Brooklyn Street Art: 


    New York artist Ori Carino does a roll down gate in the Lower East Side neighborhood in Manhattan, which he grew up in, to pay tribute to a movement that shaped his life.
    “My artwork owes a lot to these downtown Heroes, Warrior Saints, visionary activists, and artists, and I hope to serve them in my work,” he tells us of this new piece he’s doing to celebrate the LGBTQI+ people who have been all around him since he was a kid.
    “I was born on Houston Street and Sullivan Street in 1982, relatively close to Stonewall, moving two blocks from the Pyramid club when I was 8,” he says of the classic downtown bar known for pushing artistic and social boundaries in wild ways through the 1980s.
    “It’s fair to say that my life has been significantly impacted by the sheer artistry and style, bravery, tragedy, and ecstatic triumphs of the gay rights movement. I’m proud that my home has always been a place where we celebrate diversity and fight for each other’s rights.”
    There have been many murals in the past month that pay tribute to the history of this NYC scene that started a worldwide movement. For some reason, this one full of archetypal characters in the city strikes a deeper chord.
    Ori tells us that it is meant as “an allegorical reminder of the sacrifices and nobility of the myriad heroes who engaged in the fight for equality. Each one embodies an element of the movement, as the shadows of the violent police actions and the forces of ignorance and hate, woven throughout the Stonewall movement histories, are valiantly overcome.
    From the peace-sign-waving, protest-sign-wielding archetype, to the flying hero who emerges from the waving flag, each character participates in an unrelenting fight for peace. By incorporating esthetic influences from both Classical Eastern and Western art, this new work reflects that this noble cause encompasses people from all traditions and backgrounds, and the fight goes on!”
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New York Times:


    In the ephemeral world of public art on the Lower East Side, the longevity and unbombed state of the mural decorating the brick wall outside Mars Bar stand as a mark of respect for its creator, Ori Carino.
    Hank Penza, Mars Bar’s owner, first gave Ori permission to utilize the wall in 2002. Ori’s distinctive style was already familiar in the neighborhood from the numerous murals he had designed and executed, along with art work he was hired to place on the sides of trucks, and his spray-painted t-shirts that were sold in local boutiques. At first, Ori returned annually to execute a new composition on the Mars Bar wall. The current mural has been standing since 2007. Plans to erect a 12-story apartment building on the site may threaten its continued existence.
    Walking quickly along East First Street, it is difficult to fully appreciate the intense drama and rich allegorical meaning being depicted in his mural, as animal and human figures grapple with the human condition. Rather, it is necessary to slow down, pause, step back, focus on the detail, mastery, and complexity of the struggle occurring on this urban canvas to fully appreciate it.
    A lifelong resident of the East Village, Ori remembers as a child playing pinball at Mars Bar while his godfather, Toyo Tsuchiya, set up the first art shows held there back in the 1980’s. At five years old he worked beside Keith Haring who was painting a mural in his preschool. As a teenager, he was drawn to local tenement rooftops where his tag became a familiar marker on the East Village skyline. Ori smiled as he remembered how he presented photos of his graffiti work as his portfolio to gain entry to the respected Cooper Union Summer Program.
    Sitting in the living room of the East Third apartment where he now lives with his wife and one year old son, his artistic lineage is apparent as he shows me paintings and sculptures created by his grandfather Frank Carino, a successful commercial artist who graduated Cooper Union.
    Ori peered out a window facing south and reminisced, describing the once rubble strewn Lower East Side lot on Forsythe Street where he grew up playing among the junk metal sculptures created by the band of artists who came to be known as the Rivington School. He became a part of this group, his early art work being displayed in shows at the No Se No Gallery. He completed murals on the walls surrounding the sculpture garden where many performance art pieces were staged.
    After high school Ori studied painting at The School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. After graduation in 2005 he returned to the city where the many classical references in his mural work earned him the moniker “Tiepolo of New York City.” Moving from brick to canvas, Ori’s paintings were recently shown at The Scope Art Fair by Dean Projects, the gallery which handles his work.
    He opened a coffee-table sized book, “The King of the Dharma,” for which he created a series of modern paintings, drawing extensively from classical European and Buddhist iconography to accompany a set of 18th century Tibetan paintings published there for the first time. Ori’s knowledge of Buddhism is apparent as he described the deities being depicted in the paintings and their significance. He teaches classes in meditation practices at The Three Jewels, a Buddhist center located near Astor Place. The intricate detail in these works, the juxtaposition of ancient and contemporary imagery, and the placing the sacred beside the profane, are all characteristic of Ori’s art.
    As we walked towards Mars Bar he explained that transforming obstacles is the central theme of the mural. Stepping from the sidewalk out into First Street to fully capture the wide panorama of this work I am drawn to the central image, a large shrouded Mother figure standing atop a naked corpse beneath which lays a pile of beer bottles, syringes and cigarette butts. Behind her is the Palden Lhamo, a tutelary deity who, Ori informs me, represents the forceful ripping out of obstacles. On another section of the wall to the right is a woman, inspired by figures on the Sistine Chapel ceiling, backed by a rainbow transforming itself into graffiti. A monk in the lower corner of the wall has smoke rising from his outstretched hands as he makes a fire offering.
    While a few locals inside the bar imbibed an afternoon cocktail, people hurried by chatting on their cell phones, seemingly oblivious to their surroundings. I wondered how the drama being depicted on the wall mimicked the one taking place inside Mars Bar. Ori related how, when he was putting up the mural, passers by would stop to chat with him. It requires from a day to three days of his labor to sketch out and paint a work like this. One regular at the bar, whom he came to know while he was working, was so impressed by his talents that he gave Ori $1,000 as a gift and claimed to be so taken by the mural’s themes that he later joined Alcoholics Anonymous.
    As the message in the upper corner of the mural states, “And It Is All For You.” Ori told me that he considers his mural a gift to neighborhood residents. Now that spring has arrived you should wander over and take what may be a final look at this slice of East Village culture, likely destined for the scrapheap of history.

Tsem Tulku Rimpoche blog:


Dear blog friends,

    I have extracted all the write ups, information, pictures, paintings from Mr. Ori Carino’s website. I did this is because I would like more people to know of this wonderful 29 year old visionary artist in New York City.
    His paintings of Lord Tsongkapa are my favorite in the world now. Contemporary Buddhist paintings holds the greatest fascination for me. I wish so many more would engage in this form of art. I wish I had the time to master this type of art.
    I wish to get a set to frame for my room and gift to others. I like this style of painting so much. Something ancient and contemporary all in one. Beautiful, inspiring, visionary, creative, holy, detailed, accurate, modern, ancient and illuminating are words that comes to my mind when I see his style of painting Lord Tsongkapa.
    Thank you Mr. Carino for your talent, your work, dedication and passion. I really enjoy people with passion, drive and goals. I have decided to align myself with people who have passion starting from yesterday… it was a personal decision after much personal introspection after many years of being with people who lived to just exist but did not exist to live for anything… You are a artist of global quality. May you be happy, live long and arise from all that obscures…

Tsem Rinpoche

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
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