A look inside the new art and tattoo studio of artist Michael McLeer, better known to the world as “Kaves,” is like taking a wild trip through Brooklyn’s past.
"All these old relics, [they’re] pieces of our life and continue to tell the story of Brooklyn, and what makes Brooklyn so cool," Kaves said while showing NY1 around the space.
The Bay Ridge native says he’s been inspired during his three months at the Makers Guild inside Industry City in Sunset Park. More than a dozen works of art created in that short time are on display just down the hall at the Court Tree Collective, a gallery space which houses the exhibition Concrete Cathedrals.
It's a tribute to his Brooklyn upbringing and graffiti writing roots. Those early days painting walls and trains led to a career as an in-demand artist.
"I found my calling on the street, on concrete, on asphalt,” said Kaves.
"You are kind of seeing someone's entire life. It's almost like his journal," says Stephen Lipuma, Director of Court Tree Collective.
Kaves, who is also known as a member of the hip-hop/rock crossover group Lordz of Brooklyn, is also showing off his first sculpture at Court Tree Collective. He created the piece with fellow graffiti artist Revs.
There are a variety of works being shown at the gallery, some of which utilize spray paint, chalk, pastels, oil sticks and household paint. Memories abound throughout the space, including a note from his mom.
The show and his studio, named Pigtown after his dad's Flatbush street gang, is just 60 blocks from where he grew up. Quite appropriately, the lyrics to John Sebastian's theme song to the 1970s Brooklyn-based TV show “Welcome Back Kotter” are etched on the entry to his studio.
"I was romping around here and writing graffiti and doing my thing for many, many years. So it's nice to come back home and continue the folklore. And the folklore is Brooklyn kid is making good," Kaves said.
You can see Kave’s show at Court Tree Friday through Sunday from now through March 8th. It's located at building 5 in Industry City, at 35th Street right off 3rd Avenue.
To find out more go to: http://courttree.com.