street art

battle on… secret walls…

We have contests for anything and everything so drawing shouldn’t be any different, right?  Last night a battle of epic proportions went down in Astoria/Long Island City, Queens.  Hosted by the Paper Factory Hotel (a nice boutique oasis in the middle of a very industrial neighborhood) Secret Walls gathered fifteen New York City artists in a showdown for the ages (and this was just a qualifying round).

What is Secret Walls?  It is an organization that promotes drawing “battles” all over the world.  Simple rules – always and only black on white (it really shows off the competitors true skills) and a 90 minute time limit.  A panel of judges and the audience pick the winners.

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The anticipation builds before the beginning of the war.

And…  WE ARE OFF!

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Amazing works of art begin to appear as the challengers battle in the cold autumn air.  Some of the best street artists in NYC and a couple of newcomers gave it everything including (and in no particular order):  Lamour Supreme, Chris RWK, Miss Zukie, Martha Alicia, Abe Lincoln, Jr., Sasha Fay, Wizard Skull, Scott Liam Walker, Cosbe, Mastro, AdrianKart.

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All and all a fantastic evening and real gathering of talent, right here in Queens 🙂

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so, next time then…

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Conor said boom… I said wow!!

It seems like forever since I have written anything here.  I write all the time, but it seems like it happens most often when I am dreaming on the subway or driving down the highway, not a pen in sight.  I always say I will remember my thoughts to put them down later, but age, adhd and just being me makes that a joke, at least one on me.

Recently I had the pleasure of watching a true genius at work.  One of the finest street artists I have yet to watch in action, Conor Harrington.  A native of Ireland now working in London it was a treat to have him share his skills with NY.

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Conor uses a variety of different methods to create his striking works.  Squeegies, brushes, rollers, spray paint, acetone and even water all come into play.  His genius lies in his ability to create movement, life and striking emotion all while standing on the edge of abstraction.  So, here is Conor at work.. and stick around to the end of the post to view his mind-blowing exhibition.  I drove 900 miles in one day to make sure not to miss this one, totally worth it!!

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Great to see him take the time to talk to a young fan!

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And now for the exhibition

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So, next time then…

the random files….a complete brainwashing

So, there was this “happening” last week, but first a little background. Many of you have probably seen the movie “Exit Through the Gift Shop”. If you haven’t and you have any interest at all in street art it is an intriguing piece and well worth your time.

Whether you believe it is a factual documentary or a fictional creation out of the mind of street artist, Banksy, it makes a “character” out of it’s leading man, Thierry Guetta, now forever known as Mr. Brainwash. Is he a figment of the imagination? Is he a creation? Is he a well thought out hoax on the art world and world at large? Who really knows, (well he and Banksy, Shepard Fairey and a few others have a clue) but in the end, does it matter? In one way or another he has put in his time, paid a few dues and still gets out there on the street. If his message is juvenile or derivative again, does it really matter. Art is subjective we all see what we want to see. Who becomes huge, who makes it and sees the big bucks, again, extremely fickle and based on so many factors there is no clear cut path to success. Does a piece make you feel something? Sometimes even the feeling of disgust is worthy of a moment of thought.

So with that, on to the present, Mr. Brainwash was in town last week and Century 21 became his palette, a tribute to 9-11 his goal. A goal he achieved albeit with the usual critics and naysayers in full force. I found out he was working after his first night. Went downtown during the day and saw that the image was incomplete and he had more work to do.

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So back downtown at midnight to see if we could catch the man in action.  The subway ride was interesting and I could write a whole post about Mr. Asscrackman and the other fellow citizens who obviously only come out at night, but that is for another day.   When we arrived we caught the installation team in full force.

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And the man himself, Mr. Brainwash, MBW on site.

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The paper panels waiting to be attached to the wall.

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A plan of the entire project was on view as a guide.

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And about Thierry himself; what a burst of pure positive energy, impossible to not feel his exuberance.  He believes in what he is doing, believes in his message and every fiber of his being projects that when you meet him in person.  We hung around for a couple of hours and watched him at work.  Always a cigarette in his hand and always in action, never still.

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Firefighters from out of state here for the 9-11 ceremonies stopped by at one point.

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At about 2 in the morning my need for bed took us home but we came back the next morning to see the finished piece.

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And luck would have it.. as we turned to leave I spotted the man himself.. no sleep, running on fumes and still willing to give a hug, a smile and mug for a shot or two.  So, real or fictional, schlock or DaVinci, I am on Brainwash’s team just for the sheer fun of it all.

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Read the other day that Thierry so loves New York he has decided to make it his home 6 months out of the year.  His goal? To buy a building in SoHo to use as a residence, studio and open art space.

My dream actually… To buy a big building live on the top floor and rent the lower floors out as studio live/work spaces for artists for little to no money as long as they do work with the community and keep my building covered with art… pipe dream, but hey, might as well put it out into the Universe, never know what could happen.

So next time then…

the random files – creation

Another in the Random Files series.  Spent the last three days following the progress of a new mural going up in Bushwick for The Bushwick Collective.  Chilean born artist, Dasic Fernandez has created a masterpiece.  Entitled “Hand of Protest”, it is the second mural with a political message to appear in the collective in recent months.  (the other being a work by the Iranian pair, Icy and Sot)

With a sharp, surrealistic style and a use of colors that makes the hairs on the back of your neck tingle, Dasic is a master of the art of the spray can.

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(a tease)

You can find Dasic’s work in various places throughout the city.  These are all located within a few blocks of each other in Bushwick.

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“The Venus of Bushwick”

Back to the work in progress.  First up covering a wall which most recently had a piece by acclaimed German Artist, Case MaClaim.  Another facet of street art, pieces exist for a limited time.   Sometimes saying goodbye is bitter sweet even though there is excitement and anticipation for a new work, many a masterpiece is layered in the colors below.

So, no more words, just the work.

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Day 2

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Day 3

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a piece from Dan Witz remains, tucked into the corner.

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So, next time then…

 

 

 

 

a saturday or so – the 21st precinct

Life has been flying by lately and has been a tad bit complicated.  Went back to Santa Fe for a week but it was filled with the kind of every day, must do, mundane part of living a human life that when put on paper comes off irritating at best.  But the car did get an oil job somewhere in the middle of it all.

Back in NYC now and coming to grip with the speed of things.  So many things to see and do it feels like it all slips by slightly out of reach, but luckily sometimes you catch the end of the rope and the whip around is just enough to keep it all going.

Last weekend a show of shows opened at the 21 Precinct House in the Gramercy Park neighborhood.  Now beautiful tree lined streets and brownstones dominate the area.  But back in 1863 the precinct earned it reputation in a down and dirty neighborhood where gangs of thugs and ruffians ruled.

http://daytoninmanhattan.blogspot.com/2011/09/1863-21st-precinct-station-house-no-327.html

The police were long gone by about 1914 but the building remained,  many uses later it is finally meeting the inevitable.  Unfortunately its plum location makes it an easy sacrifice to the glass and steel beast that is devouring NYC, swallowing entire neighborhoods at breakneck pace.

So,  we know the location, now the show.  What happens when you get together a group of over 60 street artists  including legends and talented younger artisans and give them four floors of an empty shell for a canvas.  Everything and more… and from this point onwards words just aren’t going to do much.  So, I am out of them….here is my take on what may be one of most photographed shows in NYC.. 😉

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So, next time then…

 

the random files… art on the move and again away we go…

After what seems like forever it is that time again.. headed back out west for a week in Santa Fe.  Refresh the spirit with some good clean air and maybe a hike or two this time out.  We will have to wait and see on that one.  I have been averaging about five miles a day here in the city (according to my phone app) so I don’t want to just give it all up for a week.  🙂

As the theme goes, here you go, art on the move!

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so, next time then…

 

art is trash…

This summer NYC played host to a street artist from Barcelona, Spain.  In the few months he was here he certainly left his mark. Who is this artist?  None other than Francisco Depajaro, street tag, “Art is Trash” “Arte es Basura”.  Art is Trash is many faceted when it comes to Francisco’s style.  His humorous work often draws upon the remnants of our consumer culture in all of its disposable glory. His message calls out those that seek fame without substance.  The last couple of weeks I have been trying to find and photograph as many pieces as possible… because, like all good street art it is ephemeral in nature and in many cases already giving in to the streets.

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When I posted this shot on my instagram account, @bytegirl24 he responded with this message about his work…

“+ART -WORDS.  Deals with little contribution to the appreciation of art, in this case, all papers sticking egocentric pathetic names over and over again. ”

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Even an entire rooftop became his playground (taken from the J train just shy of Marcy Ave.)

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So, next time then…

three men (and one woman) at work

The last couple of weeks have been spent chasing the painters. A lot of new work this summer in New York, more than I can ever remember. The legal street art movement is booming. Many artists are getting access to spaces and getting recognition they would have never dreamed possible just a few short years ago.

For a fan girl like myself watching the process is a major part of the aesthetic of the work itself. Seeing how other’s brains create and the methods they use are an essential part of the experience.

The socially dysfunctional, slightly anal (in all the wrong ways), totally ADHD side of myself however will still rarely approach those at work. I tend to gawk, take a couple of shots and walk away. So the fact that I actually carried on a conversation with a couple of the people below, well that is major.

First up: Damien Mitchell working on a food truck bound for Dallas.

(You might remember Damien for his wonderful Nina Simone mural that I captured back during the Bushwick Collective Block Party. https://bytegirlphotography.com/2014/06/06/birds-flying-high-sun-in-the-sky-oh-and-some-damien-mitchell/)

I wasn’t around to see the finished product so this one will be a total quest to locate at some point. All you Texans be on the look out! The El Rudo Truck is out there!!

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Next up: Solus working in Little Italy for the “Little Italy Street Art Project- the LISA Project”. The boxer is a tribute to the immigrants who first settled in lower Manhattan and those that continue to come, each with their own stories and traditions. Each leaving their indelible mark on our city.

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Girl Power: You know the saying, “Girls Rule?” When it comes to painting they definitely hold their own, and in the case of some artists like Queen Andrea they accept the title of monarch quite well. Another of those great women painters is Raquel Echanique. Working on a container as part of the Centrefuge Public Art Project

https://www.facebook.com/raquel.echanique

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Last up: Also at the Centrefuge Project, J. David McKenney, a doll artist who translated one of his 3D creations into a lower east side beauty. Pidgin Doll.

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Keep checking back for pics of the finished work.

So, next time then…

the random files – jersey city style

I had been hearing about Jersey City for a while now.  Several photos on other blogs had totally piqued my interest as many of my favorite artists have been creating work out there.  There comes a time when you are a NYer when traveling to places like Jersey City, New Jersey (even though it is just 15 minutes from Wall Street) are travels into the vast unknown of the wasteland that lies beyond.

So the Path Train it was, complete with its Disney Man like announcements and clean shiny seats. Easy ride to Grove Street and the adventure began.   I didn’t have a clue where any specific pieces were but the exploring proved fruitful and with the exception of a couple here and there,  I think I found everything I went looking for.

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Downtown Jersey City is actually quite lovely.  It has a quaint American Main Street feeling with a wonderful burst of diversity. The glass and steel is slowing creeping in, but hopefully some of the charm will survive.

First of the artists I had come to see, Alice Pasquini.  I had photographed a piece of hers a week or so ago down in Little Italy.  If you head over to my instagram feed @bytegirl24 you will find her behind the Italian Flag.

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Next up Li Hill.

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Another of my favorites Case Ma’Claim

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This one blew me away in person.  Like a surreal fantasy dream, shades of Tim Burton.  Dulk is a visionary.

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Ekundayo

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Hudson Valley Art Supply is the proud host to a couple of pieces by Dylan Egon  including Petey below.  Be sure if you are there to look for Target Mickey in their window.

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We even had the good fortune to stumble on work in progress.  Nanook and Mataruda busy with the paint rollers.  Always good to have a reason to want to go back.  Can’t wait to see the finished piece.

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Another beauty by Li Hill.

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Pixel Pancho is one of those artists that really blows my mind.  If you remember back during the Bushwick Block Party he and Case Ma’Claim  collaborated on a pretty crazy piece of genius… you can find it in this blog post:

https://bytegirlphotography.com/2014/06/10/once-more-we-go/

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And a new one on me, an instant favorite and certainly someone whose work I will be eagerly seeking out from now on, NoseGo.

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Last place to walk by, Dylan Egon’s.  He had posted a photo online of the Sandy High Water Mark he painted on the front of his studio and I had to see it for myself.  Still hard to believe how much damage this area took.  Really puts it all in perspective.

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All and all a pretty successful day,  still have a couple of pieces to hunt down on the next trip into the wilds of Jersey.

So,  next time then…

the random files…stumble on gallery nine5

So this started as a quest for gelato.  The Il Laboratorio del Gelato on Houston the ultimate destination.  (They have the most amazing flavors-today I had yellow watermelon and peach, the son malt and mango. The malt is just like the inside of a whopper.)

What is the stumble on?  Well,  I had a wild hair and decided instead of the normal get off the 6 at Bleeker, we would get off at Spring and walk back up to Houston along Bowery.  I always like to go past the corner of Spring and Bowery so I can say hello to Quanah one of my favorite pieces of street art by one of my favorite Artists, Dylan Egon.  You might remember I did a posting on his opening at the Jonathan Levine Gallery a while back.

https://bytegirlphotography.com/2014/04/06/scenes-from-an-opening/

Back to the stumble on… walking down Spring Street we were suddenly assaulted with the unmistakable smell of spray paint coming from a small gallery,  gallery nine5.  Group Ink is their current show which features work by several different Graffiti Artists.

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Got to watch Vor138 at work.

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The show also includes work by Alan Ket

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and Bisco Smith

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Also got to see one of my favorites at work, Shiro One.

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A great discovery and I can’t wait to go back and see the finished pieces.  And Quanah greeted me as always right there at Jay Maisel’s place.

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So,  next time then…