R5 Writings on the Wall

Westchester isn’t exactly one of those places that instantly pops into your head when you think of graffiti, but a young artist by the name of Christine Milo plans to change that.

The 27-year old Rhode Island School of Design graduate’s New Rochelle studio, 3rd Rail Studio, is home this month to a new exhibit titled “Wall Scrawl: a 360-Degree Exploration of Street Art,” featuring a compilation of murals, tags, collages, photography, paintings, sculptures and other up-and-coming urban-inspired artwork.

While the term “street art” refers to any art produced in a public space and is considered by many as vandalism, Chris Pierro, a graffiti artist for over 25 years who is featured in the show, says it really is an art form. “People dismiss it as vandalism, but the way you create a piece is the same as any other kind of art—it’s all blending and lines. It’s the same technique as painting, only with an aerosol can,” he said.

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In Milo’s opinion, it represents “the busy frenetic energy of the streets and the recycling of things — taking the old and creating the new.” In that case, the theme is in keeping with that of her own studio, which is in a large renovated garage with 18-foot high ceilings that she has revamped with white-washed walls, track lighting, and concrete floors and turned into a loft-like space reminiscent of art galleries in Soho.

Milo was inspired to put the exhibit together when she met Charlene Weisler, a well-known street art photographer who says her interest in the genre stems partly from how “immediate and transitory” street art is. Weisler, whose pieces range in price from $450 to $650, captures photos of various murals and paintings in public places and uses photos of the “tears and curls of paper as the art is decomposing and eroding to create [her] own composition.” Since Milo believes in allowing artists to “play a big part in how the show evolves,” she and Weisler collaborated in their search for unexposed urban artists to spice up the Westchester art scene.

Because of the studio’s close proximity to Manhattan, they also incorporated a few New Yorkers. Visitors can peruse and purchase works by artists Rudolf Gyselings, who says his “abstract paintings have a raw, rough appearance” that is consistent with the theme of street art and range in price from $2,500 to $5,000; Christopher Pierro, who goes by the name “Acept“; photographer Charlene Weisler; collagist Noemie Bonnet; female street muralist “MUCK” and sculptor Matt E. Johnson.

This kind of thing is not easy to find around here, but according to Weisler, “as Westchester develops an art gallery scene, this kind of work fits in naturally because it’s vibrant and current.”

“Wall Scrawl: A 360 Degree Exploration of Street Art,” now through July 28, 2007
Open Thursdays and Saturdays 1 p.m. to 5p.m. and by appointment
3rd Rail Studio
49 Plain Avenue
New Rochelle, NY 10801

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