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While in Athens last week, I had the opportunity to visit The Museum of Greek Children’s Art, one of three museums throughout the globe devoted exclusively to children’s art. Its collections include approximately 8,000 drawings and 3D artworks created by children, ages five to 14 years old. Collaborating with a range of institutions, professionals and researchers, it offers workshops on a range of topics with particular emphasis on diversity and acceptance of differences. What follows are several more images from the exhibit, Alone or Unique? Diversity & Racism, which focuses on people who are “different.”

Group artwork, age 12 / M.G.C.A collaboration with the United Nations

Manodimou Maria, M.G.C.A. collaboration  with the Center for People with Special Needs, Municipality of Zografou, Athens, Greece.

Tilemachos Boukas, age 11

Images courtesy of the The Museum of Greek Children’s Art

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Born n Kiev in 1976, Zoya Cherkassky immigrated with her family to Israel at age 15. Currently on view at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem is the gifted artist’s first solo exhibit, Pravda, reflecting on her personal experiences and the collective experience of the over one million Russians who have immigrated to Israel. Pictured above is Eat Shit and Die, 2016, rendered with oil on linen. What follows are several more largely sardonic images — all meticulously rendered in Zoya Cherkassky’s folksy aesthetic.

The Chemical Warfare, 2016, Oil on linen

Passover in Bat Yam, 2016, Oil on linen — where the prohibited foods are sought!

The Rabbi’s Deliquium, 2016, Oil on linen — another commentary on the lack of religiosity among so many Russian immigrants, as the Rabbi checks to see if this kitchen is Kosher and discovers a pig’s snout in the fridge

The Circumcision of Uncle Yasha, 2013

Featuring 50 paintings and 50 works on paper — accompanied by a comprehensive trilingual catalogue in Hebrew, English, and Russian — Pravda remains on view through October, 2018 at the Israel Museum at Derech Ruppin in Jerusalem.

Photos of images by Lois Stavsky

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Painted by self-taught Italian artist Guido Vedovato, the image featured above, Rooster and Pumpkins, remains on view at GINA Gallery in Tel Aviv through March 16, 2018.

What follows are several more recently-encountered paintings in this second part of our ongoing series, Imaginary Landscapes:

Self-taught late French artist Robert Delaunay, Air, Iron and Water, as seen at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem

Self-taught Israel-based artist Avraham Kan, “A Familiar Melody,” as seen at GINA Gallery in Tel Aviv

Palestinian artist Iyad Sabbah, “Jerusalem,” as seen at the Walled Off Hotel in Bethlehem

Self-taught Cuban artist Luis Joaquin Rodriguez Ricardo, “The Three Palm Trees,” as seen at GINA Gallery 

Photos of images by Lois Stavsky

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Pictured above is “Toilet Inside You,” painted on wood by self-taught Spanish artist Okuda San Miguel, that I came upon while visiting Castle Fitzjohns Gallery on Manhattan’s Lower East Side in early December. Several more images of curious characters — fashioned largely by self-taught artists — that I saw in a range of places follow:

UK-based self-taught artist Fanakapan. as seen late fall in Fat Free Gallery on Manhattan’s Lower East Side

Self-taught Cuban artist Alejandro Lazo, aka Alazo, as seen at the Cuban Art Space in Chelsea, Manhattan

Tel Aviv-based Lithuanian artist Leo Ray, as seen in under a thousand in Florentin, Tel Aviv

The legendary Keith Haring in the lobby of the Woodhull Medical Center in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn 

Photos by Lois Stavsky

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On the streets and in a range of indoor spaces, a huge spectrum of artist-fashioned animals — from the vaguely realistic to the wildly fantastical — can be found. Pictured above are two life-sized animals created from steel wire by sculptural street artist Strayones. Several more that I’ve recently come upon follow:

Tel Aviv-based Lithuanian painter, Leo Ray — as seen in under a thousand in Florentin, Tel Aviv

Self-taught German artist Max Ernst, Composition with Bird, Oil on canvas, as seen at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art

Unidentified artist on the streets of Tel Aviv

Palestinian artist, to be identified, as seen at the Walled Off Hotel in Bethlehem

Isaiah Zagar on the pavement in North Philly

Polish artist Ospa in Tel Aviv

Photos by Lois Stavsky

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The image pictured above was painted by Cuban artist Eduardo Roca aka Choco. What follows are several more artworks with a distinct outsider sensibility in the third of our ongoing series, Re-Imagining Faces.

Also by by Cuban artist Eduardo Roca aka Choco — as seen at The Center for Cuban Studies in NYC

The late Ecuadorian artist and activist Oswaldo Guayasamin — as seen at the Madrid-Barajas Airport

Danish artist Asger Jorn — as seen at Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid

15-year-old Shay Litman — as seen on the streets of Tel Aviv

Photos of artworks by Lois Stavsky

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Back in 1978, Osvaldo Cruz began tagging his initials onto any available surface in his Bronx neighborhood, a short distance from Yankee Stadium. Years of honing his skills as a graffiti writer followed. These days, with occasional stints painting legal walls over at Tuff City in the Bronx, Cruz focuses primarily on fashioning abstract, surreal — graffiti-inspired — images on canvases and is represented by Fountain House Gallery. An interview with the artist follows:

What is your earliest art memory?

Discovering how much I loved to paint. I never liked drawing with crayons. But when I was in kindergarten, I was introduced to poster paints, and it was back then that I discovered my love for painting. And my teacher was very encouraging.

Have you any favorite artists?

Picasso–

Have you any favorite piece?

I try to get better with each one.

How much time do you generally spend painting a canvas?

About 1½ hours – on average.

Have you any other passions – besides painting?

Digital art. I like working with Illustrator.

You’ve exhibited your works in several Fountain House exhibits. How did you connect to Fountain House?

I found out about Fountain House from the folks over at Community Access. Fountain House has given me tremendous support as an artist and as an individual.

Have you shown your work elsewhere — in addition to the Fountain House Gallery?

Yes. I’ve exhibited at Pace University via Community Access.

How important is the viewer’s response to your art?

A positive response makes me feel good, of course! But, even if there isn’t one, I just keep on going.

What about cultural influences? Have you any particular ones?

Definitely the graffiti culture.

Are you generally satisfied with your final piece?

Almost always.

How has your aesthetic evolved as you continue to paint on canvases?

It’s more sophisticated, and I tend to use more colors.

What percentage of your time is devoted to art?

About 75%. The rest is spent taking care of my personal needs.

Have you a favorite setting to work?

I like painting outside. My ideal setting is Central Park – early in the morning – when there’s no one around.

And your favorite media?

Molotow spraypaint

What is your main source of income?

Commissions and canvases.

Have you a formal art education?

I graduated from the High School of Art & Design in 1987.

Has your family been supportive of your life as an artist?

My mother never understood it. She still associates graffiti with vandalism.

Where are you headed?

I just want to keep on painting!

Note: A selection of the artist’s works for sale can be viewed on Artsy

Interview conducted by Lois Stavsky; all images courtesy the artist

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Pictured above is an imaginary landscape by the late Spanish artist Joan Ponç. A member of the avant-garde group Dau al Set, the first post-World War II artistic movement in Catalonia, Joan Ponç was largely self-taught. What follows are several more fanciful landscapes fashioned by self-taught artists that I’ve recently come upon in a range of spaces — both indoors and outdoors.

Spanish artist Jorge Galindo, Stunned Street, as seen in the Soledad Lorenzo Collection at the Museo Reina Sofía in Madrid — on view through March 5

Self-taught French designer Nathalie Du Pasquier, Open Box in a Landscape, as seen last month in her solo exhibition BIG OBJECTS NOT ALWAYS SILENT at ICA Philadelphia

Spanish artist Laguna 626, street art mural for Muros Tabacalera, at former tobacco factory in Madrid

The late German artist Max Ernst, Birds Above the Forest, as seen in his recent solo exhibition Beyond Painting at The Museum of Modern Art in NYC

Chat Noir, as spotted in the industrial district of Florentin, Tel Aviv this weekend

Photos of artworks by Lois Stavsky

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The curiously captivating couple pictured above was painted by Spanish artist Digo Diego for Muros Tabacalera on a former tobacco factory in Madrid, Spain. Several more curious characters — some seen outside on the streets, others inside a varied range of spaces — follow:

The late Brazilian artist José Leonilson, O Pescador de Palavras (The Word Fisher) as seen in his solo exhibit, Empty Man, on view through February 3 at Americas Society in Manhattan

Brooklyn-based artist and performer Michael Alan, as seen during studio visit

Philadelphia-based multidisciplinary artist Ron Abram, — One of Seven Ravens, as seen in his solo exhibit, El Ambiente, on view through January 13 at Taller Puertoriqueño in North Philly

Self-taught artist Troy Lovegates, as seen in Toronto

Photos of artworks by Lois Stavsky

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The image pictured above was painted by Washington, DC visual artist Matt Sesow.  What follows are several more artworks with a distinct outsider sensibility in the second of our ongoing series, Re-Imagining Faces.

Cuban artist Eduardo Roca aka Choco

Brooklyn-based artist multi-disciplinary artist Sara Erenthal

17-year old Atlanta-based Erin Chakalos

Paris-based African artist Afi Nayo

Photos of artworks: 1, 3-5 Lois Stavsky; 2 Tara Murray

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