I’m Totally Watching this Documentary About Badass Women in Street Art

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Anarkia. Photos courtesy of Alexandra Henry.

Fangirling about street art is a lot like fangirling about anything else: you have this idea about what an artist will be like in real life. You imagine their personalities and stories based on what pieces you’ve seen. You feel like you know them after seeing their murals in multiple cities or gazing at photos of their work online and in books.

So I’m naturally fangirling over an upcoming documentary called “Street Heroines,” directed, shot and produced by Alexandra Henry. The film features so many great artists — Gilf!, Lady Pink, Elle — and the super important and iconic photographer Martha Cooper.

In speaking with these powerhouses, Henry also brings to light the challenges of being a female street artist but also what makes the female street artist community so strong and important.

“I decided to focus on women because I realized that not much literature or film existed on what they were bringing to the urban environment,” Henry wrote in an email. “After my first encounter on the street with female artists, it dawned on my that I had never considered women to be part of the culture. Just always thought of it as male-centric, like many other things. So I wanted to create more awareness on what they were doing, because personally I could identify with the beauty and messaging going on in their work.”

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Miss 163.

Henry traveled everywhere from New York to Paris to Brazil, discovering artists by word of mouth or through exploring the streets. This makes for a rich variety of artists, both in terms of aesthetic style and personal backgrounds.

“Street Heroines is comprised of women from many countries, especially in North & South America. Brazilian, American, Mexican, Japanese, Chilean, French, Puerto Rican, Argentine, Chilean, etc.,” wrote Henry. “The community is pretty tight, so once I met Miss 1.6.3. from the Bronx in New York in 2012, she told me about other artists and also informed me about an all female street art festival called Nosotras Estamos en La Calle in Lima, Peru.”

Legs

Legs.

Henry sees the project as a way of “preserving culture” for the next generation and helping viewers look at their surroundings in a different way.

“I have had countless friends and strangers, men and women alike, tell me stories of a beautiful piece of art in the street that they noticed after hearing about my project,” wrote Henry. “They even send me photos or tell me when they’ve met some one doing graffiti or street art. The fact that this project is starting conversations on issues like domestic violence, sexual harassment, economic disparity and climate issues, among others, is very important for us as a society to find solutions.”

Check out the trailer below and support the documentary’s Kickstarter campaign here.

Official Trailer | STREET HEROINES A Film By Alexandra Henry from Alexandra Henry on Vimeo.

 

 

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5 Questions for Amandalynn

Natural Attraction Full Mural

All photos courtesy of Amanda Lynn.

 

I’ve had my share of fangirl moments when writing this blog. Talking with or meeting the person behind the mural only helps to add more context to a piece. Yes, some mystery is fun — and many a street artist likes to keep his/her identity hidden — but sometimes knowing the thought process behind a specific piece just makes it more meaningful. Or, you know, you might just want to talk to the person because they seem super interesting.

I first ran across Amandalynn‘s work in San Francisco and her female figures seemed to peek out at me from every corner of the city. The SF-based artist often teams up with Lady Mags to create work under the team tag Alynn-Mags. She often depicts enigmatic women surrounded by flowers and other natural elements. In addition to large-scale murals, she also creates fine art. The women are strong and confident, often looking straight out at the viewer as if they know a secret the viewer doesn’t know. Amandalynn’s line work is fluid and vibrant, no doubt due to the fact that she often uses brushes.

She graciously answered a few of my questions via email, check them out below!

Your pieces often feature photorealistic faces. Who are the women in your murals?
The women in my murals are inspirations I find through the women around me. I find these images in personal photos, books, magazines, and the web, then manipulate them to fit into my fantasy-like world.
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A lot of your murals are collaborations with Mags. How did you two meet?
I met Lady Mags in 2011, we shared a car ride back to San Francisco from Los Angeles. After talking for 5 hours straight, she invited me to paint a wall with her. I never imagined that I would find so much inspiration and life long friendship from painting murals and fine art together, and I feel incredibly lucky to have her as my artistic partner!

When you have a blank wall and full spray cans, what color do you reach for first?
Well I don’t use a lot of spray paint, I am much more of a brush painter, and my first color is always black! I tend to rely heavily on my underdrawing and sketches to layout my imagery. I then apply depth and shadows through different color layers and washes.

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What is one of the most challenging surfaces you’ve worked on?
I worked on a wall this year that had grooved siding, electrical wires, painted windows, random nails, a bum camp and lots of human pee everywhere… I ended up using a lot of spray paint on that wall because the surface was too intense for brush. And yes! I also wore gloves!

Is there somewhere in the world you would love to paint that you haven’t already visited?
Yes! I actually would love to paint all over the world. My international painting experiences have been my most favorite. I really love painting in smaller communities, it’s extremely rewarding to have locals get excited about what you are doing, and even if there is a huge language barrier, art creates a universal language we all can connect with.