I’m very excited for this weekend’s Spectrum show at Red Hook’s Gallery Brooklyn, curated by the one and only Choice Royce. With Rubin, Hellbent, EKG, See One and Col, Royce has put together a line-up of artists who aren’t afraid to experiment – willfully, boldly and colorfully – at the cross section of abstract art and graffiti. Do not sit this one out!
Opening: Saturday, July 27, 6:00-9:00pm
July 29 – August 31, 2013 Gallery Brooklyn
351 Van Brunt Street
Brooklyn, NY 11231
If 1UP is synonymous with Berlin, then PAL definitely stands for Paris. No other Parisian crew visually dominates the French capital quite like the Peace and Love crew, which counts talented and versatile writers such as Gorey, Horfe, Cony, Tomek, Saeyo, Mosa, Esso and Skube as members. Walls, rooftops, gates, trucks, trackside – they do it all with a distinct and immediately recognizable style.
The city of Vitry-sur-Seine lies within the southeastern suburbs of Paris. Historically, this commune has been home to a large, diverse immigrant population, a background that contributed to Vitry being on the forefront in the development of the French hip hop movement in the 80s. For some time now, the city has supported a cultural policy of bringing art to all, for example, opening it’s Musée d’Art Contemporain du Val-de-Marne in 2005. The city has actively embraced public arts programs, installing contemporary sculptures throughout public spaces as well as supporting large-scale mural projects. Thanks to initiatives by artists such as C215, Vitry’s walls bear the work of an international roster of street artists such as Nunca, Nychos, Roa and Ethos to name but a few. I spent an afternoon in Vitry earlier this summer and only caught a fraction of the many murals on display.
Missing artist attributions welcome in the comments.
On my recent trip to New Orleans, I had the great pleasure of finally meeting long-time Flickr friend, fellow graffiti photographer, and artist, skeletonkrewe. He not only showed me some of his hometown’s best graffiti spots, but also graciously invited me into his studio and agreed to answer some of my questions.
Please introduce yourself. How long have you been making art and how did it all start? Tell us about some of your various projects.
Hi, my name is Christopher Kirsch (but I mostly go by Chris).
I am New Orleans born and bred. I am a self taught painter, print-maker, photographer and papier mache artist. I am the leader and founder of the New Orleans’ Carnival Club, the Skeleton Krewe.
I have ongoing series of musicians, either New Orleans’ or Delta blues. I also paint portraits of Skeleton Krewe members and my newest series is somewhat “anatomically correct” animal skeletons, kind of inspired by textbooks and circus side shows.
What inspires you?
Life in New Orleans and the American DEEP South, mainly Louisiana and Mississippi. Life & death in New Orleans. New Orleans’ rhythm & blues and Delta blues. Food and culture found in the Southeast region of New Orleans.
You have lived in New Orleans your entire life. How has this shaped your artistic practice? What is characteristic of New Orleans folk art?
I’m born & raised here. I’m a rarity these days. Tons and tons of transplants moving in, and it ain’t necessarily a good thing…
I grew up drawing and painting, no one ever told me “how to paint”. So I do what I do and have developed my own style over the years: being self taught, I define myself as a folk artist. Anything I find around me is inspiration for my art: I’ve painted everything from musicians to food, po-boys & crawfish (a.k.a. sandwiches and crawdaddies).
What is Skeleton Krewe and why is it important to you?
The Skeleton Krewe is a small New Orleans Carnival Marching Club. I started it in 1999 by myself and have slowly grown to 40+ members (although not everyone marches each year). I know everyone personally, have taught each one to do papier mache, how to paint their suit, and about face make-up. We try and hold ourselves to some strict carnival standards. Each year we make new heads and try to keep to some level of secrecy. We lead one parade on the Friday night before Mardi Gras and we also march early on Carnival morning. Some photos can be seen here: Skeleton Krewe 2013.
To what extent do you use found or recycled objects in your work? What is their appeal?
As an artist, I pretty much live hand to mouth, so I am always on the lookout for anything I can paint on, from cabinet doors to old shipping crates and 55 gallon drum lids. I really don’t like canvas, it has no appeal to me, no character… A rusty 55 gallon drum lid tells a story and then you just add onto that story by adding your own art to it.
Why did you start painting portraits of jazz and blues greats? Do you listen to their music while you paint?
I started by doing portraits of two of the most famous (dead) New Orleans musicians: Professor Longhair and James Booker, 2 of New Orleans piano greats! Their music is just embedded into our lives, we grew up knowing the lyrics to their songs before we even realized who they were. In my teen years, I grew up with punk and through The Clash, my life came full circle: The Clash covered a New Orleans standard called Junco Partner and it made me realize how special New Orleans music is. The Clash took another New Orleans great on tour with them: Lee Dorsey. And a couple of years later, when Lee Dorsey died, some of the members were his pallbearers. Anyway, this all brought me a greater appreciation of New Orleans. Later on, I started getting into the blues and traveled throughout the Mississippi Delta, visiting some of the great historical sites of the blues. And yes, I always listen to whoever it is I’m painting at the time – I find great difficulty in painting musicians that I don’t like.
How is the graffiti & street art scene in New Orleans? Are there any particular local artists whose work stands out in your opinion?
Since Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans has been a spray-cation destination. I can’t say that I approve of this, but it has brought some greats to New Orleans. Read More Books has been here a couple of times in the past 8 years and dominated. You Go Girl has been here a bunch and UFO 907 came a few years back. And of course Banksy was here and did some really great, politically motivated pieces. I enjoy all their work and then there are some natives that really stand out: Harsh has been the dominant graffiti artist for years and years. Meek has also been around.
Then there’s a batch of younger ones that I like a lot: Uzit, Achoo, AMYK and MRSA. We also have to deal with the Grey Ghost, who goes around buffing everything. He’s nuts and he’s dangerous – if you watch Vigilante Vigilante you can find out more about him.
Where can people see more of your work online? How can interested people contact you?
I’m very excited to be part of a great line-up of photographers in 17 Frost Gallery’s upcoming group photography show, The Brooklyn (organized by Jim Kiernan and Aakash Nihalani). Join us for the opening on Friday, April 5th from 7-10pm.
The Brooklyn: Brooklyn Street Photography 17 Frost Gallery
17 Frost Street (between Union & Lorimer), Williamsburg
I was very happy to have been on hand to witness a community come together and celebrate one of its own: artists, fellow photographers, bloggers, friends and family surprised legendary photographer Martha Cooper, who turned 70 this past Saturday, by painting the Houston/Bowery wall in her honor. The wall, which took roughly 12 hours to complete, features the work of Faust, Terror161, Freedom, Bio, Lady Pink, Free5, How & Nosm, Daze, Crash and Lady Aiko.
“That which does not kill us makes us stronger,” said Nietzsche. Life-altering injuries work similarly, pulling not just the injured but also their loved ones into the tumultuous aftermath. What do you do when your feet have literally been wiped out from under you? How do you find your way back to yourself? How do you escape the pain-pill fueled nightmare of fear, rage and darkness? Reality dissolves and perceptions change. You will never be the same. But though bones break easily and incisions run deep, kindred spirits run deeper. With Mr. Boy, a show of highly personal and enigmatic small works by Peter Carroll and Katherine Lorimer (aka Laser Burners and yours truly), the pair put the bleak events of the past year behind them. Their mutual love for graffiti is a strong undercurrent in the work, but it’s hardly the sole source of inspiration. Unleashed over a sprawling mosaic of over one hundred, unique, square tiles, Mr. Boy reflects an insight into the people, places and memories that make life worth living…
Mr. Boy: Small Works by Laser Burners & Luna Park
Opening: Thursday, February 7, 2013, 6:00-10:00pm
On view 4:00pm-4:00am daily through February 20. Tender Trap
245 South First Street
Btw Roebling & Havemeyer
Brooklyn, NY 11211
2esae and Ski of UR New York are two of my favorite people in the NYC arts community. Always quick with a smile and a hug, their love for what they do is infectious. Always working, this duo gets my respect for their determination and drive. I couldn’t make it down to Miami last December, but thankfully the talented HotMop Films was on hand to capture all the colors and flavors.
For fans of NYC graffiti, Noxer needs no introduction. Member of XTC, TFP, RIS, DOD… namsayin? For this solo show at Bushwick’s Low Brow Artique, Noxer’s dug deep into his blackbook. As one can expect from a true style originator, Noxer’s line drawings are highly inspirational, drawing from the iconography of ancient Egypt while remaining deeply rooted in NYC street life. Forget what you think you know about Noxer and come prepared to be surprised.
THE BOOK OF THE DEAD
Curated by Jowy Romano
Opening: Friday, January 18th, 7-10pm
January 18 – February 2, 2013