Last Thursday, the Sanctuary Hotel hosted an exhibit of graffiti artist, AVONE (pronounced A.V. One) that felt so inherently New York, you’d think you had walked in one side of the lobby and found yourself right back on the street.
Surrounded by his murals, he now stood at the end of a long conference table among fellow graffiti artists with open sketch books and uncapped markers. Discussing his process with an older woman clasping on to her husband's arm, he smiles as she compliments his vision and requests his critique of her own paintings while friends try to butt in with jokes and stories. Growing up in Brooklyn neighborhoods like Crown Heights and Fort Greene, AVONE suggests his work is, “nostalgic and relatable. It’s what you see every day. It’s my surroundings, young, urban and street.”
New York is one of the big hubs for graffiti artists. It’s no suprise, given the city’s history, terrain, and grey walls screaming for color. It’s rare, however, to suddenly find a mural gracing your street. D*Face is a U.K. street artist known for blending mediums and combining inspiration to create art for the public. Posters, stencils, paint, and stickers are among his arsenal of spray paint when creating a piece. This month, he’s brought all of that with him to the Big Apple and has left his mark in parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn.
Eclectic, international, sweet, savory, and bold are adjectives used to describe Jehangir Mehta’s food and wine bar, Graffiti, on 224 East 10 Street. The cuisine is full of foreign tastes and spices, like that of chilies, fennel, and turmeric. It is the union of Asian, French, and American ingredients to create unique small plates designed for sharing with flavors that give your senses a check.
The Next Iron Chef 2010 runner-up, chef and owner, Mumbai-born Mehta offers a cozy and intimate setting where guests will often share table space with those who start out as complete strangers and, by the end of the meal, are foodies all brought together by the smorgasbord of exotic and different flavors. “That looks delicious, what is that? Ok, we’ll take one of those,” or “Have you tried the strawberries and pepper ice cream? I come here just for that!” are phrases exchanged at the table. Oh, and if you have to use the bathroom, prepare to get a little up close and personal with some of the cooks as you have to walk through a tight and minute kitchen to get to the restroom. This experience only adds even more authentic flavor (of a different kind) to the restaurant.
Banksy won our hearts years ago when he mysteriously showed up on the scene, leaving street art that was at times a political commentary, pensive, and even humorous. Like Zorro or Batman, the calling card that was his art created quite the following. As with most graffiti artists, his work shows up mysteriously on the sides of unsuspecting buildings. Best of all, it’s free. It’s no wonder, then, that Banksy has inspired some imitators over the years. Banksy is one of many artists that have revived the interest in graffiti as an art form. He’s been praised for bringing art back to those who can’t afford gallery visits and helping to change the perception people have of graffiti as just “vandalism”.
Join Chefs for Impact as they host an exclusive event at Mondrian SoHo for a great cause on Sunday, November 6th. Enjoy a delicious dinner brought to you by five of NYC's best restos in the Penthouse and enjoy cocktails on the terrace. The five course dinner will be prepared by none other than Sam Talbot (Imperial No. Nine), Gabe Thompson (L'Artusi & Dell'Anima), Jehangir Mehta (Graffiti & Mehtaphor), and Brad McDonald (Colonie). Mix and mingle with the chefs, enjoy live music, and participate in a spectacular live auction. All the proceeds from the event will go towards Impact Network, an organization that is building low cost e-learning schools in rural Africa. Attend this benefit and help the organization seek their goal of raising $25,000 to upgrade five schools with solar panels and e-learning. Tickets can be purchased here ($250), and you can also check out this website for more information.
Graffiti has had a long history of being vilified in inner cities around the world. Even the best looking murals have been seen as lowly, criminal and dirty in years past. While tagging public property is illegal and wrong, the generalization that all street art and graffiti art is just that--not an art--is problematic. Graffiti artists have brought art to communities who can’t afford regular trips to museums or galleries. Graffiti has also turned ugly, broken down buildings, into something its tenants and neighbors can enjoy seeing.
Shaka, a well-known French graffiti and street artist, is changing the way his fans see paintings. His latest work combines 2D and 3D in a way that’s part Magic Eye puzzle and all color. While 3D work isn’t exactly new in the artist scene, Shaka has applied it in such a way that has audiences amazed.
Shaka’s extremely colorful work takes some inspiration from his years on the graffiti scene. His early years were spent on colorful and bright lettering in Evry, France, where after a few years he joined a crew of like-minded artists. Caricatures, Impressionism, and Pop Art are all a major influence on the way he works and it shows! His flat work has always had an impossibly bright flair of color. His portraits are bursting with vivacity and toy with shape and bright contrast. Like many graffiti artists, he has braved the dangers of taking his art to the streets--making beautiful and impermanent pieces for those who can’t afford an art show to have in their everyday lives.
At Graffit, artist and chef Jesus Núñez' clearly took this passion-driven dynamic duo to the next level at his new Upper West Side restaurant. Graffit spins old-world recipes into exciting and breathtaking new-world preparations, creatively expressed with dishes showcasing all of the aesthetic bang of edible masterpieces.
Combining his youthful history as a graffiti and fine artist along with his prior well-seasoned experience as a chef in Madrid, he magically combines urban design and street art with colorful creations that many diners have already deemed almost "too beautiful to eat"- and yet, they do.
Banksy, perhaps the most famous street artist of our time, is back in action in L.A. this week. After a few of his pieces were defaced, it seems he hit up some old locations to put a new spin on those old pieces.
His piece, dubbed the Crayola Shooter, depicting a small boy in military uniform with gun surrounded by crayon flowers, had been found defaced a while ago. Splashed almost entirely with paint, the work was going to be worth a log of money and sold by the property owner. Similar cases have been found with some of his other pieces and a few have even been removed.
MTO, a famous guerrilla graffiti artist, has created a trend in celebrity graffiti across urban areas in Europe and the United States. The French artist based in Berlin has been creating these clever and eye-catching pieces of work since 2008. They are each, like a signature, MTO's footprint in the graffiti world and his style changes much like a letterer graffiti artist's would. The only change is the face he is spray painting.