Fresh Kills vs. kev of Robots Will Kill (and Magie Serpica)

Exhausted and happy, staying out of the Sun :)

Exhausted and happy, staying out of the Sun :)

Magie Serpica and I were invited by Monica of Staten Island Arts to do some live painting at the Fresh Kills sneak-peek event in September of 2013.  For those of you who might not know what Fresh Kills is, it’s the park land that is being reclaimed from the closed landfill on Staten Island.  It’s amazing, and somewhat controversial, but  I won’t get into any of that here.  We got a tour of the spot, and were shown the bridge wall we’d be painting at the event.

Original rough sketch

Original rough sketch

Private tour from the Park Ranger, and some of my prep work

Private tour from the Park Ranger, and some of my prep work

Buffing it out.  My brother, Sean, there for scale :)

Buffing it out. My brother, Sean, there for scale :)

My Blue Heron, in progress

My Blue Heron, in progress

Magie's scene in progress

Magie’s scene in progress

My completed Blue Heron (detail)

My completed Blue Heron (detail)

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Sonny 107 – Trenton, NJ

The finished piece.  "Sonny 107"

The finished piece. “Sonny 107″

I always wanted to paint on a bank in broad daylight :)

I always wanted to paint on a bank in broad daylight :)

In October of 2013, Will Kasso got permission for a bunch of us to paint store fronts in Downtown Trenton, NJ.  The “Storm The Gates” event was amazing, and at Kasso’s invitation, I got to paint the front of an abandoned bank along the main stretch of road going through the city.

Some of the folks hanging out, some of the folks painting.

Some of the folks hanging out, some of the folks painting.

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Rain and Demer on a roll down gate.

Rain and Demer on a roll down gate.

I usually don’t paint an image more than once (maybe twice!), but I was working with Flint Gennari on a series of portraits based on his own photographs of writers from back in the day.  The first in this series is Sonny 107, as the image always communicated to me, that pure joy of a young kid writing his name on a wall.

(Side-note: Flint has worked on some amazing stuff with 12oz Prophet.  Definitely worth writing more about him and this project on here in the future!)

My blank canvas, next to a spot already blessed by Kasso

My blank canvas, next to a spot already blessed by Kasso

Statement of Intent

Statement of Intent

After Kasso showed me where I was going to paint, and politely asked the gentleman (yes, gentleman) who was sleeping there to relocate temporarily, and I got to chat with the dude, (who was super nice and came back around ever couple of hours to watch the progress), I got to work.

Buffed and outlined

Buffed and outlined

So after a couple of hours, with a DJ playing some of my favorite early-to-mid 90s hip-hop in the background, I was finished and could head home.

Work in Progress

Work in Progress

The finished piece

The finished piece

Stay tuned, as I’ll be doing a write-up on my series with Flint, as well as some backstory for the Sonny 107 image.  This piece got some love from Sonny 107 himself, which for me is a big honor.

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“Spraycred Heart”

I’ve been getting more and more “sculptural” with how I think lately.  It’s probably due to all of the metalworking classes and projects I’ve been doing at SI MakerSpace.  So when Rain hit me up, saying that his boy Teel was looking for art pieces on spray cans, for a traveling art show titled “CANTANKEROUS” – all I could think was: “how do I say what I want to say, in 3 dimensions?”

Rough Draft

Rough Draft

I got my materials together.  An older/dead Krylon can, and a dead can of green IDontKnowWhatTheFuck.  And a fresh cutting wheel on the Dremel rotary:

Raw Materials

Raw Materials

After about 2 hours of measuring, cutting, gluing, engraving, stripping/winding copper wire with my Leatherman and (of course) WELDING, I was ready to send the finished piece off to Chicago.

The finished piece

The finished piece

Heart (detail) made from the top of the other can, with copper wire thorns.

Heart (detail) made from the top of the other can, with copper wire thorns.

The first showing of “CANTANKEROUS” will be 6/12/2014 @ Gallery Bar in Chicago!

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Jersey Fresh Jam 2013

Completed - panoramic

Completed – panoramic

Somewhere along my 2 hour drive down to Trenton, NJ – all of my plans blew up.  I was heading to the 2013 Jersey Fresh Jam, at the invitation of the good dudes in Vicious Styles Crew, with the promise of a Robots Will Kill wall for me and my crew mates.

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All dressed up…

The problem was – none of the other guys could make it down there, for one reason or another.  I already knew Chris wouldn’t be there, which is why I planned on painting portraits of him and his amazing wife, Melissa :)  Kind of a nod to the folks letting them know that their presence was missed on this beautiful day, while they were away on vacation.

9 layers of Chris face :)

9 layers of Chris face :)

As a stencil guy, I don’t generally like surprises.  90% of my work is done by the time I make it to the wall, sizing and details along with most of my color palette choices already worked out ahead of time.  The last thing I wanted was to get to Trenton and not be able to use the 60+ layers I cut for these portraits.

That’s when I spoke to Danny Intro.  He had been stuck in the same traffic from SI to Trenton, and wasn’t 100% sure of what he would paint that day.  After Demer showed us where we’d be painting, and a couple of minutes to work out the details, and some color choices – Intro started sketching out his lettering on the wall, and I dropped some silhouettes to work with.

Rough outlines

Rough outlines

We started painting around noon, and finally wrapped up around 6pm.  People kept coming over, asking us to hit up their blackbooks.

Intro workin' it out

Intro workin’ it out

 

Sure, I'll write in your blackbook... you're gonna need to let this dry for a while before ya close it :)

Sure, I’ll write in your blackbook… you’re gonna need to let this dry for a while before ya close it :)

Chris in progress

Chris in progress

After all was said and done, this last minute collab turned out to be one of my favorite pieces to date!  Thanks to Intro for improvising with me, and Demer, Kasso and Rain for inviting me down to play :)

Finished piece

Finished piece

Chris - detail

Chris – detail

Melissa - detail

Melissa – detail

Completed - panoramic

Completed – panoramic

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Staten Island Steel

"Staten Island Steel".  Photo by Scott Van Campen

“Staten Island Steel”. Photo by Scott Van Campen

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Hi! I’m Kevin Mahoney of Robots Will Kill. I’m an Artist, and I grew up in Staten Island, NY.

I’m also a member of the SI MakerSpace, where I’ve setup my studio, take classes on metal working, and generally spend all the free time I have learning and creating in a large space with curious and talented people. During a recent class on plasma-cutting, our teacher Scott Van Campen (pictured with me below, that same day) mentioned that they had some steel in the shop that was rusted from Hurricane Sandy, and we would be practicing on it because it had degraded to the point where it would be unusable for him in his everyday work.  Before they created the MakerSpace, this location was only home to Scott’s current metal fabrication business and the studio where he and his wife, DB Lampman, made/continue to make some amazing Art.

Unfortunately I could picture it, having witnessed similar damage to the homes of my family and friends.  Shortly after the storm hit- the spot where I was standing had been submerged in several feet of rushing water, destroying valuable equipment and materials. Devastating.

They not only salvaged what they could in the shop, but set the wheels in motion to expand into an adjoining space, building a hub for Artist studios and events, performances and meetings as an incubator for small businesses based around the premise of individual industry, creativity and ingenuity.

It’s in this spirit that I came upon the idea to create this series of pieces. Titled: “Staten Island Steel“, they are small outlines of the Island, cut from previously worthless sheets of rusted steel, constructed using the skills that I first learned and fostered here. Each one unique, mounted in a 5″ x 7″ signed/numbered shadow box.  Most pieces display the natural rust from the storm damage, but I’m including several boxes in the series that have been treated with a copper finish and/or heat-treated to bring out some incredible colors in the steel!  Half of all profits are being donated back into the SI MakerSpace, to support new build-outs, programming, or the purchase of new materials.

There is a PayPal link at the bottom of this page, where you can order your own limited-edition piece of SI pride.

The selling price is $65, plus $5 shipping for anywhere in the United States.  For international orders, to order more than one piece, or if you have any questions – please email me.

Thank you,
`kevRWK

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The “PILLZKILLZ” Wall

PILLZKILLZ – Staten Island, NY

I had the opportunity to paint with a large group of very talented local Artists, and put out a message that’s near to my heart recently.  To put this wall in perspective:  Prescription drug abuse is an epidemic in my hometown of Staten Island, NY.  In 2010 alone, 31 souls were lost here to “unintentional opioid analgesic poisoning”.  We have the highest rate of painkiller prescriptions, and deaths, per capita, in New York City.

A few weeks prior, Magie Serpica and I were looking for a wall to paint, and we wanted it to mean something.  Originally, we wanted to do a “solidarity” wall for the members of Pussy Riot, who had just been sentenced to prison in Russia for expressing their outrage with their church being in bed with the government there in what was, essentially, a peaceful protest.

Tariq from Richmond Hood Company approached us to paint the side wall on Castleton Avenue, and we realized it was too big for just the two of us.  He threw out a bigger net, and we started talking to Cody Prez, Mike Shane, Chris Malfi and crew from Art Off Paper, Kwue Molly, Charlie B. from the NYC Arts Cypher, and one of my all-time graff heroes – Gano Grillz!  Gano had been involved with painting the existing mural that already ran for over a year, and we felt that whatever we did would have to be worthy of painting over an already great piece! Continue reading

Posted in Art, RWK, Uncategorized

Oxidation

Oxidation

"Oxidation" 5ft x 3ft

This piece is the end result of my first ever planned and provided-for photo shoot, using a professional camera/lighting setup/backdrop (all graciously provided by Mike Shane).  Before this, I would glean photo reference from my camera-phone and cheaper point and shoots…

If “Steve” was a big step for me technically, this painting was a giant leap as far as control of the “raw material” going into a painting…  The model was a friend of my younger brother, and was about as nervous as I was in the beginning.  I bought the flowers last-minute for some color, erected the backdrop just in time for her to arrive.

I took the first picture without looking into the viewfinder, figuring that it would be like anything else – once you get the first word, line, cut (or in this case: photo) out of the way, the rest would be easy…

After a few minutes of awkward direction, we found our rhythm.  She would pose and hold her breath, I would crack a joke and she would literally *burst* into laughter (a combination of the unexpectedness of the joke and the held breath lent the laugh an explosive quality).  Following that, a moment of self-conscious pulling-herself-together, then a magical fraction of a second where her face would be relaxed (neither posing nor laughing), her posture was confident, solid and I got the sense that I was truly catching a glimpse of her (there between the seconds).   When I took the photo that became my basis for the painting, I knew it would work immediately.  It was the only picture that made me stop the shoot temporarily to show both Mike and the model!

The end result is what you see here, a 5 foot x 3 foot canvas, named after the alchemical process of Oxidation.

Posted in Art, Canvas, RWK, Uncategorized | 2 Comments