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Art and Architecture: Michael "KAVES" McLeer, Billy Burke, Sacha Jenkins - Skin Graf - Design and Style Series Event

April 24, 2013

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FREE - Berger Forum doors open at 5:30 p.m.

Acclaimed graffiti artist turned tattooist Michael “Kaves” McLeer discusses his groundbreaking new book Skin Graf. He explores the relationship between graffiti and tattoo art, delving into their deep connection and highlighting some of the most cutting-edge artists in the community today. Fellow experts Billy Burke and Sacha Jenkins also join Kaves for a conversation.

Graffiti and tattoos are now firmly entrenched as mainstream art forms. Over the past few decades, these raw products of street culture have converged in a unique visual aesthetic definitively documented for the first time in the compelling and inspirational book Skin Graf: Masters of Graffiti Tattoo (Prestel 2013). Famed graffiti tattoo artist Kaves and tattoo documentarian Billy Burke introduce, one by one, the masters of graffiti tattoo art, their personal stories, and their diverse handiwork. Each chapter contains an in-depth profile, a personal statement, and fascinating photos of studios and clients. Readers learn about the “skin graffiti” process, view brilliant “flash” drawings (design sketches for patrons to choose from), and come away with a new understanding of and appreciation for an art form that transforms the human body into the ultimate canvas for self-expression.

Kaves at work on a flash drawing at his shop. Photo by Angela Boatwright.Kaves at work on a flash drawing at his shop. Photo by Angela Boatwright.

Copies of the book are available for purchase and signing at the event after the audience Q&A.

Mike "KAVES" McLeer, is a world renowned graffiti artist and musician turned tattooist.  Having left his mark, literally, on the NYC transit system from the age of ten, Kaves turned his attention to "legal" art in the form of fine art and tattooing, as well as acting. Kaves has created original pieces for companies such as Nike, Adidas and Jaguar, the Beastie Boys, and the 2011 Beaujolais Nouveau wine label for Georges Duboeuf. Kaves’ images have been published in books including Henry Chalfant’s pioneering 1984 chronicle SprayCan Art, Burning New York, Mascots & Mugs: The Characters and Cartoons of Subway Graffiti, Fresh Paint NYC, Graffiti 360, Graffiti Planet 2 and Piecebook: The Secret Drawings of Graffiti Writers. His paintings have been shown everywhere from the MTV Real World: Brooklyn loft to the Gunter Sachs Museum of Fine Arts in Germany, The Blackstone Hotel in Chicago, The Hard Rock Hotel in San Diego and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. His first-ever New York City solo show during the summer of 2011 at the Hionas Gallery garnered overwhelming critical acclaim and saw collectors clamoring for works by the former “vandal.” Most recently Kaves created an original painting for Metallica’s Obey Your Master exhibit. He is one of only 30 artists chosen to represent the band’s lyrics for this groundbreaking show. Kaves owns and operates Brooklyn Made Tattoo a successful boutique tattoo parlor that also serves as the hub for his numerous creative endeavors.

Kaves at work on a flash drawing at his shop. Photo by Angela Boatwright.Kaves at work on a flash drawing at his shop. Photo by Angela Boatwright.

Billy Burke is a cultural documentarian and entrepreneur. Having spent his young life immersed as a student of fringe cultures, his work continues to be a mixture of study and play. Unearthing and revealing the redeeming qualities of street cultures and outlaw art forms and their collision with popular culture, Burke aspires to more than mere observation of this dynamic, but rather igniting significant change in how art, culture and innovation relate. He is the founder and principal of Fellowship Supply Co. As part of Burke's exploration, he has created, directed, and produced several documentary films and series, including work for the History Channel and the cable television music network FUSE. Burke holds a Master’s degree from the School of Visual Arts in New York City.

Sacha Jenkins is a writer, television producer and musician living in New York City. Jenkins has written/co-authored many books on the history of graffiti and hip hop culture, most notably Ego Trip's Book of Rap Lists (St. Martin's Press), The Way I Am: The Authorized Biography of Marshall "Eminem" Mathers (Penguin), and the Piecebook trilogy (Prestel). Jenkins' most recent projects include The Merciless Book of Metal Lists (Abrams) and the debut LP of his new band, The White Mandingos (Fatbeats/Universal) which features Bad Brains Bassist Darryl Jenifer and emcee Murs. In 2000, Jenkins was awarded a fellowship to the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University (via the National Arts Journalism Program). Jenkins' greatest achievement, however, came in the form of his brand new baby boy Marceau Aguila Jenkins-Cepeda.

Conceived and organized by Arezoo Moseni and in its third year, Design and Style is a series of events featuring discussions and presentations by leading professionals in the various design fields.