peeped on the streets! Stephen Pellegrino

July 27, 2016 at 7:05 pm

As NHLV gets back in touch with the heartbeat on them streets, from the East to the West and everywhere in-between, NHLV highlights photographer Stephen Pellegrino. Stephen AKA Emptycans.NYC, shoots images of graffiti, daily life on the East Coast, and scenery of the city. Stephen sometimes shoots people in motion, with streaked or clear clarity on his subjects making them look like ghosts of the city. Enjoy!

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Interview with Ekto out of England!

June 22, 2016 at 4:34 pm

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I Had no idea what painting in London would be like, and I was given a chance to get a wall with EKTO, and it was well worth it. The guy is a wall killer, plus a good all around graft head. He’s on my radar for big things in the future and he should be on yours too!

Neighborhood Love: What neighborhood did you grow up in and what neighborhood do you represent now?

Ekto:  I grew up on the outskirts of East London in a town called Dagenham. It was a pretty shitty estate but we was young and made our own fun, I still live in Dagenham, born and bred I’ve been here since day one.

NHLV:  How did you get started doing Graff, and who would you say were your early influences?

Ekto:  I started doing graff thru friends. I was last to start out of our group. There was ‘dose’ ‘inta’ ‘faze’ ‘lame’ ‘tobs/shiny’ (rip). They had all been doing it a while, so when i started i looked incredibly bad. While they had their handstyles on check, I was just figuring out how to hold a pen.

My influences were mostly local writers, and of course London’s DDS. I was into my dubs and tracks, so it’s natural to look up to them guys. No one’s done it as good as they did since, or ever will. An early influence of mine was ‘tel’ who later become ‘vainz’ of esk and then later awe crew. He was from my estate so all my pals latched on to him and learned a lot.  He got up and crushed it locally. He was the guy for a bit. Before him was ‘binone.’ He was a bombers bomber. My later influences are simple, ‘shine’, ‘react’, ‘ster’, ‘brave1’, ‘stet,’- wildstyle painters and all rounders. Top writers who all crushed it at one point or another.

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NHLV: So these days, the trends in graffiti have switched to basic or old school styles, with an emphasis on color. I consider you more of a wild style type. How do you feel you fit in to the graph seen these days?

Ekto: It seems graffiti is cyclic for most writers. I found myself stuck in a cycle of rinse wash rinse repeat, I wasn’t trying to push myself all the time.  I am now. There are personal reasons for that but that’s a whole different story. Those that know- know. Nowadays I’m kinda breaking down my graffiti into 3 separate tiers: the wildstyles I save for events / big paint ups, the semi wild I keep for the average days painting, and the more styled letters for quick pieces or if I need to paint something faster than usual. I like painting all types of graff whether it’s a blockbuster a character or a wild mild or child ;). I’m not a one trick pony and people seem surprised when I drop something else, but hey- I’m that wildstyle guy! In answer to the question, I fit where I’m needed to fit. If I’m painting with writers that paint simpler styles with chunky shapes, I’ll do the same for the sake of the wall. Nothing better than a nice wall with styles that aren’t too different

NHLV: Graffiti’s growing worldwide these days. Can you tell us about some of the cities you’ve traveled to and painted and what are your favorites?

Ekto: I haven’t travelled as much as I should but for me Ireland is spot on. And if you’re looking for a place to go you won’t find a better bunch of people. No egos. Just real writers where the rules still apply. Cardiff in Wales is a hotshot too. Them guys burn!

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NHLV: Do you think the city of London has had an effect on your graff or how your graff comes off?

Ekto: No. I predominantly ignore London and it’s styles. It’s got a great scene, the people are great and I love the writers, but it’s not my scene.  I live on the border of Essex and East London. But I consider myself to be from Essex where everything is wildstyle. It’s what we do.  London is very diverse for style. There is a lot of stencil and arty stuff that goes up. Not a lot of it is good and it dilutes the real graffiti styles.

NHLV: Can you tell me some of your favorite spots of London, like maybe food spots, drinking spots or even places to paint?

Ekto: If I hit London it’s normally Leake Street or a day out that has nothing to do with graff. I live so close, it’s a novelty you never use, if that makes sense. I’d sooner travel 500 miles to a different town as it’s not the ‘norm’

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NHLV: As styles turn to old-school and basic, I noticed that your wild styles have gotten more complex. In fact, in my opinion, you’re one of the best wild style artist out there right now. Do you have any plans for your styling in your graffiti career?

Ekto: Thank you. But I feel I’m far far far from a word like ‘best.’ I know where I’m going it’s just taking a little while. I’m building up to it. I’m personally looking to pull off some of the wildest pieces ever painted but still keep it readable. That’s the trick. If the letters are too wild then it’s a mess. There’s a balance and it’s easy to overcook a piece. I’ve done it many times! Haha that’s the future. It’s wild. Really wild.

NHLV: Do you have any upcoming painting our projects that you’d like to put some shine on?
Ekto: That would be telling. There’s a video dropping in the United States for a paint company hopefully sometime soon but that’s all you’re getting 😉

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NHLV: I definitely would like to see you out in the United States painting.  Are there any cities that you would like to hit or people you’d like to paint with?

Ekto: I plan to hit the US at some point not sure when but it will happen. Maybe a few of us. Definitely swing out West and hook with the CBS guys, they are doing it, ‘saute’, ‘elser’, ‘apexer’, etc etc. And of course NYC, hit up some cool guys there. It’s on my list for sure! It will happen maybe next year.

NHLV: Thanks for everything. Keep doing what you’re doing. You’re looking really fresh. Last would you like to give me shout outs?

Ekto: Thank you bud ✌.  Shouts to everyone I paint with and who have pushed me along the way. Especially the past two years, Kanz, and the 4D crew, ster, rask, react, and everyone along the way. Respect to all.

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Vintage Vegas and Retired Lights

June 15, 2016 at 1:52 pm

Love it or hate it, there is no place on earth like Vegas. I was in the Arts District recently and found plenty to get involved in, outside the usual fan fair. I shopped at many stores specializing in 60s antiques and old relics of Vegas casinos. I bought postcards, playing cards and tumbler glasses of vanished casinos. The city makes a considerable effort to preserve the signs that have become an iconic part of Las Vegas. I appreciate the nostalgia of the 50s and 60s. And while tacky as hell, it was pretty fabulous.

If you have the time, I suggest leaving the strip and visiting the Neon Museum.  It is all the retired lights that have found a home in the Neon Boneyard.  I took the day tour, but there is a lighted night tour available as well.  Use the link at the bottom of the article if you are so inclined

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I find interesting how Vegas “reinvents itself” while still maintaining its core Vegas values of excess, debauchery and fantasy. In the 40s, the casinos took on images of the old west with hotels named Frontier, The Golden Nugget and El Rancho. In the 50s, when Vegas hit its stride, the themes acknowledged the fact that you were sitting in the middle of the desert. Casinos named Sundance, Sahara, Sands Dunes, and Desert Inn promoted the desert as an exotic oasis. Not many hotels have continued on with this theme, the only one I can think of is The Mirage.

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After that, in the 90s, it seemed people went to Vegas to be anywhere BUT Vegas. The Venetian, Caesars Palace, Paris, New York New York, and Rio opened. I think this was time period we officially lost the cheap buffets Vegas was notorious for.

Today, Dunes has been replaced by Bellagio, Sands replaced by Venetian, The Desert Inn is The Wynn; and Aladdin replaced by Planet Hollywood. We have all seen the demolition videos of the buildings. My favorite story is how they unearthed the old vintage Sands casino chips when they demolished the New Frontier (pictured below). It is also rumored that casinos used to dispose of their obsolete chips by tossing them overboard into Lake Mead, or dumping them in the concrete foundation of a new casino. I guess this shouldn’t be surprising with mobsters running the city.

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Those hotels must have been an experience back in the day.

Places to Visit:

Neon Museum:  http://www.neonmuseum.org/about/the-collection/neon-boneyard

Viva Las Vandal! 2016

June 8, 2016 at 6:38 pm

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Viva Las Vandal was a great event with 25-30 people enjoying Las Vegas, painting and laughing the whole time with no beef or stress!

I had the idea for “Viva Las Vandal” from a couple of things, and I’m glad it all came together. I felt really lucky to be a part of the first couple of “Colorado Crush” Events out in Denver Colorado, to help them grow and bring both coasts of the USA to paint at that event. Also, in the past, I had painted the “Meeting of Styles” and the “Cobras VS Lords” events in Las Vegas. Ras One was a great host both times. He is a chill easygoing guy who has put in a ton of work to make the old downtown area of Las Vegas, a real painters paradise and an art district respected by the city.

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So I decided to ask Ras if he would help host an event that would grow year by year, and he said “yes”. “Viva Las Vandal” was born! I had bug plans for the first event, but had to readjust – having just moved into a house with my wife. So I let everyone know, if you still wanted to come through and paint, that I couldn’t cover paint the first year, but that it would still be a great time. I’m thankful to all that came through. And I know next year will be bigger and better! Next year, I look forward to getting paint sponsors on board, selling paint at the event, getting food trucks, and vendor booths to help support the event.

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As word of the event grows, I plan on bringing in graffiti painters from both the East and West coast. Plus I have my eyes on Europe, to bring in some dope painters from over seas! I have no doubt that this will be an event enjoyed by many people and will grow to be a staple in the graffiti community. See you there in the future and stay painting.

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a HUGE thank you again to all the businesses and heads that came through and helped roll walls, keep a great vibe and help out. I look forward to Viva Las Vegas 2017!

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Neighborhood Love Radio #119

October 23, 2015 at 11:20 am

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Every ending a new beginning. Fall time is here. Time shed our skin.
This is the N. Broadway playlist. Come past.

The list:
1) “No Time to Burn” Black Heat
2) “Feel Like Making Love” Gene Lawrence
3) “Entrance Theme” Igbo
4) “Well Well, Don’t Worry About Me” The Como Mamas
5) “The Truth” Moonchild
6) “Sly” Jesse Fischer & Sly5thAve
7) “War Is Coming! War Is Coming!” War
8) “Forever Mine” Andra Day
9) “Make Some Room” The Suffers
10) “Anthem” Groove Collective
11) “Respect (feat. Mara Hruby & Van Hunt)” The Decoders
12) “Wild Cookie” Jill Scott
13) “Family Affair (Re-Recorded)” Sly & The Family Stone
14) “25 Miles” Edwin Starr

VIVA LAS VANDAL! paint jam in Las Vegas, NV!

October 13, 2015 at 5:09 pm

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Come check us out! Graffiti painting on large production walls all the way down to solo walls. With Graff artists from the East Coast to the West Coast coming and some special invites from some of our European homies to bless the walls. There will be vendor booths, food trucks, tattooing and more to be announced!

Please contact us about vendor booths or questions about event. Sure to be a fun time in Sin City!

NHLV talks with Sril out of Salt Lake City.

October 12, 2015 at 7:07 pm

Neighborhood Love Radio #118

October 8, 2015 at 4:02 pm

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Sittin’ on a milk crate. Hearing good music with a full belly and an iced tea. This is the Valerio Street playlist.
This week los Angeles DJ Astro 138 (Vinyl Record Association)comes past to speak about tings.
#118 is go!

The playlist:
1) “We’ve Only Just Begun (TM Juke Remix)” Lee McDonald
2) “Family Tree” Sharon Brown
3) “Girl (feat. Kaytranada)” The Internet
4) “Descent” Ticklah
5) “The Offering” Ikebe Shakedown
6) “Trying to Get Over” Sparkles
7) “A Funky Space Reincarnation” Marvin Gaye
8) “Baba Hya” The Lafayette Afro Rock Band
9) “Jan Jan” The Fabulous Counts
10) “Bull” Ego Ella May
11) “I Heard That” Eddie Russ

This Sunday, NHLV interviews the amazing Sril out of SLC!

October 1, 2015 at 3:34 pm

check it out as we chop it up with Sril, an amazing and humble artist. NHLV talks about Sril”s start and where he’s at now.Keep posted, this sunday…

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Neighborhood Love Radio #117

October 1, 2015 at 11:33 am

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Autumn begins and red super moon. Please enjoy number one one seven assembled with love in Downtown Los Angeles.

The list:
1) “Hot Shot” Saun & Starr

2) “Cincinnati Growl” Roy Ayers Ubiquity

3) “Calabash” Georgia Anne Muldrow

4) “Just Ain’t Gonna Work Out” Mayer Hawthorne

5) “A New Constellation” Quantic presents The Western Transient

6) “Feel Like Makin’ Love” D’Angelo

7) “Street Life” The Crusaders featuring Randy Crawford

8) “De La Soul (feat. Biz Markie)” De La Soul

9) “Politickin” Beastie Boys

10) “Groove City” T-Connection

11) “West Coast Poplock” Ronnie Hudson

12) “Yes You Do” Fanny Franklin