All posts tagged: Sten & Lex

Fun Friday 09.23.11

Fun-FridayWelcome to Fun Friday

1. Abstract Art on the Street
2. “Abstractions” open at Opera Gallery
3. “Contemporary Abstractions” at Mighty Tanaka
4. “Abstract Graffiti” – The Book
5. Art Show and Charity Auction at FUTURE TENSE (Dallas)
6. Please Support “Electric Projected” TODAY
7.MISSED the SHOW? See “Street Art Saved My Life : 39 New York Stories” in VIDEO
8. VIDEO -Street and fine Artist Peat Wollaeger
9. VIDEO Mr.Klevra Vs Omino71 – The Secret Spot 2011

“The more frightening the world becomes, the more art becomes abstract”~ Wassily Kandinsky

The street provides a forum from all dialogue and Street Artists can be sometimes divided into categories after you survey the expanse of expression. We’ve been tracking the geometry of  abstraction for the last decade as an aesthetic counterbalance to the more free form gestural markings that are it’s more prevalent neighbors.  The abstract direction continues to garner  attention and you can get a good look at it’s past and present at two New York shows opening today, and learn more about it’s global movement in a recently published book by Cedar Lewisohn.


“Black and Violet”, Kandinsky, 1923

“Abstractions” open at Opera Gallery

The Opera Gallery new show in Manhattan titled “Abstractions” opens today to the general public. This show will examine the abstract movement from the 1940s through present day with artists that range from Miro and Matta to Bast and Saber.


Image of Saber courtesy Opera Gallery

Abstractions will be open to the public starting on September 23 at 11:00 am
September 23 – October 16
Free admission: 11:00 – 7:00 daily

Opera Gallery
Further information on this show please click on the link below:

“Contemporary Abstractions” at Mighty Tanaka

Mighty Tanaka Gallery in Brooklyn continues the theme with some names familiar to BSA readers and a couple of new talents at their show “Contemporary Abstractions” tonight, with the opening reception at their temporary location in  the Power House Arena in DUMBO starting at 6:00 pm.


JMR image © Jaime Rojo

For more information regarding this show please click on the link below:

“Abstract Graffiti” – The Book

We’ve really been enjoying the schooling and the photography from Cedar Lewisohn in this new book “Abstract Graffiti” and can recommend it wholeheartedly. You’ll recognize a number of these artists from being on BSA, including MOMO on the back cover.


Art Show and Charity Auction at FUTURE TENSE (Dallas)

Saturday September 24 in Dallas, TX the Future Tense has curated and impressive line up of artists for a worthy cause. An Art Show and Charity Auction to benefit The MTV Staying Alive Foundation. Opening reception and live auction at the Goss-Michael Foundation starts at 7:00 PM.

brooklyn-street-art-mtv-redefine-future-tenseLee Baker, Shepard Fairey, Harland Miller, Adam Ball, Katrin Fridriks, Polly Morgan, Peter Blake, Christopher Gascoigne, Gerard Rancinan, Billy Childish, Pam Glew, Rankin, D*Face, Haroshi, Stuart Semple, Brian Adam Douglas, Pieter Henket, Jamel Shabazz, Elizabeth Eamer, Damien Hirst, Benjamin Shine, Ben Eine, Jeremy Kost, Gavin Turk, Tracey Emin, Joseph Loughborough, Dan Witz, Faile, James Marshall and Russell Young.

For more information regarding this event please click on the link below:

Please Support “Electric Projected” TODAY


And our friends at Open Space in Beacon New York are seeking your help to save their project “Electric Projected: Reboot”

Dan and Kalene have been on the Street Art scene for a decade, have opened many doors to and championed Street Artists with their Electric Windows project. Today we are asking you to pledge their “Electric Projected: REBOOT” Kickstarter page. They got seriously rained out last month for this exciting project in Beacon, New York – a huge projection show on the side of a factory building. With your help, they are going to do it right next weekend.


Jared Deal projects Big Foot (photo still © Courtesy of the gallery)

Dan and Kalene say:

“We still need your help to make Electric Projected REBOOT a reality. Since our last email (only 5 days ago) we have received over $2500 in pledges to our kickstarter campaign. Over 100 people have already contributed to this campaign and we are so grateful for this generosity and support. Not a day goes by without people telling us how excited they are for the REBOOT event on October 1st. We are excited for it too, but here is the reality of the situation. If we do not meet our kickstarter funding goal by Saturday Sept 24th at 6pm  Electric Projected REBOOT will not happen on October 1st.


Aaron Maurer projects Paper Monster (photo still © Courtesy of the gallery)

Please hurry and pledge. They are almost there for their $16,500 goal and your donation will help them reach the finish line. They only have until tomorrow Saturday September 24 at 6:00 pm.

Please click on the link below to go to their Kickstarter:


Jack Myeres projects Elia and Cern (photo still © Courtesy of the gallery)

MISSED the SHOW? See “Street Art Saved My Life : 39 New York Stories” in VIDEO

Fabio Cunha shot and edited a video at the opening of “Street Art Saved my Life: 39 New York Stories” in Venice, CA. All those cool LA people milling around … love love


Street and fine Artist Peat Wollaeger is out of work – a very modern affliction.

Mr.Klevra Vs Omino71 – The Secret Spot 2011


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Winners! BSA Giveway for “Eloquent Vandals”


“I love art a lot, its a hobby that takes a lot of my time, and helps me being positive and keeps my mind off the more serious things in life,” says prize winner Martin C. from Denmark. Congratulations to him and to Marco C. from Italy who was stoked to win the big prize, “You made my day.” Finally, there is Mika A. from Washington, DC, who is a young street artist there and who sent us a cool pic.


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BSA Giveaway: Win “Eloquent Vandals” and NuArt Stuff

Answer 3 Simple Trivia Questions from last nights Brooklynite  LIVE chat with Martyn Reed


Man, that was a blast! The Chat Pub over at Brooklynite was pretty crowded last night with an international crowd of beer swilling NuArt fans all yelling and climbing over each other to grab the ear of the guest of honor. Peeps who logged online to see the World Premiere of “Eloquent Vandals” were happily peppering affable bad boy Martyn Reed with questions ranging from his experiences with the NuArt artists (95% good) to how his little Norwegian town became known for amazing Street Art over the course of a decade (work and talent and luck). All that chatter made it hard to hear the movie and if you were like us, you missed most of the show because of all the excitement.


But, as promised, we’re giving away the movie today to you. Just answer these three questions and send them to us at  The first three people who answer the three questions correctly win 1st, 2nd, and 3rd prize.


No family or pets or employees or landlords of BSA are eligible. All complaints about the hardness of the questions should be addressed directly to Martyn Reed at Good Luck! We’ll tell you who won tomorrow.

Here are your Trivia Questions:

1) In the film, what does Dface’s work ask us to do?
2) GRL is an acronym for what ?
3) Nick Walker is from which British City ?


Shot and directed by Martin Hawkes, the film features work and interviews with Street Artists like Blek Le Rat, Graffiti Research Lab, Dface, Herakut, Nick Walker, Know Hope, Jimmy Cauty, Chris Stain, Wordtomother, Sten & Lex, Dotmasters, Zeus (UK) and Dolk & Pøbel.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Special thanks to Martyn Reed and Rae McGrath.


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Chat With “Eloquent Vandals”: Film Debuts Monday at Brooklynite Online

You Chat Online With Martyn Reed Live Monday 1/31

We’re really happy to see that this project is finished and congratulate Martyn Reed for finishing his film “Eloquent Vandals”, made during the NuArt Festival in Stavanger, Norway. You can congratulate Martyn LIVE when you log in to chat with him and see the WORLD DEBUT of the film next Monday the 31st.  Brooklyn-Street-Art-Eloquent-Vandals-Still-Blek_le-rat-sheep

Shot and directed by Martin Hawkes, the film features work and interviews with Street Artists like Blek Le Rat, Graffiti Research Lab, Dface, Herakut, Nick Walker, Know Hope, Jimmy Cauty, Chris Stain, Wordtomother, Sten & Lex, Dotmasters, Zeus (UK) and Dolk & Pøbel.

Win a FREE Copy! To celebrate the World Premier, BSA is hosting a trivia game and giveaway of copies of the film and other NuArt goodies the day after the show — Feb 1.



Street Artist couple Herakut in this film still from “Eloquent Vandals” (© Nuart/Saft films)


French Street Artist and one of the early stencilists Blek Le Rat from “Eloquent Vandals” (© Nuart/Saft films)


Street Artist Know Hope shows how to keep warm by the TV in this film still from “Eloquent Vandals” (© Nuart/Saft films)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

* first image of post is a still featuring work by Blek Le Rat in “Eloquent Vandals” courtesy of Nuart/Saft films.

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Eloquent Vandals
Running time : 27 mins

Shot on location during Norway’s Nuart Festival in 2008, Eloquent Vandals
features candid interviews and work from some of the worlds leading street
artists including Blek Le Rat, Graffiti Research Lab, Dface, Herakut, Nick
Walker, Know Hope, Jimmy Cauty, Chris Stain, Wordtomother, Sten & Lex,
Dotmasters, Dolk & Pøbel.

Shot and Directed by Martin Hawkes
Produced by Nuart/Saft films

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Brooklyn Street Art: 2010 Year In Images (VIDEO)

We’re very grateful for a wildly prolific year of Street Art as it continued to explode all over New York (and a lot of other places too). For one full year we’ve been granted the gift of seeing art on the streets and countless moments of inspiration. Whether you are rich or poor in your pocket, the creative spirit on the street in New York makes you rich in your heart and mind.

To the New York City artists that make this city a lot more alive every day we say thank you.

To the artists from all over world that passed through we say thank you.

To our colleagues and peers for their support and enthusiasm we say thank you.

To the gallery owners and curators for providing the artists a place to show their stuff and for providing all of us a safe place to gather, talk, share art, laugh, enjoy great music and free booze we say thank you.

To our project collaborators for sharing your talents and insights and opinions and for keeping the flame alive we say thank you.

And finally to our friends, readers and fans; Our hearts go out to you for lighting the way and for cheering us on. Thank you.

Each Sunday we featured Images of the Week, and we painfully narrowed that field to about 100 pieces in this quick video. It’s not an encyclopedia, it’s collage of our own. We remember the moment of discovery, the mood, the light and the day when we photographed them. For us it’s inspiration in this whacked out city that is always on the move.

The following artists are featured in the video and  are listed here in alphabetical order:

Aakash Nihalani,Bansky, Barry McGee, Bask ,Bast, Beau, MBW, Bishop ,Boxi, Cake, The Dude Company, Chris RWK, Chris Stain, Dain, Dan Witz ,Dolk ,El Mac, El Sol 25, Elbow Toe, Faile, Feral,  Overunder, Gaia, General Howe, Hellbent, Hush, Imminent Disaster, Jeff Aerosol, Jeff Soto, JMR ,Judith Supine ,K-Guy ,Labrona, Lister, Lucy McLauchlan, Ludo, Armsrock, MCity, Miso, Momo, Nick Walker, Nina Pandolfo, NohjColey, Nosm, Ariz, How, Tats Cru, Os Gemeos, Futura, Pisa 73, Poster Boy, QRST, Remi Rough, Stormie Mills, Retna, Roa, Ron English, Sever, She 155, Shepard Fairey ,Specter, Sten & Lex, Samson, Surge I, Sweet Toof, Swoon, Tes One, Tip Toe, Tristan Eaton, Trusto Corp, Typo, Various and Gould, Veng RWK, ECB, White Cocoa, Wing, WK Interact, Yote.

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Images Of The Week 11.21.10


Our Weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring; ASVP,  Burning Candy, Cake, Castro, Chris Stain, Clown Soldier, Deekers, DsCreet , Ellis G., Fumero, Futura ,Gaia ,Goya ,Hush , Imminent Disaster ,Infinity ,K-Guy , Kirby ,KRSNA ,OverUnder ,QRST ,Quel Beast ,Samson ,Showpaper ,Skewville , Sten & Lex ,Tek33 ,VUDU ,  and XAM

brooklyn-street-art-faile-bast-WEB-jaime-rojo-11-10-webphoto © Jaime Rojo

The block party in Bushwick provided by Factory Fresh Gallery and the app called All City turned out a number of new Brooklyn Street Art pieces on a block long installation, complete with friends, fans, and a taco stand. Included in the offering was this surprise collab with Faile and Bast, auspiciously appearing the morning of the event like a pre-Christmas gift wrapped in razor wire. The news of the piece travelled fast and while Ad Deville couldn’t find his red carpet, he did post a velvet rope to hold back the crowd. That didn’t stop Futura from climbing on top of his car to get the perfect shot.

brooklyn-street-art-WEB-futura-bast-faile-jaime-rojo-11-10-web1Futura takes a photo of the Bast and Faile collaboration at the Factory Fresh Block Party (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-faile-bast-detail-jaime-rojo-11-10-webBast and Faile detail © Photo © Jaime Rojo


A box of chocolates from many of the newer Street Art confectioners; ASVP, Cake, Overunder, Quel Beast, Clown Soldier, Fumero, Krsna, QRST  (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-cake-qrst-clown-soldier-overunder-fumero-asvp-jaime-rojo-11-10-webDetail Photo © Jaime Rojo

brooklyn-street-art-chris-stein-jaime-rojo-11-10-web Chris Stain busted out a new piece (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-gaia-samson-castro-jaime-rojo-11-10-web Gaia, Samson, Castro Photo © Jaime Rojo

brooklyn-street-art-imminent-disaster-goya-ellis-g-jaime-rojo-11-10-webImminent Disaster, Goya, Ellis G Photo © Jaime Rojo

brooklyn-street-art-kirby-mike-jaime-rojo-11-10-webBurning Candy, Tek33, Dscreet (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-deekers-jaime-rojo-11-10-webDeekers is hanging out on the corner watching the rest of the proceedings (photo © Jaime Rojo)

And here we move to a British invasion of sorts with Geishas and Primates from Hush and K-Guy respectively.  XAM has been installing some pretty cool looking bird houses around town equipped with LED lights on their porches that illuminate when the sun sets. Infinity and VUDU’s pieces for the Showpaper box project adds to the conversation on the street with a beaming signal tower atop the box.

brooklyn-street-art-k-guy-jaime-rojo-11-10-3-webK-Guy’s recent “Primates” piece, including this one that appears to be pretty fresh, have been appearing around Brooklyn suddenly. Apparently its meaning is reference to the growing perception of hypocrisy in the Catholic church, particularly as pertains to pedophilia coverups, its position on contraception, gay rights, among other issues.  brooklyn-street-art-k-guy-jaime-rojo-11-10-12-web

K-Guy (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-hush-jaime-rojo-11-10-9-webHush (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-hush-jaime-rojo-11-10-10-webHush (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-infinity-vudu-jaime-rojo-11-10-webInfinity and Vudu piece for “Community Serviced” (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-infinity-vudu-detail-aime-rojo-11-10-webInfinity detail (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-xam-jaime-rojo-11-10-webXAM “CSD Dwelling Unit 1.6” (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-xam-jaime-rojo-11-10-close-webClose up of the birdhouse by XAM  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-samson-sten-lex-jaime-rojo-11-10-webSamson, Sten & Lex (photo © Jaime Rojo)

And finally the 800 pound pink gorilla in the group, Samson from Albany, began his audacious cityscape project directly beside his hero/shero Sten & Lex. The neighbor next door liked it so much Samson will be back to continue the piece – which is part of a much grander scale piece on urban decay, development, and renewal that he hopes to stage in the future.

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Images Of The Week 10.31.10


Our Weekly Interview with the street, this week featuring Chris from Robots Will Kill, ECB , El Mac , Hellbent , JMR , LMNOP, Mumblefuck QRST , RTTP , Sten & Lex, Vivian Sisters , and Wing.

El Mac (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

El Mac (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

JMR (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

JMR offers us another piece from his series of white men, New York gubernatorial candidate in this Tuesday election, Mr. Carl Paladino  (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

Hellbent (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

Little ankle biter. Hellbent (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

ECB and Chris from RWK (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

ECB and Chris from RWK (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

ECB and Chris from RWK. Detail (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

ECB and Chris from RWK. Detail (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

From QRST Series of fighting rats. Each one is slightly different (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

From a QRST Series of fighting rats. Each one is slightly different (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

Vivian Sisters and Surfers (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

Vivian Sisters and Surfers.  (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

RTTP and Bandit Bunny (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

Bandit Bunny and RTTP  (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

LMNOP (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

LMNOP (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

Street artist Wing placed her bouquet of glass tiles on an existing wheat paste by an unknown artist (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

Street artist Wing placed a bouquet of glass tiles on an existing wheat paste by an unknown artist (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

Wing  (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

Wing “Please Forgive Me”  (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

A photo of a young skateboarder in the subway by an unknown artist (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

A photo of a young skateboarder in the subway by Mumblefuck (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

Sten & Lex big mural. They are currently exhibiting at Brooklynite Gallery (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

Before heading home Sten & Lex left Brooklyn this big mural. They are currently exhibiting at Brooklynite Gallery (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Sten & Lex & Gaia Portraiture at Brooklynite

Sten & Lex & Gaia Portraiture at Brooklynite

Sten, Lex and Gaia create portraits for their upcoming show together.

Sten & Lex working on an outdoor portrait (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

Sten & Lex working on an outdoor portrait flanked by  Gaia’s work (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

Two different approaches to portraiture are working side by side in Brooklyn right now- and the styles are distinct.Comparing the two in the charged energy of an October day, you’ll agree the contrast is pronounced – drawing attention to individual techniques and influences. Sitting with the portraits for a few minutes, one sees that their similarities may lie in something weightier.

Gaia's Chicken (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

Gaia’s work with color and layering technique has really flown the coop 2010 (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

Sten and Lex began working in mundane portraiture on the streets of Rome in 2001 – a romance that continues almost a decade later. Drawing their inspiration from black and white images of European businessmen and the women who love them in stilted studio photos from the 1960’s and 70’s, they have plundered successive decades of posed formalized faces that are at times stoic, frank, and slyly droll.

Gaia is a study in energy, with increasingly loose lines thrown out and reigned in to wrap around the subject, whether man or animal. With visions of historical painting and European masters dancing in his head, Gaia is honing a vocabulary of symbols and signifiers while cross-shifting between painterly color layering and kinetically charged line drawing. It all accumulates in character more weighted than you might expect.

There lies the commonality of this combination – for such youthful protagonists, a certain weight, whether psychological or spiritual, anchors their explorations even as each is scaling new heights. It’s a highly charged, playful, and smartly grounded combination that reflects the serious times we are in.

Sten & Lex and Gaia. Men and Beast (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

Sten & Lex and Gaia. Detail. Man and Beast (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

When you ask them about their influences, Sten and Lex quickly call up old Italian films that pre-date them by Fellini, Pasolini, Rossellini, and Visconti. They also draw inspiration from photographs and portraits from magazines and from vintage photos found in outdoor flea markets in the many cities that they visit. They love the feel of the grain on those vintage photographs and it is that grain that comes across in their work with stencil.

Sten & Lex tons of cutting and pealing (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

Sten & Lex tons of cutting and pealing (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

Using a stencil technique they created called “Hole School”,  faces appearing as dots and lines are selectively removed from the image. The resulting grey-scale is striking as if they had blown up everday men and women from vintage photos in magazines or daily newsprint.

Sten & Lex Working on a portrait on top of a collage of posters (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

Sten & Lex Working on a portrait on top of a collage of posters (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

More recently they have introduced another reductive technique, which they call the “Stencil Poster”.  The duos’ work begins by wheat pasting a poster on a surface then cutting the stencil directly on the board. The pieces are removed and the stencil remains on the board, where it is painted black and then removed to reveal the final product underneath. Oftentimes pieces of paper are left on the final portraits like adorning ribbons that also convey a sense of decay and an ephemeral existence.

As they start a new decade they are toying with the idea of using more contemporary images, perhaps their own photographs of friends and ordinary people. But they’ll stay in love with the past and as they put it: “Contemporary art is too difficult to understand”

Gaia. Detail (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

Gaia. Detail (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

Gaia talks about his progressing ease and excitement with painting in flame tinged color that he began this year on the street and continues to challenge his creative skills, versus his black and white pieces.

“Logistically is easier to paint free hand in color. Painting in color is layering, free hand. With Black and white I need the projector because each line is very specific. Color work is always more vibrant and uplifting. Black and white work can be morose and dark. I enjoy black and white in my own personal work. The color work is more fitting for a community art because is more palatable and more exciting. People are initially sort of turn away by the black and white work on the street. Not to say that street art’s only merit is to uplift people. If the work is more permanent perhaps it would make more sense to make the art more accessible but if the art is not on a legal wall then the art is more making a statement. The intention is not necessarily happiness but more message or communication or contention,” says Gaia.

Gaia's Tiger Detail (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

Gaia’s Tiger Detail (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

Sten & Lex "Lex-Sten" Book from Drago will be available for purchase at the opening (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

Sten & Lex “Lex-Sten-Stencil Poster” Book from Drago will be available for purchase at the opening (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

A peak inside the book. (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

A peak inside the book. (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

Thanks to filmmaker Charles Le Brigand, who got special access to the artists as they prepare for their upcoming show at Brooklynite.

Sten & Lex • Gaia at Brooklynite from Charles le Brigand on Vimeo.

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Martyn Reed: Art Saves Lives

Martyn Reed: Art Saves Lives

The Founder of Nuart, Nordic Jewel of Street Art

Erica Il Cane and Blu (Photo © Ian Cox)

Erica Il Cane and Blu (Photo © Ian Cox)

The small but very expensive (if you are not a resident) and oil rich Coastal town of Stavenger in Norway must be feeling a bit blue right now. Nuart 2010 artists cleaned up, packed up their tools and left after two weeks of painting monumental murals for the town’s folk to enjoy during the long, dark winter months ahead. This years’ Street Artists included Dotmasters, Dolk, EVOL, Sten & Lex, Vhils, and ROA, among others. As in the past 5 years under this curator, the ’10 group is a stellar selection of talent that is helping define what direction Street Art is heading.

Vhils (Photo © Ian Cox)

Vhils (Photo © Ian Cox)

The offerings this year were super sized and in many cases bold in color. All of the participants this year were painters, masters at their craft and supremely independent. Martyn Reed, curator and visionary engine behind this elaborate but accessible street art festival doesn’t limit himself to one large festival – instead he marries it with a prestigious electronic-based music festival he created as a result of his years as a DJ. This years’ NuMusic festival featured performances by luminaries like Krautrock grandaddies Neu! and American hip-hop cornerstone Grandmaster Flash.

The affable bad boy Reed took a moment this week to look at his route to success so far and tell BSA about what the Nuart festival is and why it is important to him.

Brooklyn Street Art: Putting on a festival of this magnitude must be a big task. How do you do it?

Martyn Reed: Actually, this year, though the largest in scale, was a much easier production than we’ve been used to. We’ve learned so much from previous events that this year things ran incredibly smoothly. The biggest challenge was the weather in the second week. A good 90% of the walls required cherry pickers, these are obviously booked well in advance, set up, artists arrives and yeah.. we’re on. The walls that required scaffold are rigged by professionals and we made sure that all of this years artists were painters. So once set up, people were pretty autonomous. It helped that we spread out the production period to cover two weeks and also that we had Marte, a Nuart regular, on an internship for a month during the planning phase.

Dotmaster (Photo © Ian Cox)

Dotmaster (Photo © Ian Cox)

Brooklyn Street Art: What has been the town folks’ main reaction when they see all the big creatures on the walls of their city?

Martyn Reed: It’s incredible, there’s nothing but love for Nuart in this city, and it’s spread across a really broad demographic, from toddlers to grandparents, and from bakers to the city mayor.

It’s interesting because in a city this size anything new, any new developments in culture for example, are judged on their intrinsic merits and not due to media hype or “trends”. The city has a population of 120,000 and though a few will be aware of Banksy, Dolk etc..that will it. The art isn’t really tied to a “culture”, to Juxtapoz or hipsters or the gallery set or limited edition sneakers and vinyl toys and all the other commercial detritus that’s blossomed around the scene. It’s simply art on the street, big bold beautiful artworks that noticeably improve the surroundings. It’s astonishing to me that more city councils around the world haven’t yet embraced and recognized the value of Street Art.

Evol (Photo © Ian Cox)

Evol (Photo © Ian Cox)

Brooklyn Street Art: You have combined music with the plastic arts. Is there a cross-over between the two? Does one influence the other when curating the festival?

Martyn Reed: Interesting question, but the short answer is no, not anymore. Interesting in that Nuart was established to explore the questions you raise.

The Numusic festival, like many other European electronic music festivals, was born from an involvement in early rave and club culture. Arts graduates social life’s began to merge with their studies and aspects of academic pursuits began to influence club culture, especially with Vj’s, the early web, digital arts and new media. This proved an especially fertile and creative arena for subversives and artistic outsiders who naturally gravitate to these still lawless new frontiers. Nuart was initially set up as a sister festival to Numusic back in 2001 to provide a platform for “cutting edge” digital arts and new media, which of course had parallels with Numusic which at the time was billed as “Scandinavia’s leading festival of Electronic music”. New Media quickly became the baby of Arts Councils and funding bodies around the globe with new departments established to support and fund the medium. Art and New Technology grants were everywhere and as a Techno Dj and promoter with a degree in fine art, I was ideally placed to take advantage of the situation. I wrote the applications and we hired in various freelance curators between 2001 and 2005 and opened up the galleries during the club nights mixing up the art and the music.

ROA (Photo © Ian Cox)

ROA (Photo © Ian Cox)

I’d had an interest in Street Art through Banksy having Dj’d at Cargo in London where he had his first UK show, 2001 I think. It hadn’t occurred to me until 2005 when I took over curating Nuart, that Street Art was occupying the same ground as these early digital pioneers had previously, with a similar message, greater coverage, mass appeal and for the price of a craft knife and Internet connection. Suddenly new media looked like the bloated expensive state sanctioned art-form it was, obsessed with the technology of production when the real technological revolution was in its ability to distribute. I’d already worked with C6/Dotmasters on a new media show which led to Graffiti Research Lab etc so in 2005 I made an application to the arts council with a view to pushing things into a more street art orientated direction. And of course it was rejected outright..We thought ‘fuck it’, took out a private bank loan and did it anyway.. that was the start of Nuart in it’s current form. I guess the only similarities with movements in music is how the form is distributed, though it’s interesting to note a few artists, Faile in particular, messing with “remix” culture.

Dolk (Photo © Ian Cox)

Dolk (Photo © Ian Cox)

Dolk (Photo © Ian Cox)

Dolk (Photo © Ian Cox)

Brooklyn Street Art: You have to deal with painters and musicians. How do you see their differences as artists and do you approach them differently?

Martyn Reed: We treat people as people, no heirs and graces and pretty plain talking. We’re an easy going bunch and I think most artists and musicians feel comfortable around the crew, obviously we have to adapt to certain peoples quirks of character, but for the most, peoples social antenna’s are tuned to the same channel. Our main goal is to ensure that the production and service we provide ensures that the artists have nothing to worry about other than their own performance or piece.

Alexandros (Photo © Alexandros)

Alexandros (Photo © Alexandros)

Brooklyn Street Art: Did you grow up in a family where the arts and music were a big part of growing up? If not when did you realize that music and art were your calling?

Martyn Reed: Ha Ha, no no, quite the opposite, lower working class council estate upbringing, trailer trash in your parlance, didn’t know universities existed until I was maybe 17 or so, left home and school at 16 and just tried to get on..

During all these centuries of the celebration of high art, of its life-affirming philosophies, the glorification, elevation and idolization, it’s monuments to human artistic achievement and even more monumental museums celebrating its history, you’d think, somewhere down the attempt would have been made to bring this to my council estate. To our lives. Because I know for a fact, art is not only capable of “improving” lives, but of saving them also. Literally.

But for all the grandstanding, the “high” arts don’t run that deep, which is why I’m a massive supporter and promoter of street art.

As for realizing, not sure, to be honest, from a very early age I always felt like I was on the outside looking in, and the “in” seemed to be missing a few things. I guess Nuart is my attempt to provide the community and the artists (and my 4 year old kid), with the thing that I missed.

M-City (Photo © GT)

M-City (Photo © GT)

Sten & Lex (Photo © Sten & Lex)

Sten & Lex (Photo © Sten & Lex)

All Images are Courtesy of Nuart and © Ian Cox, © GT and © Alexandros © Sten & Lex

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Brooklynite Gallery Presents: Sten & Lex and Gaia “Portraits” (Brooklyn, NY)





October 16 – November 6, 2010

ART OPENING: October 16th, from 7:00pm- 10:00pm

Brooklynite Gallery
334 Malcolm X Blvd.
Brooklyn, NY 11233
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The world’s oldest known “Portrait” is believe to be created over 27,000 year ago. So why after all this time is it still the most often used subject of creation? A portrait often speaks much less about the physical features we are viewing, then it does about what’s behind the gaze in ones eyes or the telling angles of their mouth. This fascination continues to intrigue us through the work of three street artists who use traditional and non-traditional techniques to create their own brand of “PORTRAITS”.

Just because street art tandem, STEN & LEX are widely considered to be the pioneers of “stencil graffiti” in their Italian homeland, doesn’t necessarily mean they are content with resting on the title. Best known for introducing their “halftone stencil” technique, these two self-proclamined “Hole School” artists spend ample time hand-cutting pixel dots and lines to compose their imagery which is best viewed from a distance. Choosing to forgo the common pop culture imagery often associated with street art, STEN & LEX’s subject matter pulls no punches. Saints, Popes and the Italian Christian Church were primarily referenced early on –minus the often added social commentary. However, most recently and for their upcoming exhibition here, the subjects of choice comes from the historic Italian archives they’ve rescued. The 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s portraits from all walks of life are the focus this time around, as they are put through the rigorous transformation of stencil cutting style that is trademark STEN & LEX. The final appearance of these portraits appear to have been fed halfway through a paper shredder then pulled back at the last minute leaving the shreds left to dangle. The images are for the most part of common folk—young and old. People who have lived lives and have stories to tell. Just read their faces.
Seems as if the young, hard charging NYC street artist GAIA has been showcasing his bold imagery to the masses since before he could walk. Well maybe it hasn’t been quite that long but over the past few years he’s managed to garner a lot of attention by using more traditional techniques to create his wildlife animals and distinguishing human portraits. Taking a more intelligent, reflective approach to his work, this “old sole” uses wood block carvings and hand-drawn methods to achieve the fur textures of bears, tigers and rabbits as well as the worn lines in the faces of his latest portrait series entitled, “Legacy.” At it’s core, “Legacy” raises the question of infrastructure design and how we are forced to live with the decisions, good or bad, created by figures such as Robert Moses, James Wilson Rouse & Mies van der Rehoboth, all of whom have shaped parts of the American landscape. GAIA also plans on featuring a series of faded self portraits called “Sunsets”. Sunsets are a portrait of the nature of the street artist as an identity. It’s a pseudonym, to the person behind the work and the conflict between the secret, the collective and the fame of the individual. Some of the work is directly painted onto reclaimed street posters and found materials.

Gallery hours: Thursday – Saturday from 1pm – 7pm or by appointment.

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