However, at times the pressure cooker of urbanity can also suppress, inhibit, or even destroy some of humanity’s most creative and innovative energies, dreams and ideas.
Nevertheless, the inner city environment – and the inherent social inequality that often characterizes it – is intrinsically linked to the resourceful ingenuity that has given rise to major shifts in urban cultural expressions. In some cases, it could be said that the conditions of the inner city actually birthed entire creative movements, such as jazz, muralism and of course, hip hop. As a graffiti painter and portrait artist, I am interested in creating multidimensional portrait paintings of the individuals who embody the energy and spirit of urban creativity. Often in iconic fashion, I enjoy portraying the face of folks who embody the urban spirit of creativity, perseverance, and ambitiousness.
The portraits I create are often composed through a collage of painting techniques – stencil painting, freehand spraypainting, representational and abstract brush work and kinetic painting – juxtaposed against calligraphic writing and geometric abstraction. Many of the typographical forms and linear shapes include or are formed by lines that lie on 45° and -45° angles. This specific angular dichotomy suggests a balance between movement both uphill and down, the rising and falling, success and failure, and ebb and flow of urban life.
Above: Portrait of Danish urban dance icon Toniah Pedersen; Panel 2 of 6 from the Detour Urban Dance Festival artwork displayed at Dansehallerne in 2012.