Tuesday, March 19, 2013



Karey Maurice Counts
Red Balloon Studios

Trenton, Ewing or NYC you choose either way KMC wants respect!  Not in the arrogant way the text may suggest but to understand the current state of art in Trenton had several people who led, paved or blazed the way.  KAMO as he is also known has various terms that describe his craft one of them is MDNP-Multi-dimensional Neo-Pop artist.

                                                TOOLS OF THE TRADE

We met several years ago in his 
Trenton studio located in the 
Conduit building on Broad Street.  
At that time he was creating 
mixed media pieces with a focus 
on spray paint.  Going back further 
Karey shares about his exposure 
to blueprints, maps and how he 
navigated the streets of Trenton 
as a courier. 

L-R Vanity Sabelnik, TC Nelson, Karey Maurice Counts
During our conversation shortly after        
his opening at Trenton Social he 
shared about growing up in Ewing 
and his early life in art.  His experiences 
traveling to the “village” in NY and 
hanging in the art scene that gave him 
exposure to other artists who are 
now household names like Keith Haring.  

As his talent grew and because of his relationship with the art scene in NY Karey no doubt recognized and adopted the belief in the following statements he shared with me.

“Art is a business and all artists should look at it this way, a lack of respect for this will devalue the artist and all of their work!”

“Artist should consider a contract including details on purchase, sale, rental and where it can be shown.”

“Keep a database of work created with complete documentation.
This will help to protect your legacy.”

KAMO wanted me to make it very clear that art is a market and people would be wise to look into owning original art.  He gave an example of how it bothers him that parents will spend $100 for sneakers that are mass-produced and then thrown away.  He suggested they consider spending $50 on the kicks and $50 on some art!  I know if Karey had his way the term starving artist would be erased from our lips along with bullying and racism.

Karey also shared his interests in several genres of music especially house.

KMC with WTSR DJ Ms. Sue/Ms. Sue
So nice they named her twice!
A few of KAMO's friends

Other interests include traveling, European and Mediterranean countries, Miami, mountain biking and spending time with friends.  He closed our time together with a “nugget” by sharing he has more photographic work then anything, of course it’s cataloged and in storage.  Maybe he will let me see some of those items the next time.

Karey Maurice Counts is a conscientious man with a focus on sharing and acknowledging the past.  His physical limitations have slowed his movements but not his craft!  Take a look at his work and get in touch.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Trenton Mural Arts Project

Trenton Mural Arts
Feb-Apr 2011

Keep in mind that the Trenton Mural Arts Project community paint day at the Home Rubber site near the McDonalds on
Cass Street
has been rescheduled from Saturday 4/16 to Sunday 4/17.  Yes it is Palm Sunday; however the painting will be from 12-3pm.

Thank you to Taneshia Laird, Candice Fredericks and Phil DeRose and others who have worked long hours on this project and are dedicated to making Trenton thrive; they indeed are part of the 365!

The first meeting was at Artworks.  I attended with David Byers.  In attendance was several of the “Trenton 365”.  After an introduction about the team, the concept and proposed plan, we broke into small groups for discussion.  I sat with Jon Narr and 3 other residents from Trenton.  After the meeting we went to the TCR (Trenton Cycling Revolution) meeting, more information about TCR in a later blog.

The Trenton Mural Arts project is collaboration with Artworks, Trenton Downtown Assoc., Destination Trenton, City of Trenton and Princeton University.

Jane Golden who is the creator of the mural arts program in Philadelphia is one of the many driving forces behind the expansion into Trenton.  She is also an instructor at Princeton University.  Jane had many positive things to say, however she diverted attention from herself and put it onto the project, the artist and what the program has the ability to do.  “Students can change the world!”  Jane has a way of motivating you with very few words.
Noliwe Rooks who is the Associate Director at Princeton University’s Center for African American Studies is the other.  Noliwe who is consistently quiet about her role brings a wonderful spirit to the project, and several years of dedication to make this happen.  http://www.princeton.edu/africanamericanstudies
The artist is Philip Adams who has been with the Philadelphia Mural arts program for several years, and has led several murals.  He mentioned that he has travelled to and stayed in Trenton on several occasions over the last 7 years and is excited about the project and to be here.  Kudos to Philip!  Several of Philips projects incorporate different mediums such as stained glass, the murals are interactive.

In my first breakout session thoughts came to mind of the space being organic, something that would be a “welcome sign” to travelers coming into Trenton via 129 and the Riverline.  The site has several issues because of the proximity to the highway, from some angles the view may be obstructed by things such as safety fencing, commercial multi story billboards and the fact that the mural will be on several buildings that are different heights.    In closing I have gained new friends from this project, spent time with old acquaintances and expect nothing but a world class project which I am sure the team and our City will accomplish.

As always thank you for visiting.  Share this with friends, make some suggestions about people, places or services and I will check them out.


Tuesday, March 5, 2013



Ahmad Shakir

Trenton born DJ Ahmad Shakir aka “itsjustahmad” is here for you to hear!  Ahmad is one of the members of SAGE Coalition and handles the “event day” activities and all things sound related.

You can hear him spinning on a regular basis at Trenton Social Thursday nights with DJ Tangency as well as Gallery 219 openings.  Gallery 219 is located on Hanover St. in Trenton next to the Ghandi Garden.

Ahmad has been on the 1&2’s for 15 years.  His love of music was found at 3 years old as he listened to the music of his Grandmother and other family friends.

“itsjustahmad” had diverse interest in music throughout his teens enjoying Sade, RunDMC, Black Sabbath, Michael Jackson and Aerosmith.  Nowadays Ahmad continues to expand his musical palette listening to Gospel, Jazz, Hip Hop and Indie Rock.  His focus this week has been Alabama Shakes.  Going back a little further and the sounds flowing in his ears were Adele, Bill Withers and Dilated Pupils.  

Our conversation turned to fashion of which Ahmad has no interest in the current youth trend of skinny jeans and fluorescent colors.  He still rocks the style of his youth, Adidas.  He shared about his first pair of White with Black “Shelltops.”  He described his style as B-boy Prep or Skate Prep.  I call this look “Urban Classic”, always clean and fresh, denim/jean pants are fine, oxford shirt and a jacket.  Accessories like a tie, hat/cap, jewelry are added personal expressions.  The thought process is to be ready for anything you will encounter in an Urban Setting.   

Thoughts on Trenton?   Ahmad believes Trenton has the potential to become a staple in the USA again.  "We have lots of talent with room for growth."  We agree that NOW is the time for the Trenton350 to solidified Trenton as a destination.

DJ-itsjustahmad can be reach via the following


As always see and hear for yourself about this Trenton365 member spinning on the 1& 2’s and tell him you heard about him here!