All posts tagged: Meres

Tell It to The Judge ; Graffiti Artists Win in 5 Pointz Case

Tell It to The Judge ; Graffiti Artists Win in 5 Pointz Case

In a ruling that many graffiti and Street Artists interpret as a validation of their artwork and which may spawn further legal claims by artists in the future, Brooklyn Judge Frederic Block, a United States Federal Judge for the Eastern District of New York, awarded $6.7 million in damages to a group of 21 artists in the high profile case of the former graffiti holy place in Queens called 5 Pointz.

Under the leadership of artist and organizer Jonathan “Meres One” Cohen, also a plantiff, the award is in response to a suit that cried foul on the overnight destruction of multiple artworks on building walls without consultation or notification of the artists.

5Pointz. Queens.  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Citing provisions of the 1990 Visual Artists Rights Act that grants artists certain “moral” rights, the artists claimed that their artworks on the 5 Pointz compound that was owned by real estate developer Jerry Wykoff were protected and should be afforded certain rights and considerations.

Arts and intellectual property lawyers and judges will now be examining the implications of the ruling and citing it as an example in arguments about art created on walls legally and possibly those created illegally as well. In a city that prides itself as being a birthplace of graffiti and Street Art, many artists and wall owners must ask themselves if there will need to be an additional layer of agreement before an aerosol can is held aloft.

5Pointz. Queens.  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

For today the plaintiffs will celebrate the win and derive a sense of validation for their works at the compound that hosted an organic evolution of works by local, national, and international graffiti and Street Artist for nearly two decades under tacit or explicit agreement with the owner.

“I am happy to see my art form recognized as true art,” says Mr. Cohen in an article from Hyperallergic today, and ultimately that is the message that the graffiti writers and Street Artists will take from the story. Others will argue that this is gentrification issue of developers profiting from and then dismissing the artists who bring attractive buyers to a neighborhood. Now that a dollar value has been attached, a certain audience will also begin to again consider the intrinsic value of those artworks in the streets that they dismissed as pure vandalism with little other merit.

5Pointz. Queens.  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Of the nearly 1,000 comments posted yesterday on our initial Facebook post about the decision, it is evident that many people still see this kind of art primarily as illegal vandalism and opine that a ruling like this is only adding credibility to criminal behavior. In that argument it is helpful to remember that these artists all had permission to paint.

Undoubtedly additional legacies of the ruling will play out in coming months and years. For the moment, it looks like the artists won this time, which is a seeming rarity during a time when technology has created a nearly unmitigated “Wild West” landscape of rights and responsibilities when it comes to aesthetic expression.

Related stories:

Judge Awards Graffiti Artists $6.7M After 5Pointz Destroyed

Judge Rules Developer Must Pay 5Pointz Graffiti Artists $6.7M

Looking at 5Pointz Now, Extolling a Graffiti Holy Place

5Pointz. Meres. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Onur . Semor . Wes21 . Kkade . 5Pointz, Queens. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Esteban Del Valle. 5Pointz. Queens.  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Zeso . Meres. 5Pointz. Queens.  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

5Pointz. Queens.  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Kram. 5Pointz. Queens.  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

5Pointz. Queens.  (photo © Jaime Rojo)



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A Layered History of 5 Pointz Currently on View

A Layered History of 5 Pointz Currently on View

Peeling Back Layers of Paint Offers Inspiration of a Different Kind

Typically one needs to go down underground, over a fence, through a broken window, or behind rusty chained metal doors to be an urban explorer. A flashlight is also advised. However, at the moment you can explore in broad daylight from the sidewalk the urban archaeology of a subculture as the walls of 5 Pointz reveal the layering of pigment one over the other multiple times – a rich cortex of history encased in the stacked strata of sprayed and brushed paint.


5 Pointz. Long Island City, NY. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Much like a palimpsest, New York is again erasing history to make room for something new. As the ever-expanding cloud of affluence steamrolls across Gotham into the outer boroughs, this urban castle of effluence still stands as a record of the graffiti history that sparked a thousand aerosol aspirations by everyday New York youth – and many international ones as well. Your closer examination of the mottled walls of this former graffiti holy place reveals a peeling façade demarcated by the layers of colors and creative expression that once raced across these walls.

Perhaps by way of skirting the emotional outpouring that was sure to accompany a public act of white blight, the property owners of 5 Pointz in Queens chose to buff this massive complex under cover of night last fall, rather than letting it become a drawn-out public affair. But now it’s just standing here, waiting for demolition.



5 Pointz. Long Island City, NY. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

And as long as this site persists, the burly former home of artist spaces, photo/video shoots, inventive industry and an all encompassing skin that proved to be a magnetic canvas is still fixed as a perpetual reminder of its former self.

Speak to some wistful visiting passersby or check out the scrawled angry missives newly appearing and you learn that this is tantamount to an open wound for some fans, artists, organizers who make up the eclectic mix of mark-making would-be congregants. They still make the pilgrimage to Long Island City if only to look once more, stopping to consider it.

Possibly they are using x-ray eyes as they imagine under the surface buff membrane wrapping this hulking mass lie the burners, throwies, tags, murals, wheat-pastes, exhortations, rants, call-outs, poetries and affinities that were once visible. Now they are all just sitting quietly just under the layer of hastily applied patchy neutral tint.


5 Pointz. Long Island City, NY. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Looking for remnants of what was once there, you discover the layers of paint now chipping and fanning in a thinly striped crust of paint, bending back its jagged edge; hues and shades and tenors discordant. Sugar soda orange, shamrock green, forest moss, fire engine red, lemon yellow, cerulean blue – the primary layers here must reveal something to us, like the rings of a tree as read by a dendrochronologist examining the stump; each line of color marks a moment in time, giving us news about the calm or harshness of the climate in that era.

Presently appearing as a giant hunted pachyderm fallen in the urban jungle, the relevance of 5 Pointz once hinged on the evolving collection of freshly painted works going up day after day, year after year, by well known and lesser known artists who visited from all over the world. Some even called it Mecca, for lack of a better word, and painters and fans alike felt compelled to visit it. Yet, you may consider it to be still alive.


5 Pointz. Long Island City, NY. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

So the murals on the surface are gone but in reality they are not – they are here in front of us, just covered by layers of paint. If you want to, you may see it as evidence of the tribute to  collaborative public space that 5 Pointz embodied – the affirmation of a multi-membered community united in all it’s multi-colored splendor. Here is your visual forensic report: before you is a brief sampling of the thousands of hours of sweat, labor, inspiration –  and thousands of gallons of paint, vividly represented, richly textured, and unquestioned proof of the success of 5 Pointz.


5 Pointz. Long Island City, NY. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


5 Pointz. Long Island City, NY. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


5 Pointz. Long Island City, NY. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


5 Pointz. Long Island City, NY. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


5 Pointz. Long Island City, NY. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


5 Pointz. Long Island City, NY. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


5 Pointz. Long Island City, NY. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


5 Pointz. Long Island City, NY. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


5 Pointz. Long Island City, NY. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


5 Pointz. Long Island City, NY. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


5 Pointz. Long Island City, NY. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


5 Pointz. Long Island City, NY. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


5 Pointz. Long Island City, NY. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


5 Pointz. Long Island City, NY. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


5 Pointz. Long Island City, NY. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


5 Pointz. Long Island City, NY. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


5 Pointz. Long Island City, NY. (photo © Jaime Rojo)



Please note: All content including images and text are ©, unless otherwise noted. We like sharing BSA content for non-commercial purposes as long as you credit the photographer(s) and BSA, include a link to the original article URL and do not remove the photographer’s name from the .jpg file. Otherwise, please refrain from re-posting. Thanks!


This article is also published on The Huffington Post



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Images Of The Week: 01.05.14

Images Of The Week: 01.05.14



It’s been weeks since we had an “Images of the Week” posting with you, due to the end of the year spectacular we presented  for 13 days; a solid cross section of the talented photographers who are documenting this important moment before it passes.

As a collection 13 From 2013 exemplified the unique and eclectic character of Street Art and graffiti photography today. Each person contributed a favorite image and along with it their insight and observations, often personal, very individual, and with a real sense of authenticity. Each day we were sincerely grateful for their contributions to BSA readers and to see the street through their eyes.

Thank you again to Yoav Litvin, Ray Mock, Brock Brake, Martha Cooper, Luna Park, Geoff Hargadon, Jessica Stewart, Jim Kiernan, Bob Anderson, Ryan Oakes, Daniel Albanese, James Prigoff, and Spencer Elzey for 13 from 2013. Also if you missed it, that list kicked off just after our own 2013 BSA Year in Images (and video) were published here and on Huffington Post, all of which was also a great honor to share with you.

And so we bring back to you some documentation of moments before they passed – our weekly interview with the street, this week including $howta, Appleton Pictures, ASVP, BAMN, Chase, Dceve, Doce Freire, EpicUno, Hot Tea, Jerkface, Judith Supine, Leadbelly33, LoveMe, Meres, Olek, Rambo, Ramiro Davaro-Comas, Square, and Swoon.

This weeks top image is a reprieve from the winter we’ve been enduring – a small hand cut frog clinging to a verdant fern – created by Swoon and snapped during a visit to her studio over the holidays. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


EpicUno (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Rambo (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Leadbelly33 (photo © Jaime Rojo)


LoveMe (photo © Jaime Rojo)


BAMN (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Judith Supine (photo © Jaime Rojo)


ASVP and Square (photo © Jaime Rojo)


$howta (photo © Jaime Rojo)


JerkFace (photo © Jaime Rojo)


HotTea (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Olek’s very latest piece completed on New Year’s Eve in Vancouver, Canada.  (photo © Olek)


Olek. “Kiss the Future” detail. (photo © Olek)


Meres has a message for Gerry. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Meres (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Chase (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Doce Freire in Sharjah City, UAE for the Al Qasba Festival. (photo © Doce Freire)


Dceve (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Appleton Pictures (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Artist Unknown (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Ramiro Davaro-Comas (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Untitled. Manhattan, December 2013. (photo © Jaime Rojo)



Please note: All content including images and text are ©, unless otherwise noted. We like sharing BSA content for non-commercial purposes as long as you credit the photographer(s) and BSA, include a link to the original article URL and do not remove the photographer’s name from the .jpg file. Otherwise, please refrain from re-posting. Thanks!


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BSA Images of The Week: 10.20.13

BSA Images of The Week: 10.20.13


The leaves in Central Park are aflame and so are the passions of Street Art fans (and artists) this week in New York where the general public is now conditioned to be on alert for a near-daily announcement of a new Banksy installation nearly anywhere in the city. It can be a stencil, a sculpture, a performance, a rolling truck gallery, or a canvas suspended from the Highline – but don’t worry about finding it – it will be announced on the website first…

Lead image above >>Banksy (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Banksy (photo © Jaime Rojo)

We’ve tried to keep it all in perspective and not slavishly cancel life to run out and capture the latest installation, but the buzz is unavoidable and we get sucked in.  It is now taking on some air of a circus, complete with barkers and clowns and otters flapping their flippers (and lips).  As a branding “re-fresh”, it’s been a very successful campaign so far with news reportage, Instagramming and re-tweets, crowds assembling at a moments notice to snap images of and/or with the work, and we even found vigilante fans tackling vandals who are vandalizing the vandalism.  You can’t engineer that sort of irony. Now an elected leader or two are talking about trying to capture the president of Banksy Inc. LLC – which would send a clear message to all Street Artists that this really is the best way to market your work.


Banksy. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Meanwhile there are many other Street Artists and fine artists in general who are still at work on the streets of New York, and you may even give their content, quality and placement more praise than some from this Banksy campaign. We’ve always celebrated the creative spirit however it is expressed and invariably find some of the greatest work is done by people we’ve never heard of, or barely know much about. At a time where large media is consolidating and the individual voice is being marginalized and commodified, we find this to still be an amazingly democratic practice of joining the conversation, if imperfect and confusing. And New York doesn’t stop just because one new guy is getting a lot of attention – Hell, we barely notice when Obama or the Pope or even the Queen of England visits – she’s just one queen after all and we have the entire neighborhood of Chelsea.

So here is our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring Banksy, Bifido, Cali Killa, Dede, Don Rimx, El Kamino, El Sol 25, JC, London Kaye, Meres, Nepo, Pastey Whyte, Shin Shin, and Shiro.


______________________, The Musical! Banksy. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


The view into the back of a box truck with an installation attributed to Banksy. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


London Kaye (photo © Jaime Rojo)


A Dying Breed. 5ptz. Queens, NY. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


9 (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Artist Unknown (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Shiro. 5ptz. Queens, NY. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


El Kamino. American Flag with Cardinal. Welling Court. Queens, NY. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


El Sol 25 (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Don Rimx . NEPO. 5ptz. Queens, NY. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Don Rimx . NEPO. Detail. 5ptz. Queens, NY. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Pastey Whyte (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Meres. 5ptz. Queens, NY. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Shin Shin (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Artist Unknown. 5ptz. Queens, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Cali Killa (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Dede (photo © Jaime Rojo)


JC in Barcelona, Spain. (photo © JC)


Bifido. Rome, Italy 2013. (photo © Bifido)


Untitled. Manhattan, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)



Please note: All content including images and text are ©, unless otherwise noted. We like sharing BSA content for non-commercial purposes as long as you credit the photographer(s) and BSA, include a link to the original article URL and do not remove the photographer’s name from the .jpg file. Otherwise, please refrain from re-posting. Thanks!


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Looking at 5Pointz Now, Extolling a Graffiti Holy Place

While famed LA/Chicago/Detroit graffiti artists Revok and Pose are in town getting up on the Houston Street wall this week and many members of the MSK crew were in Bushwick doing tributes to Nekst over the weekend, New Yorkers have had the opportunity to talk with a lot of visiting friends who are in town in advance of the Revok/Pose dual show at Jonathan Levine this Saturday. As graffiti culture continues to assert its place in modern art history even while expanding and redefining itself on the street and in homes, galleries, and museums along a storied continuum, we are reminded again about the foundational role that graffiti has played in our aesthetic, helping to define urban culture and at least partially fueling the evolution of what we call a Street Art scene today.

MERES. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

As with most subcultures in a capitalist society, there are a fair amount of commercial influences swimming around and through the graffiti world too, the products and motifs employed to sell them somehow simplifying graffitis complex nature and diluting its emotional resonance for many. This is the water we’re all swimming in, however, and you could drown trying to fight it. Despite commercial pressures and their mutations, it is evident that the graffiti style is alive and well and building upon itself in new ways. For some, graffiti is analogous to the early punk scene for some others it could be inextricably tied to hip hop. But as it continues to morph into multiple subgenres it still seems perfectly clear that it is born from a scream, a helluva celebratory and defiant yell ; very individual, often powerful, it is tied to an agonizing drive to be heard and to be seen, to capture by hand something that is channeling by its own volition through your mind and from your gut. Probably. That incisive wisdom from BSA and $2.50 will get you a ride on the subway.

Zimer (photo © Jaime Rojo)

BSA will never be versed enough to speak authoritatively about graffiti culture, nor do we pretend to – it is so vast and storied and sort of outside our wheelhouse. But seeing all this graff action this week brings our minds to a place like 5Pointz in Long Island City, Queens. Begun as Phun Factory and eventually changing its name, this 200,000 sf factory building cannot be overestimated in its impact visually over two decades as well as for the community service it has provided for many artists, young and older, to practice, experiment, and even hit a level of mastery of their craft.  We won’t call it a Mecca, as we’ve been schooled that some of our brothers and sisters think that’s disrespectful – So we’ll just call it a Holy Place for many here and around the world. An ever evolving canvas viewable from the street and passing trains, many a tourist has made the pilgrimage to check it out; a touchstone for the true New York, and perhaps one that is disappearing.

Sen2 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

As the fevered pitch of cries from fans and community for the preservation of 5 Pointz runs up against the dual realities of a crumbling infrastructure and an increasingly  desirable location for real estate development, we all reluctantly cede that the writing is probably on the wall (pardon the pun). Absent a deep-pocketed philanthropist who wants to preserve it (Jay-Z?) or a groundswell of citizenry demanding public seizing of private property (torches and pitchforks anyone?), you have to know that this can’t last forever despite what many see as its importance and relevance to this culture, history, and this time. But really, just take a look around this spot. If you are here now, or are planning to come soon, you know that 5Pointz has the power of a beacon for many; a living thriving vessel for the creative spirit to be expressed in myriad ways, many personal. All hail 5Pointz and those who have made it successful all these years.

Here is a small collection of more recent images of 5Pointz.

Shiro (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Mr. Blob (photo © Jaime Rojo)

See TF (photo © Jaime Rojo)

ZMOGK . Shiro on top. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Never (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Toofly (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Bishop203 . Bisco203 . Leais203 Detail (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The Yok . Sheryo (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Onur . Semor . Wes21 . KKade (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Onur . Semor . Wes21 . KKade Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Pablo Mustafa (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Monsieur Plume . Raid Crew (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Spidertag (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Kram (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Spud (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Help (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Grafik (photo © Jaime Rojo)

el Seed . Jaye (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Color at 5Pointz (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Much respect to Meres and to all the writers on this epic wall and whole compound. (photo © Jaime Rojo)



Please note: All content including images and text are ©, unless otherwise noted. We like sharing BSA content for non-commercial purposes as long as you credit the photographer(s) and BSA, include a link to the original article URL and do not remove the photographer’s name from the .jpg file. Otherwise, please refrain from re-posting. Thanks!





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Images of the Week: 04.21.13

Here’s our weekly interview of the street, this week featuring $hota, Armer, bunnyM, C215, Curtis Kulig, DAO, Demian Smith, Essencia, Gyser, Irade, Joseph Meloy, Judith Supine, Love Me, Meres, Monsieur  Plume, Patch Whiskey, Raid Crew, Mr. Blob, Robert Janz, SEN2, Shiro, Smogk, Spagnola, Theo David, and Thomas Buildmore .

Top image > Spagnola (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brand new Judith Supine on the rocks. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Sen2 at 5Pointz. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

$howta and DAO (photo © Jaime Rojo)

$howta and DAO. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Thomas Buildmore and his homage to Gaugin at Woodward Project Space. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

C215 big cat in Paris. (photo © Théo David)

We’ve seen a lot of fat cats, but never one this big. French Street Artist C215 finished it this week on a wall in the 13th arrondissment of Paris. Demian Smith, founder of Underground Paris, says the chat géant is “part of the neighborhood’s strategy to create an alternative tourism industry in this pretty ugly, working class area in the south of Paris.”  – Not the first time that Street Artists have perked a place up, just usually not on this scale. The strategy has so far included murals by Shepard Fairey, Inti, and Vhils, he says. Special thanks to Théo David for sharing these exclusive shots for BSA readers.

C215 big cat in Paris. (photo © Théo David)

Joseph Meloy (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Ishmael (photo © Jaime Rojo)

This forced collab with bunnyM and Robert Janz has a wild untamed energy, like a group of teens on a train at 3 pm. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Sort gets right to the point, right? Love Me (photo © Jaime Rojo)

ZMOGK with Shiro overseeing at 5Pointz. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Essencia (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Esscencia. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Armer (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“Ain’t nothin I’m just tryin to get my paper, my paper.” That’s right Mr. Blob is getting paid at 5Pointz. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Usually catching walls down south, Patch Whisky stopped in at the Bushwick Collective and also hit the En Masse installation. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

French artist Monsieur Plume of Raid Crew give Meres on the left a shout out at 5Pointz. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Untitled. J Train. Broad Street Sta. April 2013. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Thank you to Théo David for shooting the C215 wall in Paris for BSA. Visit Théo’s site here for more of his work. 


Please note: All content including images and text are ©, unless otherwise noted. We like sharing BSA content for non-commercial purposes as long as you credit the photographer(s) and BSA, include a link to the original article URL and do not remove the photographer’s name from the .jpg file. Otherwise, please refrain from re-posting. Thanks!


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Images of the Week 04.14.13

Here’s our weekly interview of the street, this week featuring Ai WeiWei, B.D. White, Billy Mode, Bishop 203, BR1, Chris Stain, Duke A. Barnstable, Free Humanity, Ice & Sot, Indigo, JM, Mataruda, Meres, Billy Mode, NARD, ND’A, Os Gemeos, Palladino, PTV, Ryan McGinley, Shai Dahan, Shin Shin, and Specter.

Top image > Italian Street Artist BR1 in Brooklyn takes a look at shopping for what to wear under your burka (photo © Jaime Rojo)

A more conceptual installation by BR1 (photo © BR1)

Shin Shin picks the same color palette as many of the trees in New York that bloomed this week. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Ryan McGinley “Blue Falling” 2007, looking good on a rainy day off the High Line Park in NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Rubin at Low Brow Artique. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Fill in the blank. Rambo (photo © Jaime Rojo)

PTV next to an old JM. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 B.D. White pays tribute to Ai WeiWei. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

B.D. White (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Billy Mode and Chris Stain at Bushwick Collective. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Meres at Low Brow Artique. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Palladino (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Duke A. Barnstable (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Os Gemeos (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Shai Dahan pays tribute to René Magritte (1898-1967). Subtopia, Stockholm Sweden. (photo © Anthony Hill)

Bishop203 and ND’A (photo © Jaime Rojo)

NARD at Bushwick Collective (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Indie and Swoon (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Mataruda with Specter at Bushwick Collective (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Icy & Sot (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Free Humanity (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Untitled. Stormy April clouds hover in NYC. The Bronx. April 2013. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Please note: All content including images and text are ©, unless otherwise noted. We like sharing BSA content for non-commercial purposes as long as you credit the photographer(s) and BSA, include a link to the original article URL and do not remove the photographer’s name from the .jpg file. Otherwise, please refrain from re-posting. Thanks!


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Sacred Gallery Presents: “Who’z Got Game!” A Group Exhibition (Manhattan, NYC)

Sacred Gallery

We wanted to let everyone know that Sacred Gallery NYC is pleased to announce “Who’z got game!”, August 10th (8-11pm), at Sacred Gallery NYC.
This group gallery exhibition, curated by KIDLEW, showcases some of the best names in the NYC street graffiti scene. Starting with artists from the late
60’s and working up to modern day, Kidlew personally went after the best names in the game to bring you a true NYC graffiti Subway map show.

The gallery will be auctioning off a true 4’x5′ NYC subway map that exhibiting artists will collaborate the night of the gallery opening. 100% of the proceeds from the won auction will
go to The Coalition For The Homeless ( The auction will be on display and available for bidding all month, and will close on the 31st.

LAVA 1 2

This is a strict RSVP ONLY event so you must email to be put on the list.

Opening Reception:
August 10th. 8-11pm

Sacred Gallery NYC

424 Broadway 2nd Floor (Between Canal and Howard)

New York, NY 10013

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Fun Friday 04.27.12

1. Urban Legends Auction (LA)
2. “Ordinary People” in Brooklyn
3. Group GRAFF at Dorian Gray (NY)
4. Katowice Street Art Festival (VIDEO)
6.”Obey The Giant” Movie Kickstarter

Urban Legends Auction (LA)

Friday night >> URBAN LEGENDS: Celebrating 45 Years of Public Art Around the World is an art exhibition and an auction taking place at the LA Mart and Design Center. Works consist of large scale murals; collages; rare, limited edition photographs; and more.

Artists include ABCNT, Chor Boogie, Codak, Cryptik, Kofie, Mear One, Pablo Cristi, Shark Toof, TEWSR, Warren Heard, BAM, Brett Cook, Can Love, Cern, Ckaweeks, Doves, Erin Yoshi, Estria, Jher Judy Baca, Katch, Kent Twitchell, Level, Mare 139, Martha Cooper, Meres, Sand, Vogue, Vyal, Woier, Alexander DC Smith & Hans Haveron, Aly Kouroma, EKLA, Evan Mendleson, Freddy Sam, Graffiti of War Project, Herakut, FOODONE, John Park & Christina Angelina, KIDGHE, LIBRE, Max Neutra, SANER, Yusef Davis, Van Saro, Estevan Oriol, Eriberto Oriol, Chaz Bojorquez, RETNA, Andrew Hem

For further information regarding this event click here.

“Ordinary People” in Brooklyn

“Ordinary People” is a group show opening Saturday at the Trumbull Studios in Brooklyn with Doug Aldrich, Shane Donahue, Austin Ansbro, and Zach Meyer.

For further information regarding this show click here.

Group GRAFF at Dorian Gray (NY)

Stop by the Dorian Gray Gallery in Manhattan for a reception for their group exhibition of artists spanning 30 years of art in public spaces. Featured works include such iconic New York names as Keith Haring, LA 2, Futura, Richard Hambleton, COPE 2, & CRASH. International artists such as Bansky and DOLK are paired with some newer names XAM, SeeOne, Penn & AVone.

Xam (photo © Jaime Rojo)

For further information regarding this show click here.

See a preview of an upcoming Street Art video and XAM’s recent visit to Mexico City.

Katowice Street Art Festival (VIDEO)

A fun video about the 2012 festival in Katowice, Poland:

For more information regarding this festival click here.


ROA’s new show “Hypnagogia” is currently on view at the StolenSpace Gallery in London.

Below is a video that shows the artist at work:

“Obey The Giant” Movie Kickstarter

“Obey The Giant” coming soon to a theater near you?…Yes if you help the auteurs, by donating to their kickstarter campaign. But before you go and donate take a moment to see the trailer for the yet to be completed film.

From the creators Julian Marshall and Alex Jablonski:

“Based on the true story of Shepard Fairey’s first act of street art, OBEY THE GIANT tells the story of a young skate punk challenging a big-city mayor and the powers-that-be at art school. Frustrated by his inability to gain respect within the confines of art school Shepard sets out to gain notoriety and acclaim by targeting the most powerful man in Providence, former Mayor Buddy Cianci. Risking expulsion and jail time Shepard plasters Andre the Giant’s face over the image of Cianci on a campaign billboard. As word of Shepard’s prank gets out, Shepard learns that art is a weapon and attention is both a blessing and a curse”.

Click here to donate on their Kickstarter and to see the trailer for the movie.


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Soapstone Gallery Presents: “Graffolution”

Billi Kid

Billi Kid M.I.A. (Photo © Billi Kid)
Billi Kid M.I.A. (Photo © Billi Kid)


July 15 to August 15, 2010

Thursday, July 15
7PM -11PM

Soapstone Gallery
11 W. 36th Street NYC

Frankie Velez &amp; Mike Mcmanus

Subtexture, Matt Siren, See One, Reskew, Sae Ster, Eric Orr, Meres,
Joe Russo, Rob Luciano, Billi Kid, Jeneveive, Fumero, Victor Roman,
Josh Goldstein, Masahiro Ito, UR New York (2esae &amp; Ski), Peat
Wollaeger, Veng (RWK), Daniel &quot;Krave&quot; Fila, Royce Bannon,
Charlie Green, Toofly, Erotica, Abe Lincoln Jr, Clark Fly Id, Ribs,
KA, Ellis G, Joe Iurato, Slave, Sane 2, Gigi Bio, Haloz, Anera, Armo,
DIL, TMNK (Nobody), Grimace, Shine, Nemo, Etaks.One, Oliver Rios,
Bader Israel and Sienide.

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NohJColey’s Plush Life: Intricate Wordplay and Carefully Rendered Humanity

NohJColey’s Plush Life: Intricate Wordplay and Carefully Rendered Humanity

A talented Street Artist Schools BSA about his work.

“Good readers make good writers”.

Truey trueness truthfully told by my true-friend Jodi. Which is why one summer I read a stack of Jimmy Peabody’s Mad magazines that he kept hidden under his bed, along with a few dog-eared copies of Penthouse and Playboy.  See what all that reading did for me?  I write on a blog for 17 readers and my mom.  Once somebody taps into the creative spirit, there are no limits to where it will take them.

Three of his biggest influences; Dali, Basquiat, and Time (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Three of his biggest influences hover over NohJColey while he works; Dali, Basquiat, and Time (photo Steven P. Harrington)

You can take that advice any way you want, but thinking about the path that NohJColey has taken, it’s ringing true.

NohJColey wants to be a great something. He just winces at every label you offer up, but don’t be put off by it.  We’ll be very bold and say “Artist”.  He’s been a graffiti artist, a street artist, and a fine artist. To become a great artist, he practices self-education and discipline. With an agile mind and inquisitive nature, he does a great deal of due-diligence; history, background, planning, experimentation and practicing of technique. Then he starts the piece, frequently a personal story or a social commentary of some kind.


A recent Ebay shopping trip netted a selection of vintage artist technique books. (photo Steven P. Harrington)

In fact, so much goes on inside NohJ’s head in the preparation of his work that a viewer may never completely appreciate the final product. That’s okay, he may not intend it to be understood either.  He doesn’t lose too much sleep over it, either way.  He stays up all night working at a kitchen table with a picture of Salvador Dali and one of Jean-Michel Basquiat on the wall staring down on him, but be assured that he’s not worrying.  He’s just working.

Kutztown's Favorite by Nohj Coley (photo Nohj Coley)

“Kutztown’s Favorite” by Nohj Coley (photo Nohj Coley)

“Kutztown’s Favorite” was the first image BSA posted on the “Images of the Week” feature. Not that big a deal for you, I’m sure. If it was a big deal for you, I would worry. But when I consider  that image I think about why BSA loves street art; at it’s best it is a celebration of the creative spirit, wherever you can access it. It seems unlimited.

In this case it was a tribute to Keith Haring, an artist who was doing what could later be classified “Street Art” in NYC in the ’80s.  The creative spirit that Haring had tapped into 25 years earlier was like a radio frequency or satellite transmission from the creative gods – Haring tapped into it and ran with it, not consulting with experts, anointed, self-proclaimed or otherwise.  To see that somebody was doing a street tribute in a distinctly different style all these years later was very notable.

You don’t have to totally understand NohJ’s work to appreciate it, and that’s a good thing because it may take some studying at Noh J High School to get it.  Some times you have to go slow for certain students, so BSA recently took some summer remedial classes with Professor Coley in the studio.  August was dragging on outside the window and other kids were playing on the jungle gym, but in school, between the endless chain of cigarettes and the loud air conditioner and the louder Thelonius Munk and Charlie Parker, we think it was completely Edutaining.

NohJColey in his home studio.

NohJColey in his home studio. (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Buddies called him “Stiffy” when he was out doing teen rollerblader tricks because NohJ didn’t do diamondz. For that matter he wasn’t even smooth.  But he defends his skills as an aggressive rollerblader, “I was a pretty good skater, though. Learning how to fall, that’s the key to skating. But I didn’t have the moves. It’s hard to worry about style when you don’t want to die!  I would get hurt sometimes badly.  Those days are over”.  Lesson learned.

He used to be a graff writer too, hanging out with the 333 Crew, and his tag was Motive for a while. In the mid-1990s he raced from high school in the afternoon to hang out at the Phun Factory, an aerosol Mecca in Queens for graffiti writers run by a guy named Pat DiLillo, who had worked out a deal with the landlord to let graffiti artists go wild on the walls and practice and teach without fear of breaking the law. Pat had been a professional graffiti buffer until he fell in love with talented work and became a huge proponent, clearing the way for what eventually became 5 Pointz, directed by Meres.

Pat even got NohJ into a show at P.S.1 in 1999 with people whose skills he admired – “It was Iz the Wiz, I’m pretty sure it was Elite, Slam4, Spec, and me. The real piecers were of course IZ, Bisc, and Elite.  I was Motive 333 – I didn’t actually go to the show. We were sitting across the street ”

"Egalitarian Quench", Oil pastel, stencil, painters tape and acrylic paint on paper pasted on discarded lumber. by NohJColey (photo Steven P. Harrington)

“Egalitarian Quench”, Oil pastel, stencil, painters tape and acrylic paint on paper pasted on discarded lumber, by NohJColey (photo Steven P. Harrington)

He’s not thinking that he has the graff thing licked, but he’s moving on to other things these days.  Some people are calling it street art.  His linotype prints are usually portraits of people he has known or studied about and his text stickers have puzzling word combinations and phrases.

Brooklyn Street Art: So what’s important to you?
NohJColey: Accomplishing stuff. Not being swayed by others’ opinions. Being original. Being true to myself. Family is important, learning is important. Everything is kind of important. Fashion isn’t important

Brooklyn Street Art: Politics?
NohJColey: Of course, that has to be important.

Brooklyn Street Art: Music?
NohJColey: Yeah of course, that is really important.

Brooklyn Street Art: Basquiat?
NohJColey: Yeah he was important to me at some time but not really anymore.

Brooklyn Street Art: Why was he important before?
NohJColey: Probably just because of his lifestyle.  He kind of lived precariously. The way he spoke to people.

Basquiat at 19 years (a still from the movie “Downtown 81”)

The choices of words for NohJ’s stickers are directly influenced by another artist of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s who transferred his graff writing directly into his fine arts canvasses, Jean-Michel Basquiat.  Writing on the street as SAMO, Basquiat created stuff that looked like pointed non-sequitors, or abbreviated observations that confused and attracted fans.

“I think he always will be important to me just because of the things he wrote like ‘Plush Safe He Think’, or ‘Jimmy Best on his back to the suckerpunch of the world’ (some sources report it was actually Jimmy Best/ On his back/ To the suckerpunch/ Of his childhood files) – stuff like that is the reason I do stickers because it’s a way of basically saying your piece and not having to listen to what anyone else’s input is on the subject. You can basically tell everyone without actually having to tell people individually.  Like stopping people and saying ‘You’re a closet racist’.”


NohJ’s sticker text is strongly influenced by the writing style of Brooklyn-born Basquiat. This is a recently released image of Jean-Michel Basquiat by photographer Lee Jaffe.

What? Okay, now I think I get it. These cryptic stickers are a sublimation of true feelings and opinions that NohJ understands, but the reader may not.

Brooklyn Street Art: So it’s a direct-indirect way of addressing issues?
NohJColey: Yep.  Even though it’s bad because it isn’t as personal as I would like it to be, but…

The image came from a sketch of his nephew (photo Jaime Rojo)

The image came from a sketch of his nephew (photo Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: So, about that text that you put on stickers, can you describe a little bit about how you arrive at the choices?
NohJColey: Like I did a sticker that said, “Adolescent Racists Present Parental Perspectives” – Basically it refers to young kids that I see around who are racist because of their parents. It’s not something natural. It has nothing to do with the kid’s choice but if you go into their household he’s going to hear certain terms and attitudes. People just get labels.  Like somebody talking about Mexicans, and a Mexican woman who has seven children, and then they talk about whether the health care system should support them; and it’s like, you don’t even know this person, you know?  This person actually owns a restaurant and they came here with nothing in their pockets. And her husband actually went to a prestigious college and had a high GPA.  And people are judging a book by its cover.

On the wall, one of NohJ's earlier fine art pieces, "Children of the Wrong" (photo Steven P. Harrington)

On the wall, one of NohJ’s earlier fine art pieces, “Children of the Wrong”  (photo Steven P. Harrington)

NohJ talks about another sticker, “ ‘Observe Hands’ is different – it’s about reading someone’s mind. Like looking at someone’s hands in conversation. And noticing their reactions like picking their nail could be an indication that someone is nervous. Or like someone rubbing their leg, could mean they are bored, or not interested in what they are doing right now.”

The individual pieces that NohJColey creates on large linoleum blocks are surrealist applications of recognizable components into realist line-drawn portraiture.  The components can be literal or metaphorical, and always autobiographical. The piece is usually has a murky title that perplexes in the same way as the sticker text. When the linoleum piece isn’t enough, NohJ combines painstaking lace-like geometric cutouts arranged on top of or beside them.

The original plate of Sace (photo Steven P. Harrington)

The original plate of Sace (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Brooklyn Street Art: So can you talk about the series that you’ve begun, that started with an image of Dash Snow?
NohJColey: Yeah it’s the “Sprayed in Stone” series. I’m basically just trying to solidify these graffiti writers names a bit more.  After someone passes everyone mourns because this person’s gone, and everyone forgets about it. Like maybe a few times a year someone might look at their photograph but it’s not the same as actually seeing this person like proportionally. Like you can walk up to this piece, the Dash Snow piece, and it’s pretty much the same size (as he was). I never met him but I’m guess that he was that size.  It’s kind of a little larger because I wanted him to be more prominent. That’s kind of what it’s about. You never really know what a graffiti artist looks like so that is another reason why I wanted to do a portrait of him.  A person passes away and you are not given another chance to see them at the same size that they were.

NohJ Coley Detail

A detail of NohJ Coley  shows limbs made of a paint roller, markers, ladders, cans, etc. (photo Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: And yet you render the figure with non-human limbs and other elements, so you are not really bringing back a true replica of the person.  Where did those come from?
NohJColey: The spray can of course was a tool he would use, and the markers as well.  The fire-extinguisher shirt – you know like a like a lot of graffiti writers use fire extinguishers to do enormous tags on sides of buildings.  I guess they are just things he would use as a graffiti artist. Like the spray can coming from his neck.

Brooklyn Street Art: Yeah it’s surrealistic. And this is the first of the series of three?
NohJColey: It’ll be three. The problem with this series is that I’m not able to take photographs of the artist, which to me really hinders the work – because it would be a way better piece.  I don’t even like to work from someone else’s eye but they passed on so I’ve gotta use what there is.

Brooklyn Street Art: Right, you didn’t actually have a picture of Dash Snow?
NohJColey: No I didn’t. I used someone’s picture.

NohJ created an amalgam of images first before drawing the Tie One image on the linoleum block. (photo Steven P. Harrington)

NohJ created an amalgam of images first before drawing the Tie One image on the linoleum block. (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Brooklyn Street Art: And who’s next in line in the series?
NohJColey: It’s Jonathan See Lim AKA Tie One

NohJ Coley Detail

NohJ Coley Detail

Brooklyn Street Art: So tell me about Tie One.
NohJColey: Yeah he was from San Francisco. He was shot in the Tenderloin by William Porter. And he was basically climbing up on the roof. He went there to do a graffiti spot on St. Patrick’s Day. It’s kind of also like – I don’t really want to shed too much light on a graffiti artist faults in life. Whether he was vandalizing, even though that’s what graffiti is…I know that. It’s more about the strides in this persons’ life that he took. Like Tie was 18 when he passed away. And Iz The Wiz, who is the third person in the series, he was like the king of the trains, you know.

The ink is still wet on this just finished 3rd installment in the "Sprayed In Stone" series, Iz the Wiz, by NohJColey

The ink is still wet on this just finished 3rd installment in the “Sprayed In Stone” series, Iz the Wiz, by NohJColey

Brooklyn Street Art: Did you ever hang out with Iz the Wiz?
NohJColey: No I never got a chance to meet him but I remember Pat DeLilo telling me a bunch of stories about him.  Iz was always sick even in those days when I was hanging out there. Wow, ten years.  That’s why I’m glad I did that show with him when I was young.

The original study for

The original study for “Nothing=Obtained” by NohJColey

Brooklyn Street Art: What about the final work of “Nothing=Obtained” – how did you get that? Can you talk about your process? How did you get that multi-armed creature?
NohJColey: Basically I just had my ex-girlfriend pose. This one I just saw before I did it. I already knew what I was going to do.  It was just basically figuring a way in which to place each arm so it sort of made sense.


NohJColey (photo Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: Does the placement of the arms indicate something about her personality?
NohJColey: Well when she walks in a room you pretty much feel her presence.  She’s kind of like pulling her head back like she’s stressed out. The mouth is like she’s in awe, her eyes are open because she’s just noticing a bunch of opportunities and then like her grabbing herself because of stress. And this one is her bracing herself.

Brooklyn Street Art: And the words “Nothing = Obtained”?
NohJColey: She never accomplishes the goal, you know? She never gets to the end result. Everything is always left open. There is no conclusion. Like nothing is ever obtained. Like she says she’s trying to change that but it’s not really evident to me.  But whatever.

(Nohj Coley) (photo Jaime Rojo)

(photo Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: You did another piece last year that was about a cousin of yours?
NohJColey: “Uncondition(al) Solace”?
Brooklyn Street Art: Huh?
NohJColey: Like I try to separate letters sometimes, so you can use the letters different ways.

Brooklyn Street Art: Okay so tell me the story behind that one. You told me about her going into a hospital room to see your aunt.
NohJColey: That piece is about a cousin of mine – I went to see her mother, my aunt, because she had a stroke. And like the right side of her body is paralyzed. To see a person go from walking through a doorway to rolling through a doorway on a stretcher is bad. She doesn’t really react to anything except to her daughter, my cousin. And the piece is her holding up a banner that says “Solace” because I feel like once she walked into the room, my aunt lit up. My cousin is the only one that puts a smile on her face. So that is why I made the piece so that my aunt can look at her daughter whenever she’s awake.

Brooklyn Street Art: You are making your stuff on paper and wheat paste, which means it disappears in about five rainstorms. Then it’s gone, but you put a lot of work into it.
NohJColey: Yeah it’s ephemeral. That’s a good thing about it. It has a life of it’s own and you can’t control it. That’s another reason I like it. You can’t control it. You put it out there and it’s free, you don’t have a leash on it, like a pet.

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