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Cheesy Art: East Village Pizza Gets Piece of the Pie

109Tim Schreier

Hermann the German isn’t the only pizza-parlor painter in the neighborhood. After doing the wall of The Bean’s forthcoming location (with an assist from Mosaic Man), Walker Fee scored a gig across the street. This past weekend, we spotted the muralist painting the facade of East Village Pizza. The owners, we were told, wanted to bring balance to the block. And apparently, Mr. Fee will bring still another mural to the block after this one.

Meanwhile, a block away on St. Marks Place, there’s a newish mural of “Mister Shoetree” on the side of Foot Gear Plus. The artist, Robert Gardner (a.k.a. Robare), brought it to our attention in the comments of our “Making It” interview with shopkeeper Linda Scifo-Young.

Welcome to the ‘Machine’: New Art at Extra Place

Sonni: Music Machine, at Artist Alley at Extra PlaceScott Lynch

Here’s a peak at the latest sidewalk mural at Extra Place, set to be officially unveiled this Saturday. “Music Machine,” painted by Buenos Aires-born, New York-based street artist Sonni in his trademark primary colors, picks up the theme of his 30-foot acrylic-on-metal mural “Boom Box,” which was the toast of Miami’s Art Basel festival in 2010. It’s the second exhibit at Artist Alley @ Extra Place, which – like last week’s mural behind La MaMa – is a collaboration between Fourth Arts Block and Murals Around New York.

A reception for the work will be held Saturday at 2 p.m. at Oaxaca Taqueria at the end of Extra Place, which is located mid-block on East First Street, between Bowery and Second Avenue. You can see more of Scott Lynch’s photos in The Local’s Flickr group.

On East First Street, Adam Yauch Lives On

DanielleMastrionwMuralStephen Robinson Danielle Mastrion with her art.
FumeroStephen Robinson Fumero with his work-in-progress.

Less than a week after the death of Adam Yauch, a mural of him and his fellow Beastie Boys appeared on East First Street yesterday, part of “phase 3” of the Centre-fuge Public Art Project.

The painting by Brooklyn native Danielle Mastrion joined new works by five other artists – Fumero, Michael DeNicola, Jade Fusco, CRAM Concepts and Bishop 203 – on a metal construction trailer between First and Second Avenues. Since the street-art initiative was launched in January, the modular unit has served as a canvas for a new batch of artists every other month.

One of them, Fumero, recently painted a mural on the walls of The Strand. See another photo.

With New Mural, ‘Palace’ Gets All Ginned Up

muralDaniel Maurer The mural-in-progress this morning.
UntitledRay LeMoine David Nordine on Saturday.

Last week it was The Bean’s forthcoming location, and this week an Avenue A newcomer makes itself known with a mural. On Saturday, David Nordine, 27, was painting what he said would be “a cameo of a man and woman facing each other” on the wall that Amor y Amargo shares with its forthcoming sister establishment, Gin Palace. (The building at Avenue A and Sixth Street also houses Cienfuegos, a cocktail bar by the same owners.)

Mr. Nordine, who lives on Third Street, has done other work in the neighborhood, including murals on the walls of Mama’s Food Shop and the Lower East Side People’s Federal Credit Union.

At Houston Mural, Retna Gives $5,000 for Budding Street Artists

retna checkTim SchreierRetna (right) with Mista Oh! (left) and mentors from The Art School w/out Walls.

Marquis Lewis, a.k.a. Retna, returned to the scene of his Houston Street mural today, to donate $5,000 to a program that teaches at-risk youth to create street art similar to his own.

The artist, who painted “A Conversation with a Great Friend” on the wall at Houston Street and Bowery last week, said that his donation to the Gowanus-based organization, Cre8tive YouTH*ink, was triggered, appropriately enough, by a conversation between friends in which Carlo McCormick, an East Villager and the Senior Editor of Paper magazine, connected him to Jerry Otero, a.k.a. Mista Oh!, an educator who runs the non-profit.

Last year, Mr. Otero, along with artist Ray Smith, launched The Art School w/out Walls, a program that connects at-risk kids in low-income neighborhoods with mentors who help them create public art. The program aims to expand into dance, music, and sports – hence the $5,000 check that Retna handed over at the wall today. Read more…

Watch Retna Paint the Latest Mural at Houston and Bowery

Photos: Tim Schreier

Marquis Lewis, better known to the street-art world as Retna, has been painting one of his signature hieroglyphic works on the wall at Houston Street near Bowery for the past two days. Our photographer Tim Schreier stopped by yesterday afternoon and earlier today to document his progress. The artist was still at work when we last checked in with him at 6:45 p.m. this evening – we’ll show you his finished mural once it’s completed.

Fun fact: Retna recently participated in the Boneyard Art Project in Tucson, Arizona, for which artists such as Faile (creators of the previous Houston Street mural) and Erik Foss (the owner of Lit Lounge and Fuse Gallery on Second Avenue) made art out of decommissioned military aircraft.

Update: And Now, Retna’s Finished Mural at Houston and Bowery

The Day | The East Village’s ‘Worst Landlord’?

Avenue CJoel Raskin

Good morning, East Village.

The owner of 77 East Seventh Street, Robert Koziej, is among those honored on public advocate Bill de Blasio’s 2011 list of “NYC’s Worst Landlords,” with 110 infractions listed.

So do you think teachers should be allowed to wear flip-flops and tank tops to school? An editorial in the Daily News sides with East Village principal Marlon Hosang of Public School 64, who wants a “professional” dress code. The paper sarcastically says of the teacher who filed a complaint: “Good policy: Defend the right to look like a slob. Challenge the ability of a school leader to set a respectful tone in his building.”

Jazz musician Sam Rivers died on Monday, reports The New York Times. Studio Rivbea, the noncommercial performance space he ran out of his Bond Street loft, was an anchor of the 1970s loft scene, and “served as an avant-garde hub through the end of the decade.” Read more…

Viewfinder | Mars Bar Murals

Julie Turley, Shawn Hoke, Kenan Christiansen and Lindsay Wengler, members of The Local East Village Flickr Group, share their images of a murals outside Mars Bar in recent years.

Mars Bar, The End is Near, East VillageShawn Hoke

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Tagging the Question

Picture 016Kenan Christiansen Jeff Gurwin commissioned this mural at Avenue A and Second Street as a way to propose to his girlfriend, Caitlin Fitzsimons.

In a gesture of urban romance, East Village resident Jeff Gurwin, 28, proposed to girlfriend Caitlin Fitzsimons, 27, by commissioning a mural for her on Avenue A and Second Street.

“I knew I wanted to propose this way because we’re always taking pictures of graffiti. I wanted to integrate things into the wall that were special to her,” Mr. Gurwin told The Local in a phone interview.

The wall is covered by images of Ms. Fitzsimons family dog Parkey, her favorite flowers (yellow roses) and a cherry blossom tree modeled after a tree the couple often visit in Central Park.

The question itself is spelled out in stenciled Scrabble tiles, as the game is the couple’s favorite pastime.

Painted by graffiti artists Tats Cru, the mural took five hours to finish. This process and the subsequent proposal were taped for a stop motion video that has become a viral sensation on YouTube.

Marriage Proposal videoClick above to view a video of the mural’s creation.

Ms. Fitzsimons discovered the mural on her way to meet Mr. Gurwin, who told her he was food shopping. Instead he was waiting for her at the corner.

“She saw it and was so surprised. It was more than I expected. We were both just floating,” he said. In response to the romantic street art, Ms. Fitzsimons happily said yes.

For those who want to swoon over the mural in person it will be on display for the next month.

Catching Up With Chico

IMG_0191Kenan Christiansen Antonio Garcia, the street artist known as Chico, recently received commissions for 10 new neighborhood murals, including this in-progress work outside Whiskers pet supply store on Ninth Street. Below (from left), Phil Klein, a co-owner of Whiskers, Mr. Garcia and artist Joel Salas.

It’s hard to walk around the East Village and not run into a mural by Antonio Garcia, who’s known to almost everyone by his nom de spraypaint, Chico. The locally born graffiti artist has spent most of his 34-year-career dedicated to painting the public walls of the neighborhood with lush murals often directly inspired by contemporary events.  When he was laid off from his job at NYC Housing in 2008 he left the city to live in Florida with his family.

“I always said I’d come back,” said Mr. Garcia, standing before his latest work at Whiskers Holistic Pet Care on Ninth Street.  “If they pay for my ticket, I’ll come.”

And even though he’s only been in the city a few weeks his murals have already began to proliferate.

On his most recent trip, sponsored by Branson B. Champagne, Mr. Garcia painted a mural celebrating the royal wedding on a wall in East Houston and Avenue B. The job only took 12 hours and he soon had more projects lined up. Before he leaves on June 24, Mr. Garcia agreed to 10 new mural projects in the neighborhood.
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