Photos courtesy of Karen Rubin

See the exhibition everyone is talking about!

Graffiti and Beyond is an exciting exhibition of artists from different backgrounds and stages in their careers working in various styles whose roots began in graffiti art. Since hip hop and graffiti emerged as an art form in the early 70’s, this movement has grown into a global phenomenon, driving innovations in music, fashion, technology and the visual and performing arts.

Coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the birth of hip hop, the exhibition Graffiti and Beyond captures the extraordinary influence street art has had on contemporary art. Works by artists in this exhibition help us to understand the evolution of graffiti. Although the artists are known as “graf writers” and have strong roots in graffiti art, the artwork on view defy the rules. With a tremendous sense of movement and color, compositions combine freestyle, and hand-painted aesthetics. Graffiti and Beyond is an intriguing exhibition of work by artists from different backgrounds and stages in their careers.

Graffiti & Beyond is curated by Jude Amsel, Gold Coast Arts Gallery Director.



Lenny Achan
Lenny Achan was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1976. He is an artist who combines all of the experiences of his highly matrixed life into works of art. His style has been shaped by growing up in NYC as a graffiti and street artist in the early 1990’s. He has been influenced by longtime mentor and friend Luis Zimad Lamboy. He has also studied and admired the work of Irving Amen, whose works he also collects. Achan’s work takes complex relationships between nature, mathematics and our visual sense and translates them into simple messages that are more easily understood. He focuses on socioeconomic, political and cultural issues and his art achieves connectivity to wide spectrum audiences by camouflaging self-taught mixed media techniques of street and graffiti art to develop contemporary fine art pieces. Achan’s affinity for acrylic spray paint has influenced his use of bold coloring, heavy defined lines and clean edges to develop three-dimensional work. His philosophy of art is that it exists to be the world’s most free form of communication. His art is deeply intellectual but seductive and initially refreshing as it playfully teases the mind to reflect on childhood memories, when a more innocent view of the world existed. Achan believes that art in all forms is a powerful vehicle for disruptive innovation and his work exists to influence the positive change of mental models in the world today. Achan’s work can be found in a myriad of private art collections at this time both in the United States and abroad while he continues to build his works in his studios in the Bronx, New York, Nassau County, NY and Margaretville, NY.

Veronique Barrillot
Véronique Barrillot was born in 1969 in Lyon, France. In 1994, she moved to Dijon France where she currently has her home and studio. In 2012, she switched careers from the corporate to the art world. 2015 was a pivotal year for her as she began to develop her ability to work on two images simultaneously within a single painting. As an example, in her process known as Double Vision she is able to paint a picture of Salvador Dali and Abraham Lincoln combining them as a single image.

You are able to see one image close up and another at a distance. She is the only artist currently working in this technique. Veronique Barrillot has exhibited in New York, Monaco, Paris, Lille and Lyon France and The French Embassy in Washington DC.

Drawing influence from his childhood and the movies, TV shows, comic books, and music that he was exposed to, ChrisRWK’s paintings frequently cite past conceptions of popular culture embedded in his psyche’s cache. His style derived from nostalgic pop culture creates a sense of familiarity when seeing ChrisRWK’s work – from the initial form, to the coloring, and personality of his artwork and characters. ChrisRWK’s works frequently reveal everyday musings and people that one might pass by without a second glance.

CRASH (American, b.1961) is a Graffiti artist best known for his three-dimensional representation of lettering. Born John Matos in the Bronx, NY, he began spray painting on subway trains in his early teens, working alongside other pioneering American Graffiti artists, such as Dondi White (1961–1998) and Zephyr(b.1961). Although CRASH’s early work was lost when the MTA removed all Graffiti Art from the subway trains, he transitioned into working on canvas in 1978.

Inspired by American Pop artists, such as James Rosenquist (b.1933), Jasper Johns (b.1930), and Andy Warhol (1928–1987), CRASH established his place in the New York gallery scene in the early 1980s. He has also completed several public commissions, including the design of the Spectacolor Billboard in Times Square in 1981, and mural installations for the Musee d’art Moderne de la Villa de Paris in 1984. CRASH has painted several guitars, known as Crashocasters, for musicians Eric Clapton and John Mayer, and in 2011, designed a limited-edition line of Tumi Tag travel bags. He has held solo exhibitions at the Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporian in Nice, France, the Gallery Speerstra in Paris, and the Los Angeles Art Show. He lives and works in the Bronx, NY.

Tats Cru, Inc. is a group of Bronx-based graffiti artists turned professional muralists. Tats Cru, aka “The Mural Kings”, started making their mark some four decades ago –– way before many understood the true impact they would have on Urban Culture. In so many ways, this team of artists would redefine what it meant to be a part of life in New York City. The current members of TATS CRU are BioBG183, Nicer, Crash, Daze, HOW and NOSM. TATS CRU were founded by Brim, Bio, BG183 and Nicer.

Over the last two decades, TATS CRU has produced various advertisements for clients ranging from neighborhood businesses and institutions to large corporations like Coca-Cola and Sony. TATS CRU is also a major producer of New York City-style memorial murals, and have created artwork for many musicians including Nicki MinajMissy ElliottMetallicaBig PunJennifer LopezRick RossDJ Kool HercNas and many more. They have a strong bond with rapper Fat Joe and created many of his advertisement billboard for album releases in the 1990s. They also heavily paint murals of friend and deceased rapper Big Pun and are solely responsible for the Big Punmemorial wall in the Bronx, New York City.

    Born Hector Nazario in the South Bronx in 1967. He was fortunate enough to be born with creativity running through his veins at an early age. Throughout the 1970’s he played in abandoned buildings, transforming them in his mind into magical worlds of wonder and using his surroundings to create trucks and cars of bricks and wood chunks found in abandoned lots in his south Bronx neighborhood. In the 80’s, as a teenager he was drawn to the colored written graffiti on the Subway trains and walls. He went on to become one of the founding members of The Famous “TAT Crew”. It was his first official introduction to the art world. His work has been exhibited in Museums and Galleries throughout the United States and internationally including The Smithsonian Museum, The Bronx Museum, BOX Gallery Guangzhou – China, Casa de Cultura – Mexico, Hip Hop Paris 2015 – France, Jardin Orange – China, La Jardin Rouge – Morocco. Hector “Nicer” Nazario continues to work and live in New York City. Contact: nicer@tatscru.net
  • BG 183
    BG183 was born and raised in the South Bronx. One of the founding members of the legendary Tats Cru – The Mural Kings. Defining his style as the Art of Letters. He has painted graffiti for 37 years and exhibited artwork around the world. He has become world famous for his many styles of letters, detailed characters and complex backgrounds. BG183 is one of the most dynamic and innovative graffiti artists of our time. BG183 has collaborated on corporate campaigns with McDonalds, Coca Cola, MTV and created advertisements for Jennifer Lopez, Ice-T, Fat Joe and John Mayer. His work has been exhibited in Museums and Galleries throughout the United States and internationally including The Smithsonian Museum, The Bronx Museum, BOX Gallery Guangzhou – China, Casa de Cultura – Mexico, Hip Hop Paris 2015 – France, Jardin Orange – China, La Jardin Rouge – Morocco. BG183 has been featured in various publications such as: The New York Times, Vibe Magazine, Chicago Tribune, The Source Magazine and in books: Spraycan Art, The Art of Getting Up, Broken Windows and Graffiti World. Contact: tatscru80@gmail.com

Zimad (American Artist: b. 1965) Luis Zimad Lamboy was born in the South Bronx in 1965. In the late 1970’s he began his career as a graffiti and street artist, which has heavily influenced his style and global brand. He attended the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC between 1988 and 1990 where he studied textile Surface designing after being awarding a scholarship. As a self-taught artist, he began to combine his skills with formal training in design to develop the unique and contemporary styles he is best known for today. His first show was in 1984 at Fashion Moda, a gallery best known for first showcasing graffiti art in NYC. Since then, he has showed and sold his work globally including exhibitions in the United States, Russia, France, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Amsterdam, Philippines, Vietnam, Ecuador, Panama and Netherlands. His clients include many major brands such as Nike, MTV, Modello, Corona, Red Bull, Lions Gate Films, Jacob & Co. and State Farm as well as many private clients and celebrities. He has appeared in dozens of documentaries and has been interviewed and invited to participate in shows and projects all over the world. His influences come from Salvador Dali, Jean Michael Basquiat and Jeff Koons.