a sculpture, and released a video of it that inadvertently sparked a mini media/bridge security frenzy.

Also, he created twin “hermaphrodites” with cigarette penises.


Judith Supine “Golden Child” (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Last week during a an open press interview at Mecka Gallery he only talked about the new “Golden Child” show and the fact that he had decided to stop hiding his face – which itself was sufficient news. Most fans of his art never had seen him and many thought Judith was an actual woman because he took his mom’s name as a prank. The stunt-loving Street Artist has always had a penchant for light trouble, whether it was dangling big freakish images off bridges, floating them down the river (reportedly nearly drowning himself), or simply smacking them up in doorways; these twisted fluorescent hallucinations he creates have more personalities than a Sunday talk show with LSD in the candy dish. And we’re not even mentioning his career-long examination of the he/she continuum that could inspire a syllabus in gender studies.


One of Supine’s new ladies puffing away and staring blankly while nursing a cocktail above the traffic streaming on the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge into Manhattan. (photo © Steve Duncan/

The video of him on the Ed Koch Queensboro bridge looks like it was coordinated to promote the show, and he has said as much in interviews since then, but now it probably seems ill-timed. He had done bridge art installations at least twice in the past (on the Manhattan Bridge in ’07 and the Williamsburg Bridge in ’09) but recent news items about thrill-seekers trespassing at the new World Trade Center put this video in a new light and caused concern about bridge security.


A still from a live interview with Greg Kelley and Rosanna Scotto on Fox 5 “Good Day New York” (© Fox5)

The video brought sudden interest and even live televised interview time for the newly unmasked Supine as well as the news that police were reviewing the video and would probably like to interview him as well.

And yet for all his exotic subject matter and the media hubbub swirling around him right now, last week he was perplexed about how to supercharge his creative process  – the same mundane challenge to stay fresh that most artists have.

“Sometimes I get ‘art block’, or I feel like I start to make repetitive images. It’s frustrating. I try to break that by playing little tricks on myself by saying, ‘Alright I’m going to make like ten collages in an hour’ and they are all going to be shitty. But I’m forcing myself to work quickly, so I’m not over-thinking things and I’m trying to break through because its easy for me to get into a pattern,” he explained at Mecka where his new sculptures laid across benches and a couple of assistants helped to finished their construction.


Judith Supine “Golden Child” (photo © Jaime Rojo)

For this show Supine began assembling collages 12 weeks earlier, and through a process of elimination he saw the few images that emerged above the others.

“I began by making 50 or more collages – going through multiple extremes, edits, trying to cut things and edit things down to the core goodness, get rid of the shit”

In kind of a stream of consciousness process, a pulling-together that attracts him?

“Yeah, it varies from day to day. When I do try to make a more narrative set image, I have difficulty doing that, and I feel like it comes off kind of stilted. So I try to keep it loose, and do lots, and then edit and try to find that little kind of gem amongst the crap.”


Judith Supine “Golden Child” (photo © Jaime Rojo)

With more attention and friendly sorts around than before, who does he look to now that the proverbial road to stardom is getting crammed with yes-men? He points to his brother, a writer of prose with whom he has collaborated creative projects continuously since they were kids.

“I kind of like to make things with my brother as the audience, so I make things that I think he would enjoy. So I have one person that it is directed towards,” he explains as he recalls one of their childhood collaborations, a zine that he illustrated and his brother provided the text for.

“He would also draw and we would staple it all together. Like we kept it in a huge thing we called ‘The Picture Book’. It was almost like a series of them and for a few years we did that. He continued on with that and I think that’s when I started making collages, actually, around that time.”


Judith Supine “Golden Child” (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“I would say that I wasn’t directly trying to illustrate. He wouldn’t want me to illustrate. It was more a feel for it. I was more inspired by our visual, written conversation that we had. It was like this ongoing thing where we would like bounce. It was this thing where I was kind of this creative obsessive, and I was living with another creative obsessive. And we were just constantly bouncing things off of each other and being comfortable saying ‘Oh, that looks like shit’.”

“Most people are not comfortable telling you that, even when they think it and they wait and tell someone else afterwards. So it was good to have a true honest critic and a true sounding board and we still do that with each other. When he writes or finishes a chapter he sends me a chapter. When I’m working on stuff I show it to him and ask his opinion and he’ll be like, “no it’s boring” or “that’s good”. I know when he says ‘it’s good’ that it is genuine, you know, sincere. Like creatively we have this sincere honest relationship with each other.

And what would be the best reaction to an artwork that he could get from his brother?

“I like that one”, “That one’s great”.


A new piece with the collage that inspired it at Judith Supine’s “Golden Child” show. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Presumably Judith’s brother would approve of the pair of dual gender darlings hanging in the main gallery space, a white washed former industrial spot in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn. But the artist thought the average visitor might want to have a cocktail first.

Brooklyn Street Art: So when an individual walks into this space and sees this piece, what is their reaction going to be?
Judith Supine: Probably, “Where’s the bar”?

Brooklyn Street Art: Can you describe these twin greeters that are going to be hanging from the ceiling?
Judith Supine: Yeah they are kind of, you know I’m very interested in the kind of the hermaphrodite* thing, so these are kind of hermaphroditic – is that a word?

Brooklyn Street Art: Yeah that’s a word.
Judith Supine: So these are kind of hermaphrodites with these cigarette penises smoking vaginas with mouths. When you see the front image they form what I would consider a beautiful image and in the back is – a kind of Apollonian/Dionysian sort of thing. The back is a woman getting choked out. It’s sort of an optical illusion thing – like the one face with the two wine glasses inside. So when you walk around back it forms another image.


Judith Supine. Outdoor, unrestricted installation. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: Is it another aspect of that person’s character, the dual nature?
Judith Supine: I mean I know it’s a very well trod path to talk about the duality of man, or personalities. To me I think I would be bullshitting if I didn’t just say I thought it looked cool and it was interesting. It’s not like ‘the duality of man’ or some – there is like a grey area of trying to be honest and sincere and then… it’s not that when I work on these I don’t have these ‘deeper thoughts’ about art but saying them out loud kind of takes the power out of them, trying to articulate them just kind of sounds like bullshit.

So I try to just describe things at face value. But also maybe I have difficulty articulating, translating the thoughts in my head into words and I’m better at translating them into images.

Brooklyn Street Art: Maybe you are just concerned about sounding trivial.
Judith Supine: Maybe. It might be anxiety.


Judith’s off-the-cuff show with a piece of ripped painting.  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: What’s it feel like to be more public with your face?
Judith Supine: On the one hand I think it shouldn’t matter, because I do try to live my life according to the law of God and not the law of man – That type of thing. And I do what I feel is right. But I don’t know, it’s probably fucking stupid.

Brooklyn Street Art: It’s probably stupid?
Judith Supine: I mean it’s probably ill-advised, for obvious reasons. But who knows, I’ve done dumber things.


Judith Supine models something for spring outside last week as he prepared for his show at Mecka, “Golden Child”. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Judith Supine



Judith Supine “Golden Child” is currently on view at Mecka Gallery in Brooklyn. Click HERE for further information.


*Editor’s Note: HuffPost and BSA acknowledge that the more appropriate term here would be intersex and intersex individuals.



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“Shred” At Perry Rubenstein Gallery

“Shred” At Perry Rubenstein Gallery

A Tight and Irreverent Collage Show Curated by Carlo McCormick

Judith Supine "Patrice " 2010 (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

In this piece for “Shred”, Street Artist Judith Supine clearly enunciates the radical psycho-sexual non-sequiturs that make Supine’s collage a powerful voice in New York Street Art at the moment. In addition to the signature acid bright template are the cigarette, the nudity, and the reference to childhood that occur often in pieces by the artist. The paper collage is scattered with raised green metallic pieces that look like broken fingernails forming smooth lumps under the resin. The artist confirmed in fact that the “finger nails” are glass jewel beetles. Judith Supine “Patrice ” 2010 (Photo © Jaime Rojo)


To curate any show well requires a finely balanced hand that can go unappreciated. If the gentle and deliberate directing of artists and their contributions is not thoughtful and focused, a show may feel off-kilter, unkempt, even ruinous. Although he denies it with humility in equal proportion to his expertise, curator Carlo McCormick displays his adept hand at collage (or assemblage) in “Shred”, the new collage show he curates for the Perry Rubenstein Gallery in New York’s Chelsea district.

In talking about the genesis of “Shred”, McCormick describes a downtown East Village scene and the concurrent Graffiti scene of the 70s and 80s that imploded messily at the end of a hyper-excited zenith. An author, editor, and speaker who is considered expert on the topic of NYC’s downtown scene at the time, McCormick knows well what the signs of our fickle obsessions can look like, “And yes everyone gets kind of famous for a bit and a bunch of money flows through it and it is over”.

Drawing a few connections, he explained he’d like to avoid the “the kind of phenomenology of that moment” that Street Art could find itself precariously hanging on the edge of.  So it is with purpose that he extends the span of this collection to broaden the dialogue about the practice of collage.

“The main thing I thought was about street art – involving the wheat pasting and it’s stenciling and it’s silk screening – is that it has inherently a lot of collage effects”. In addition to today’s adventurous street artists who are represented here by Faile, Swoon, Elbow Toe, Shepard Fairey, and Judith Supine, McCormick also includes some of their predecessors and peers, like Jess, Erik Foss, and Gee Vaucher. For final balance, he called upon three film makers who are “really ripping shit apart”.

Recognizing that “collage was not exactly invented yesterday”, McCormick stipulates that he was crafting his own message by selecting these artists. The great common denominator? “Well obviously surrealism had a great part in it. I’m looking for the more outré elements of it. I’d say it’s an attitude; there is a certain irreverence in it, and caring about the materials working with it”. Talking with a few of the artists and guests Thursday night at the opening, those elements are present in this show and were very well received.

Mark Flood "Twilight Feelings" (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

An elongated mutant pop pretty boy by Mark Flood, “Twilight Feelings” 2010 (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

Jack Walls (Detail of an Installation of 5. Photo © Jaime Rojo )

Using photographs taken of himself by his lover Robert Mapplethorpe, Jack Walls creates optical vibrations in these recent collage pieces that span and unite both the Downtown and the Street Art explosions.  (Three of Installation of Five). 2008  Photo © Jaime Rojo )

Faile Detail "Never Enough" (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

Street Art Duo Faile reprise imagery from one of their recent street art stencils in this large acrylic and silkscreened piece that welcomes guests at “Shred”.  “Never Enough” 2010. Detail (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

Jess Untitled (Konrad Lorenz) Detail, (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

An early example of collage at “Shred”. Jess “Untitled” (Konrad Lorenz) 1955. Detail. (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brian Douglas (Elbow-Toe) "Bears" Detail. (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brian Douglas (Elbow-Toe) “Bears” 2010. Detail. (Photo © Jaime Rojo)



In attendance at the opening was the Street Artist known as Elbow Toe, who created one of the more mystifying images, both in it’s content and it’s thousands of hand-cut pieces that are applied in such a painterly fashion that standing a few feet away from the piece can lead a viewer to believe it was done with oil and brush.Speaking about a new series of collages based on psychological and possibly autobiographical themes that he’s exploring, Elbow Toe said, “It was the first one I’ve done….all the collage stuff is heading in a more narrative direction. And this is the first of many that are all getting much more weird, I guess.”

Leo Fitzpatrick. Untitled. (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

A grouping of collages by Leo Fitzpatrick. Untitled. 2010 (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

Erik Foss "Look Out" 2010 Detail. (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

A seriously dog-eared commercial landscape (signed MORAN) from a 1966 suburban living room, long since faded and liberated from its frame and stained by water drops, artist Erik Foss turns it into a surreal other planetary world with clusters of owls, floating moons, and robed faceless wizards and witches dressed by the House of Stevie Nicks.  Erik Foss “Look Out” 2010 Detail. (Photo © Jaime Rojo)


“Shred” July 1 – August 27, 2010

Perry Rubenstein Gallery

527 West 23rd Street

New York, NY 10001

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NYC Street Artists Collaborate! Reason No. 31 to love New York

NYC Street Artists Collaborate! Reason No. 31 to love New York

According to the new issue of New York Magazine , whose cover story “Reasons to Love New York” is on newsstands today, Reason Number 31 is because our street art is collaborative.

click to enlarge and see all the names they helpfully tracked down

Street Artists have a greater spirit of collaboration than you might imagine

Billi Kid provided pictures that document the ongoing conversation of street artists in one part of the city.  And it’s pretty rare to hear about “Beef”, something that was a mainstay of graff culture back in the daze.

According to the article, “In gallery-rich Chelsea, a brick wall on West 22nd Street became, over the past year, an ephemeral showroom for international street art. The canvas changed appearance almost daily, as artists (some identified here) overlaid new pieces over the work of their predecessors.”

When reached by BSA for comment, street artist Billi Kid was big-hearted and magnanimous, full of Holiday Spirit, “It’s all about community. It’s all about collaboration. It’s all about joy. HAPPY HOLIDAYS EVERYONE!”

That just makes me want to say “Ho-Ho-Ho!” or, as we used to say at Christmas when I worked at a mega-club on West 29th Street, “Whore-Whore-Whore!”

Now it is probably inpolitik to say such a thing, but “Sex Worker-Sex Worker-Sex Worker” just doesn’t have a Christmas ring to it.

VIEW THE NEW YORK MAG Street Art Slideshow here:

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Interview: Inside the “The Thousands” and Swoon’s lock box with Michael “RJ” Rushmore

Interview: Inside the “The Thousands” and Swoon’s lock box with Michael “RJ” Rushmore

After spending most of 2009 in preparation, Michael “RJ” Rushmore is one week from the opening of “The Thousands”, a retrospective survey covering artists of the last few decades that led to what we’re calling “Street Art” today.

Nick Walker for The Thousands (courtesy Michael "RJ" Rushmore)

Nick Walker for The Thousands (courtesy Michael “RJ” Rushmore)

As editor and author of the popular blog Vandalog, RJ has been taking readers on a tour of the Street Art scene from his unique perspective.  Encouraged by his father, an avid and prodigious collector of street art, the recent high school graduate has labored for much of the last 5 months to pull together this show – reaching out to artists, collectors, authors, publishers, you name it.

When RJ first told us about his idea for a “pop-up” show in London, we thought it would be a small affair with perhaps one or three of the larger names and examples of work in an inflatable shop on cobblestone streets. But like so many young people energized by the excitement garnered in an exploding new movement, RJ has worked feverishly to grow this show into what he hopes will set a standard.

Swoon Box Contents

More inside looks at this Swoon Box below (courtesy Michael “RJ” Rushmore)

A tribute to his dedication and sincere regard for the work and the artists, “The Thousands” will feature many of the antecedent contributors (or pioneers) to the scene (Jenny Holzer, Blek le Rat, Futura 2000) as well as the better known artists that have come to symbolize the current explosion that began in the first half of this decade (Swoon, Banksy, Shepard Fairey) and many others of equal interest.

As if throwing a show of this scope was not enough RJ also created a book to accompany the show, published by Drago, one of the few small presses that have seriously and knowledgeably  documented the growth of the graffiti-to-street art scene.  With dedication, focus, and maturity, RJ navigates the back alleys and side-streets to bring this show in the heart of London to fruition.

Skewville from "The Thousands" (courtesy Drago press)

Skewville from “The Thousands” (courtesy Drago press)

Brooklyn Street Art: What sparked your interest in curating this show of Street Art? How did the whole process start?

Michael “RJ” Rushmore: I think it was an idea that I’d had brewing in the back of my mind for a while, but I wasn’t taking it seriously until last January when I met with another street art blogger who proposed a similar idea about a having a street art retrospective. Eventually, we went our separate ways and I continued to develop the exhibition further. This is the show that a major museum should put on, but so far nobody has, and I hope that The Thousands helps to change that.

Brooklyn Street Art: “The Thousands” – is this a reference to the rise in this new wave of street art since 2000?

Michael “RJ” Rushmore: While probably 95% of the show is work from the last ten years, that isn’t where I got the name. It’s probably a more succinct explanation though.

The show’s title comes from a short story by Daniel Alarcón called “The Thousands”. The story is about this community that is built by society’s outcasts and dreamers and they build their city out of the discarded and disused materials of the city they used to live in. So that reminded me of street art and the street art community.



Veng from Robots Will Kill featured in “The Thousands” from his piece at the Mark Batty Urban Arts Fest in Brooklyn last month (courtesy Drago)

Brooklyn Street Art: Are most of the pieces in the show privately owned?

Michael “RJ” Rushmore: Yes. More than 2/3rds of the artwork comes from private collections. I wanted this to be as much like a museum show as possible, almost a pop-up museum, and the way to do that is fill the show with amazing pieces from private collections.

The process of finding work has at some times been a challenge because I don’t know every street art collector in England, but it’s also been a unique opportunity to view some truly spectacular collections.


Chris Stain (photo Jaime Rojo)

Chris Stain will be represented in “The Thousands” (photo Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: What piece surprised the hell out of you?

Michael “RJ” Rushmore: I’m saving pictures of this particular piece until after opening night, because I want people to come into the gallery not knowing exactly what to expect, but Roa’s piece is very cool and different. When Roa was in London recently, we spoke about his piece for The Thousands. He told me to wait and to trust him, that it was something special, so I did. Then he sent me the jpegs and I was definitely surprised. All I will say for now is that the piece is on venetian blinds.


Brooklyn street artists Faile will be in "The Thousands" (courtesy Drago)

Brooklyn street artists Faile will be in “The Thousands” (courtesy Drago)

Brooklyn Street Art: The show also has a handsome book to accompany it. What was the experience of putting it together?

Michael “RJ” Rushmore: Everybody at Drago, my publisher, has been extremely supportive of the show and the book. I would even say that Paulo, Drago’s founder and head guy, was the first person to actually believe that The Thousands was going to happen and not be a complete train wreck. So working with them has been good fun. But the process of putting together a book in such a short amount of time was very stressful and even led to a few days of working 12 hours straight on the layout and design.

The best part about the reading book was also my favorite thing about putting it together. The book is split into sections, and most sections cover one artist. Since everything was already organized by artist, I was able to get a number of other artists and art world personalities to write about their friends and favorite artists. For example, Know Hope has written about Chris Stain and Elbow-toe has written a piece on Veng.


Swoon Box

A hand-made box by Brooklyn street artist Swoon that will be in “The Thousands” (courtesy Michael “RJ” Rushmore)

Brooklyn Street Art: The Swoon Box for “The Thousands”; Did she construct the box herself or was it a found box that she then later decorated?

Michael “RJ” Rushmore: I’ve never asked Swoon, but I would guess that she constructed the chest. It looks like the wood is salvaged from a bunch of different sources, and the hinges are so mismatched that the lid can’t sit parallel to the walls of the box.


Swoon lock box (top detail)

Swoon lock box (top detail)

Brooklyn Street Art: It could be a time capsule, or a lock box of mementos and inspiring objects. What do you think?

Michael “RJ” Rushmore: Right now, I think of it more like a lock box, but 15, 20, 30 years from now… the meaning will probably change with time as street art and Swoon become more or less important. Maybe one day Swoon will be written about in art history books and the box will be seen in an entirely different light. But at its core, and for my family, it will always see it box as a lock box.

There is this old deerskin chest in my house that my family calls The Treasure Box. It’s been in my dad’s family for generations and dates back to some time in the 1800’s. It’s full of old letters and locks of hair and things like that going all back though more than 100 years of Rushmore family history. My family and I see The Swoon Box as very similar to our Treasure Box, so we will always see The Swoon Box as full of mementos and not just a piece of art history.


Inside the Swoon lock box. (courtesy Michael "RJ" Reynolds)

Inside the Swoon lock box. (courtesy Michael “RJ” Rushmore)

Brooklyn Street Art: What’s your favorite object in the box and can you describe it for us?

Michael “RJ” Rushmore: I usually like to get a behind the scenes view of things, so my favorite pieces in the box are the sketches for pieces that eventually became familiar Swoon images. In particular, I think the drawing for Zahra is a favorite. The sketch is beautiful, the end result is one of my all time favorite images by Swoon and I happened to meet Zahra earlier this year as well as her child.


Swoon's "Zahara" (courtesy of Black Rat Press)

Swoon’s “Zahara” (courtesy of Black Rat Press)

The Zahra sketch is pretty abstract, you can tell that there is a woman, but it’s really rough and seems to be more about the colors than any details about Zahra’s features. Without the image of a rising sun that is in both the sketch and the end result, you wouldn’t even connect the two pieces.

Swoon Box Contents

Swoon box has an original sketch for “Bethlehem Boys” (courtesy Michael “RJ” Rushmore)

Swoon's Bethlehem Boys as seen on the streets of Bushwick, Brooklyn.

Swoon’s “Bethlehem Boys” as seen on the streets of Bushwick, Brooklyn. (photo Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: If you have a show in ten years called “The Teens”, what do you think we might see in it?

Michael “RJ” Rushmore: What really interests me right now and what I’ve been noticing lately is the continuing fusion of graffiti and street art. In most cities that have graffiti and street art, somebody is trying to merge the two cultures. In London some of those artists are Part2ism, Sickboy, the Burning Candy crew, Kid Acne, ATG crew, Elate and Word To Mother. Maybe that’s just my particular interest, but I’ve heard Pure Evil say that he is seeing something similar.

So if my taste is anything to go by, a decade from now I would like to see a show with classically trained painters showing off their lettering style and hard-core train bombing kings painting with a brush and telling everybody why Lee Quinones is their hero, except we won’t even notice the supposed role reversal I’ve just described.

And of course, since I’ll be nearing 30 years old, I’d want to include some artwork by actual teenagers to help support the next generation of street art/graffiti/whatever we’ll be calling this in ten years time.

Swoon box's contents

What are you looking at? (Swoon courtesy Michael “RJ” Rushmore)

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“The Thousands” features artists Adam Neate,  Aiko,  Anthony Lister,  Armsrock, Banksy, Barry McGee, Bast, Blek le Rat, Burning Candy, Chris Stain, David Ellis, Elbow-toe, Faile, Futura 2000, Gaia, Herakut, Jenny Holzer, José Parlá, Judith Supine, Kaws, Know Hope, Nick Walker, Os Gêmeos, Roa, Sam3, Shepard Fairey, Skewville, Swoon, WK Interact

November 18 "The Thousands" opens

November 18 “The Thousands” opens

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Stavanger Norway Celebrates Brooklyn Street Art! The NuArt Festival

Stavanger Norway Celebrates Brooklyn Street Art! The NuArt Festival

The Nuart Festival runs

The Nuart Festival runs September 10 – October 9, 2009


Stavanger Norway meet Brooklyn New York.

Some of the worlds leading street artists are flying for a week or two to Norway to participate in a street art festival that celebrates the Brooklyn Street Art with many of the same artists you’ll find right here. Leon Reid arrived yesterday, Chris Stain tomorrow, both to prepare to hold workshops with creatives and Norway National TV’s main cultural program “Safari” will be interviewing and following Swoon on the streets.

The roster includes;

As you know, New York is a city of immigrants, and the first Norwegians launched for New York 184 years ago and established their largest colony in the BK – creating a neighborhood of 200K plus people speaking Norwegian in bars, stores, and streets of Brooklyn.

The Nuart festival calls back the Brooklyn Flava by importing some of the greats from the streets of Brooklyn to exhibit, teach, and revel citiwide with panel debates, talks, film screenings, and fundraising.  It’s all BROOKLYN, all the time.

Over the next few weeks BSA will keep in touch with events in our Sista City, Stavanger and get you some insight into the cool stuff that happens there for the Nuart Festival.

Know Hope straightens out a line of tears.

Previous Nuart festival artist Know Hope straightens out a line of tears.

Stencil work from D*Face

Stencil work from D*Face

Chris Stain on the wall at NuArt

Chris Stain on the wall at NuArt

Heracut at Nuart

Herakut at Nuart

Nuart Festival

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New Gallery: Pandemic opens Saturday in Brooklyn

New Gallery: Pandemic opens Saturday in Brooklyn

Some work in progress on the gallery floor from Keely (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Some work in progress on the gallery floor from Keely (photo Steven P. Harrington)

NYC’s unemployment rate is nearing 10% (higher than the national average by a point), the heat index in the City this week was as high as the crowd at Glasslands, we’re losing Arts programs in the schools left and right, Ad Hoc is shutting down their main gallery space, and Jennifer Anniston was thrown into the trunk of a car.

Who would believe in this topsy-turvey New York that a GALLERY celebrating Street Art is actually OPENING?  You read it right. It’s called Pandemic (explanation below) and its on the South Side of Williamsburg Brooklyn in a space that used be the DollHaus, a Gothic-themed and deliberately disturbing gallery with Kewpies on skewers and mutilated cyborg dolls with Lydia-Lunch eyes. Even though it’s a little off of the main Williamsburg drag, it’s just a block from the first artist/hipster outpost “Diner”, and two blocks from the favorite place for Wall Street big-bellies to take guests for a daring trip across the river for steak on their corporate card , “Peter Lugers

A bright "Welcome!" from 3 of Celso's ladies (photo Steven P. Harrington)

A bright “Welcome!” from 3 of Celso’s ladies (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Now the newly painted space has a fresh air of possibility that washes over you when greeted by the sunny owner of Pandemic, Keely Brandon, an artist and friend of the street art scene for some time.  This week we stopped by during the installation and the gleaming walls, new lighting, and shiny floors bespoke a world full of possibilities.  Saturday night the small gallery will host a group show of work by no less than 14 street artists, an impressive show of strength for the Grand Opening.

Brooklyn Street Art: A new gallery!  How did you hook this up?
Keely: It kinda just fell into my lap, I was apartment hunting and was offered a storefront instead. At the time it was a jewelry store. I started thinking about how awesome it would actually be to have a gallery space that I could run my own way. Free to display the art and merchandise of myself and other artists I respect. So I just went for it.

Always willing to lend a paw around the gallery! (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Always willing to lend a paw around the gallery! (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Brooklyn Street Art: Is “Pandemic” referring to something in particular, or just a general feeling of dread?
It’s the concept of a creating a worldwide epidemic, but in a positive way! expanding the global consciousness of our breed of art.

Stikman is mapping out the inner route (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Stikman is mapping out the inner route (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Brooklyn Street Art: Have you ever had a gallery before?
Keely: Nope

Brooklyn Street Art: How did you chose the artists that are involved with this show?
I chose a group of prolific street artists who’s artwork and dedication I really admire. Many have worked together before on projects, and create an awesome looking show.

I've got an eye on the underwater world (Keely) (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Fresh from the East River! (Keely) (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Brooklyn Street Art: This place used to be a gallery for baby dolls dressed in gothic garb – babies with black lipstick and white eyes, etc.  You find any heads rolling around in the closet?
Ha.. yea actually when i first moved in there i could have sworn the basement was haunted! No heads, but a lot of fuschia to paint over!

A box fer all yer stuff (Deekers) (photo Steven P. Harrington)

A box fer all yer stuff (R. Deeker) (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Brooklyn Street Art: Are you following a particular theme for this show, or is it mainly a group show?

Keely: No real theme… The name of the show is pandemic 37 – which is basically the gallery address. The show is just a grand intoduction to the place..

That IS Cheap! (photo Steven P. Harrington)

That IS Cheap! (artist Gay Sex) (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Brooklyn Street Art: Outside of the artists in the new show, what art excites you the most?
Keely: hmmm.. I like alot of different things.. strange 70’s artwork. Peter Max, Marushka, and other obscure wall hangings. I love old illustrations in wildlife books, deep sea creature photographs and dinosaur everything. Anything with gnarly teeth!

Brooklyn Street Art: You ever have dinner at Diner? Muffins at Marlowes? Porterhouse at Peter Lugers?
Keely: Dinner at Diner once, muffins at Marlowe… never. As for Peter Luger… I’m a vegetarian and I’m not rich!

You KNOW what time it is! (Royce Bannon) (photo Steven P. Harrington)

You KNOW what time it is! (Royce Bannon) (photo Steven P. Harrington)

One of the more entertaining pieces in the show is the working clock on the face of one of two monsters by Royce Bannon.  Royce explains the new development”

BSA: What made you make a clock?
Royce: I made a clock because I like functional art.  It looks cool and tells the time too.

BSA: What new skill did you use to install it?

Royce: No new skills were used in the making of the clock just the same old skills

BSA: What room of an apartment would it be more appropriate for?
Royce: Probably the kitchen.

Is it Monster Time?
It’s always monster time

From here to INFINITY (photo Steven P. Harrington)

From here to INFINITY (photo Steven P. Harrington)

In addition to celebrating the opening of the new gallery, everyone will be celebrating the new Street Art Blog by celebrated photographers Rebecca Fuller and Luna Park.

Their exciting new endeavor, The Street Spot, will feature many of the images of the street that fans have faithfully followed for the last few years.  Besides being avid documentarians of the ever-evolving street art and graff scene in NY, Park and Fuller have a deep reservoir of knowledge and stories to draw upon. will surely add to the richness of this vibrant scene for all the fans of the wacky world of street art.  The AfterParty is where we’ll raise a glass to these fine individuals and their dream.

So that’s TWO great openings in one night!  Things are LOOKING UP!

Familiar names in a new location

Familiar names in a new gallery, Bixby, Buildmore, Celso, DarkClouds, infinity, Judith Supine, Keely, Kngee, Matt Siren, R. Deeker, Royce Bannon, Stikman, Skewville, Wrona

Pandemic Gallery

37 Broadway Between Kent and Wythe

Brooklyn (South Williamsburg)

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Portrait of a First Lady:  Billi Kid and Sticker Collabs

Portrait of a First Lady: Billi Kid and Sticker Collabs

Maybe it’s history in the making, or myth-making, maybe it’s unending fascination with celebrity, but many artists, street artists included,

have produced art about Obama in the last 12 months. The new administration is a machine in motion this spring, and while the haterz are looking for ways to play down Obama’s successes, his missus is not missing an opportunity to engage the press with her Harvard Law School graduate brain, her support of military families, her commitment to volunteering, and (oh yes) her fashion statements at the G20 meetings and Personal Displays of Affection toward the British Royal Family (PDABRF).  More popular in polls than her husband, Mrs. Obama’s personal and professional history are being fleshed out daily, and her place as a cultural icon is happening before our jaded eyes.

Brooklyn street artist Billi Kid is no stranger to “Obamart”, having shown his own portrait work of Barack when he participated in a group show in Washington, DC in the days preceding the Presidential Inauguration called “Manifest Hope:DC” with 150 artists including Shepard Fairey and Ron English. Truth told, Billi has done quite a few versions of the president over the past year, feeling like it was a good way for him to participate in the public discussion about the political landscape.  His sticker collaboration collage work has been slapping up in magazines here and abroad, and it’s helping his fellow artists get exposure along the way, which he loves.

Preparing for a new show at ArtBreak Gallery in Brooklyn May 2nd, (this time as a curator), Mr. Kid talks to BSA about his engagement with the political as personal and his experience with his recent Michelle Obama piece;

Street artist Billi Kid scored big with his recent illustration of Michele Obama in New York magazine.

Street artist Billi Kid scored big with his recent illustration of Michele Obama in New York magazine.

Brooklyn Street Art: How did you score a full page in the New York magazine article?
Billi Kid: Luck had a lot to do with it. I pasted a recent piece titled “Greed i$ Good” on the wall of one of my favorite spots on 22nd street, outside of Comme des Garçons. It happened to be right in front of where the photo editor (Jody Quon) of New York magazine lives. One thing led to another.

Wall Street robber amid a chorus of FKDL, KH1, Judith Supine, and more (courtesy Billi Kid)

“Greed i$ Good”; a Wall Street robber amid a chorus of FKDL, KH1, Judith Supine, Peru Ana and more (courtesy Billi Kid)

Brooklyn Street Art: Hundreds of artists made portraits of Obama. Do you think we look to artists to help us understand these people?

Billi Kid: I can’t speak for anyone else, but as a registered independent, I became completely engrossed with the campaign our current president was running in 2008 and immediately re-registered as a Democrat for the occasion. Adding my voice to the streets became a natural extension (of that).

Brooklyn Street Art: Can you talk about the technique you used to produce this?

Billi Kid: I’m known for my combo slaps and had labored during the campaign to get everyone I trade stickers with into the mix. In particular, boards using the epic Obama for President poster by Zoltron as a centerpiece. It simply involves collage techniques and composition. One of these boards made it into Time magazine’s man of the year issue with a Shepard Fairey portrait on the cover.

Billi Kid's sticker combo made it into the Person of the Year issue of Time Magazine in December. (courtesy Billi Kid)

One of Billi Kid’s sticker collaboration pieces in the Person of the Year issue of Time magazine this past December (courtesy Bill Kid)

The Michelle portrait involved a breakdown of her likeness into a two-layer stencil. The actual portrait used in the magazine was a print pasted on the collage board, but this would be same technique used to execute my stencils. I plan some stencil boards of this in the near future. Look for it on the streets.

Brooklyn Street Art: Your work typically employs a lot of color, why did you chose simple black and white?

Billi Kid: So far all of my stencil boards are colored backgrounds with black and white stenciled layers on top. I was planning to do a stencil originally, but time did not allow it. Besides that, stickers became a factor.

Is it all black and white? (courtesy Billi Kid)

Is it all black and white? (courtesy Billi Kid)

Brooklyn Street Art: What is the significance of placing her head on a bed of stickers?

Billi Kid: In conversation with the magazine, I understood they wanted artists to interpret their ideas about Michelle into their portrait. For me, it became clear that I had to use stickers because they represented community and inclusion to me. Precisely what the Obamas are about. It felt right to get all of my brothers and sisters from around the country and the world into the magazine. Kind of a one-world point of view.

Brooklyn Street Art: Have you heard from the other sticker artists who are in the piece? Were they excited?

Billi Kid: Yeah!!! They love this about my work. They trust that the work goes up, instead of into a private little black book. That they get published is icing on the cake. This approach pays ample dividends for me. What goes around comes around.

Brooklyn Street Art: A lot of artists want to be published but aren’t familiar with the process that happens during editing. Was your piece altered at all by the editors? Was there a lot of back and forth discussion?

Billi Kid: We discussed my idea at length and fortunately I had plenty of samples to illustrate my intent. The only discouraging edit was the fact that they cropped the image so tight. The board went temporarily up somewhere in the Bronx and I wanted the environment to be part of the final cut. Unfortunately, this did not happen – for good reason – it was about Michelle after all, lol.

The original piece by Billi Kid

The original piece by Billi Kid

Brooklyn Street Art: Do you have any special connection to the first lady, her personal story?

Billi Kid: Only in so far as what we all have heard about her. Like her husband; a self-made independent person who picked herself up by the straps of her boots and carved a place for herself in the American landscape. Precisely what Republicans always say about their vision for America, no handouts, just the courage to move forward with the gifts given to you by our creator.

Brooklyn Street Art: What role do you think Street Artists play in the public discourse of politics or social issues?

Billi Kid: The same role graffiti has always played on the word stage throughout history; to give voice to opinions not paid for by the ruling parties. Until recently, it had always been about politics, not just pissing on the wall.

Brooklyn Street Art: What project are you working on right now?

Billi Kid: I just completed four canvases commission by the Ace hotel opening in NYC and am now co-curating, with the incomparable Luna Park, an exiting new exhibition, theGREAToutDOORS opening at Artbreak Gallery in Williamsburg May 2nd.

Ultimate Collabo (courtesy Billi Kid)

Ultimate Collabo; Billy and Luna  (courtesy Billi Kid)

Luna Park

Billi Kid

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