Urban artists and muralist are the new stars of the art world. Defying the outdated notion that art is only of value when it’s commodified, owned and displayed indoors. A new emergence of artists have grabbed the baton from the early pioneers of the graffiti world and created beautiful, large-scale pieces on outdoor walls from Berlin to Brooklyn.
The art form has traditionally been dominated by men and imbued with an outlaw aura born from bombing trains, traversing walls, scaling fences and running from city cops and was further romanticized by classic movies like “Wild Style” and “Krush Groove”. Perhaps the adrenaline rush of throwing up a piece wasn’t a sufficient reason to risk life, limb and liberty; and properly because woman are often in possession of a fair amount of common sense. However, the upsurge in legal outdoor art has witnessed an upsurge in women with spray cans (and paint brushes) in their hands, putting up outstanding work.
Killing walls from the aforementioned Berlin to Brooklyn is Danielle Mastrion, a native New Yorker and a self-described “Jill-Of-All-Trades”, as an artist. She’s a painter, graphic designer and sometimes a photographer. To a growing fan base of urban art enthusiasts, media outlets and casual observers, that stumble upon her pieces, she’s a highly talented muralist. Her piece of the Notorious B.I.G that graces the wall of the Bushwick Collective is super iconic. In addition, her mural of Malala Yousafzai which is also a part of Bushwick Collective, is beautiful, rebellious and political, an impressive, artistic trifecta to pull off.
The Walk Of Art Tour exposes artists from the Bushwick Collective and beyond, shining light on the outdoor art universe and Danielle Mastrion is one of its brightest stars.
We’ve posed our seven questions to Danielle, and hopefully it will give you more insight about the artists. Like Biggie said, “If you don’t know, now you know…”
What was your inspiration for becoming a street artist?
It wasn’t really something that I wanted to ‘become’, it really just happened. I’ve been painting my entire life, and my work was naturally getting larger and larger; I was painting bigger and bigger until one day a friend said, ‘why don’t you put this on a wall, you already naturally have the scale down’. And that’s how my mural work began, as a natural progression from canvas to wall.
I’ve been traveling a lot recently to paint so cities & countries: In the US: New York, Miami & DC; Abroad: France (Paris), Germany (Berlin), England (Bristol), Belize (Placencia), Mexico (Cancun), Cuba (Santiago & Havana), and in 3 weeks I’m traveling to Israel (Tel Aviv) to paint for a week with an organization called Artists 4 Israel. It’s an all female painter / graff trip which I’m extremely excited about.
What’s the process for putting up an outdoor piece?
First is seeing the actual wall and space. If there are obstacles such as windows, pipes, etc, you have to plan around those. Know how big your piece is going to be, walk up and down the block and see which angles will be the most visible, see how the light will hit it at what times of day; all the exterior elements go into the planning of a mural for me. Then I usually take a few pictures, go home, work on sketches over the actual photos; so when it’s time to paint I can just dive in and attack the wall without having too many questions. But you can only plan so much; a lot of it comes from being in the moment and how I feel once I start painting. Sometimes the final looks nothing like the sketch 🙂 I don’t project my images; I paint by eye and scale and proportion.