Billi Kid takes a Shine to Brooklynite and Street Art Sales

A Concept for a gallery show inspires one street artist to try an on-the-street experiment.

Billi Kid recently completed his version of a shoe-shine box to contribute to the unusual show that Bed-Stuy gallery Brooklynite opens next week, and he decided to take his box a step further.

Billi Kid's contribution to the shinebox show also doubled as an experiment on the street (photo courtesy the artist)
Billi Kid’s contribution to the shinebox show also doubled as an experiment on the street (photo courtesy the artist)

The 100 artists, mostly street artists, have created their own version of a shoe-shine box, a metaphor for the entrepreneurial spirit. “Having been born in a third world country, Colombia, I have seen many a kid making a living shining shoes,” says Billi. “They hustle a modest living out of their shoeshine boxes. It is a testament to the human will to survive that these kids stretch their craft day and night to simply put food on their table. That is, if they even have a table.”

Billi Kid is a bit of an entrepreneur himself so he used his shine box on the street to sell some of his artwork.  In New York City, as a result of street artists winning a fight with the Giuliani administration in the late 1990’s to sell their art on the streets, you are allowed set up a table and sell your own artwork without fear of reprisal.

“I took Brooklynite’s challenge to heart and set out to see if I could actually put food on the table working out of my “SHINEBOX,” says the artist. Taking into account overhead costs for creating his postcards, “I figured that I would need to sell at least 16 postcards per hour @ a $1.00 each to make $8.00 dollars in profit an hour.”

Traffic was pretty good on his spot near the park, and a number of people stopped to look at his signature political-personality postcards featuring the likes of George Bush, Sara Palin, and Michelle Obama.  Within a couple of hours, 20 postcards of Billi Kid’s had sold, and the short-lived experiment ended up with Billi and his cameraman in a nearby pizza joint eating the profits.  Luckily, there was money left for the subway home.

AND HE MADE A PROMOTIONAL VIDEO WITH THE EXPERIENCE

More on Billi’s experiment Here

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