Monthly Archives: March 2005

New York Grafouts – Lower East Side 01


Graf goes up, graf goes down. Or, rather, graf gets covered with a coat of paint. Often, that coat of paint is in a slightly different hue from the original color of the wall. We call these “graf-outs.” Nevertheless, a mismatching of hues is the price one pays in the effort to cover up the graf. The effect of the graf-out is like that of abstract art. The above photo is a prime example of a graf-out on the Lower East Side of New York City.

Ivan Corsa

Williamsburg Rock Mural


This huge mural in Williamsburg, in Brooklyn, “rocks the rockingest!” This well-executed work has the look of a magazine illustration writ extra-large. But what really makes this mural pop is the explosive tag painted in the center, which is polished, highly-stylized and pristine. It’s rare to see such a juxtoposition of representative painting and graf integrated into a single, flawless piece of street art. The artist(s) has the skillz.

Ivan Corsa Photo

Teriyaki Boy Front – New York City


The East Village in New York City could just as handily be called “Little Tokyo” or “Japan Town” given the extraordinary number of Japanese restaurants, sushi bars and supermarkets, as well as Japanese owned-and-operated hair salons, vintage clothing shops and other establishments (from record stores to toy stores) opened and run by expats from Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya who now call New York City home. With the glut of sushi bars comes specialization, such as this Japanese fast-food chain restaurant, Teriyaki Boy, on East 10th St. The exterior design of the storefront and signage is eye-catching and demonstrates a successful use of logo-graphics and lighting elements to create an alluring storefront.

Ivan Corsa Photo

“Snackbar” Logo – Logo Graphic NYC


A clever, “designy” (but not too designy) typographic treatment as logo for local eatery/catering company Snackbar on the side of it’s catering van. A glance at the logo — the brand — itself already makes us think that Snackbar’s food is reliably prepared and delivered. As to the taste of the food … well …

Ivan Corsa Photo

Triple Threat – NYC Street Art Mash-up


Here we’ve got the work of several street artists and writers, including that of a couple of the underground’s brightest stars – Shepard Fairey and Swoon. Here’s the breakdown: The black-and-white motorcycle cop paste-up holding the Andre the Giant icon is the work of Shephard Fairey (of Obey / Giant Has a Posse, Swindle Magazine, etc.). The wheat-paste paper cut-out of the man on the bicycle is by Brooklyn artist Swoon. Underneath are some wheate-paste cut outs and tags of several other artists and writers. Nice to all this work serendepitously aggregated in one location in downtown Manhattan.

Ivan Corsa Photo

NYC Graf – “Core” in Chinatown


A nice close-up of an up on the side of a truck in Chinatown. Mid-sized freight trucks are everywhere in lower Manhattan, but especially in Chinatown. Most of these vehicles are white and as such are a tempting canvas waiting to be filled by aspiring artists and writers. The mobility of the trucks gives the author’s tag greater exposure to a wider geographic audience as the trucks ferry cargo around the New York City and tri-state area.

Ivan Corsa Photo

Steet Art Sticker – Paint Brush


We don’t know who the artist is behind this sticker of a dripping paint brush, which can be interpreted as an ironic, cheeky comment on the nature art itself, given that painting is the medium most associated with the idea of art. The person who created this sticker could have been thinking precisely that, or, maybe, they just thought that a sticker of a paint brush would be “like, cool.” Whatever. Sticker art is a whole other medium (or sub-genre, if you will) of illicit street art. Putting up stickers is also a lot easier to do covertly compared the more visible and time-consuming effort required to put up wheat-paste posters and paint graf tags. As the authorities, especially in New York City, become more vigilant in the war on graf, stickers may become a more popular means of expression.

Ivan Corsa Photo

Downtown NYC Graf – “Gucci” by Claw on Clinton St., LES


Every time we see an up by Claw, it’s a little different from every one we’ve seen before. The colors are different, the pattern is different and there’s always a different number, word or phrase embdeed within the claw itself. It is that three-toe claw that is the only constant in his body of work. Pictured above is one of our favorites, the Gucci Claw, which you can find on the west side of Clinton St. between Houston and Stanton streets in the Lower East Side of New York City.

Ivan Corsa Photo

Street Art by Faile: “Michael” in SoHo


The artist(s) who goes by the name Faile is among the stars of the global street art underground. This artists work takes several forms, but the most striking are wheat-paste posters like the above image, wwhich we snapped in the SoHo lofts district, in New York City. In this case, the subject is the mega-famous celebrity Michael Jackson, who the media have called King of Pop. The Michael depicted in this poster looks like the early 1980’s-era Michael of “Billie Jean” and “Thriller” fame. Faile has explained in “Street Logos,” Tristan Manco’s excellent book on street art, that artists use methods similar to advertisers and brand strategists and that images artists create — like those created by marketers — can be powerful because they can communicate so much with so few words.

Ivan Corsa Photo

View From AOL Time Warner Building


A view from the mezzanine inside the AOL Time Warner Building looking out through the huge glass front onto Columbus Circle in Manhattan. Across the roundabout, at 2 Columbus Circle, is a white skyscraper that is an important piece of 1960’s-era architecture, The New York Cultural Center Building. Originally it was an art museum — or, rather, a very large gallery — called the Huntington Hartford Gallery of Modern Art, an institution born by the heir to the great A&P Supermarket fortune. Built from 1964-65, this singular skyscraper was designed by architects Edward Durell Stone and Associates expressly for the purpose of housing a world-class art collection. It has been vacant for years and is in serious need of repair and renovation despite the structure being recognized as an architectural gem. Fortunately, in 2004 the building was designated as an “endangered building” by the National Trust and is now the focus of efforts by architecture preservationists to protect the design from being altered in the future.

Ivan Corsa Photo

Wall of Java Tops at Ini Ani, LES 01


One of our favorite cafes in the Lower East Side is Ini Ani Espresso Bar on Stanton St. The small cafe has an exquisite interior designed and built by a local architecture firm called Lewis Tsurumaki Lewis. The architects made an innovative use of materials to decorate the walls and create a gentle acoustics and comfortable –if cozy — environment. This sets Ini Ani Espresso Bar apart as a chill place to sip lattes and mochachinos while whiling away a Sunday afternoon with the New York Times. The most memorable interior feature is a plaster wall surface with a pattern of circular impressions, each circle created from a unique plastic coffee cup lid.

Ivan Corsa Photo

East Village Up 2 – “Sasse”


“Sasse” is the name, “writin'” is the game. Nice, quick aerosol up in an empty lot with basketball backboard on East 1rst Street in the East Village. Eventually this will all be gone and in its place … a high-rise with luxury condos and loft apartments for the New Downtowners.

Ivan Corsa Photo

Renovators’ Delight – Posted NYC Work Permits


In New York City, if you’re engaged in any kind of construction, whether putting up a new luxury condo or renovating a factory to make way for loft apartments or buidling a new restaurant interior, you’ll need city work permits for construction and these permits must be posted in public view on the front of the building or site, as in the picture above. Sometimes, there are multiple renovation or construction projects happening within a single apartment building, which leads to a glut of paperwork and permits.

Ivan Corsa Photo