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How Street Artist Alice Mizrachi Weaves the Mythical with the Real

How Street Artist Alice Mizrachi Weaves the Mythical with the Real

Alice Mizrachi is considered one of the top street artists in New York. In a field once dominated by men, she is a hugely prolific muralist with scores of public artworks to her name. Her large-scale paintings of powerful women weave mythical female figures with ‘earthbound feminine forms.’ As a first-generation American with Sephardic-Israeli roots, Mizrachi uses art as a platform to investigate “family, community, and tribe.”

Not Real Art Artist Of The Day Series

Since earning her BFA at the Parsons School of Design in New York, Mizrachi has held multiple roles as a muralist and fine artist, an educator in Harlem and the Bronx, and a curator of contemporary art. Her work has been exhibited at the Museum of the City of New York, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, and the Albright-Knox Museum, in addition to being featured on city streets. Her recent solo exhibition at the storied Andrew Freedman Home in the Bronx, centers around her experiences as a child of parents who fled from war-torn Tel Aviv.

"Sea: My Journey" demonstrates my interdisciplinary practice that investigates my journey as a womxn of Sephardic Israeli descent who is a first-generation American exploring the universality of migration. This immersive installation featured 15 contour line drawings of my parents, a 6-foot aluminum wireframe wall relief sculpture, a large painting of the 1492 Jewish exodus from Spain, a figurative self-portrait mural, and aluminum welded boat placed on a mound of sand that symbolically represents the Altalena ship which arrived on the shores of Tel Aviv anchored the exhibition.

When she first started out, Mizrachi found the slew of rejections discouraging, but soon realized that things that failed to come through were ‘not the right fit,’ and other opportunities would come along. Her goal is to work with others who treat her endeavors with ‘honor and respect.’ Mizrachi’s dual success as a muralist and as an exhibiting fine artist, show it’s possible to have it both ways. Focusing heavily on line while working with figurative elements, she proudly reveals the use of the human hand in her murals and immersive installations. By integrating the mythical with the real, and boldly inserting her work into urban environments, Mizrachi is weaving her own unique pattern into the fabric of contemporary art.

Table of Contents

Alice Mizrachi — Artist Statement

My practice includes work as a muralist, fine artist, educator, and curator. Family and community are also recurring themes that are approached as active spaces for shared engagement within the communities I work. My role as a curator for womxn showcased exhibitions highlights my interest in advancement for emerging artists /activists in the graffiti/ public art genre. Being a native New Yorker has exposed me to innovative and diverse subcultures that significantly impact my work. In recent years, my studio practice has developed into a testing ground for explorations in assemblage, sculpture, and installation that has transformed both my painting practice and decades of work as a muralist.

My current work's narrative reveals my identity and cultural experiences ushered into the new world by parents fleeing a war-torn Tel-Aviv. A recent solo exhibition entitled "Sea: My Journey" demonstrates my interdisciplinary practice that investigates my journey as a womxn of Sephardic Israeli descent who is a first-generation American exploring the universality of migration. This immersive installation featured 15 contour line drawings of my parents, a 6-foot aluminum wireframe wall relief sculpture, a large painting of the 1492 Jewish exodus from Spain, a figurative self-portrait mural, and aluminum welded boat placed on a mound of sand that symbolically represents the Altalena ship which arrived on the shores of Tel Aviv anchored the exhibition.

With 20 years of teaching The Harlem Renaissance to NYC high school students, my mentor Mr. Russell Goings has entrusted me to manage his vast Harlem Renaissance collection. A quote shared with me by his dear friend Romare Bearden states, "An artist must show themselves naked to the world". While heeding this advice, I've learned to bare my soul and expose myself unapologetically as part of my life's work. My mix of modernist influences and my identification as a womxn of Middle Eastern descent who is first-generation American are reflected through intuitive ritualistic gestures and articulations in my work. My spontaneous approach allows preference for line, and the deconstruction and reconstruction of figurative elements, to reveal a human hand in the making of my work, an intentional maneuver in an increasingly technological age. A discourse around gender is a subtext to much of the work and is evident in my use of rough textures, found materials, and raw energy. I have worked as an arts educator, developed curriculum, and presented on panels for various organizations and museums.

Alice Mizrachi – Grant Submission Work

Alice Mizrachi. Goddess Ma’at, 2017
Goddess Ma’at, 2017
10 x 16 feet
Graffiti Gardens

Goddess Ma’at is the Goddess of truth who harmonizes and balances through lands. In this mural, I chose to add broken mirror so my audience can reflect on what is broken in themselves and imagine a way in which they can pick up the pieces and recreate their magnificent beauty.

Stronger Together, 2020
Commissioned Mural, Brooklyn, New York
5 Stories Tall

Commissioned by St. Nicks Alliance “Stronger Together” is a mural created in response to the Covid 19 pandemic. In an effort to uplift the Bed Stuy, Brooklyn community this piece aims to empower marginalized communities like these that are not given proper healthcare or prioritized in this worldwide emergency. The message in this public artwork is meant to reassure and positively impact the local residents of this neighborhood who are mostly essential workers. This 5 story tall commission was scheduled for summer 2020 but due to the pandemic, it was postponed until the fall. We changed the concept a few times to mark the relevance of this year and honor how resilient we are. “Stronger Together” reemphasizes how important we are in community to one another and how our actions affect us all. It is also a reminder to continue to cherish our families and friends that make us stronger. As we continue to heal worldwide this affirmation reminds us of our value as we collectively rebuild.

Alice Mizrachi. Rosa La Riveta, 2020
Rosa La Riveta, 2020
Mural

“Rosa La Riveta” is a mural completed in the last week of December 2020. This mural concept was developed to honor all women of color who couldn’t fight for Womxn’s Rights because doing so was a privilege. As a way to flip the script and highlight the centennial of womxn’s right to vote I wanted to showcase the classic Rosie the Riveter by transforming her into a womxn of color.

Alice Mizrachi. One Love, 2020
One Love, 2020
Mural

“One Love” mural was commissioned in winter 2020. This mural concept was developed to spread love, togetherness, and unity. Adopted by Bob Marley and Whodini and Nas, the lyrical quote represents and honors humanity as one. The hands depicted in the mural highlight our diversity around the world and illustrates how we are stronger through our connected love and unifying energy.

Alice Mizrachi, Paint Positivity Mural
Paint Positivity
Mural

Paint Positivity was a commission for Proactiv Skincare. The concept was to paint out the hate and this mural took 3 iterations that included community participation to paint away hateful comments for people who have been bullied due to skin issues. Kendall Jenner was the spokesperson for the campaign.

Alice Mizrachi – Artist Bio

Alice Mizrachi is a New York-based mixed media artist. Her practice includes work as a muralist, fine artist, educator, and curator. Grounded in deep compassion for the human experience across borders, Mizrachi explores both the spiritual and physical dimensions of being human, and in particular, female. Oftentimes, the female figure in various mythical iterations intersects with earthbound feminine forms as a means to communicate and transmit social consciousness. Mizrachi’s intentions include the empowerment of self and others through artistic expression, as well as advocacy for women, youth, and the environment. Family, community, and tribe are also recurring themes and are approached as active spaces of shared engagement.

In recent years, Mizrachi’s studio practice has developed into a testing ground for explorations in assemblage, sculpture, and installation that has transformed both her painting practice and decades of work as a muralist. Moving beyond paint, her smallscale pieces have become sculptural drawings and her murals have become outdoor wall installations. Both styles of work have taken on new life as three-dimensional geometric forms.

Mizrachi’s mix of modernist influences and her identification with her personhood as a woman of Middle Eastern descent who is first-generation American are reflected through intuitive ritualistic gestures and articulations in much of her work. Her spontaneous approach allows her preference for line, and the deconstruction and reconstruction of figurative elements, to reveal a human hand in the making of her work, an intentional maneuver in an increasingly technological age. A discourse around gender is a subtext to much of the work and is most evident in her poetic use of rough textures, found materials, and raw energy.

Alice has worked as an arts educator, developed curriculum, and presented on panels for a variety of organizations, including BRIC Arts, The Laundromat Project, The Studio Museum in Harlem, HI-ARTS, Miami Light Project, Brown University, and The Devos Institute of Arts Management among others. Her artwork has been featured at the Museum of the City of New York, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, and Albright-Knox Museum; and, in a variety of publications including 2Create, Outdoor Gallery: NYC, the New York Times, Huffington Post, and Architectural Digest. Alice received a BFA from Parsons School of Design, has received grants from The Puffin Foundation and The Ford Foundation, and held residencies at Fountainhead in Miami and Honeycomb Arts In Buenos Aires in 2017. Alice Mizrachi’s studio is currently located at Bell Ans.

Alice Mizrachi – On the Web and Social Media

Here’s where to find out more about Alice on the web and social media:

About the Artist of the Day Series

All artworks have been published with permission of the artist. Our "Artist of the Day" series is a regular feature highlighting artworks from the 100's of grant applications we receive. The "Not Real Art Grant" is an annual award designed to empower the careers of contemporary artists, and this is one way we honor all entries we receive. Find out more about the grant program here.

Kirsten Bengtson-Lykoudis

Kirsten Bengtson-Lykoudis is a writer, photographer, and former New York Gallery Director based in Washington, D.C. She has an M.F.A. in Fine Art and an undergraduate degree in Russian Literature. She speaks five foreign languages and is currently in a Masters of Non-Fiction Writing Program at John Hopkins University.

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