The last sweet breath of Summer breeze brought my friend Tiger on a Delta Red-eye from L.A. Tiger is a mad-laboratory-scientist-turned-graffiti-extraterrestrial from another dimension not unlike our own. Transformed by experimental artworks, he emerged a symbiotic creature of his own creation. This is evidenced by a meticulously clean style that thinly masks the seething tentacles of a Martian beast unknown to our world. Homeboy even brought an auger with him from the lab so that he could tunnel into the subterranean wreckage beneath our city and colonize the place. Tiger is a colorful Casanova, and one of his demands was that I provide leashed female beauty to escort him around the planet. He was satisfied to floss beside the Girl with the Silver Chain, a ghetto visage of spunk sprayed to life by the legendary Pyse117. The West-Coast Wildstyle letters were achieved exclusively with MTN 94, the only flavor of pigment that the Tiger finds palatable, while Pyse’s choice poison is a mixture of Molotow transparent paints spiked by silver Flame Acrylic. In this strange story of reverse-species submission, one could say the Tiger has tamed the Girl.
Danny Diamond polishes up the grit of urban styling against the lush garden backdrop of Flatrocks Gallery in the Lanesville neighborhood of Gloucester, MA. Gallery owner Cynthia Roth invited Fishtown’s resident spray-can wizard to perform his illusions before a live audience in early August, 2015. It was an afternoon of well-rounded hip-hop art that included a boom-bap deejay, live dance, and emceeing. This piece includes a subtle desert skyline in Molotow “Mad C Cherry Red” against a Montana “Raspberry” sky and a force-field in Montana “Bermuda” blue (notice the signature heart-beat vital-sign variation in the top left corner). This piece explores themes of a fiery internal landscape beset by the external world, represented by the cityscape that crowns the piece and the bubbly, watery backdrop of our coastal city at night.
I took some time off from my vacation in Maine to come back South and put in some work for you guys. This little silver gem has been described as “Straight Fire” by prominent graf cats on the West Coast. Piece by PYSE, character by unknown. Belton “Chrome-Effect” fill-in outlined by MTN “Rojo Claro”. Translucent White shows up on Silver like a thin layer of snow on a frozen lake; dig the starburst highlights to the sides. This piece was a warm-up that I painted the day before my gallery show in Lanesville, MA…
In late July I was invited to paint some sheets of corrugated roofing on a remote island off the coast of Maine. There was a mid-summer Dionysian celebration in the woods that included two DJ’s, a pig roast, six kegs, and one graffiti writer in the middle of it all. The “Smith” piece is by PYSE, a dedication to the man who makes the event possible (and of course a nod to the NYC RTW legend). Black-Cherry PYSE burner was lighting up the dance floor all night. Check out L.M.F.D. aka DJ Luke MF Duke, he was spinning wax for us after bringing crates of vinyl over on a skiff with an outboard.
Last week I was up late watching Netflix and had the pleasure of watching “The Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat”, an animated film based on the comic strip by the famous R. Crumb. Being an alley cat myself, I knew we’d eventually get down. Smoking Burner by PYSE, Fritz the Cat by a VERY special anonymous guest (Fritz sketch by PYSE). I’ve been really stoked on transparent paints lately, evidenced here by the starburst on the far left and the smoke drifting from Fritz’s, a ‘hem, cigarette.
…Sometimes being a professional house-painter by day has its advantages. This Blockbuster was painted entirely with a 9” roller, a 3” roller, and a 16′ roller-pole. PYSE also has a seemingly endless supply of acrylic house-paint, this one features a fill-in with the finest Benjamin Moore ‘Regal Select Interior’ Matte-Finish “Abalone Grey”, and an outline in Ben Moore ‘Ultra-Spec 500 Interior’ Flat-Finish “Deep Royal”. Anything less would be uncivilized.
Pyse117 celebrates his healthy, happy, and safe return to the North Shore of Massachusetts with a fresh Burner and a big Welcome-home to inexplicable, irrepressible, unemployable Talerock86. This little beauty features a deep-mauve-to-flat-black fill-in with an Easter-yellow (Montana Goldline) outline, Dayz-yellow (Plutonium) 3-d, and highlights in Madrid-red (MTN Hardcore). The theme here is the successful navigation of an asteroid field painted in Barcelona-blue (MTN 94). Still sizzling from the strength of the Florida sun, Pyse cools out in the frigid darkness and peaceful isolation of his home-nebula in the deep-space-Cape.
Pyse’s Winter Tour wraps up in big bad B’More.
This has been a wonderful tour, BIG THANK-YOUs to all of the awesome people who made it possible. This final mural was done at east-coast thrash oasis “Charm City Skatepark” in Baltimore, MD– an indoor, warehouse-style facility that features multiple floors of skating bliss. I’ve been feeling the Montana Black “Copper-Chrome” fill-ins lately with “Magic Black” Low-lights and “Shock White” highlight dots from an NY fatcap. The skyline of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor is silhouetted by a fiery sunset just a few days ahead of the Freddie Gray Riots.
Danny’s new Custom Mural for Dogtown Daycare & Boarding, Lexington, KY!
Dogtown Daycare owner Tiffany Morrow has commissioned a brand new exterior mural from Journeyman Artist Danny Diamond. The artwork depicts a futuristic motif of her customers as copper-chromed androids delivering their pups to Dogtown. Lexington’s silhouetted skyline and a warm pink and orange Kentucky sunset make up the background which is highlighted by Downtown Lexington’s landmark skyscraper “Big Blue”.
PYSE drops a portrait of the late, great Elliott Smith in Lexington, KY.
Pyse returns to the Krog St. Tunnel, Atlanta with a Dead-Letter in one hand and a Burner in the other. March 2015
Post-New Orleans I’ve spent the remainder of this February 2015 travelling through the sunshine state. I drove the VW east from Louisiana along the gulf coast into Pensacola and through Apalachicola and Tallahassee, eventually arriving in Tampa Bay to visit my friend in Clearwater. I hadn’t been to the Tampa Bay area since ’98 when I came down here on a skating tour to visit Tampa’s famous skatepark ‘The Spot’. While exploring the city, I revisited a favorite skate-landmark called ‘The Bro Bowl’, a serpentine run into a five-foot-deep bowl that was poured in the late 1970’s. It’s still a joy to skate, one of the free-form concrete old-school pours preceding the cookie-cutter and Masonite designs that exploded across the country in the 1990’s. Regrettably, the Bro Bowl, once located in a tough neighborhood in East Tampa, will be destroyed in the very near future to make way for gentrification, a condo complex, and urban renewal, etc. However, the city has promised to build a replica of the bowl a mere couple hundred yards from where the original one stands. A piece of classic skateboarding history will be lost; I’m glad to have skated it once more before it’s gone.
While staying in Clearwater I designed a fresh logo for my friend Ryan “Landshark” Clancy’s clothing company “Nightbreed Nocturnal Apparel”. Ryan is a mainstay in the Western Florida EDM (electronic dance music) scene, as well as an indomitably creative entrepreneur. I’m looking forward to wearing a first-edition print of my design on one of his tees and to further Skribblefish/Nightbreed collaborations in the future. Clearwater is just a stone’s throw away from Saint Petersburg, where I spent a couple days digging the scene and documenting the mural work. On the reverse of the bars and boutiques that line St. Pete’s Central Ave. there is a two-block long string of highly impressive mural work by local artist Sebastian Coolidge, who paints murals of fantasy and whimsy—massive images of the Mad Hatter and a wine-imbibing bicyclist with elongated limbs riding a bike made of vines and flowers. St. Pete also boasts a couple murals by internationally renowned graffiti writer Bask, whose distinct style is a collision of playful cartoon faces and pop advertising images (like the Morton Salt girl) with symbols of war, death and gore. His work can be found in the famous publication “Graffiti World”, a veritable bible of reference for the graf culture. There are also a couple productions to be found in St. Pete by the AM7 crew which features writers from Miami, Atlanta, and LA; their work often includes seemingly alien faces and visages amidst psychedelic nebulas of highly contrasting colors and bold, graphic shapes like bubbles and starbursts. The mural work that I saw in St. Pete generally includes motifs that you might expect of Florida, lots of palm trees, alligators, and orange blossoms, all painted in bright, tropical colors. There is a soothing atmosphere to the colors than the styles that relax into the landscape, a refreshing departure from the aggressive, confrontational street-art which characterizes cities further north.
After five days in Tampa Bay, I travelled south to Sarasota and spent a couple of afternoons relaxing on the powdery white-sand beaches of Lido Key. On a Saturday evening I lucked into a reggae/ska show at local Sarasota custom micro-brewers “JDub’s”, who were celebrating their one-year anniversary with bands “Sowflow” and “Bootleg”. After a long night of suds and a good solid sunburn, it was time to head north again to Orlando. Florida, in general, is not fond of graffiti culture, perhaps due to its desire to maintain its appeal as a tourism-centric state; any blight upon the aesthetic of clean, polished, sun-bleached concrete is greatly discouraged. Orlando “struggled” with a substantial graffiti problem in the 90’s and eventually ceded the neighborhood of Mills 50 to street artists, permitting the artwork go un-buffed as long as it had the blessing of respective property-owners. This concession made way for some high-caliber walls by Florida muralists Andrew Spear, Mark Gmehling, Zoer, Riot, Killer Ric, Cem Two, AM7, and Earl Funk.
Some of the best graf in the city can be found at Mills 50 Vietnamese restaurant “Pho 88”, which boasts consistent productions by the artist mentioned above, as well as a silver throwie from Brooklyn bomber and NYC all-city legend Skuf YKK. Andrew Spear is holding down at least half-a-dozen productions in Mills and appears to be sponsored by Redbull. His style is often duo-chromatic, geometric portraiture painted in mixed media that includes minute detail in felt-marker. The subjects of his black-and-white portraits are hip-hop scenes, b-boys, and beautiful women set against backgrounds of primary colors in large, saturated shapes. While Zoer, Riot, Killer Ric, and Cem Two paint in the semi-wild letter structure that is ingenuous to the east coast, while including themed-backgrounds and characters into their productions. Their current installation at Pho 88 is a holdover from the holiday season that features a massive Santa Clause by Killer Ric and a foreground of snow and brightly colored presents (not that they know a damned thing about snow in Orlando). After a couple days of pounding the pavement of Mills with my camera and dining on delicious Vietnamese fare, I headed to downtown Orlando. On a mild mid-February evening, I scalped into a ballgame between classic rivals Orlando Magic and Miami Heat at the Amway center. I’d never been to a pro game where half of the attendance is rooting for the visiting team. The game went to OT, but the Heat took it from the home team.
The final leg of my Florida travels brought me to the Northwest cities of Gainesville and Tallahassee. Gainesville is a sleepy college town centered around the University of Florida, who have given over a section of their campus along 43rd St. to street art. The spot is a retaining wall that sprawls over a hundred yards beside six lanes of heavily trafficked road. Unfortunately, most of the wall is overrun by fraternity graffiti and it’s generally used as a kind of DIY bulletin board for the UF kids who indiscriminately paint over good work with poorly executed love-notes, etc. I was told by one local artist that the serious graffiti writers of Gainesville have all but given up on painting there. I couldn’t resist, however, and so I painted a “Copperchrome” burner with a duel-purple outline and a cityscape resting against a fiery “Shock Red” background.
I waited out a day of heavy rains and then continued on to Tallahassee where I’d been invited by private folk-art collector Hugh Taylor to paint a commissioned mural on a Shaker fence in his “Cracker Homestead”. Hugh’s property is located about twenty miles south of Tallahassee in beautiful Wakulla County. His lawn is a veritable garden of found-object-sculpture and cracker-folk-art including a giant Paper-Mache Mastodon, a graffiti panel by Miami writer “Bash”, and a water fountain made of toilets and dedicated to Elvis Presley. Hugh jokes that he’s “Been lowering Property Values in Wakulla County for over fifteen years.” His passion for folk art led him to become a full-time collector and dealer, retailing the work of locals in his shop “Pelican Place” on West Gaines St. in downtown Tallahassee. He loves the form because of its looseness in medium and technique, what he describes as a “no-school” element of self-taught creativity that is utterly spontaneous and without the girders of convention and form. Hugh considers the work that he collects to be a direct emotional extension of the “crackers” who create it, a group that stands outside the norm, often scorned by educated society; often emotionally and physically damaged individuals who utilize their art form as a method of personal healing. He points out—“In order for a place to have character, it has to have characters.” and laments that the funky element of his county is being driven to the wayside by developers and the obsessions of the one percent. Being a collector of Folk-art became a way for him to figurehead a group of “people with nothing to gain who love Wakulla County.”
I found Hugh, his wife Mary, and their cracker homestead to be utterly inspiring, and by the second day there I found myself walking around barefoot in cuffed pant legs beneath a piece of folk-signage that reads “Take your shoes off Moses your on Holey Ground” (sic). Hugh has built himself a cozy “writing-shack” out of an old camper and recovered local lumber where he plans to work on a new screenplay. The writing-shack looks out on his garden and a Shaker fence that hems in his backyard. I was asked to paint a piece that would co-exist harmoniously with the swampy garden atmosphere, something that he could look to for inspiration and artistic relief while composing his writings. I set to work and created a semi-wild burner that reads “Pyose” and floats a three-dimensional illusion through a ninety-degree inside-corner of fencing. The piece is a cosmic combination of matte-black, galaxy-purple, and astral-blue, accented with starbursts of Easter-yellow and clockwork-orange. It’s outlined with shock-white, 3-d in London-grey, and “roped-off” with a perimeter of acid-green/shock-green. The mural also includes a panel of tattoo-style red roses growing on lawn-green vines that extend around a ninety degree out-side corner and enter the ground of the garden beneath the burner. Hugh was ecstatic with my new addition to his collection, which he plans to showcase at his upcoming annual culinary gathering, “South Pork”.
On my final day in Florida, I drove to downtown Tallahassee and dropped a dead-letter piece on the back of St. Michael’s Bar. It’s a quick silver-and-white-number with a vampire-purple outline and magic-black shadow effects, roped off with a pair of drippy blue tones. I always identify myself as a Boston artist when painting in other cities; this piece includes the famous Red Sox slogan “Reverse the Curse”. Other writers who currently grace St. Michaels include Miami-based “Bulk” and Tallahassee mainstay “Bugsy the Saxon Pusher” who’s been writing since ’69 in his old-school, impromptu style. All in all, Tallahassee was a magical experience and one of the highlights of my travels in the south. My thanks go to the Taylors for their hospitality and the inspiration that they’ve brought into my travels. For now, I’m headed back to Atlanta. Cheers.
The second week of February 2015 brought me to the beautiful city of New Orleans for the Mardi Gras Carnival. I checked into a hotel in the heart of the French Quarter and hit the streets with my camera. NOLA is a fine-looking city; the brightly colored, terraced town-houses are adorned with ornate iron-work. Revelers and guests lean lazily on iron banisters above the seething crowds of Bourbon St, tossing purple, gold, and green strings of beads. These charming iron and plaster facades are set against the decidedly modern backdrop of downtown beyond Canal St; skyscrapers that line the Mississippi River lighting up the sultry sky above the carnival. The streets of downtown are inlaid with trolley tracks that provide an easily accessible network of urban public transit—red and yellow trolley-cars that mingle with the busy street traffic. Everywhere there is a permeating smell of Cajun cooking, a rich mixture of beer, bay seasoning, and gumbo spices floats through the air.
The public arts scene in New Orleans is primarily focused on performance art. What the city lacks in public visual arts and murals, it makes up for with music, parade, and dance. I spent an evening at a bar called “The Spotted Cat” taking in a set by “The Shotgun Jazz Band”, who played to brass and clarinet-centric jazz style of Louisiana. A couple nights later I made it to The Civic Theatre to see New Orleans natives “Cowboy Mouth” play their distinctive blend of theatrical punk and Cajun-creole music, which included a punk-rock rendition of “Iko Iko”. The house-bands and marching bands of the city were talented to a fault, turning out versions of “Oh When the Saints Come Marching In” and “House of the Rising Sun” that seemed to be issuing from every street corner during Mardi Gras.
As the holiday weekend approached, I was able to pull myself away from the party for long enough to track down old friend and New Orleans parading queen Katrina Brees. Katrina heads up the legendary Krewe of Kolossos: “An inspiring mobile spectacle transforming trash into a whimsical world of colorful Carnival.” Katrina took me for a tour of her studios at the Bywater Art Lofts where she fabricates custom bike-floats and Mardi Gras costumes from refuse and discarded items. Her creations are stunning: ride-able seahorses, caterpillars, and bulls made from three-wheeled bicycles; sequined and bejeweled costumes for her dancing troupe “The Bearded Oysters”. Katrina invited me to march in the next days’ Mardi Gras Parade which was an experience like no other; I have never seen such wild revelers, or streets paved with beads and crushed beer cans. The parade route was five miles long and packed by thousands of screaming revelers; our troupe was flanked by “The Flying Elvi’s”—a group of motor-scooter riding Elvis impersonators. Drinking on the street is legal in NOLA; by the end of the night my shoes were soaked in brew and I was happy to retire to my hotel and take a long shower.
As far as the Graffiti/Mural arts scene of NOLA is concerned, I saw precious few examples of full-blown murals in my travels around the city; they included a several-stories tall painting of a clarinet on the Hyatt, and a Cajun pianist playing amidst a swamp on the side of Gallery Twenty-one Fourteen. Simply put, it seems that all of the arts in this city, even the visual arts, lend themselves to its musical heritage. The graffiti scene doesn’t include very many full-blown colorful pieces or “burners”; rather it’s a very handstyle (tag) and throw-up (bubble-letter)-oriented place. The city is very walkable and accessible by public trolley, so the doorways and alleyways of the city are covered with quickly-executed spray-can and paint-marker handstyles. The most prolific of the local writers seem to be Achoo, Realm, Old Crow, and the VRS crew; all of whom focus on covering large swaths of the city with consistent tagging. The most developed and attractive pieces of graffiti in the city roll through on the freight trains that cut through the French Quarter along the Mississippi River carrying pieces by Rust, Saint, Used, and Baltimore legend Jase. I did not get a chance to paint in NOLA while I was there, but there’s always next time. Now I’m headed along the Gulf-coast into Florida, toward Tampa Bay and points south.
I’ve spent the first week of this February 2015 in the neighborhood of Little 5 Points. Atlanta, GA. It’s a large, automobile-centric city with a vivid public arts scene. Apart from the famous Atlanta “Living Walls” project which brought muralists of note from across the country to adorn the city’s underpasses and retaining walls, there is an abundance of mural work on the facades and the sides of private businesses. On my first night here, I went out to a pub in the East Village with “visionary artist” Carl Janes who has worked with Living Walls as well as pursuing private large-scale installations. His notable commercial projects include the colorful facades of the entire “Mellow Mushroom” Pizza Franchise. He labors on his pieces and designs at his studio “The Secret Spot” in the East Village. Carl works in mixed-media, incorporating elements of sculpture (like a statue of Ronald McDonald) and everyday objects (like globes) into his pieces. He also works on traditional canvas, using a collage technique in newsprint, currency, and acrylic. Carl took me around the Village and gave me a tour of the murals there; work by Never, Interezni Kazki, Skie, Merlot, and Rude; all very impressive pieces.
I had been aware of Never’s work before because of his recent residency in Brooklyn, where he paints his iconically distraught owls, however I didn’t know that he’s actually an Atlanta native. He has pieces in spots across the city, including Little 5 and the Atlanta Beltline. Later on in the evening Carl and I stopped into a Heavy-Metal show at a venue called “The Graveyard”, before closing out the night at “The Flatiron Grille”. Before I headed home, I asked Carl about a good spot to paint in the city; he mentioned the famous “Krog St. Tunnel”, a section of Krog St. that runs beneath a CSX Freight Yard that has been turned over to graffiti writers and street artists by the powers that be. He also told me a story about the spot: recently a Masquerade Ball was planned to take place inside the tunnel, traffic would be diverted and revelers would sip adult beverages and have their pictures taken amidst the backdrop of real, hardcore graffiti art; of course, admission would be charged. Word of this party spread to the graffiti writers of Atlanta, who took exception to the fact that they were not offered a portion of the proceeds. So, they all got together, found a whole lot of grey bucket-paint, and buffed-out (painted over) the entire tunnel. Needless to say, the party’s promoters were caught off guard, and found themselves in the position of having to search frantically for new talent to paint the blank walls; they needed to hire “graffiti scabs” if you will. Apparently, they were able to entice some less-experienced writers with the offer of free paint, and the party came off in royal fashion minus the royalties. A couple days after meeting Carl, I stopped through Krog St. and left a silver and blue dead-letter piece for the city to remember me by.
The next day I took a long walk through Little 5 and documented all of the wonderful mural work that’s here. There are a diversity of styles, everything from black+grey, traditional portraiture, pop-art, traditional Japanese illustration to abstract, comic-book illustration, and wildstyle graffiti. Little 5 has pieces by Peter Ferrari, CamsOne, Tare, ClogTwo, RisingRedLotus, Greg Mike, and R. Land. Little 5 is packed tight with tattoo shops, cafes, bars, and salons. I couldn’t help but be reminded of Central Square in Cambridge by this charming little neighborhood. Later on I paid a visit to Master Builder, Designer, and TV personality Bryan Fuller at his Hot Rod Shop in the North end of town. He showed me the wealth of pieces that he has commissioned from local muralist and graffiti veteran Totem. The artwork blends seamlessly with the interior of the shop; murals depicting skulls in fly-away helmets and goggles adorn the sliding doorways and giant steel lockers of the shop with smoldering reds and orange tones. The exterior of the building displays a ’50 X ’20 mural of a character in goggles, a double-can respirator, a helmet, and leather; looking like the dark visage of a post-apocalyptic Hot Rod warrior. Totem has several other prominent pieces in the city; he’s my favorite of the Atlanta school so far.
I’m excited to announce that I’ll be beginning my winter tour of the East Coast in the New Year. I’ll be road-tripping South with plenty of paint and a full sketch-book, in search of new spots and new adventures. So, if you are in RI, CN, NY, NJ, PA,DW, MD, VA, NC, SC, GA, KY, FL, or LA, Please contact me to schedule a Mural! I will be happy to drive to your spot and accommodate your artistic desires…
Here’s the Annual Re-vamp of the Prince Insurance Wall in Gloucester, MA.
“True Sorrow is as Rare as True Love.”
Pyse rolls through Roxbury and drops some style on the Funk Massacre Party, November 15th 2014.
This was a really fun event hosted by the Section 17 kids. Three stages of live music and art installations spread across three floors of a converted industrial space. Props to Section 17 for keeping the underground scene throbbing and drenched in paint. Go support them. https://www.gofundme.com/section17/donate?amt=20
Annual Halloween Piece in Beverly, MA. Sahara RIP.
Happy Hallows, guys.
Full Paint-job and Stain Finish of the entire Exterior. Fall 2014
This is a collaboration with Pride, the Wizard is by Danny Diamond.