Welcome to Wynwood! – A little piece of chaotic urban paradise and real estate development that has blossomed into a mini-holy city for fans of murals.
The convergence of three events during the 2010’s – cheap digital camera phones, social media, and mural festivals – have created this intense and colorful tourist neighborhood in Miami during the same time. The sheer number of happy extended families, groups of friends, and couples in love all were converging on the evolving neighborhood to see art in the streets. They also take pictures with it, pose in front of it, buy refrigerator magnets of it, and listen to tour guides speak about it.
During a recent day in the Wynwood Walls compound, which is surrounded on neighboring streets with a plethora of other murals, unsanctioned Street Art, and graffiti, we saw a number of newly painted murals that have replaced others there. We also saw that a few of the old favorites have been reinvigorated. Here is just a handful of images of the action.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week from Miami, and this time featuring Dasic Fernandez, Ernesto Maranje, Faile, Michael Vasquez, Buff Monster, Futura, Dan Kitchener, and Tats Cru.
So here’s our weekly interview with the street (or boardwalk), this time featuring BG 183, Bio, BR163, Crash, George Rose, Indie 184, Love Pusher, Nicer, Nick Walker, NS/CB, PHibs, Remi Rough, Rubin415, Steph Burr, and Tats Cru, yo!
Gastman’s Massive Graffiti and Street Art Show Arrives at Epicenter.
“I’m really excited to bring this show to New York,” says curator, graffiti historian and urban anthropologist Roger Gastman, “because the city plays such a pivotal role in the origin and evolution of the culture. The iconic images of covered subway cars made graffiti famous worldwide.”
He’s talking of course about “Beyond The Streets” the hybrid exhibition that he mounted in LA last year featuring the work of 150 who have proved to be pivotal to the evolution of a fifty year global people’s art movement that includes graffiti, street art, and urban contemporary art. Filling over 100,000 square feet of new space in Brooklyn, this two-floor cross-section survey will feature artworks by many of the same vandals, graffiti writers, Street Artists, and art activists who hit NYC streets, created dialogue with passersby, and were sometimes chased by the authorities. To see them showcased here is to recognize that there is not just one route to take – in fact there are many.
“We have an incredible roster of artists for New York,” Gastman tells us, “and a brand new space in Williamsburg that has a stunning view of the Manhattan skyline as our backdrop.” Notably the lineup includes artists whose work BSA has documented on the streets in this very same neighborhood over the past two decades, including Shepard Fairey, Faile, Swoon, Bast, Invader, Aiko, and others. Ironically the appearance of free-range Street Art in the neighborhood has been seriously diminished since that time.
The exhibition is one more verification that a significant portion of the scene is being widely recognized for its cultural contribution and value in the contemporary art canon – a significantly fluid scene fueled by discontent and a desire to short-circuit the established routes to audience appreciation. Like large survey shows elsewhere, the takeaway is the significant impact street culture and its tangential subcultures continues to have on the culture at large.
Gastman says the New York version of “Beyond The Streets” will take an
additional interest at the role of music and art activism on the street, along
with immersive installations, a tattoo parlor, a special Beastie Boys
installation with artifacts and ephemera, a new 30th Anniversary
Shepard Fairey project “Facing The Giant: 3 Decades of Dissent,” and large
scale works by Gorilla Girls, Futura, Cleon Peterson, and Takashi
More news coming on programming and events, but the important opening date to know right now is June 21st.
“All in all, it will make for a really special show this Summer,” says Gastman.
BEYOND THE STREETS TEAM
Curator: Roger Gastman
Co-Curators: Sacha Jenkins SHR, Evan Pricco, David CHINO Villorente
A-ONE, AIKO, Al Diaz, Alexis Ross, Alicia McCarthy, André Saraiva, Barry McGee, BAST, Beastie Boys, Bert Krak, Bill Barminski, Bill Daniel, BLADE, Broken Fingaz, Buddy Esquire, buZ blurr, Carlos Mare, Carl Weston, Cey Adams, C.R. Stecyk III, Charlie Ahearn, Chaz Bojórquez, Claudia Gold, Cleon Peterson, COCO 144, Conor Harrington, Corita Kent, Craig Costello, CRASH, DABSMYLA, Dan Witz, Dash Snow, DAZE, DEFER, Dennis Hopper, Dondi White, Doze Green, EARSNOT, Estevan Oriol, Fab 5 Freddy, FAILE, Faith XLVII, Felipe Pantone, FREEDOM, FUTURA 2000, Gajin Fujita, Glen E. Friedman, Gordon Matta-Clark, Guerrilla Girls, HAZE, Henry Chalfant, Herb Migdoll, Husk Mit Navn, INVADER, Jane Dickson, Jason REVOK, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Jenny Holzer, Jim Prigoff, John Ahearn, John Fekner, John Tsombikos, Joe Conzo, José Parlá, KATS, KC Ortiz, Keith Haring, Kenny Scharf, Kilroy Was Here, LADY PINK, LAZAR, LEE Quiñones, Lisa Kahane, MADSAKI, Maripol, Mark Gonzales, Mark Mothersbaugh, Martha Cooper, Matt Weber, Maya Hayuk, Michael Lawrence, MIKE 171, MISS 17, Mister CARTOON, Nina Chanel Abney, NOC 167, Pat Riot, Patrick Martinez, Paul Insect, POSE, PRAY, Rammellzee, Randall Harrington, RETNA, Richard Colman, Richard Hambleton, RIME, RISK, Ron English, Ruby Neri, SABER, Sam Friedman, SANESMITH, Sayre Gomez, Shepard Fairey, SJK 171, SLICK, SNAKE 1, SNIPE1, STAY HIGH 149, Stephen Powers, SWOON, Takashi Murakami, TAKI 183, TATS CRU, TENGAone, Tim Conlon, Timothy Curtis, Todd James, Trash Records, UGA, VHILS, and ZESER
The show is developed in partnership with Adidas and Perrier. Additional support provided by Modernica, Montana Colors, NPR, NTWRK, Twenty Five Kent and WNYC.
Boogie Down bombers the Tats Cru representing New York in its classic flava, the Houston Wall is now blessed by some of the original mural kings, and all seems right with the world for a moment.
With a legion of fans on the sidewalk and on social media saying that Bio, Nicer, and BG183 were finally bringing New York back to this New York wall, the trio was joined by a who’s who of peers and fans over a cold 4-day installation in a way that reminds this town of its proud roots in graffiti and the myriad styles it spawned.
In the end, this is a love letter to New York on many levels. It’s a memorial to Tony Goldman, who captured the zeitgeist of the early graffiti/Street Art movement and provided opportunities for artists.
There is a black and white VIP section that reinvents a Tseng Kwong Chi of Keith Haring and Kenny Scharf standing infront of the wall – a meta experience to see NY graff royalty stopping by to tag the image of the Houston Wall that showed people tagging the Houston Wall. New aerosol contributors included people like Zepher, Terror 161, Duster, and Dez and many others.
Among other pop imagery and classic fonts and letter styles sits a stylized heart from the famous Milton Glaser design of I (heart) NY at the very center. Additional work was contributed by Daze and Crash and a special tribute is made for local activist Liz Christy who began the First Community Garden in New York City in 1973 nearby.
“’Bout time we got some real NY graff writers to rock that
wall,” said Da Kid Tac on Instagram, a possible reference to the number of
Street Artists who have been invited to paint here over the last few years.
Based on the responses and happy reunions of writers and fans we saw over many
visits to the wall during its production, Tats Cru has again created an instant
The street scene of course is less organized, mainly because membership in the Street Art club is open to anyone and there are no gatekeepers or frosty gallery assistants to sneer, persuade or dissuade. The street never asked for permission to make (or not) and display (or not) art and other personal aesthetic missives, and it will continue to make its own rules no doubt.
So here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Adam Fujita, Cost, Dain, Hater, JustOne, Kristen Liu Wong, Loomit, Myth, Stray Ones, Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, and Tats Cru.
Just in time for this weekend’s Mermaid Parade, London’s D*Face is finishing up “Live Fast Die Young,” his beauty-and-the-zombie comic couple sipping an ice cream float at the soda counter. Austrian surrealist slicer Nychos has completed his dissection of a Ronald McDonald-ish character without a sketch; running, jumping, nearly flying through the air with aerosol in hand, flinging the spent cans over his shoulder blindly to skitter across the pavement. Baltimore-based freeform anthropologist Gaia is cavorting with passersby who want to take cellphone selfies in front of his painted wall that depicts exactly that; selfies taken in Coney Island.
This is a modern version of the multi-mirror funhouse in mural form, and Coney Art Walls is bringing it again.
22 new murals on standing slabs of concrete join a dozen or so that were retained from last summer to present an eclectic and savory selection from the old-school and the new. When it comes to art in the streets, a salty luncheonette of city-style treats is on a large public platter these days, with names like graffiti, street art, urban art, installation art, public art, fine art, even contemporary art. For some of those hapless gatekeepers of any of these respective categories, this show in this location presents degrees of discomfort and anger as many subcultural roots are now brought into the light in tandem with one another in a public display – funded by a real estate firm. For the artists and majority of fans, however, the trend is more toward delight and gratitude.
While you are unpacking that, consider that lead curator Jeffrey Deitch has often proved very adept at plumbing the aesthetic margins of our culture while rearranging and intermingling the parties, helping the viewer to appreciate their differences. This outdoor exhibit co-curated with Joseph Sitt provides a venue for a wide audience to contemplate the range of expression that New York streets have had over the last few decades, including a few artists who are trying this manner of expression for the first time.
As the Thunderbolt, Steeplechase, Cyclone and Wonder Wheel spin and swerve nearby and overhead, sending screams and personal projectiles into the ocean breeze, you have this paved lot full of paintings to peruse, lemonade in one hand and the cotton-candy-sticky hand of a sunscreen-slathered child in the other. Here you’ll see a large two-walled corner smashed with Coney Island themes by Bronx graffiti masters Tats Cru (Bio, BG183, and Nicer), a selection of hand-drawn wheat pasted portraits of Coney Island youth by Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, and 4 full-form sculptures by John Ahearn creating a modernist view of divers on the beach .
Tooling elsewhere through the loose labyrinth you come upon a monochromatic cryptically patterned tribute to Brooklyn-born Beastie Boys vocalist Adam “MCA” Yauch by Brooklyn tagger/train writer/artist Haze and a seemingly lighthearted abstractly collaged wall of mermaids by fine artist Nina Chanel Abney, whose work is currently on the cover of Juxtapoz. There is also a spectacular underwater-themed symmetrical fantasy topped by pylons bearing the likenesses of characters from “The Warriors” film by artist duo The London Police, and a stenciled “Last Supper” featuring heads of world currency playing the disciples and George Washington as Jesus sprayed across the face of a huge dollar bill by Iranian brothers Icy & Sot.
We often travel streets and neglected spaces in cities looking for signs of freewill artistic expression and often the creative spirit surprises us as it can be expressed in so many ways with emotion, agenda, and idiosyncratic point of view. It may be the plurality of voices one experiences surfing the Internet or the multi-cultural nature of living in New York with a continuous river of fresh arrivals mixing in with established and old-timers every day, but one comes to expect this variety of viewpoints and rather naturally creates accommodation for inclusion that celebrates without negating – and in many ways Coney Art Walls does that as well.
Oppositional viewpoints are present if you look: There are coded messages and obvious ones, critiques of corporate hegemony, issues of race, commentary on police relations, sexuality, religion, capitalism, community, the languages of advertising, movies, music, entertainment, local history, and examination of roles and power structures.
When tooling around this collection, you may wonder what, then, are the commonalities of this survey. Certainly there are the recurring references to Coney Island lore and aspects of performance and flimflam, oddity, fantasy, even the erotic. Naturally, there are elements of natural wonder as well, perhaps expected with the proximity to the beach and the ocean and the history of this place as a vacation getaway.
Aside from this, the connective tissue is what we frequently identify as what is distinctly New York – the plurality of voices. Arguing, making fun, praising, preening, bragging, lambasting, mocking, singing. Despite the continuous attempts by others to divide us, we’re strangely (very strangely), beautifully united.
Originally from Japan, Brooklyn’s AIKO has a double sided stencil sonnet to the romance of the sea. With “Tale of the Dragon King and Mermaids in Water Castle” Aiko tells a new version of Urashima Tarō, an old Japanese legend about a fisherman who rescues a turtle and is rewarded for this with a visit to Ryūgū-jō, the palace of Ryūjin. Says Aiko, “This piece speaks to my and all women’s fantasies; chilling hard super sexy in the beautiful ocean with friendly dragon who is super powerful and a smart guy – they are about going to water castle having good time.”
Coney Art Walls
2016 New Artists: Nina Chanel Abney, John Ahearn, Timothy Curtis, D*Face, Jessica Diamond, Tristan Eaton, Gaia, Eric Haze, Icy & Sot, London Police, Nychos, Pose, Stephen Powers, Tats Cru, and Sam Vernon. Returning artists who created new works: Lady Aiko, Mister Cartoon, Crash, Daze, Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, and Marie Roberts. 2015 Murals on display: by Buff Monster, Eine, Ron English, How & Nosm, IRAK, Kashink, Lady Pink, Miss Van, RETNA, eL Seed and Sheryo & Yok. There are also three community walls.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring 1Penemy, BG 183 Tats Cru, Bio, Bristol, Daze, D*Face, Eric Haze, Goms, Nicer, Nova, Pegasus, POE, Stikki Peaches, Thiago Gomez, and Word to Mother.
According to New York Magazine the Post-it “artists” took their craftsmanship to new heights after someone installed a simple “hi” message on the window of one of the two buildings facing each other on Canal Street. After one week the “war” is in full effect with several messages directed at each other offices ranging from “Will you marry me” to songs’ lyrics and other pleasantries and pop references. The two buildings are known for housing several ad agencies, Getty images and New York Magazine.
It’s not that the island has been bereft of murals of late – the Los Muros Hablan festival in Harlem has been through a couple of iterations way uptown, Brooklyn has the Bushwick Collective, and Queens has been hosting the Welling Court Project.
The irony lies in the fact that this Lower Manhattan Arts Festival (LoMan) is really the first codified effort to highlight the work of graffiti and Street Art creators in a section of NYC known from the 1970s-90s for the free-range street stylings of artists like Jean Michel Basquiat, Al Diaz, Keith Haring, Dan Witz, Jenny Holzer, Richard Hambleton, John Fekner, WK Interact, REVS/Cost, and artist collectives like AVANT, among many others.
In other words, on this baked concrete slab of downtown New York that was once a creative cesspool and Petri dish for on-the-street experimentation calling upon all manner of art making, today’s newly arriving young artists have no dream of moving in. In fact, most have fled in search of affordable rent.
Now the entrepreneurial spirit of a couple of guys, Wayne Rada and Rey Rosa, is luring artists back into Lower Manhattan, if only to paint a mural and help the tourist trade in Little Italy. That is how the L.I.S.A. Project (Little Italy Street Art) began three years ago, bringing in about 40 artists – a list that includes big names and small with varying degrees of influence on the current scene.
Despite the historically inhospitable demeanor of hard-bitten and often bureaucratic old New York greeting him at many junctures, Rada has had some measured and great successes along the way, convincing local wall owners to give a mural a try and raising funding from local businesses and art fans to help artists go larger.
So LoMan Fest’s first edition has finished this year, and along with a few volunteers, a smattering of helpful partners, and nearly continuous negotiations with local building owners, art supply companies, cherry picker rentals, and a collection of local and international artists, Rada and Rosa have pulled off a new event. Impressively it included large murals, smaller street installations, a couple of panel discussions, some live music performances, outdoor film screenings, a sticker battle, a live painting battle, live podcasts, a graffiti zine table, and a sculpture garden in an emptied parking lot on Mulberry Street.
“Struggle would be a good word. But like anything else when you are starting something for the first time you are spending a lot of time putting systems in place,” says Rada of the process. “There have been interesting challenges with the building owners and with the artists but when it is all said and done it has been all worth it.”
For a scene that was initiated by autonomous un-permissioned art-making on private property, the process of organizing graffiti and Street Artists to do approved pieces on legal walls may try the patience of the rebels who look on mural festivals as lacking ‘street cred’. But Rada sees it differently.
“You know there are people in this world that don’t appreciate this and I just want people to enjoy the pieces as long as they can. Isn’t the fun part of street art that moment when you turn the corner and discover it? That’s really what we are trying to do here. For me it’s a collaborative process of trying to find them a spot – which is also normally something bigger where they can take their time and really think it out. In turn, when that work is complete their existing fans enjoy it, and also it helps them get new fans.”
A final irony is that LoMan is joining a long list of Street Art-inspired mural festivals worldwide that you might have thought New York would have been near the front of.
Brooklyn Street Art:I imagine you’ve seen the rise of Street Art festivals and you’ve seen the character perhaps of specific festivals in different parts of the world. Do you think there is something specific about New York’s current Street Art scene that has a personality or specific voice? Wayne Rada: First of all I studied every single festival out there from Pow! Wow! to Nuart, every single one. I’ve also had conversations with people who coordinate those festivals so that I could do a better job with this. I just feel like New York is, and this is grandiose to say, the nexus of the universe for the art world. It just seemed there was something missing and it made sense to have something here.”
Given the history and the populations of NYC, maybe the strength is the diversity of styles and international artists who are drawn to this particular city to drop a piece throughout the year on rooftops, under bridges, on abandoned lots and doorways. After a minute, Rada decides that this may be what makes a festival like this distinctly New York.
“So in the art world there are so many artists and there are so many Street Artists – and Lower Manhattan especially is represented by something like 126 different cultures and many different races and languages that make up downtown,” he says, “so it makes sense to try to be as diverse as possible and have as many of those voices represented as we could – men and women, all ages, and all walks of life.”
Here’s your first look at LoMan, but it won’t be your last. Rada and Rosa tell us they already have 2016 all planned.
Hillary Clinton was on Roosevelt Island yesterday formally announcing her candidacy under blue skies with an enthusiastic crowd speaking about income inequality and the poor and sounding more populist than ever. Let’s see if she can stretch the 2 Billion Dollars in donations she is reported to have raised all the way to next November. It all adds up quickly bro, and before you know it, you just blew a billion!
Wonder if she saw the Hot Tea pool while she was there on the island.
This weekend is the annual Welling Court community mural party in Queens. Don’t miss it. Run on almost no budget it features over a hundred muralists who always dig the friendly neighborhood vibe thanks to organizers Alison and Garrison Buxton.
And of course we are seeing a lot of new dope stuff on the streets…
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring Brolga, Chris RWK, Dasic, Esteban Del Valle, James Bullough, Joe Iurato, Logan Hicks, Owen Dippie, Paper Skaters, QRST, Ramiro Davaro-Comas, Rubin415, SheWolf, Sonni, Tats Cru, Wing, and WK Interact.
Here our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring AEON, Arturo Vega, Bio Tats Cru, Balu, Bifido, COL Wallnuts, Crash, Federico Cruz, JMR, Kram, Kronik, Labrona, LMNOPI, Meca, Moby, Muro, Nick Walker, Stinkfish, TRN, Txemy, and Vexta.
Climbing up on a roof during the sultry city summer can be liberating, and it turns out to be a prime place for painting too. Away from the cacophony of the sweaty streets, the breeze up here is a little cooler and stronger and aside from the occasional potted tomato plant or sun-tanning waitress, you are on your own. You may not own any personal real estate, but right now this is all yours, this sweeping urban vista of grand, glassy, grimy, gawdy, and gutted.
For years graffiti writers and Street Artists have sought these undiscovered spots as a kind of refuge, an urban backyard for hanging out and going big, often collaboratively. You could say that rooftop spots even have a certain lore, a place to tell stories about and revel in. In a hard-knock nasty city that sometimes seems to swallow people whole, on this rooftop with a view you can do a huge piece and feel like you are holding it all down. Not to mention the bragging rights you can claim for hitting a high profile location that grabs eyeballs and raises the stakes. As for the city dweller, the work, as ever, is subjectively reviled, ignored, or celebrated. No one can truthfully deny its affect on the character of the cityscape.
Here are some choice roof shots by photographer Jaime Rojo across New York, LA, Chicago, and Boston to give you a birds eye view of some art from on high.
Who’s your Daddy? Here is a brand new DNA testing truck coming soon to a corner near you. Tats Cru redefines the use of the taco truck in this work in progress for a commercial company…stay tuned. (photo @ Jaime Rojo)