How does it feel to be the first female graffiti artist to get respect in a male-dominated underground art scene? Pretty effin good, I suppose. That’s Lady Pink’s story.
The Ecuador-born, NYC-raised artist Lady Pink started writing graffiti back in 1979 while in high school, and today is recognized as the leading lady in the game. Her work is currently on display at “Art in the Streets,” the first major U.S. museum survey of graffiti and street art at the MOCA in Los Angeles.
She designed her very own Lady Pink Levi’s Trucker Jacket for the occasion as part of the Levi’s Film Workshop, and it’s on sale now at the MOCA store! The signature 1967 slim-fit denim jacket features a punk rockish purple and hot pink skull and comes packaged in a box bearing the legendary Lady Pink tag. It also comes with a print of Lady Pink’s art. Heyyy! (I’m so gonna scoop one up and rock it with leggings and my fave spiked studded Converse.)
But back to La Lady. Her inspiration to put art on walls came at 15 when her then boyfriend was sent to live in Puerto Rico after getting arrested. Heartbroken, she did what most girls her age would—scribbled his name over and over again. But instead of writing it on her Pee Chee, she took his name to the streets. This emotionally-charged grieving period led to her bombing NYC subway trains with Lady Pink, an alias inspired by her love for all things Victorian.
In 1983, Pink starred in the first hip hop motion picture, Wild Style, which featured legendary NYC graffiti artist Lee Quiñones, the Rock Steady Crew, and Grandmaster Flash. The film showcased her amazing skills with a spray can (see minute 3:10 of this clip), and fueled her fire to take her art to a whole new level. Lady Pink started painting the scenes she saw growing up in Queens—a woman with manic depression hunched over a spray can, a beautiful Alice in Wonderland-esque butterfly—on canvas. Her ability to bring the 80s hip hop subculture to life through spray painted pieces led to her first solo art show at a mere 21, at the Moore College of Art & Design. She’s since been featured at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Groninger Museum in the Netherlands, and now the MOCA.
She continues to paint her heart out on canvas and create thought-provoking murals that serve as a hopeful backdrop in a concrete jungle. She’s also committed to giving back to the community, using her 32 years of experience as an artist to lead workshops with teens and college students. That’s what I call “bigger than hip hop hip hop hip hop.”
Head over to the MOCA and grab one of Lady Pink’s jacket.
And so you don’t miss any of the Levi’s Film Workshop, here’s the lineup of upcoming events:
5/21/11 – Secrets of Skate Videos with Steve Berra of The Berrics – from 1:00 to 2:30 pm
5/21/11 – A/V Session with Michael Allen – from 7:00 to 8:30 pm
5/22/11 –Echo Park Film Center: 16MM Basic – 11:00 am
5/22/11 – Meet Neck Face + Isaiah Seret – 3:00 pm
5/24/11 – Premiere of “Outside in: The Story of Art in the streets” – Egyptian Theater at 8:00 pm
The Levi’s Film Workshop will be around from April 17 to August 8. For more information on the upcoming dates, check out the Film Workshop’s site.