Spread the love

These Artists Share What It Means to Take Their Craft to the Streets

Written By: Noelle Roys LA Street Artists

WRDSMTH

Q: Who or what first inspired you to create art?

WRDSMTH: When I first moved to LA, I was blown away by the amount and level of street art. The medium was experiencing a renaissance and Shepard Fairey was leading the way.

Q: What significant moment or time in your artistic career stands out to you?

W: Following the urge to start doing street art and putting up my ever first piece five years ago will always stand out as a significant moment in time.

Q: How does it feel to be able to showcase your work in public places?

W: I love it. The thought of someone turning a corner and stumbling upon my words and work fuels my creative fire. I know the WRDs are resonating with people, so I strive to spread them far and wide.

Q: What message(s) are you trying to convey through your street art?

W: I paint and paste positive messages that I hope inspire and motivate — ‘Dream Bigge(r),’ ‘Give it your very best every single day and don’t be so hard on yourself come nightfall,’ and ‘Aspire to inspire others and the universe will take note‘ are staples in my work.

Q: Where can we expect to see more of your work in the near future? Any upcoming projects you’re excited about?

W: I’m here in LA for a while and I am working on some new pieces that will debut in the coming weeks. I am also aiming to head overseas—to London and Paris—late this year.

LA Street Artists

Bumblebeelovesyou

Q: Who or what first inspired you to create art?

Bumblebeelovesyou: It’s hard to say who or what but I’m pretty sure it was because where I grew up, there was no public art, museums or even galleries to be inspired by. Maybe there was, but honestly, it was never spoken of when I was a kid so I didn’t even know they existed. The internet wasn’t a thing yet so we pretty much just had TV or maybe a friend in school who also liked to draw. But painting your city is totally different. You have to assume ownership of the city and things that are painted gray or unloved parts of the city start to look more like canvases and a way to express yourself. But you also have to keep in mind that the city doesn’t revolve around you and if you do paint something, it’s best to get a second or third opinion on what you plan on painting.

Q: What significant moment or time in your artistic career stands out to you?

B: It was when I sold my first painting. It was a larger black and white (no yellow) stencil on canvas and was a portrait of me skateboarding. And when it sold I remember being so happy because the price was basically my minimum wage salary for the month. I remember feeling so overwhelmed with happiness and relieved that I had now inched towards my goal to becoming a professional artist. The funny part was that no one at my minimum wage salary job believed me. When you first start out making art, people think you’re going crazy or doing it for therapy. The truth is that it is a combination of those, but I always knew I had a good eye for design and composition so I kept moving forward.

Q: How does it feel to be able to showcase your work in public places?

B: It truly feels like a dream come true. There’s so much that goes into the planning of a new mural that when it finally all comes together it feels like you’ve reached a finish line. But that’s just part of the feeling. To me, knowing that it might inspire someone or brighten someone’s day is what I’m truly proud about. My work isn’t political or controversial, and these days I’m proud to know that my art stands up on its own without an agenda; it’s just pure creativity and positivity.

Q: What message(s) are you trying to convey through your street art?

B: My pieces are all about having fun. Remembering what it was like when you were a kid and having no bills to pay. The only worries were waking up in time to watch Saturday morning cartoons. I like to think my work is an escape from all of the adulting we do in our everyday lives that somehow we have all signed up for.

Q: Where can we expect to see more of your work in the near future? Any upcoming projects you’re excited about?

B: Yes, I’m having a show! It’s free and it’s at the Brand Library in Glendale, CA. Opening night is Nov. 3 from 6 to 10 p.m. The show is up for a couple of months and everyone is welcomed to come view it.

LA Street Artists

Morley

Q: Who or what first inspired you to create art?

Morley: I think we all have the desire to feel heard and to feel like what we say and how we feel matters. As a kid I always struggled to feel worthy of being paid attention. For me, writing gave me a way of expressing myself to an audience and the chance to articulate my feelings with a clarity that leaving them jumbled in my mind couldn’t offer. I learned about myself through writing and found that every now and again, others discovered something about themselves through it as well. In college my mind began expanding as I became introduced to other artistic mediums—this is when I started seeing street art and thought that I could inject my writing into a world that isn’t often interested in people who have an agenda other than selling a product.

Q: What significant moment or time in your artistic career stands out to you?

M: I’d say that when it occurred to me that people were actually starting to notice what I did, it became more than a hobby and I thought that it might develop into something resembling a purpose. I can’t pinpoint a moment exactly, but I think it’s vital for every artist to have those people who encourage you in the right season of life and help you develop the confidence to explore the unique parts of you where you can find your voice.

Q: How does it feel to be able to showcase your work in public places?

M: One aspect that I enjoy the most about creating street art is that you never really know how each person is going to respond to someone, so you can kind of just assume the best. Will there be people who see something I’ve done and shrug? Of course. But for me, my ambition is for every single person to pass my work and feel like, ‘This is uniquely for me. This is the perfect sentiment for me at this moment. How did this person know that only I could relate to this message in such a specific way and happen to pass it today?’ The idea of hundreds of people all individually bringing their emotional DNA to a piece, their own backstory and filling in the gaps so that my message feels tailor-made for them alone will always be the goal. I don’t know if that opportunity exists if the only way to experience the art is in a gallery.

Q: What message(s) are you trying to convey through your street art?

M: I’m sort of known for the variety of messages that my work features, but I think almost all of them have a common thread that knits them all together, and I would say that is to embrace the full experience of life. Embrace the flaws that you’re embarrassed by but are the things that make you stick out in a crowd. Embrace the frustrations of life- rather than try to ignore them, work through them and see who you are on the other side. Embrace unapologetic hope and laugh in the face of cynicism. These ideas seem to be baked into each message I create.

Q: Where can we expect to see more of your work in the near future? Any upcoming projects you’re excited about?

M: Well, I have my second book coming out on Nov. 13 from Cameron and Company. It’s called “Let’s Burn This Moment Down to the Filter.” It’s about 300 or so pages and features hundreds of the posters I’ve put up over the years. It also has a detachable two-sided poster inside it which is pretty cool. For me what I love about it is that it reminds people of the context that these messages were created for. The environment is part of the art and that can get lost in a gallery, so photos of my work on the streets and accompanying text that unpacks the notions I was playing with is an ideal way of sharing my art- beyond of course someone just happening upon it in the streets. Though I suppose a different version of that experience could happen at a bookstore or a library- perusing the aisles and coming across my book and taking a peek. Serendipitous engagement can be edifying no matter how it occurs.  

Man One

Q: How does it feel to be able to showcase your work in public places?

Man One: Going up on public space is the biggest thrill and most satisfying of all the things I do. Actually, if I could do just one thing, it would be creating outdoor murals all day long. The immediate feedback from the public (the good and the bad) makes it a unique experience. I find studio work very boring and can’t wait to go outside and paint. The memories, the blood, the sweat and the tears are immortalized within each new mural that I create.

Q: What significant moment or time in your artistic career stands out to you?

MO: There have been many significant moments in my career, but one that pops into my head was working with the US State Department and the US Embassy in Panama.  I think, for me, this solidified the importance of the work that I had been doing for decades. I had always felt that law enforcement and government were foes to this culture, and now the actual US Government was calling me to be a cultural ambassador of sorts to work with kids, speak at universities and paint murals in Panama. It was kind of surreal but a great experience.

Q: What message(s) are you trying to convey through your street art?

MO: I try to send out different messages with each of my murals. Most of the street portraiture work I do is related to my #FacesLA campaign where I’m intentionally depicting people who might not be well-known. I want to highlight the local artist, a child or maybe an Abuelita. I want people to realize that Los Angeles is much more than just celebrity faces. We are a huge city full of people and full of color. I also like to create my crazy characters which I call #GraffitiSpirits and live within my brain so I have to paint to exorcise them constantly! Overall I want to create fun, inspiring, political and beautiful murals around the world.

Q: Where can we expect to see more of your work in the near future? Any upcoming projects you’re excited about?

MO: I’m creating a nice big mural in El Sereno depicting one of the local heroes over there as well as a large, colorful mural on the campus of Palomar College down south in San Marcos. Keep your eye on my IG (@manoneart) for more details and what’s to come!

 

Colette Miller

Q: Who or what first inspired you to create art?

Colette Miller: The beauty of the world, but my mom and dad set me up with supplies as a toddler.

Q: What significant moment or time in your artistic career stands out to you?

CM: Many. Maybe when we did one of the first GWAR shows in Richmond Virginia. I was the original GWAR girl when GWAR was in its formation.

Q: How does it feel to be able to showcase your work in public places?

CM: Gratifying and humbling.

Q: What message(s) are you trying to convey through your street art?

CM: Humanity can step up to the plate and own their right to divinity. We are the Angels of this earth.

Q: Where can we expect to see more of your work in the near future? Any upcoming projects you’re excited about?

CM: Well, I’m on way to China today, and I’m doing the tallest building in the world in a few weeks [at] Burj Khalifa in Dubai.