Writing this blog has turned me into an avid follower of graffiti and street art culture here in NYC. I enjoy checking out new work and meeting artists, so I try and make it to as many exhibitions and other events as I can. It’s not as easy as it sounds, though. As hard as I try to find out about them, I find myself missing things only because I never heard about them. There is no unified source of info about street art and graffiti events on the web. This is why I decided to create Graff Cal.
Graff Cal is a super simple website with a calendar of graffiti and street art-related event listings. It’s mission is to compile all of these into one place and we’ve teamed up with Fresh Paint NYC to make it happen.
The site is still a work in progress, so look for big updates soon. See you at an opening!
Today I’m experimenting with a new feature i’m calling Black Book. For each entry in this series, I’ll show another page in my own book of graffiti signatures and talk a little about the artist. For the first, I’d like to talk about NYC graffiti writer OPTIMO aka WERDS aka NO SLEEP.
OPTIMO’s distinctive top hat character can be found on walls all throughout NYC. I caught up with him during Art Basel week festivities in Miami, where he hit the Wynwood walls hard. He’s also made with a name for himself with several shows in the New York area at venues like Revolution Studios, Brooklyn Fireproof and Culture Fix. OPTIMO’s latest show opens tomorrow, February 15th at Diva in SOHO. Check out this flier for the details!
This week is your last chance to check out Home for the Holidays, the inaugural exhibition of downtown’s Klughaus Gallery. With a focus on graffiti and identity, the group show features some well-established writers like FAUST and KATSU. Check out the official site for the full roster and visiting info. The show closes on the 31st, so don’t wait!
NYC graffiti king COPE2 also showed paintings during Art Basel in Miami at his solo show called “Rise to the Occasion.” In many ways his work was similar to UR New York’s—a mix of collage, painting and tagging. COPE also references the subway in his work with subway cars and wet paint signs.
While roaming the streets of Wynwood in Miami, I found some fun subway art in a very unlikely place: an ice cream truck. One gallery took the less expensive route by selling art out of the back of this vehicle (seen below).
John Gagliano is the artist behind this very epic painting called “Sold My Soul for a G Train.” If only waiting for the G were actually this interesting.
I found this awesome video piece by Leandro Erlich on the showroom floor at Art Basel. The video is a loop of views outside subway car windows from all over the world. Each clip is stitched together to look like one seamless trip. Even cooler is that the LCD TV is made to look like the window of a subway car, completing the experience.
Graffiti writers 2ESAE and SKI of UR New York showed new work at their own show called “Breaking and Entering” in Wynwood, Miami this weekend.
In one series that was being displayed, the artists appropriated traffic signs and other city signage as their canvases. One of these works, called “Good Ole Days,” utilized a sign from the M train. Another series in the show was a collection of model vehicles painted by the duo. One of these was a yellow service subway car with old school fill-in bubble letter tags.
The subway seems to be a common topic in the work of many artists showing in Miami. Graffiti writers especially have a connection with the subway because the modern graffiti movement was born on the trains. It’s pretty amazing that the system continues to inspire so much art.
Last night was the Underbelly Project’s book prerelease party at the group’s exhibition in Miami. Several Underbelly artists where on hand to sign early special edition copies of We Own The Night, a compendium of photos and stories involving the original underground gallery in New York City. The special edition comes with a laser etched wooden book case and nine unreleased photographic prints.
Underbelly Miami is a must-see for street art fans who flocked into town for Art Basel. For those of you who could not make it, check back soon for a video walkthrough of the show and a book review!
Join us this Friday at the 17 Frost gallery to check out the latest by Cassius Fouler. From quarter-waters to redbirds, the artist’s paintings capture New York City from a perspective few artists have successfully: the Outer Boroughs.