- Words and photos by Sarah Sansom
Mr Cenz: SOUL SEARCHING Recap
MR CENZ's debut US Show 'Soul Searching' kicked off Thursday night at 212 Arts in the East Village. As a fan who's enjoyed his work in London, Miami and New York City, I was thrilled to see the gallery packed with his bold canvases and intricate drawings.
A master of air-brush-style spray paint contrasted with geometric lines, Mr Cenz has expanded from graffiti roots in South London to an internationally renowned street artist painting in festivals around the world.
Mr Cenz's ethereal portrait of women echo the themes we've seen in his large-scale murals
Beautiful drawing 'Space Talk' created with pen and ink on 16 x 11" 300 gsm fine art paper
First seen when you enter, 'Unlimited Touch' was created with spray and acrylic paint on a 51 x 40" canvas.
'There are lots of artists that paint similar subject matter, but Cenz's work transcends the norm with a unique, refined style that still maintains elements of his graffiti influence. His work is so captivating that the moment you hang a piece in your home, it has the ability to change the status of the room.'
- Queens artist TurtleCaps
A series of pen and ink drawings line the wall opposite the contrasting spray paint canvasses
'Exhale' spray and acrylic paint, 40 x 28" canvas
‘I used to write CENCE, first of all, with a ‘C’, then it just became CENZ. Then as I started doing pretty much full-on legit stuff, I just put a ‘MR’ in front of it, to draw a line. There was also another CENZ in Germany at the time. This was like, 15 years ago, so I didn’t want to be this person who… I wanted a totally individual name. So that’s where MR CENZ came from.’
– on how his name came about
Both 'Future Shock' canvas and print have an inbuilt augmented reality animation using the Mussa app.
On imagining as a kid that he’d be hanging with pioneers like Kool Herc in 2019 NYC, Mr Cenz said,
'That’s a testament to hard work. You can do anything you want, really, you can make things happen. I’ve made it happen, if hasn’t just come to me on a plate, you know, it’s come from hard work.’
The artist setting up the day before - he's pretty handy!
‘There were the styles of SEEN – SEEN I loved because he was very versatile, he was like a master of all styles, which I try to do. So, you know, you do wildstyle, bubble style, characters, everything. That’s what I formed my foundations on.’
– Mr Cenz on early NYC influences, ‘In the Spray Room’ podcast.
TurtleCaps, Jeff Henriquez, PaidMSD, MIKE 171, Christina of NewYorkDailyDiscoveries, Cowboy, Omar Victorious of Englewood Art Walls, Sarah, and the artist with a print collector at the opening
'Mr Cenz's work is so amazing! He puts colors and details into each subject that draw the viewer into it (as it did with me looking at that photo).'
- MIKE 171 (above) early graffiti pioneer and assoc. producer of 'Wall Writers' documentary
Scenes from the opening including writers MIKE 171 & SJK 171.
Mr Cenz sat down with Sold crew JPO, Bytegirl, Kristy, Big Ronnie and Erica to talk about his evolution to who he is today. You can listen here.
Recording "In The Spray Room" at The Brooklyn Firefly October 13, a special Halloween edition with pumpkin carving by Jenna Morello
Mr Cenz murals around New York City:
HIs largest ever mural painted this April at 336 E 45th St, for Street Art for Mankind x ILO New York (See our recap here)
Vintage work on Harrod Place in The Bronx
Mr Cenz murals outside New York:
Murals in Shoreditch, London, Newham, East London for Newham Street Art, and Miami for Big Walls Big Dreams
Mr Cenz has just completed a large-scale mural for Street Art for Mankind in Harrison, NY, at 221 Harirson Avenue, and is painting this weekend in New Rochelle, NY. New murals by artists including Dan Ktichener, Elle and Victor Ash can be seen on the New Rochelle Art Walk November 2.
All work from 'Soul Searching' is now online, and the show runs through Thursday October 31: Stop by to do a little soul searching of your own!
Mr Cenz: SOUL SEARCHING
Thursday, October 17th 6 - 9.30 PM
October 18 - 31
212 Arts, 523 East 12th Street New York, NY, 10009
Thursday - Saturday: 3 - 7 PM
Sunday: 2 - 8 PM
Tuesday, Wednesday: By appointment
For more about the artist:
Mussa VR app: