This week we’re headed to the Miami Art Week – and we hope to see you there. We’ll interview Brooklyn Street Artists Faile onstage at Wynwood Walls Wednesday if you want to make sure to say hello. We’re excited to see a new slate of graffiti and street art and mural work – and have heard of some surprise installations sure to garner attention. Not that Miami is about garnering attention…
Our interview with the street today includes ASAP, Cramcept, De Grupo, Duster, Huckleberry Fuck Up, Marycula, Modomatic, Nat At Art, Pear, Sam Crew, Soli, Ultramarine Dream, and Wild Boys.
And now we don’t know what other topic can follow that one, so…
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring Abby Goodman, BLAZE, Captain Eyeline, Chill, Chris RWK, City Kitty, CRKSHNK, Fake Hambleton, Faust, Invader, JJ Veronsis, Konart Studio, Lunge Box, Mad Town, Matt Siren, Modomatic, Royce Bannon, The Velvet Bandit, and Who is Ponzi.
The series of #fakehambleton “Shadow Man” that have been appearing on the street of Manhattan (and in London) are attributed to a guy who goes by the name of Pablo who runs a mystery Hambleton “foundation”. He’s admitted to painting the fake Hambleton iconic figures on the streets of NYC. We believe this to be a marketing campaing. More on this @bkstreetart on Instagram.
Welcome to BSA Images of the Week. Our hearts and minds are heavy and quiet this weekend as we contemplate the two decades and lost lives and liberties since September 11, 2001.
It’s impossible to know what the world would have looked like had those fateful events not taken place twenty years ago, and only a handful would have predicted that it would have been used as a springboard for more wars that cost more lives. As the country pulls out of Afghanistan so badly and obviously, a real examination of the soul is taking place. There is no real purpose served by trying to extricate the pain of loss locally from those sufferred globally as a result of the events of September 11th, except for us New Yorkers to reflect on how our city is forever changed. Thankfully, New Yorkers prove time and again that we are also forever determined to overcome and to come together.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring BAT, Below Key, BK Foxx, Chris RWK, Chupa, De Grupo, Early Riser NYC, Fumero, Futura, Hand Up, Manik, Modomatic, Naito Oru, Pope, Rezo, and Toofly.
Developing a library of personal alphabets, coded symbols, muscle memory and intended meanings.
New York street artist Modomatic is finding his way among a crowded field of new additions to the conversation on the streets. His stylistic leanings are being road-tested, as it were, and he is developing his vocabulary before your eyes. We are pleased to have the opportunity to ask him about his sculptural works, his illustrative/diagrammatic works, and how he finds the space in between worlds that he inhabits to be a street artist in New York today.
BSA: The output on the streets is varied. You have what we think are 3D sculptures, wheat pastes with abstract forms, and a take on the pre-Hispanic codices, etc… Are you one artist with a busy mind or are you a collective of artists?
Modomatic: I’m one artist, with a busy mind and ways to extend working time. I constantly explore different ways of expressing myself and along the way created various forms of art, but basically, they’re all coming out of my imagination and started in my sketchbook. I produced a lot of kinds of work during the pandemic, and now using the street to distribute them, because I can’t keep them all. I used a lot of my existing art. I adjust them for the streets, enhancing them so that they can be viewed a little bit further away. Also, for example, the use of brighter and fluorescent colors. I’m still learning about street art, learning about the culture, the type of artwork, the artists, and the way people are installing their art and where they’re installing it. That actually informs, in a way, how to evolve my art to fit more into the environment and the street culture.
BSA:The 3D sculptures are usually human figures interconnected in dance-like movement. The pieces have words as well and sometimes they feature a staircase. Are the figures dancing? Or preventing each other from falling off the staircase? How do you select the text? Does the text follow the image or is it the opposite?
Modomatic: There are two different series of works on this 3D sculpture. One I called “Chasing the Unicorn.” This one has the stairs with a person (mostly a single person) climbing onto the end of the stairs. Chasing a unicorn for me is almost like you are climbing all the way up to the top at full speed, without knowing really, how far the stairs will go, so reaching the top could also mean reaching the end. I styled it to looked like the person is about to jump or about to, you know, desperately stop from falling.
The second series of 3d sculptures are showing a small crowd of people supporting each other. They are holding each other in a group hug or propping up someone. The messages are positive and supportive of mental health. I am saying that we are not alone and they are aware of the problem and show that there is a willingness of others to help. The 3D people are not originally created for the piece – but they are being used to convey the message. I created the sculpture element for some other projects. As I said before, I have a body of work that I created during the last lockdown and these are the result of one of the experimentations I did with figures. So I created this series.
BSA:The inclusion of the staircase, in particular, is interesting to us. Do you care to elaborate a bit on its symbolism?
Modomatic: For me, the stairs are representing the effort that we take to get somewhere, to reach our goals, whether they are being successful, healthy, wealthy, or just getting out of the holes we are in. Usually, you know exactly the height that you’re going to climb, and what is at the end of it. But sometimes, as depicted in this series, when chasing the unicorn, you just go as fast as you can to climb to the top – not knowing where it ends.
Not knowing how far do you have to go also may mean risking overshooting the stairs. This could happen to us who are trying to get as much as possible, as fast as possible, by any means necessary.
In some pieces, I placed the stairs, upside down. For that moment in time when one is at the end of the stairs, going back down takes as much effort as it was going up.
Positioning yourself in between those times is kind of being invisible. People are going about ending their day, and starting their evening and you are somewhere in between.
BSA: Your wheat-pasted posters have an abstract/mystic aesthetic; with figures, numbers, and words. Is there a secret code to the message?
Modomatic: When I do the sketches, the original drawings, yes. There is some form of messaging that I wanted to get across with the symbols. In the sketchbook, I pretended to create a series of personal alphabets, coded symbols, or simple marks, each with the intended meaning. Then the collection becomes a library, like an icon library. The icons either stay imprinted in my mind, in my sketchbooks or are preserved for my digital work. As I started to produce artwork like posters and other different forms, in 3D or 2D, large or small, I started to use those elements and just basically created the composition.
BSA:We do see an influence from what appear to be Aztec Codex symbols in your work, sometimes mixed with modern war machines. What’s the genesis for this “fusion”?
Modomatic: I’d like to consider myself a collector. I take great pleasure in mixing things I collect to create something new. In creating some of my symbols I used scripts like Hindi, Arabic, Chinese characters, Japanese Hiragana and Katakana, and other ancient scripts. I practice my hand on them, and then at one point, they become just muscle memories. The fusion happens in the process of creation.
BSA:One piece, in particular, resembles the international space station to us, or perhaps a satellite. It also brings to mind Legos. Were you obsessed with Legos? Or maybe still are?
Modomatic: I think you are referring to my series AstroSnout. My kids and I love to play with Legos and other construction toys and their modularity is perhaps carried to these artworks. And recently we’ve been paying a lot of attention to the commercial space industries, with Space X and that sparks our imaginations. I do a lot of my art with my kids, and this is one of our fascinations. You can see that this group of works are more playful.
BSA:Did you like getting up in the streets of NYC during the initial Covid lockdowns when the streets were empty and nobody was around? What pushes you to share your work in the streets?
Modomatic: I get up in the street either early in the evening in the dusk, or early in the morning (5 am) where people are just coming out. I like that it is quiet but it’s not dead quiet. The early evening is when there’s just the confusion of time, between the receding of busy work and the starting of the nightlife. Positioning yourself in between those times is kind of being invisible. People are going about ending their day, and starting their evening and you are somewhere in between.
I share my art on the street because I think that it’s like the best gallery in the city.
You are the artist, you are also the curator, the gallery owner – well not really – but the gallery director and art installer. There’s a lot to figure out; where to put your art, how to position it with other art. I use proximity, as a form of admiration, so sometimes I put my art close to the other artists or work that I admire. I considered light and shadow, especially for the 3D art pieces. I also have to consider the fact that it might be taken down, or covered-up.
I love to find my 3D art has been painted over, finding it become part of the fixtures is my goal. I also love to see it emerging later on when the art covering it has decayed or been removed, and my piece started to reveal itself again.
I don’t hate that sometimes my art is taken away. I’d like to think that somebody liked them, not because they hate them.
I learned that’s the street, and I love that. I appreciate it.
We like findings spots that feature walls slammed with street art in a most organic way, the aesthetic signature of a current ecosystem mid-evolution. These spots are often a magnet for street artists to get up in NYC, L.A., Berlin, Lisbon, Madrid, Paris, Barcelona, Mexico City, Miami, Boston, London, and beyond. Usually illegal, they allow the artists a quick way to safely leave their imprint on the chaos of the city, a welcome to international artists on their spraycation as well as locals who relish the feeling of standing among peers. The art is usually limited to small original pieces, stickers, and posters, wheat pastes.
We call them “magnet walls” – and NYC has had its share of them. Now, however, they are increasingly endangered because of Gentrification and the voracious real estate market in the city with its apparent never-ending appetite for building new soaring soul-free glass towers. One spot is still welcoming artists to its walls: Freeman Alley. This favorite enclave, composed of two long walls along a narrow corridor in the Lower East Side, is constantly updated in an organic way with contributions by local and international artists. We have surveyed it for years, often publishing our findings in the popular “BSA Images Of The Week.”
Last week we rolled by the alley again and to our surprise, we discovered a gate ajar; one that leads the lobby of a relatively new hotel. Usually locked with a code, this secret Bowery spot instructs guests to enter through the alley. Once inside, they’re greeted with a nicely landscaped, small-scale courtyard leading to a lobby. Surprisingly, it is now bursting with new stickers, posters, stencils, paintings, collages, wild imaginings. Technically, this is a legal magnet wall – but most of the artists whose work is on display here can also be found illegally on the walls of the alley. Here’s a fresh selection just for you:
First day of August, and although the city is gorgeous and green and full of summer excitement, the news is pulsing with the Delta variant, our lost war in Afghanistan, half a million New Yorkers unable to pay the rent, soaring home prices… and Jerome Powell announcing gently that inflation could be ‘higher and more persistent’ than expectations. Whose expectations, Mr. Money Printer?
If you look at the surreal quality of the art on the streets these days, you may be forgiven for feeling like you are living in a funhouse. Perhaps it’s because we’re in a sea of disinformation, the populace is adrift, oddly ready to be galvanized amidst our myths and our realities. It’s everywhere you look, including in our Street Art.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring City Kitty, Dasic Fernandez, Emilio Florentine, Eric Karbeling, Erinko Studios, Krave Art, Lueza, Lunge Box, Medow, Miyok, and Modomatic.
Welcome to BSA Images of the Week! These are the beautiful long summer days that we all wait for. As New York frees itself from the shackles of Covid and our cloistered lives alone the sense of freedom to explore our city and commune with its fabulous chaos is sweeter still. But suddenly restaurants can’t sell you a bottle of booze, so maybe we also will stop seeing sidewalk sales of cocktails as well. Of course with legal weed in New York, people will still be strange and slightly hallucinated and punching random other New Yorkers, no doubt.
When it comes to freewheeling handmade one of a kind art in the public sphere, we still follow the beat on the street.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring Drecks, Le Crue, Mirs Monstrengo, Modomatic, Mort Art, SacSix, SMiLE, Sticker Maul, and TV Head ATX.
Welcome to BSA Images of the Week! Today is PRIDE DAY in NYC and Father’s Day in many parts of the world. Congratulations to us all, queer and/or fathers. We’re happy to show you what we’ve been finding as the spring now stretches into Officially Summer. At night in some neighborhoods, you’ll hear a smattering of fireworks as youthful hooligans are already lighting them – anticipate the 4th of July holiday. A sign of our crazy summer ahead; behold the bang-pop-ratatat-tat-bang-bang-swizzle-shizzle-pop now erupting regularly in empty lots and dead-end streets.
It’s great to see so many kids and youth and adults on bicycles now that the City has made myriad networks of safe pathways throughout the five boroughs. If we could get the police to hand out tickets to car drivers, even school bus drivers, sometimes using the bike lanes to circumvent others and put riders in danger.
The street art and graffiti scene are thick, and you don’t want to miss it here this time of year. While some complain that “vandalism” is reaching 1970s levels, many are happy to see a rotating display of artworks on the city skin at a time when so much of our local cultural and entertainment options have been killed or neutered. The institutional and commercial arts will all come back to New York, we have no doubt. Often, the renaissance begins in the streets.
Aliens, robots, skulls, femme Fatales, cats, cartoons, nationalism, existentialism – the new are runs the gamut and if it upsets the audience, it doesn’t run for long. Catch it while you can
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring Acne, Adam Fujita, Almost Over Keep Smiling, Captain Eyeliner, City Kitty, Degrupo, Demure, Eugene Delacroix, Jeremy Novy, Lunge Box, Matt Siren, Modomatic, One Rad Latina, Plannedalism, Raddington Falls, Royce Bannon, Russian Doll NYC, SacSix, Sara Lynne-Leo, Save Art Space, Sticker Maul, The Creator, and Vy.
Last week we brought you the first annual Jersey City Mural Festival with generously scaled murals and unbridled color. Muralism isn’t new but mural festivals are now a dominant vehicle or platform of expression on the streets where artists get up and create community. We have always championed the cause of the artist and cheer when they are given the opportunity to work – better even if they get properly paid for the work that they do.
That said, we still admire the small, uncommissioned, one-off pieces, and we’ve always documented that in whatever city we go to: In a way, that is what we actually consider to be street art. Unsanctioned and undercover, you’ll discover the most curious missives as you hike from mural to mural. Don’t miss them! Enjoy.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring 7 Souls Deep, Adrian Wilson, Below Key, Drecks, Early Riser NYC, Ghaston Art, Hiss, Lunge Box, Miyok, Modomatic, Mort Art, Night Owl, Outer Source, Timothy Goodman, Tyler Ives, and Turtle Caps.