Urban Folk Art © studios, (the gallery / boutique adjacent to the shop) -
When I was 15, in the 80’s, I was just starting out in my efforts as a graffiti artist. I was attending Music and Art High School in Harlem, and my mentor, in an effort to expose me to some higher forms of graffiti, took me to a gallery show at a local community center. Black books under glass, spray paint on canvases, as well as photos of masterpieces on trains and walls, filled me with adrenaline and inspiration. In order to steer a more diverse viewer in to the gallery, the show was entitled “Urban Folk Art”. That phrase followed my tag from then on. “UFA©” was the name of the crew I formed and ran with until I went away to school. In the early 90’s when I returned from art school, I formed an artist collective that consisted of artists of varying mediums I knew up at school, as well as friends I rolled with growing up in Brooklyn, This collective was aptly named “Urban Folk Art© Studios”.
We set up shop in Bushwick in ‘91, long before the onslaught of artists and musicians that have flooded that area since. In a 2700 loft that 5 of us lived in, we set up a silkscreen studio that would fund the collectives other endeavors. These endeavors included Guerilla art projects, curating our own art shows, a line of tshirts that sold at style purveyors of the time such as Union, Patricia Fields, and 99X, and teaching art to at risk kids. As time went on, I became weary of being perceived as primarily a commercial print shop, so I began deconstructing the physical aspect of the studio, which at this pont had moved to Williamsburg, and was in the Tung Fa Noodle building next to the Williamsburg bridge. I closed up the print shop and went on my own personal artistic odyssey to apprentice at a tattoo shop south of Harlem.
During this time, the late 90’s, I continued curating shows of myself and other artists in South Brooklyn under the surname
“Urban Folk Art© Studios presents…”
By 2002, I had opened a tattoo shop/gallery in Boerum Hill with tattooer Willie Paredes. We continued to have art openings at the studio, as well as in various venues in the neighborhood. Moving the studio 3 times in the same neighborhood in a 8 year span, we are now located on Smith street by Atlantic Ave in South Brooklyn, our largest shop yet. Brooklyn Tattoo® has partnered up with Urban Folk Art© to re-form the physical “Urban Folk Art© gallery/boutique directly next to the Tattoo shop. The gallery will show many different disciplines, as well as different levels of undiscovered, emerging, and established artists. The type of work shown will be anything from comtemporary painting, drawing, printmaking and photography, to comic art, legendary graffiti artists, and contemporary illustration. It gives me great pleasure to re-establish Urban Folk Art©'s physical headquarters after all these years, revive and extend our brand and merchandise line, and continue to be a mutually supportive outlet for all of the involved artists and artists we are excited to work with.