The second gallery from the Centre-Fuge Public Art Project is now on view in the East Village! What was once a drab construction trailer on the corner of East 1st Street and 1st Avenue has been taken over by seven artists who busily painted, pasted, and sprayed their work onto the trailer this past weekend. The project attempts to re-beautify the neighborhood and encourage a sense of community amidst the intrusive construction caused by preparations for the Second Avenue Subway line. Centre-fuge is organized by active culture-pushers Pebbles Russell and Jonathan Neville and is dedicated to long-time community artist and neighbor Mike Hamm.
Embedded in a community of artists, Russell and Neville have selected a diverse group of artists to create the second layer of what will be a year long project. Cycle two is represented by the works of Claw Money, Eiknarf, Julius Klein, Kenny Rodriguez and Yuri Velez, with a collaborative piece by Mastro and Ben Angotti. Each group’s work will be on display for two months and the final cycle, starting in November, will see participation from artists previously involved in the project, members of the Lower East Side Girls Club, and other local youth, art, and community groups, schools and organizations.
Each contributing artist has a unique story that they share with the local community through their artwork. Starting as a design intern for Anne Klein, Claudia Gold got her start over three decades ago and has since grown to become the New York graffiti legend Claw Money. She was the subject of Doug Pray’s Graffiti Documentary, Infamy and has since branched into the fashion world, creating her own clothing and accessories line aptly named Claw Money. Her musings can also be found on her fashion blog, Blogue.Us. Her colorful claw marks on the trailer are hard to miss as they pop out from the clean, white background.
Fellow graffiti artist Frankie Colamarino, aka Eiknarf, also participated in the project. Proving his work is still street-worthy, despite having shown in several well-known galleries across the country, he tagged the north face of the trailer in his distinct black and white style. The artist is a prominent figure in the high-end art and fashion scene. Some of his latest collaborations include designs for fashion brands such as Nike, Black Scale, Mighty Healthy, PUMA and Levi’s.
Bringing photography to the mix, Kenny Rodriguez pasted his work on to the middle section of the south face of the trailer. His black and white photo collage is a contrast to the colorful sprayed and painted works surrounding it. Rodriguez is best known for his long-running documentation of NYC nightlife and dance scene.
Bordering Rodriguez’s work, Yuri Velez brings a calming touch to the trailer. The New York born and raised artist and musician studied painting at Saint Ann’s School and Yale University and performs music as Oh You Devil. His fascination with the human form and the complexity of motion and emotion is clearly depicted on the trailer’s south face. A contemplative young woman painted in subdued purple and red call appreciation to the simplicity of color and line.
Long-time New York resident, Julius Klein originally hails from Chicago, where he began designing and painting large outdoor murals as part of The Community Arts Foundation. He has since moved into theater, music, writing and for the past 11 years has had his own art space on East 1st Street- J. Klein Art & Design. The artist’s huge heart on the trailer’s west face is inscribed with the phrase “I love you,” a positive reminder to those passing by.
Sandwiched between Eiknarf’s black and white graffiti art, Ben Angotti and Mastro collaboratively brought a touch of color to the north side of the trailer. Angotti works in a variety of mediums to create images of violence and beauty. As part of the ArtBattles live art movement, he has been involved in live painting throughout the city and abroad. Bronx-born Mastro is another graffiti artist whose work was greatly influenced by his childhood surroundings. After discovering architecture in college, his style changed dramatically. Legibility and continuity took over, and his letter on the trailer demonstrates this change.
Since the first cycle of artists, the project has seen a boom in interest. For the third cycle, Russell and Neville have announced that they are opening the process to anyone who has an idea for work on the trailer. All proposals for Cycle 3 should be sent to [email protected] by Friday April 13th. To get inspired, be sure to go see the work from cycle two which will be on view from March 12 to May 11, 2012.
All images © Amanda Silvana Coen for Inhabitat