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Articles By: sivan askayo

Sivan Askayo, originally from Israel, is a New York-based photographer, specializing in travel photography. After working few years as a Media supervisor for General Motors, she has decided to follow her passions of Photography, Writing and Traveling, and combine them all together, creating and documenting portraits of a city or a place through her lens. She traveled throughout Europe, North and South America, Alaska and China, looking for the complex, aesthetic and layers of a place and its people. She is currently involved with emerging artists groups both in NY and in Tel Aviv and is attending the International Center of Photography in New York, both as a student and as a teachers' assistant. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and her photographed articles were published in Travel, Life Style and Design Magazines in Israel and the US. She loves everything that has to do with Urban Art and Graffiti and follows it everywhere she travels

Paris, France, Urban Art, Street Art, Fred Le Chevalier

I’ve always wanted to follow a Street Artist. I mean, I follow quite a lot of them with my camera. Or when they come to New York, I do my best to follow them or even meet them, as it happened to me with Mr. Brainwash, JR, Shepard Fairey and Mr. Andre only recently. I’ve always wanted to follow a Street Artist in REAL time, when he sprays, pastes, colors or glues his art on the walls.

I’ve been following Fred Le Chevalier for a few months now. I took a random picture of one of his characters in a previous visit to Paris and since then I got hooked. I started following him on his facebook page, just to realize how active he is and how the characters which he pastes on the walls of Paris (and recently Berlin) are cute and  quirky at the same time. So I was very happy when Fred agreed that I join him on one of his walks in Paris one afternoon in early June.

Here are a few facts about Fred Le Chevalier that you didn’t know:

* Le Chevalier is not his real name. It is just a nick name which means ‘The Knight’ in French

* He has a completely different day job than what people might expect of a Street Artist

* He adds poetry to his characters and glues it as a signature with his name

* He pastes his characters during the day time

* He started drawing six years ago but he has been sticking and pasting characters on the walls only for the last three years

* He started drawing bigger characters in September 2011 and since then more people are noticing and discovering him (before that he was drawing smaller characters)

* His first exhibit was in March 2012 in a cafe in Paris where he invited most of his friends

* He claims to have two different lives

* He draws new characters every day but pastes them on walls only three times a week or when he has time

* He sees a wall and decides on the spot if he likes it or not

* He has a few favorite walls to put his art on: Namely in Montmartre, and in Rue Saint Merri around Centre Pompidou

* Some characters he draws are based on people he knows (I’m still waiting to see a character with a camera)

* He sometimes tries to paste the character close to where his friends live, as a personal present

Thanks Fred for having me around!

Paris, France, Urban Art, Street Art, Fred Le Chevalier

Paris, France, Urban Art, Street Art, Fred Le Chevalier

Paris, France, Urban Art, Street Art, Fred Le Chevalier

Paris, France, Urban Art, Street Art, Fred Le Chevalier

Paris, France, Urban Art, Street Art, Fred Le Chevalier

Paris, France, Urban Art, Street Art, Fred Le Chevalier

All images are by Sivan Askayo

Read more from Sivan’s  Urban Camera column  on Untapped.  Get in touch with the author at  sivanaskayo.com  and sivanaskayoblog.com  

I’ve been wanting to meet street artist Shepard Fairey for a while now (two years to be precise).  For those who are not familiar with Fairey’s work, I’m sure the image of Obama’s “Hope” poster from the 2008  election will ring a bell. In 2010, Fairey had a solo exhibition in Ditech Gallery in Soho on Wooster Street and promised to meet the first 100 people and give them a signed poster. Given his fame, I didn’t make it to the first 100 but I did make it to the show. May Day was a great success and since then, Shepard Fairey and his work have been stuck in my mind.

I finally met Shepard Fairey on May 5th at the opening of his latest show, Harmony and Discord,  at Pace Prints  in Chelsea. As Fairey’s work tends to be political, the current exhibit references the global dichotomy of politics and how  that reflects on the actions and awareness of the individual.

Some of the subjects in the exhibit illustrate his political assertiveness with figures such as corporate bosses, manipulative salesmen, and shadowy government officials. His images aim to create symbols and stereotypes of political and economic corruption.

While talking to some members of the crowd outside, Fairey was also giving away his recent sticker ‘Occupy Hope‘ to  some of his fans as a sign of his support for Occupy Wall Street.

The exhibit  Harmony and Discord  will be at Pace Prints until July 6th. If you are around Chelsea, I highly recommended checking it out.

Pace Prints 521 West 26th Street, 3rd & 4th Floors,  New York, NY 10001  T    212 629 6100, Gallery Hours:  Tuesday-Friday: 10-6,  Saturday: 11-6

Here are some of the images.

Read more from Sivan’s Urban Camera column on Untapped.  Get in touch with the author at sivanaskayo.com

As a street photographer who follows graffiti artists, some of the things I have on my “To Do” list are to witness an after-midnight/early morning street art installation (by artists like Space Invader and so many others that are active after midnight) and to visit a street artist’s studio to see the “Behind the Scenes” of it all: how do they live, how do they create, what’s their typical daily schedule and routine.

Last week I had the pleasure of joining one of the most creative and busiest graffiti/street art teams, Mike and Fernando, who are known as UR New York.

I heard about this dynamic duo from a friend of a friend who follows street artists. I like everything that has to do with urban stencils–especially of New York’s industrial and streets landscapes. While I was walking with Mike and Fernando in Greenpoint, Brooklyn toward a parking lot, to see them coloring and spraying a client’s truck, we passed through some tags and graphs that Mike pointed them out as his stuff, few years ago.

As creative artists who keep moving forward with reality, they combine different mediums such as photography, silk-screening, graphic design, and graffiti,using elements of their everyday lives to create surreal environments which individuals can relate to in one way or another. Their latest “beat” is painting, brushing and spraying trucks of owners who requested to change the look in order to attract more clients or sometimes just for fun. Mike and Fernando see it as an opportunity to make their art mobile. “It’s great to see a truck in the middle of the day with your art on it,” says Michael, and “knowing you are doing the right thing in spreading your vision.”

UR New York Duo was invited with other artists by the Israeli government to paint and color some bomb shelters in South of Israel and the separation wall in Jerusalem.They have been all over the globe with their art and mission. Their flickr page  reveals how active and creative they are.

If you are in New York this month, don’t miss their show at the POP Gallery in Soho, Breaking and Entering, running now till end of April.

Follow Untapped Cities on  Twitter  and  Facebook! Read more from Sivan’s  Urban Camera column  on Untapped.  Get in touch with the author at  sivanaskayo.com

Sivan Askayo-Keith Haring -Front-1

We were walking the other day in the West Village when we overheard the buzz on 13th street. There is a public viewing of the Keith Haring mural at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center. The mural will be available for public viewing for the most of March, during all hours of the Center operations (M-F 9am-10pm, Sa 11am-10pm, Su 11am-9pm).


“Some people become cops because they want to make the world a better place. Some people become vandals because they want to make the world a better looking place.”  –Banksy

It’s no secret that I love everything that has to do with street art. Whether they are shaped stencils, massive murals, colored stickers or even the ceramic tiles of the Space Invader, they all create a beautiful urban art that matters and affects the environment. I often say that as much as New York is a home to a great amount of museums, the real museums are not among the four white walls but outside on the streets.

As a photographer based in New York, the streets of this city have always been a great inspiration for my photography. And Banksy, Shepard Fairey/OBEY Giant, Mr. Brainwash, JR, Know Hope, Klone, ElbowToe and Swoon are some of the names I like to follow.  With time, my curiosity about street art has taken me beyond the streets of New York, to the streets of other major cities such as Berlin, Paris, London, Tel Aviv and one of the most surprising and inspiring cities; Buenos Aires.

Last February, I was invited by Graffiti Mundo to photograph one of their walking tours, a tour that followed the graffiti scene in the different neighborhoods of Buenos Aires.  Graffiti Mundo  started in 2009 with the goal of connecting people with the art on their streets while connecting the artists with their audience. They created guided walking tours that explain the historical context of the art scene, as well as the cultural movement.

With time, the organization focused on promoting and representing the individual artists and set up virtual gallery, came up with street art workshops, started a blog and curated exhibitions of street art. Graffiti Mundo became the “go-to”  with everything that has to do with street art and graffiti in Buenos Aires.

I was at awe while taking the tour. I learned so much about the street art culture and how influential it is in Buenos Aires. In fact, it is legal, like in Rio de Janeiro,   and supported. I’ve learned about the different and creative artists and heard some “Behind the scenes/behind the walls”  sort of stories. Once the tour was over, I was able to recognize the unique style of every street artist in the tour and I was so anxious, in fact, to take the tour again in the next day.

Next time you are visiting Buenos Aires, don’t miss out on this cultural, colorful experience.


To see more images of Buenos Aires Street Art, please visit my gallery.

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If the walls around us could talk, what would they say?

As a street photographer who follows graffiti and urban art,  I’ve been asking myself this question for a while now. They say  “A picture is worth a thousand words”    but sometimes even a short sentence sprayed on a wall, can deliver an abrupt if not important message to those who pass through it.  Street art can communicate directly with the public in a manner uncensored by official institutions (until they are painted over), while the walls serve as a canvas to voice a range of opinions that go beyond accepted boundaries.

The sentences and words serve as a street poetry, and like street art, they often promote a specific political or social agenda. Starting in the 1970s, those agendas were first addressed on the walls of America’s urban ghettos and downscale neighborhoods, but back then, the focus was primarily on economic issues.

The following images were taken by me from 2008 till 2011 in Berlin, New York, Tel Aviv and London.

Can you tell which was taken where?

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