KAVES to be featured in forthcoming WRITE OF PASSAGE exhibit!

Mr. Kaves will be one of the featured artists in the much anticipated WRITE OF PASSAGE exhibit taking place at the Red Bull Studios in NYC beginning October 19th, and curated by Mass Appeal’s Sacha Jenkin


See below for details, and definitely check it out!

The Write of Passage exhibit will completely transform Red Bull Studios New York, guiding attendees through a history of graffiti’s roots. Featuring four interactive installations and a collection of mementos, artifacts and never-before-seen original works of art, this installation is an homage to graffiti’s founding mothers and fathers.

The Write of Passage exhibit is open to the public every Saturday October 19th – November 23rd from 1pm-5pm.

Red Bull Studios New York – 218 W. 18th Street, between 7th and 8th Aves.Email writeofpassage@massappeal.com for more information about guided tours, panel discussions and more during our gallery hours.

Contributions from A-One, Alan Bortman, Blake “Keo” Lethem, CES, Chris Pape Freedom, Claw, Cope 2, Cycle, David “Chino” Villorente, Daze, Dondi, Easy, “Metal Man” Ed Walker, Fargo, Futura, Greg “SP” Lamarche, Harley Spiller, Haze, Henry Chalfant, Jay “J.SON” Edlin, Kaves, KR Louie, Krink, Mare 139, Marke Ali Awfe, Michael White, Mike 171, MS 17, Samuel Kleiman, Serve, Sharp, Todd “Reas” James, Tommy Rebel, VFR, Wayne COD, Yes 2 and others.

Kaves – participating artist in Year One Exhibition at Hionas Gallery


Year One – A Commemorative Exhibition Featuring New Work From All Twelve Artists In Hionas Gallery’s First Year.
(June 20, 2012) – Hionas Gallery officially opened in June 2011 at 89 Franklin Street in TriBeCa. Owners Peter and Maria Hionas established the gallery to invite contemporary and emerging artists, working in all variety of media, to participate in monthly solo exhibitions to showcase their latest work and artistic vision. “We have been avid collectors of contemporary art since 1991,” says Peter Hionas. “It’s a modest storefront we have here, but also really spacious and versatile. I see us as operating in the tradition of the old Betty Parsons Gallery in midtown, or the original White Cube in St. James’s; small spaces that just show great art.”

For the culmination of its first year of operation, Hionas Gallery is incredibly pleased to present Year One, a blockbuster group exhibition like no other, showcasing twelve new works, one by each of the invited artists to have held solo shows at the gallery since its opening. The artist roster is comprised of John Belardo, Loretta Mae Hirsch, Kaves, Kiseok Kim, Tun Ping Wang, Melanie Vote, Warwick Saint, Chris Wyllie, Charles Lutz, Jessica Stoller, Burton Machen, and Karlos Cárcamo.

The opening reception for Year One will take place on Wednesday, July 11, from 6:00 to 9:00 pm. We welcome one and all to come out, don your summer’s best, and celebrate Hionas Gallery as it eagerly anticipates year number two.



Those Shepard Fairey-Designed MCA Billboards? Here’s How They Came to Be

By Shelley Leopold Thu., May 31 2012 at 9:52 AM

Shortly after the death of Beastie Boy MCA in early May, a billboard appeared on an industrial stretch of Venice; designed by Brooklyn artist Kaves, it was mostly black and white with a Beastie Boys photo and lyric. (It has since moved to Sunset.) This week another MCA billboard popped up on Fairfax, and then another on Sunset. Designed by Shepard Fairey, the latter two are black and red and feature an iconic Glen E Friedman photo.

Pretty sweet, but what’s the deal?

After the death of MCA (who was born Adam Yauch), a local fan named Jason May was heartbroken. He wrote email tributes and reminisced with a friend about seeing the Beastie Boys at the Cal Expo Amphitheater in 1986, but it wasn’t enough.

Having recently purchased a Kaves painting at an Exhibit A Gallery show earlier this year, he was inspired to contact the artist, who agreed to come on board for a tribute. After negotiating with CBS outdoor for some remnant space, May rented the billboards, and Fairey was brought on board. Both artists wanted to use Glen E. Friedman images, and the famed photographer was glad to be a part of the project.

“These are three great artists who were fast, willing and got what it was about with not a lot of questions asked,” says May. “The billboards just came together, just happened. I took my own money and just did it.”

Adds Friedman: “The artist renditions of the photographs are very cool. I like that they included the other guys, that was very respectful — the Beastie Boys are a team.”

“Ironically both of those photos are from the same roll of film,” Friedman continues. “One photo was taken on the Loyola Marymount Campus and the other on Pacific Coast Highway. It was a fun day. Rick Rubin once said it was his favorite photo session ever at Def Jam — it was the first one I ever did for them.”

There’s been a great response to the works so far, Friedman goes on. “I put the billboards on my personal Facebook page and a bunch of people who actually knew Adam got to see them and wanted to know who did it,” says Friedman. “They couldn’t believe it was just this dude who wanted to show his respect. DJ Hurricane demanded his email so he could thank him personally.”

deed, what’s most shocking about the project is that May (who declines to give out any personal information) seems to have no self-promotion agenda at all. “Adam Yauch was someone who deserves a public memorial, so now he has it — at least in L.A.,” he says. “I’m proud that I was able to do something in the name of great art and great music.”

No more designs are planned. Though he would love to expand to Chicago and New York, “I don’t have it in the budget,” he adds with a laugh.

Kaves chosen as a participating artist in the Metallica Obey Your Master Art Exhibit

Los Angeles, CA – August 22, 2011 – Exhibit A Gallery founder / artist Richard Villa III and legendary skateboarder Tony Alva announced today the Obey Your Master art exhibit. Obey Your Master will feature a collection of artists from the worlds of Art, Fashion, Film, Music and Skateboarding coming together to pay tribute to Metallica.


For the exhibit, the artists have all chosen a song by the heroes of metal, and will execute their vision in their individual artistic mediums, based on their interpersonal relationship to Metallica’s lyrics and music. The final art pieces will represent each chosen song, and will be revealed on January 20th, 2012 at Exhibit A Gallery to a private reception, with all of the artists and Metallica in attendance. The pieces will be available for purchase starting that evening, through March 23, 2012.


Rock music has always inspired fans and creative types alike, empowering and influencing them personally, sonically and artistically. Some examples of the influence of Metallica’s music on artists are with Obey Giant’s renowned street artist Shepard Fairey and his politically driven propaganda art. One could make the connection between Fairey’s art and an album like Metallica’s …And Justice for All. Starting in the early 1980′s, iconic skateboarder, Steve Caballero during skate competitions would correlate his music with his aggressive skate style, he would insist to organizers to turn up the volume and blast songs off Metallica’s Kill Em’ All album. Contemporary Metal band Black Veil Brides’ 20 year old frontman Andy Biersack, grew up listening to Heavy Metal music. One of his most fond memories of early adolescence, was sitting in his living room with his childhood friend watching Metallica VHS tapes. They would thrash along, singing every lyric and banging their heads until their necks felt as if they had been in a car crash. He states “As I got older and began to write my own songs, the tone and style of James’ lyrics and singing became a huge influence to me. The use of religious and cult metaphors and tenacity with which he sang was something I aspired to, and to this day continue to be inspired by. Metallica to me is the quintessential Heavy Metal band. Equal parts darkness, intellect and vitriol”. These are just a few examples, but there have been millions more who have drawn influence from Metal music, specifically from Metallica. Many of these artists are from all walks of life, they are now leaving their own indelible marks on the world and are driven in part by the intellectual rebellious lyrics of Metallica. Most of these creative fans have never had the opportunity to do any art related to the band…

Bay Ridge tattoo artist Michael ‘Kaves’ McLeer designs label for 2011 Beaujolais Nouveau

Michael McLeer of Brooklyn Made Tattoo on 93rd St. in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, designed the label for the new Beaujolais Nouveau and has his vintage 1976 Cadillac decorated the same way.

Bay Ridge tattoo artist Michael ‘Kaves’ McLeer  designs label for 2011 Beaujolais Nouveau

The grapes may be from France, but this year’s Beaujolais Nouveau was bottled with Brooklyn pride.

The wine is released just once a year, primarily by French producer Georges Duboeuf, and the 2011 vintage’s label was created by Bay Ridge graffiti artist Michael McLeer, who also goes by the name Kaves.

It’s the first time Beaujolais Nouveau, which goes on sale every third Thursday of November, has selected a street artist to design its bottle.

“We wanted to expose people to the celebration of Nouveau and capture the wine’s essence and the energy and unique perspective of Kaves’ art seemed to be an ideal vehicle,” says Franck Duboeuf, Georges’ son and co-proprietor of Les Vins Georges Duboeuf.

McLeer’s drawing of a vibrant street corner located between Live and Love Sts. was inspired by his upbringing in Bay Ridge.

A fourth-generation Brooklynite, McLeer still lives in the neighborhood — his four kids even go to the same school he attended — and runs the Brooklyn Made Tattoo shop on 93rd St.

“I’m known as a tattoo artist for doing beautiful neighborhood landscapes and I come up with these surreal streets with lampposts, fire escapes and storefronts,” he says. “It brings you back home to your roots and your childhood. We would sit on the corner and congregate and drink some vino.”

McLeer, 42, got his start in street art as a teen. He made his way around New York City tagging subway tunnels and was featured in writer Henry Chalfant’s collection “Spraycan Art” in 1987.

Even today, fans visiting from as far away as Japan will hop on the R train to visit his tattoo shop.

The 2 1/2 year old store embodies McLeer’s “old soul” spirit. Its walls are filled with vintage memorabilia, including black-and-white family photos and his grandfather’s pipes. A jukebox containing his parent’s favorite vinyl records sit by the door.

“My grandmother would always tell me these stories about how they danced around Bay Ridge and made music at Woolworth’s. I always thought she was famous because she had a record, but she made it at a five and dime store.”

Like his grandmother, McLeer has also dabbled in music. In the late ’80s, he and his brother Adam formed hip-hop/punk band the Lordz of Brooklyn.

Their first single, “Saturday Nite Fever,” paid tribute to the John Travolta film that catapulted Bay Ridge to big screen fame and was later featured on an episode of “Beavis and Butt-Head” and indie film “Gravesend.”

“We were alienated coming from this neighborhood because we were so far into Brooklyn and it was always stereotyped as being segregated. I felt like we could be famous or heard if we made art, made music and told our story.”

He believes that experimenting with different forms of art is the best way to get his message out there.

“I work in a lot of different mediums and a lot of people say, ‘Kaves, you don’t want to be a jack-of-all-trades and master of none.’ I find that ridiculous.”

Most recently, McLeer has taken up filmmaking. Last year, he directed “Shoemaker,” a short film with Burt YoungPeter Greene and Bree Michael Warner that was inspired by events that occurred at his uncle’s shoe shop in the ’60s.

“Telling a story as an artist, whether I’m doing it with a spray can or acting, it’s still the same thing to me,” he explains. “I look at myself more as a Renaissance man. They were actors. They were inventors. They were sculptors. It was just such an interesting life to live.”

In January, McLeer is heading to California, where he’ll take part in an art exhibition curated by Metallica. He and a small group of artists were personally chosen by the rock group to create paintings based on their lyrics.

While he’s out west, McLeer hopes to audition for a role on another big Brooklyn production: “Boardwalk Empire.”

“I was made for that show. I’ve been wearing this hat for 20 years.”

Until then, McLeer will be enjoying the holiday season — and plenty of vino — with his family.

“I take my kids and wife up to Pinegrove dude ranch and we do a country Thanksgiving. They get to see horses,” he laughs.

“I used to see horses when my father would take me to the track. That was very Brooklyn. This is a different, but it’s a way to slow it down and celebrate life.”

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/eats/bay-ridge-tattoo-artist-michael-kaves-mcleer-designs-label-2011-beaujolais-nouveau-article-1.979346#ixzz1frDI08uG