I went out for a great hunt today and emerged victorious with lots of new photos. Thanks, New York! However, I'll save my stories for another time. Today's post features NYC artist Ema. This accomplished lady has her roots firmly planted in graffiti, but she dabbles in a little of everything. She sent along a whole file of photos and apologized for not sending more (something about 'getting her Ph.D?' Applause, ma'am!) This busy bee writes:
“I have been painting walls since my early teens, and my style has changed quite a lot and many times since then. I used to be a hardcore graffiti writer and now I’m more of a peaceful mural artist. I like to use a bit of humor and sometimes cynicism in my paintings although it is not always obvious. Because of my roots in old school hip hop graffiti, it’s always hard for me to call myself a ‘street artist’, although I guess it applies to me too, since I am making art in the streets.”“For over 10 years I only painted my different graffiti names (ema, robot, arab, com, buffy….) on various types of surfaces and places, I started painting characters around 2006 and have been exploring a more illustrative/figurative path since then. I have a soft spot for painting chubby guys with moustache, but I also like experimenting other things (for example, a series of ‘lonely spade’ posters I made for this past Valentine’s Day.) I did that as a response to the work of this other street artist from Brooklyn who pastes hearts with happy faces. My spades look sad, grumpy or angry and I pasted them the first time on a lonely Valentine’s Day.”
“I like painting walls in neighborhoods where I know the people will enjoy it. I usually pick crappy walls. Once my painting is there, no matter how good (or bad) it is, it will look at least better than it used to.”
"I spent three months stuck outside the States last year because of immigration problems, so I spent some time in Berlin as well as other places. That was right around the time when the large hydron collider popular fear of black holes was in the news. The sad thing for me was that being stuck outside the country where I normally live felt like a black hole (somewhat because I lost a lot of money and job opportunities). One day, I just painted a moustache-wearing chubby looking LHC physicist."
"This is an Ema piece surrounded by characters from my friends Kid Acne (UK) and YZ (France). I believe this photo is from May 2006. I really loved painting this wall. It was on Bedford Avenue at the corner of Grand Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. This street is one of the busiest in the neighborhood. Someone told us we could paint there, so we took the whole day painting. Apparently the owner was not aware of us painting there, so he got mad, and painted over the whole thing two weeks later. It turns out that this spot is a commercial space. You have to pay to advertise yourself!"
Thanks so much, Ema! For more photos and info, check her out on MySpace.