The Grit & The Glam: Dual Art Exhibit by Lexi Bella and Danielle Mastrion

[Press Release] The Grit & The Glam is an exploration into the duality of beauty, a showcase of Bella and Mastrion’s individual styles that contrast and complement one another. As street artists, Lexi and Danielle have been transforming rusted gates and old brick walls into works of art for over a decade. With The Grit & The Glam, the artists translate these experiences onto the canvas. Conceptually, the show focuses on juxtapositions of beauty; between urban and natural, decay and revival, abstraction and realism, grit and glamour. Building off one another’s strengths, Lexi and Danielle navigate layers of meaning within their art.

The Myth of Himbad and the 9th Wave

I heard of the enigmatic artist, Himbad, long before I met him. A London artist with a far travelled reputation. The buzz came to New York when word got out he was doing his first solo show in NYC. Rumor had it several galleries were trying get him in. The bid was won by Bushwick’s finest, 3RD ETHOS Gallery. Connie and the 3RD ETHOS crew set him up for a month long residency. Given the expense of shipping, Himbad opted to paint all originals for the show. Thus, for nearly the whole of May, he painted like a madman, conjuring new creations.

Bridgeport Art Tower

The project is a collaboration between Harris Lobel and Hanz — curator and owner, respectively. I’d seen Harris’s previous work with the First City Project and the Drip Project, and now he’s brought the hustle to Bridgeport. The massive brick-red building was a former school turned living space. It had the look of a castle. Lines of windows marked the homes inside. At the top, an empty bell tower crowned the building. Harris pointed at it. “That’s the art tower.”

It Doesn’t Hurt to be Nice: Murrz

I’d walked by the JMZ gate several times, where Murrz had painted ‘Biggie the Pooh.’ The Lawton Street gate was part of an assemblage celebrating a line of female artists. They were all top-notch, but Murrz's piece of Biggie caught my attention. The Notorious image has always been of interest to me. We chatted in bits and pieces over a few months before I reached out for the interview. Fellow Bushwick residents, we met up at Lil Mo’s to talk about pop culture, fangirls, and artistic courage.

Shape of Things to Come: Jenna Krypell

“We would sit in the back yard, and just draw for hours.” Her first lessons came from these moments, when her grandmother would educate her with a gentle hand. Jenna learned about the technical matters, things like pointillism, and different ways of shading. Although her grandmother was never a working artist, [a reflection in part, of the times she lived] she always loved fashion. She would draw clothing designs and stylish women silhouettes. The skills she passed on to Jenna helped the young artist learn her fundamentals.

A Drop in the Ocean: Acool55

I knew next to nothing about Acool55 when I went to meet him in the East Village. I had been drawn to the artist for his message – his works are imbued with socio-political and environmental meaning. So, I stood in Fresco Gelateria, unsure of who I was looking for. I noticed two Italian gentlemen in the corner of the coffee shop. One turned and I read his jacket: “Make Toys Not Guns.” We shared some brief introductions and espresso, before Acool55 led the three of us, including Frank his assistant, over to his studio with a call of “Andiamo!”

Free Art Friday, Past and Present

It was a perfect fall Friday; sunny skies, a light breeze, and free art to be found. Much of street art’s charm comes from the romanticism of discovery, to stumble upon a piece unexpectedly, and admire the work. The ephemeral nature of the medium adds to the allure, knowing one day the piece may be buffed or replaced leads the viewer to develop a deeper connection. However, for the dedicated fans there is also the pain of loss when a favored street artist disappears from the wall. But the tradition of Free Art Friday, founded by My Dog Sighs, gives art lovers a chance to collect, to seek out the treasure hunt. And for a fortunate few that fall day, an art drop organized by Big Ronnie let them take home a canvas from some of New York’s finest.

Dirty Disco: 3rd Ethos Gallery, the Third Place

“The name of the gallery comes from a conversation between [a friend] and I. We were brainstorming ideas, and I had a few names picked out, a few concepts, but I wasn’t sure. So we drank wine, just brainstorming. I always liked the number 3 for its significance: the trinity, the magical manifesting number. So we were trying to work that in. She mentioned this idea of the third place. It is an idea that the first place is your home, the second your work, and the third an environment where you go to socialize with your community. And that sounded perfect.”
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