Essex Street Market Dresses Up Exterior With Mural by Gera Lozano

Image from ESMVA

Photo by Gera Lozano

The 76 year old Essex Street Market building received a bright and colorful face lift over the weekend.

The 200 sq. ft. mural on Essex is by Brooklyn-based artist Gera Lozano. A refreshing addition to the busy street landscape, the wall is a vibrant, multi-colored graphic mix of green leaves, a tropical tree and specialty goods and produce sprawled across the once blank brick canvas. Aside from the colossal public mural, Lozano also completed five canvases within the market that can be found over the entryways and above vendors’ stalls.

More images of the mural are featured below.


Chico Debuts Mohammad Ali Tribute Mural

photo by Melissa Guerrero

photo by Melissa Guerrero

Celebrated street artist Chico memorializes the late Muhammad Ali in his most recent mural on E. Houston and Avenue B. Ali is seen clenching his gloved fists alongside a butterfly, inspired by his famous quote, with the city’s skyline in the background.

Chico said the idea behind the mural came at a difficult time. While mourning the loss of a loved one, he heard of Ali’s death and saw his predicament as an opportunity to use art as an outlet for his grief. So, with a leftover spray can in one hand and a photograph of Ali on the other, he fashioned the mural in the middle of the night in a mere hour and a half.

“To pay respect, I feel like I should bring people back, in some way, to honor them,” Chico says, “Back in the day, when a person passed away in this community, I used to use the corner wall to paint them. They call me the R.I.P. muralist.”

Eric Diaz and Chico Garcia

Eric Diaz and Chico Garcia in front of “Ali” – photo by Melissa Guerrero

Chico is continuing to celebrate influential Lower East Side figures through a collaborative project with Vision Urbana director Eric Diaz. Titled Legends of Loisaida, the program is a weekly workshop that teaches local youth about art and more importantly, the history of their neighborhood and how to preserve it.

“Our Puerto Rican heritage is not talked about enough,” says Diaz, “so I wanted to do an art project where we can show them pictures of these leaders and then give them context as to who they were.”

The young participants learn about a local hero and then create drawings from what they’ve learned. In collaboration with Chico, they morph their ideas together to create a canvas mural.  Included in the lineup are legendary poet and activist Bimbo Rivas, affordable housing advocates Mary Spink and Ernesto Martinez and Nuyorican poet Tato Laviera.

Diaz and Chico emphasize the importance of youth art programs in the community and illuminate their purpose through projects like Legends to help create and inspire the next generation of local artists.  

“My goal as an artist is to see more artwork in the community. You need colors to brighten up your life. We need artists,” say Chico.

FABLES Debuts New Mural by Raul Ayala With CC 1/19

La Siembra 6.1.16

Fourth Arts Block (FABnyc) closed out Lower East Side History Month with an unveiling of their latest FABLES mural project yesterday. Just off the Bowery, hidden among the brick and glass buildings at Extra Place, is artist Raúl Ayala’s new piece, La siembra del hogar//Sowing Homes.

The mural was created in collaboration with Fernanda Espinosa, a fellow member of the the art and oral history collective, Cooperativa Cultural 19 de enero (CC 1/19), and Amy Starecheski, Associate Director of Columbia’s Oral History program. The installation tells the story of the Lower East Side’s squatting history.

To help develop the concept behind the overall piece, the artists utilized interviews conducted by Starecheski, who is a former squatter herself. The interviews are included in her upcoming book, Ours to Lose: When Squatters Became Homeowners in New York City. 

La siembra brings to life one side of the plain white pavement in the Extra Place alleyway, circling around lampposts and subway grates. Each detail is meticulously illustrated, giving the piece a life of its own. Although the ground mural is best seen from above, the impact of the image under your feet is quite powerful.

Ayala is still adding highlights to the piece, but La siembra is on view at Extra Place (1st Street between 2nd Ave & Bowery) through the fall. The artists plan to add a walking phone tour for visitors to access commentary on the piece. Find out more about the artists on the FABRIC blog here.

Artist Knox Martin Proposes a “Whaling Wall” on Building at 334 Grand Street

Knox Martin’s whalewall rendering for Palazzo Grey building in NYC

Renowned muralist and  painter, Knox Martin, has announced a proposal for his latest public work: He hopes to premier a new mural titled “The Whaling Wall,” at 334 Grand Street (also known as the “Palazzo Grey” building) by the end of May, 2011. Martin is currently raising funds for the work here. The intent of the new work is to raise awareness of the plight of whales, and to promote global peace. The Woodward Gallery on Eldridge St. is curating the project. They write:

This Artwork depicts man’s irresponsible killing of the whales. It is a metaphor for peace and a call for humanity...Artist Knox Martin has envisioned and will donate his painting to the public to raise awareness; Mr & Mrs. Kevin Downey have donated their building’s exterior wallThe Whaling Wall Mural requires approximately $50,000 USD to complete. Please donate as little or as much as you can to this public mural project. You will be participating in a global effort to save the whales and in turn make a stand for peace.

Martin previously taught at the Yale Graduate School of Art and NYU.  He currently teaches a master class at The Art Students League of New York.