All posts tagged: The Active Space

Fun Friday 02.24.12

1. QRST  “Dreaming Without Sleeping” (Bushwick, Brooklyn)
2. Anthony Lister at New Image Art (Los Angeles)
3. Invisible Cities with Banksy, Shepard Fairey, Swoon at Black Rat (London)
4. Royce Bannon Curates “While You Were Sleeping” (Brooklyn)
5. Whisper Gallery Group Show (London)
6. Show Teaser for Anthony Lister at New Image Art (VIDEO)
7. David Shillinglaw “People Get Drunk” (VIDEO)
8. Italian Street Artist TELLAS  in Sardinia. (VIDEO)

QRST  “Dreaming Without Sleeping” (Bushwick, Brooklyn)

Street Artist QRST has his first solo show today at The Active Space. See our interview with him yesterday QRST Studio Visit and Interview .

QRST working on this mural under the watchful gaze of his two grandmothers. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

For further information regarding this show click here.

Anthony Lister at New Image Art (Los Angeles)

Anthony Lister new solo show at New Image Art Gallery in Los Angeles opens today to the general public. Lister used live ballerina models for this new paintings.

Anthony Lister prepping for his show. (photo © Carlos Gonzalez)

For further information regarding this show click here

Invisible Cities with Banksy, Shepard Fairey, Swoon at Black Rat (London)

London’s Black Rat Projects Gallery first show of the year, “Invisible Cities” featuring secondary market works by Banksy and Shepard Fairey alongside works by Swoon. This diverse group of artists are eponymous with the current Street Art movement in their retrospective cities.  This show opens today to the general public.

Swoon on the streets of Brooklyn. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

For further information regarding this show click here.

Also happening this weekend:

Royce Bannon Curates “While You Were Sleeping” A Group Show. Click here for more information about this show.

Whisper Gallery in London offers a Group Show for February. Click here for more information about this show.

“$prayed in Full” featuring INCH at the OneThirty3 Gallery in Newcastle, UK. Click here for more information about this show.

Show Teaser for Anthony Lister at New Image Art (VIDEO)

Carlos Gonzalez created this video for the show.

David Shillinglaw “People Get Drunk” (VIDEO)

Italian Street Artist TELLAS  in Sardinia. (VIDEO)

Tellas did this in collaboration with Roberto Ciredz.

Read more
QRST Studio Visit and Interview

QRST Studio Visit and Interview

The Brooklyn Artist Talks about Painting, Street Art, and Choking Chickens

You’ve seen his cats and dogs and birds and rats and people in wheat-pasted drawings and paintings on the street in Brooklyn the last couple of years, their big dark eyes staring plaintively at you, usually with some critters holding a banner overhead displaying his tag, QRST.

In a way, these are snapshots of his life, endowed with psychological drama and musings and universal or personal symbologies. Comedians and storytellers are always the most successful when they stick to the regular stuff that we all do and weave in the outlandish – just enough that it’s fantastic but not so much that it’s fantasy. QRST renders his characters without romance but maybe nostalgia,  their magnetic eyes drawing you past the still countenance, grounded enough to sort of convince a passerby of their realness, even though they can’t possibly be. These are his relatives, his friends, his loves, his memories melted with meandering.

In addition to his regular job he’s been painting on a heavy schedule lately so he can have his show ready for unveiling this Friday in Bushwick, Brooklyn at The Active Space. A visit to his studio reveals a spare, brightly lit quietly manic room with a laptop playing the Bush Tetras balanced on a stool and a careful collection of the tools of the trade – paint tubes, canvasses stacked on the floor against a wall, a small pile of pencil sketches, an easel with a painting of a chicken beating up a boy.

QRST (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“Yeah, it’s called ‘Formative Years,’” QRST says as he describes it’s origin, “My aunt and uncle had chickens and a giant rooster and when I was like two or three, one of them just mauled me. So it’s that story … but it’s also a lot about sex in like a generic, formative way. It’s a cockfight… he’s choking a chicken… So it’s kind of like a joke at my own expense because I’m getting my ass beat by a chicken but it’s also about figuring out masturbation and sex hangups and weird sex issues.

Brooklyn Street Art: It’s all “nested” in there.
QRST: Yeah, and it’s all inside of a childhood.

If it is a battle, the boy in the painting doesn’t look like he’s going down without a fight. His stuff on the street explores the past plainly, including the painful parts, like his serious re-examination of the influence in his life of his deceased father, called “Patron”, laden with symbols and signifiers. The work can be odd, and oddly sensitive to meaning and nuance as QRST is compelled to continually assess and think his way through the battles of life, peering at it from all angles.

QRST does a painting of his mom in a snowy park. “She didn’t know she was posing for it.” (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“I think a lot of my work is always autobiographical. It always seems to come from stuff that I’ve experienced or thought about or people or places that I’ve seen, or been in, or things I’ve experienced. I think a lot of it is that. These paintings are not obviously exact. They are little seeds of actual reality that have all this stuff piled around them that comes from my mind wandering. So the stories kind of become fantastical and weird and their own thing but they really do start from a seed of, ‘I was walking down this street and I saw this thing’ – or ‘I was with this guy on the Mississippi River’, or ‘my aunt and uncle have a hummingbird feeder,’” he explains.

Brooklyn Street Art: Aside from studying painting, in a lot of ways I can see that your work is therapeutic for you.
QRST: Absolutely. If I’m not painting regularly I go crazy basically. I get all super depressed and mean. And I’ve had people tell me “I can tell when you haven’t been making art because you’re and a**hole.” (laughs) I’m like “Great! Cool.” I’ve had more than one person tell me that. You can tell when I’m not painting enough. I get really distressed. It can be also be drawing but painting seems to be the best.

One of the 50 hand drawn sketches QRST will be giving away at his opening. ” I just like the idea that a stranger that doesn’t know me gets a thing that I made just because they showed up.” (photo © Jaime Rojo)

QRST (photo © Jaime Rojo)

For QRST the work he makes for the street is the fun stuff, the place where he can experiment and get a little looser. His painting teacher from his youth would have cringed at the idea of painting as being fun. “He yelled a lot but was a good teacher,” he remembers. “He used to yell ‘Painting is not fun! Painting is in the blood!’” On reflection, QRST agrees that painting is something more for him. “There is a certain truth to that. I mean, I need to do it and it’s immensely satisfying in a way that is not parallel to anything else in my life. But it’s not “fun”, ya know?”

QRST painted this portrait of his cousins after creating a version of them for the street.(photo © Jaime Rojo)

QRST. The wheat paste version tells stories of their youth in this painted version for the street. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

It may still be a little perplexing to the average person passing a particle boarded construction site to see one of his elaborately hand painted, wheat-pasted pieces. To think that he’ll spend forty to sixty hours on a street work that ultimately gets destroyed seems self-defeating but he has clearly delineated in his mind what work is meant to have permanence and what needs to stretch it’s legs and go talk to the city.

“The street stuff is really nice. It can get really stressful too but it feels less formal. It’s hard to describe but I can do whatever I want, and it’s just for kicks. I can figure stuff out real easily and put it out and it really doesn’t matter because it’ll be gone soon. It’s like doing studies or sketches or something,” he explains.

Brooklyn Street Art: It’s also maybe a safe way to experiment with an idea or technique?
QRST: Yeah, it is. It’s easy to be experimental because with oil paint there’s a way you are supposed to do it. I’ve thought about being more experimental on the canvas but then, it doesn’t feel right, at least not at the moment.

Of the studio work and the street work, he sees separate goals and lives. “They serve different purposes, they go in different places, they are supposed to function differently. Also with the street stuff – at the end of it it comes with the adrenaline rush of doing something very barely illegal,” he smiles.

Brooklyn Street Art: They need to walk out that door.
QRST: They do! They want to go outside.

QRST (photo © Jaime Rojo)

QRST (photo © Jaime Rojo)

QRST paints on three panels an homage to both his grandmothers in the gallery. In the family tree tradition his maternal Grandmother sits on the right while his paternal Grandmother sits on the left. The chair’s legs are represented by the roots of trees.  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

QRST (photo © Jaime Rojo)

QRST (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: That’s something I associate with your work is the symbolism and metaphor, the additional layers of meanings that can go in multiple directions.

QRST: I spend a lot of time – I come up with the idea and its something that is sort of stuck in my head and then I start to flesh it out.  As I’m painting it, I end up thinking about it a lot obviously. All of the language and connection to it comes out as I’m working on it. I’m like “oh yeah!”.

QRST (photo © Jaime Rojo)

QRST (photo © Jaime Rojo)

QRST (photo © Jaime Rojo)

QRST’s solo show “Dreaming Without Sleeping” opens Friday February 24 at The Active Space. Click here for further details.


Read more

The Active Space Presents: Criminy Johnson AKA QRST “Dreaming Without Sleeping” (Brooklyn NYC)


Dichotomy, by Criminy Johnson. Oil on canvas, 30 x 40 inches.

The Active Space opens an all-new exhibition space
in its Bushwick facility with a reception for “Dreaming Without
Sleeping,” a presentation of new works by Criminy Johnson | QRST, on
February 24, 2012.

“Dreaming Without Sleeping” allows viewers to glimpse the artist’s
view of our waking world: a bent, slightly pessimistic and
occasionally hostile place populated by animals and people who are
often reluctant to be interrupted by the viewer.

“Criminy makes oil paintings in his studio but often makes wheatpastes
that relate to these in some way. Many people are familiar with
Criminy’s work but may have seen it outside of a gallery setting, and
QRST fans might be discovering Criminy Johnson’s paintings for the
first time,” says curator Robin Grearson, who worked with Johnson last
year on a group show at the Active Space. “Criminy has been in
Bushwick for a few years, and QRST’s street work often shows up here,
so the Active Space is an ideal location to present the two styles

“We opened in February of last year, so I’m happy that the first show
in our building’s brand-new gallery space falls on our first
anniversary,” says Ashley Zelinskie, director of The Active Space.
“Robin is an accomplished writer, yet this is the third show she has
curated here. Last year we discovered that we really work well
together, and one thing I appreciate about my role as director of a
Bushwick art space is the opportunity I have to support emerging
artists and curators I believe in.” Zelinskie says.

The opening reception for “Dreaming Without Sleeping” takes place
February 24, 2012, from 7-10 PM. The show will be open to the public
by appointment through April 20, 2012. Email

Dreaming Without Sleeping
February 24, 2012 through April 20, 2012
The Active Space
566 Johnson Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11237

Read more

Fun Friday 10.28.11

Basically today is the kickoff of a 4 day Halloween weekend of debauchery for many NYC freaks in the streets, loft parties, and bars. You are permitted to wear your Halloween costume at all times, including sleeping in a pile of barf and fake blood.

Some of the favorite Halloween costumes this year are Nicky Minaj, Angry Birds, Captain America, Charlie Sheen, a Pink Slip, a Topless Occupy Wall Street Protester, the Koch Brothers, Snooki or John Bohner (orange paint required), and your Chase Bank Student Loan Officer, Mrs. Snippet.

Top Stories this week on Fun Friday:

1. Bushwick Tonight – Beat Nite

2. The Rainbow Machine at Active Space

3. Launch of “Eloquent Vandals” Tonight in Stavanger

4. DAIN at Rook and Raven Gallery, “You Rest You Rust”

5. D’Face Never Liked What You Did Anyway (VIDEO)

Bushwick Tonight – Beat Nite

Jason Andrew continues to make the rallying cry for this art crawl/bar crawl in Bushwick, Brooklyn and it’s always an eclectic mix of badass, confounding, and clever work inside the galleries that are sprinkled around this neighborhood splattered with a fair share of Street Art. The beat we think of is the one on the streets here, where the air is infused with industrial sediment and diesel fumes, and electricity. Among the wandering artkids, quizzical conceptualists, and the odd hot-aired impresario claiming to be the original scene starter, you can look out  for intermittent zombies tonight.

Beat Nite: Bushwick Art Spaces Stay Open Late
Friday, October 28, 2011 6-10PM

Voted “Best Neighborhood-Wide Gallery Night” by L MAGAZINE, participating art spaces include among others: Norte Maar, Centotto, English Kills, Famous Accounts, Regina Rex, Storefront, Valentine Gallery, and the long awaited debut of AirPlane Gallery.

The official after party will be held at The Bodega. This episode of BEAT NITE is sponsored by Hyperallergic. 

The Rainbow Machine at The Active Space

Interactivity is the name of the game and you can be part of “The Rainbow Machine”, a deceivingly simple installation by Reid Bingham and Sean McIntyre where you stand still with a smile across your face while Sean sprints behind you with his custom programmed rainbow machine. Expect wilder variations in models and backgrounds than these rather tame participants in our example below.



“The Rainbow Machine” by Reid Bingham and Sean McIntyre. (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

The Active Space will be a part of “Bushwick Beat Night”. For more information please click on the link below:

Launch of “Eloquent Vandals” Tonight in Stavanger

If you find yourself in Stanvanger, Norway today NUART invites you to the launch of “Eloquent Vandals”. It’s a history of Nuart we’ve been anticipating!

” Nuart became a focal point for many in the Street Art world because of its highly curated nature and its expansive brand of personal interaction with public space.  A hybrid of high-minded civic involvement and an art form with roots solidly in anti-authoritarianism, Nuart has presented a rolling roster of Internet stars and miscreants of the Street Art scene. ” – Steven P. Harrington and Jaime Rojo



The definitive book on one of the worlds leading street art festivals featuring exclusive essays from some of scene’s biggest names. Over 300 pages of exclusive images including works by Swoon, David Choe, Vhils, Blu, Ericailcane, Logan Hicks, Dface, Nick Walker, Judith Supine, Graffiti Research Lab, Blek Le Rat and many more…

Eloquent Vandals tells the story of how Stavanger, a small city on the West Coast of Norway gained a global reputation for Street Art. For the past six years, the annual Nuart Festival has invited an international team of Street Artists to use the city as their canvas. From tiny stencils and stickers to building sized murals, from illicit wheat-paste posters on the outskirts of the city to “Landmark“ pieces downtown, found everywhere from run down dwellings and train sidings to the city’s leading galleries and fine art institutions, Eloquent Vandals documents the development of not only Nuart, but also one of the most exciting art movements of our times. Features specially commissioned essays and texts by Carlo McCormick, Tristan Manco, Logan Hicks, Chris Stain, Steven Harrington & Jaime Rojo, Leon Cullinane and Martyn Reed.



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

DAIN at Rook and Raven Gallery, “You Rest You Rust”

“You Rest You Rust” Opens today in London, featuring work by Brooklyn Street Artist DAIN.


Dain on the streets of London (photo © Dain)

Here’s a sneek peak at one of the new piece’s Dain will be unveiling at the show.

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

D’Face Never Liked What You Did Anyway (VIDEO)


Read more

The Active Space Presents: “The Rainbow Machine” by Reid Bingham and Sean McIntyre (Brooklyn, NY)

The Rainbow Machine

brooklyn-street-art-sean-mcintyre-reid-bingham-jaime-rojo-bring-to-light-nuit-blanche-new-york-10-2011-web“The Rainbow Machine” by Reid Bingham and Sean McIntyre. (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

Reid Bingham and Sean McIntyre participated in this year Nuit Blanche New York 2011 in Greenpoint, Brooklyn with their Rainbow Machine. This outdoor installation is the perfect photo-op and you’ll get that special memento to send your family back home in Idaho.

Beat Night Fall Exhibition

October 28th – November 28th 2011

October 28, 6-10 PM


566 Johnson Ave.
Brooklyn, NY

Buzz 5 to be toured through.
On street parking.

Mass Transit

L Train to Jefferson Stop
Walk towards Flushing Ave.
Turn Left on Flushing Ave.
Turn Right on Stewart St.
Walk 3 short blocks to Johnson Ave.

Read more

Throw Away Art At Curbs & Stoops’ Active Space Presents: “Stay Gold” Group Show During BOS 2011 (Brooklyn, NY)

Stay Gold

brooklyn-street-art-stay-gold-QRST-curbsandstoopsQRST (image courtesy of the gallery)

The Active Space will be pre­sent­ing “Stay Gold” dur­ing Bush­wick Open Stu­dios. The group exhi­bi­tion fea­tures Bush­wick artists Don Pablo Pedro, Nathan Pick­ett, QRST, Quel Beast and Vahge.

Stay Gold is a show­case of five exem­plary artists who are based in Bush­wick. The expres­sion “stay gold” derives from a Robert Frost poem but became widely known in pop cul­ture because its two short words deliver a sim­ple but pow­er­ful direc­tive: be true to your­self and your own char­ac­ter. The works in this show embody these local artists’ com­mit­ment to this prin­ci­ple. Each artist has devel­oped their own visual lan­guage to com­mu­ni­cate their ideas, and when the works are con­sid­ered together, a motif emerges that reflects the com­plex­i­ties of human expe­ri­ence. The work com­prises oil paint­ings, acrylic por­traits, nar­ra­tive mixed-​media works and collage.

Par­tic­i­pat­ing artists:

Don Pablo Pedro

There once was a beau­ti­ful nymph, an amaz­ing crea­ture with five heads and three vagi­nas. She was seduced by a mag­nif­i­cent satyr, a satyr who was revered as the great­est painter in the small port town in which both beings hid. The nymph bore two sons from this union, although both were extremely unusual. The first son was born with a lav­ish beard that reached down to the tips of his toes, and had a mys­te­ri­ous eye which resided on his sin­gle tes­ti­cle. The sec­ond son was born with a pussy for a face, and had an arm in place of his penis. In an epic bat­tle not long after birth, the long bearded boy killed and raped his muti­lated brother. This bearded son lives on today, as Don Pablo Pedro.

Nathan Pick­ett

Nathan Pickett’s non­lin­ear nar­ra­tives explore human expe­ri­ence and its inher­ent ten­sion and con­tra­dic­tions. In won­der­ing where our cul­ture is headed tomor­row, Pick­ett looks from present to ancient past in his exam­i­na­tion of the individual’s strug­gle to under­stand its self and its place in soci­ety. Pickett’s work includes sym­bol­ism that ref­er­ences uni­ver­sal truths embed­ded within arche­types that tran­scend the bound­aries of lan­guage, time and form. Through fine-​art paint­ing tech­niques, intri­cate paper-​cutting, sten­cils, pat­terns and line, and spray paint­ing, Pick­ett depicts our myths, fan­tasies and fears. His com­po­si­tions offer a per­spec­tive from which the viewer can con­sider the mul­ti­di­men­sional aspects of his work as a reflec­tion of the com­plex­ity and dichotomies of their own life experience.


The mys­te­ri­ous Brooklyn-​based QRST, for­merly the mys­te­ri­ous San Francisco-​based QRST, some­times makes paint­ings for inside and some­times makes paint­ings for out­side. QRST often paints ani­mals, but describes paint­ing a human as “sim­ply one more strange crea­ture with ques­tion­able moti­va­tions inhabiting…strange and bent places.” The artist says his paint­ings often focus on “the inter­sec­tion of mem­ory, wool-​gathering and dreaming.”

Quel Beast

Quel Beast cre­ates fig­u­ra­tive paint­ings which bal­ance emo­tion and ges­ture in a self-​created style that blends fine-​art and graf­fiti sen­si­bil­i­ties. His work toys with the dual moti­vat­ing forces that dis­tract us from ulti­mate death, while simul­ta­ne­ously cel­e­brat­ing these vulnerabilities.


Vahge grew up in too-​quiet sub­urbs where neigh­bors with watch­ful eyes kept too-​perfect lawns. An iso­lated child with few friends, she with­drew to her imag­i­na­tion and began mak­ing col­lages that con­trast whim­si­cal and roman­tic with unset­tling aspects of real­ity. She incor­po­rates ele­ments of dreams, lit­er­a­ture, music, the­ater and clas­sic por­trai­ture, and draws heav­ily from Ger­man expres­sion­ism and Vic­to­rian cul­ture. Vahge often crafts her highly detailed works on a small scale, using lay­ers of paper to con­struct char­ac­ters and scenes with pre­cise pro­por­tion and depth. She often makes females her cen­tral char­ac­ters, expos­ing all their faults and unique beauty. In all her work, Vahge cel­e­brates odd­ity with elegance.

Open­ing party Sat­ur­day, June 4th, 7 – 10 PM

Open to the pub­lic dur­ing Bush­wick Open Stu­dios (June 3 – 5) and through July 5, 2011, by appoint­ment. Curbs & Stoops, 566 John­son Ave., Brook­lyn, NY

Read more