All posts tagged: Billi Kid

NYC Street Artists Collaborate! Reason No. 31 to love New York

NYC Street Artists Collaborate! Reason No. 31 to love New York

According to the new issue of New York Magazine , whose cover story “Reasons to Love New York” is on newsstands today, Reason Number 31 is because our street art is collaborative.

click to enlarge and see all the names they helpfully tracked down

Street Artists have a greater spirit of collaboration than you might imagine

Billi Kid provided pictures that document the ongoing conversation of street artists in one part of the city.  And it’s pretty rare to hear about “Beef”, something that was a mainstay of graff culture back in the daze.

According to the article, “In gallery-rich Chelsea, a brick wall on West 22nd Street became, over the past year, an ephemeral showroom for international street art. The canvas changed appearance almost daily, as artists (some identified here) overlaid new pieces over the work of their predecessors.”

When reached by BSA for comment, street artist Billi Kid was big-hearted and magnanimous, full of Holiday Spirit, “It’s all about community. It’s all about collaboration. It’s all about joy. HAPPY HOLIDAYS EVERYONE!”

That just makes me want to say “Ho-Ho-Ho!” or, as we used to say at Christmas when I worked at a mega-club on West 29th Street, “Whore-Whore-Whore!”

Now it is probably inpolitik to say such a thing, but “Sex Worker-Sex Worker-Sex Worker” just doesn’t have a Christmas ring to it.

VIEW THE NEW YORK MAG Street Art Slideshow here:

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Sneak Peak: MBP Urban Arts Festival

Skaters are pounding ramps together and trading tricks, vendors are setting up tables, gallerists are hanging pieces, and street artists are staking claim to swaths of concrete wall.

JMR has been working 4 days on his installation for the “Tree Grows In Brooklyn” wall, based on the book of the same name.  Night is falling but he’s just had a beer and a veggie burger and is back on the scissor lift with a kleig light blasting the wall. Aside from a car running over some paint cans that Indigo and Mania were going to use, everything is running copasetic. Now if the rain stays away…

Here are some shots of some of the work that will be on display tomorrow:

Mania lays up a stencil layer (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Mania lays up a stencil layer (photo Steven P. Harrington)

JMR laying in the black on his 100 ft long mural (photo Steven P. Harrington)

JMR punctuates in the black on his 100 ft long mural (photo Steven P. Harrington)

ELC Crew already stopped by (Celso, infinity, Royce Bannon...) (photo Steven P. Harrington)

ELC Crew already stopped by (Celso, infinity, Royce Bannon…) (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Billi Kid Obama filmstrip on the wall (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Billi Kid Obama filmstrip on the wall (blurry photo Steven P. Harrington)

Avoid Pi in the Mighty Tanaka gallery (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Avoid Pi in the Mighty Tanaka gallery (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Martha Cooper has some original Printer's Proofs from street life in NYC in the 70's and 80's

Martha Cooper has some original Printer’s Proofs from street life in NYC in the 70’s and 80’s (photo Steven P. Harrington)

The softer side of HELLBENT (photo Steven P. Harrington)

The softer side of HELLBENT (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Skewville in a conduit frame in the gallery (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Skewville in a conduit frame in the gallery (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Remo Camerota has a gallery full installation of brand new poloroid works - including this stormtrooper

Remo Camerota has a gallery full installation of brand new poloroid works – including this stormtrooper (photo Steven P. Harrington)

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James, Karla and Billi Kid talk about Mom & Popism: Open to Public Saturday

James, Karla and Billi Kid talk about Mom & Popism: Open to Public Saturday

Manhattan is turning into a Mall. There I’ve said it.

In the 80’s when I first got to NYC my best friend guided me through the canyons of Manhattan lamenting the pace of change, the cultural cornerstones gone, the new soul-lessness that was going up in new buildings and neighborhoods. I said, “Get over it, are you kidding? This place is amazing!”

Making a call while Billi Kid looks on (photo Jaime Rojo)

Hi De Hi, Hi Di Ho! Making a call while Billi Kid looks on (photo Jaime Rojo)


Now the pace of “progress” that has turned every small and mid-sized city in America into an interchangeable power strip of Olive Gardens, Radio Shacks, and OfficeMaxes has gradually infiltrated the culturally vibrant and wacky island. But it isn’t only Manhattan, it’s true in almost every neighborhood in the city – In fact, the chains are shackling most of our culture to a homogenized dullness that preys on low-paid workers elsewhere and creates low-paid workers here.  How many Mom-and-Pop stores have been wiped out by the undercutting prices and special tax considerations that Big Box stores have?

Ask James and Karla Murray.

They started taking pictures of New York’s Mom-and-Pop stores a decade ago when they were out shooting graffiti. By definition, a Mom-and-Pop is a family-owned and usually family-run business with roots in it’s community, providing needed goods or services and jobs and wealth to it’s small ecosystem. The Murrays noticed that they were disappearing, rapidly.  It alarmed them and they published a book featuring those businesses call “Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York”, featuring 250 images of these Mom and Pops.

Buildmore, Morgan Thomas, and Blanco (photo Jaime Rojo)

Buildmore, Morgan Thomas, and Blanco love pasta! (photo Jaime Rojo)


A new show, open to the public this Saturday, features images from that book blown up almost to their original size in a “streetscape” and installed on a gorgeous rooftop. The twist with this show of storefronts is it also includes the work of 28 artists all over it, thanks to the curating skills of Billi Kid, street artist and entrepreneur.  We went to the opening of the event (read here) and then we had the pleasure of interviewing the authors and the curator of the show to get more of the backstory:

Brooklyn Street Art: How did the opening party go?

Karla Murray: The opening party was a huge success. We have to thank Liz and Genevieve at Gawker Artists for helping launch such a great event as well as Billi Kid for planning and curating the event. We have never seen our Store Front photos so big before, let alone be decorated by many talented graffiti and street artists. Lots of media and artists were there to celebrate the unveiling of the exhibit. We also want to thank Bear Flag wines who donated the wine.

Ticky/Underwater Pirates, and Celso with guests (photo Jaime Rojo)

Ticky/Underwater Pirates, and Celso with guests (photo Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: How did you come up with this unusual idea and then convince Jim and Karla to help make it happen?

Billi Kid: Jim and Karla’s book had been sitting on my coffee table for quite a while and of course, triggered the original idea. MOM & POPism was my fourth collaboration with J&K, our second in which other artists work over their images, so it came down to a matter of trust and love for the concept. To be honest, they jumped right in. No arm twisting on my part. If anything, we three held our breath while waiting for Gawker Artists, who presented the exhibition, to decide whether they wanted to commit their time and resources to the event. Liz Dimmit, our champion and curator of Gawker Artists, fought our battle hard and flipped the POWERS THAT BE over to the dark side.

Royce Bannon monster takes a bite (photo Jaime Rojo)

Royce Bannon monster takes a bite (photo Jaime Rojo)

Birds on a ledge by Cern (photo Jaime Rojo)

Birds on a ledge by Cern (photo Jaime Rojo)

David Cooper and Ralph's (photo Jaime Rojo)

David Cooper and Ralph’s (photo Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: Can you describe the process and materials you used to print these large scale repicas of storefronts?

James Murray: The process began by Billi Kid selecting the photos from our “STORE FRONT” book that he thought would have enough “negative” space for artists to paint directly on top of the photo but still maintain the integrity of the store. After Billi Kid told us his initial selection of images, we worked with him making the final selection. We based this decision on the actual image size because we wanted to use photos that we knew would be able to be blown up to that large size and remain clear. We then gave all the image files to Billi Kid so that he could do the math on every one of them and figure out how large the image would print. He also figured out what spaces the artist would paint on and assigned every artist a particular area to paint on. Billi Kid then printed out our photos in segments of 4 feet wide by 9 feet high on matte photo paper rolls using his wide-format printer. If it wasn’t for Billi Kid owning such a large printer, this project would never have gotten off the ground because it would have been too expensive to print at a local lab.


Ideal Dinettes, in business from 1953-2008 Brooklyn, 2004, by James and Karla Murray from “STORE FRONT- The Disappearing Face of New York”


Brooklyn Street Art: Were you ever afraid it wasn’t going to work out?

Billi Kid: Only in so far as the weather was concerned. When we kicked off the planning phase of MOM & POPism, the last thing we figured was a rainy July/August season. Who knew? We had considered the tremendous amount of work involved in getting this to look just right. I mean, Liz Dimmit actually committed to building 9 walls on the roof of Gawker Media HQ so that we could cover them with James and Karla’s beautiful photography. On top of that, we had to figure out the blown-up dimensions of each image and how to layer them up as wallpaper slices. It was definitely touch and go for most of the process, but the stars finally aligned in our favor.

Lady Pink (photo Jaime Rojo)

Lady Pink (photo Jaime Rojo)


Brooklyn Street Art: Isn’t Billi Kid rude and difficult to work with?

Karla Murray: Billi Kid is one of the nicest and most generous guys as well as a talented artist. This is the 3rd time we have collaborated with him on an exhibition. The first was a graffiti/street art/photography hotel room installation at the Carlton Arms Hotel in Manhattan and the second was an exhibition called Underground/Overground at the Artbreak Gallery in Williamsburg. We also selected him to be part of an exhibition we are curating during Art Basel Miami called GRAFFITI GONE GLOBAL presented by SushiSamba Restaurants. His work, including the panel he painted as part of MOM and POPism, will be shipped down to Miami and included in the show that takes place from Dec 3-6, 2009.

Brooklyn Street Art: How important is community in a project like this?

Billi Kid: As curator, my first concern for MOM & POPism was to bridge the gap between graffiti/street art and how it is exhibited in a gallery environment. I wanted the public to experience it in it’s pure form, exactly how I see it when I walk the city streets. Secondly, I wanted to continue James and Karla’s “Store Front” conversation along with the sadness felt by all as we watch the disappearing face of New York along with the economic and artistic implications involved. And last, it was all about community. Bringing all of these talented artists to this roof was a dream come true. When working together, the community can go a lot further in spreading the love as far as I’m concerned.

Shiro and her buddy by her piece (photo Jaime Rojo)

Shiro and her buddy by her piece (photo Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: What conversation do you hope to spark about the significance of these businesses, and their disappearance?

James Murray: We hope to open people’s eyes to the disappearance of these mom-and-pop businesses and encourage people to shop in them and support them. Since we began the project of documenting these stores over 10 years ago, over half of the images which appear in the book have now closed. With the economy doing poorly even more businesses are threatened. These mom-and-pop stores are what makes each neighborhood in the 5 boroughs unique. They are the backbone of the community and when they close a little piece of history is lost.

Brooklyn Street Art: Do you think people are beginning to make the connection between corporate power, globalism, big box stores, and the killing off of Mom-and-Pop’s?

Karla Murray: We hope that people do make the connection between corporate power and big box retailers and the killing off of Mom-and-Pops. People often have the misconception that shopping at a big box is cheaper then going to a local store but it’s not true! Many store owners have told us that their prices are actually lower and the quality of their goods are better. These mom and pop store owners take pride in what they sell and stand behind their product whether its food or clothing or whatever. Many of these businesses have been handed down from generation to generation and the owners are proud to have their name attached to their store.

Brooklyn Street Art: Sometimes when you stretch your mind to combine art and artists in a new way, you can reach a new audience. Maybe you are letting more people know about these artists…
Billi Kid:
Whenever I have a willing ear, I’m always talking about preaching beyond the choir. The work deserves and demands a wider audience. It’s beautiful to see and read how people outside of the graffiti and street art world reacted to MOM & POPism. Hallelujah!

Zoltron took the signs to a new street (photo Jaime Rojo)

Zoltron took the signs to a new street (photo Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: Now that the family owned stores are gone, do you see any hopeful signs in the development of the cityscape?
James Murray:
Many family-owned businesses are still in existence so we remain hopeful that the cityscape will not change too drastically.

Infinity says he liked the garbage bags piled there

Infinity says he liked the garbage bags piled there because it looks more realistic (photo Jaime Rojo)


Brooklyn Street Art: What was the biggest surprise of the whole installation?
Karla Murray: The biggest surprise was all the rain we got while doing the installation. We knew going into this that the weather was not something we could control but we really were subjected to extremes. The boards were even blown over by a heavy wind/rain storm and had to be secured more tightly. When the artists were painting on the photos we had to erect “tents” out of tarps to keep them covered from the heavy rain storms. We even had to change the date of the opening party under threat of rain. Despite all this, everything worked out well and the photos and artwork held up remarkably well to the elements.

David Cooper signing a copy of Jim and Karla's book (photo Jaime Rojo) 

David Cooper signing a copy of Jim and Karla’s book (photo Jaime Rojo)


Brooklyn Street Art: Work and logistics aside, it looks like you had fun putting this one together!
Billi Kid:
OK, scratch everything I said so far! Hell yeah!!! It was all about having fun! Seeing how much pleasure each artist had working and looking over each other’s shoulder was my finest moment in bringing MOM & POPism to life. At the end of the day, we ALL have to enjoy what we do, because it shows.

Here’s a piece by videographer Greg DeLiso:

MOM & POPism include Blanco,  Buildmore, Cake,  Celso, Cern, Chris  (RWK), Crome, Cycle, David Cooper, Destroy & Rebuild, Enamel Kingdom, Goldenstash, Infinity, Kngee, Lady Pink, Matt Siren, Morgan Thomas, Peru Ana Ana Peru, Plasma Slugs, Royce  Bannon, Shai R. Dahan, Shiro, The Dude Company, Tikcy, Under Water Pirates, Veng (RWK), Zoltron and Billi Kid.

MOM & POPism will be open to public on Saturday, August 15th from noon to 4 p.m. Additional exhibition viewings are available by appointment throughout August.

MOM & POPism Public Viewing Invite.jpg

Previous projects that combined the talents of James and Karla and Billi:

An article James and Karla wrote about Billi in Peel Magazine

The room Billi did at Artbreak Hotel with James and Karla

Underground Overground with Billi, James and Karla and Cern

Great Photos at the opening of Mom&Popism from talented photographer Joe Russo at our friends Arrested Motion

See an exhibition of photos from the book at the Clic Gallery now through September 27, 2009

Billi Kid

James and Karla Murray

Gawker Artists

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“The Great OutDoors” with Luna Park at ArtBreak Gallery

“The Great OutDoors” with Luna Park at ArtBreak Gallery

A true street art Opening in Brooklyn, with shutters open wide and many doorways to contemplate.

A collection of 30 artists on the street art scene are contributing to the vision of the adoorable Luna Park and her co-curator Billi Kid.  Ms. Park, a well-travelled street art photographer who calls Brooklyn home, is among a very select group of intrepid souls cris-crossing the borough by any means possible to get the right shot.

Well regarded and always smartly outfitted, Ms. Park and Mr. Kid have added a bit of poetry to the street art oeuvre by decorating the departure, edifying the entrance, festooning the frontage, and gilding the gateway!

Image by Luna Park featuring a Celso in the doorway.

Image by Luna Park featuring a Celso in the doorway.

Brooklyn Street Art: How did you and Billi Kid conjure a show using doors as canvas?

Luna Park: Last year, Billi Kid, Jim and Karla Murray, Cern and Elisha Cook Jr. decorated a room at the Carlton Arms Hotel, which is known for it’s fabulous, one-of-a-kind, artist-decorated rooms. I highly recommend it as an affordable place to send your arty guests. To capitalize on the network of artists they’d built through the hotel, in March 2008 the owners opened Artbreak Gallery in Williamsburg. When Billi Kid contacted them about the possibility of doing a doors-themed street art show, they were immediately on board. I agreed to participate last December and the rest, as they say, was a matter of logistics, logistics, logistics.

Brooklyn Street Art: As you march across the city looking for great shots, have you found that some artists gravitate to doorways?

Luna Park: Definitely! I’d even go so far as to say not only SOME, but MANY. Your average urban door is the perfect gateway to graffiti – pardon the pun – it provides a smooth, even surface, accessible to all and, most importantly, visible to all. Although I don’t subscribe to the so-called “broken windows” theory of graffiti leading to crime, I do think it holds true for doors in the sense that graffiti on doors DOES attract more graffiti. It generally starts with a lone tag and – provided that tag isn’t buffed – the tags soon multiply. Before you know it, stickers get in on the action, the odd wheatpaste sticks around and, voila, suddenly you have a proper door!

Brooklyn Street Art: Why would a doorway be better than, say, a wall?

Luna Park: I’m not saying doors are better than walls, but as a surface on which to write or stick, a doorway offers a certain degree of protection from prying eyes. No one looks twice at someone who is ostensibly fumbling for keys in front of a doorway, but that same person loitering by a wall…


Cake from “The Great Outdoors” (photo Luna Park)

Brooklyn Street Art: Where did all of these come from? Have you been dumpster diving?

Luna Park: Well, I’m certainly not one to condone any kind of illegal activity, ahem, so I’m assuming the doors were all acquired legally, perhaps through a fine, neighborhood purveyor of sundry household items.

I personally salvaged two doors from the curb down the street from my house. Billi Kid acquired his door and several others at a farmhouse sale in rural Connecticut.  A few people must have visited demolition sites, as there are a number of extraordinarily heavy fire doors as well. The doors really run the gamut of everything from vintage to factory fresh.

Brooklyn Street Art: Are most of the pieces in this show made specifically for “The Great Outdoors?”

Luna Park: Yep, with one notable exception, all of the pieces for this show are brand spanking new!

“Close the door on the past. You don’t try to forget the mistakes, but you don’t dwell on it. You don’t let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space.” – Johnny Cash

The Dude Company

The Dude Company for “The Great Outdoors” (photo Luna Park)

Brooklyn Street Art: Every door has two sides; has anybody addressed both for the show?

Luna Park: We asked the artists to decorate only one side of the door – to make hanging them all the easier – but Celso and LA2 collaborated on one side of a door that already had a piece on the other side. I’d mention who, but that would spoil the surprise.

Brooklyn Street Art: It’s not the same as painting ox blood over the doorway, but do you think there is any symbolism to the act of decorating a door?

Street art and graffiti covered doors aside, I think the decorated door functions as a marker, defining the threshold between the private and the public spheres. There are certainly any number of cultures around the world that place markings on doors to celebrate rites of passage: in the part of northern Germany from which my mother comes from, it is not uncommon to see important family dates chalked onto doors, presumably in conjunction with some kind of religious blessing.

“we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” – Alexander Graham Bell

Feral for "The Great Outdoors" (photo Luna Park)

Feral for “The Great Outdoors” (photo Luna Park)

Brooklyn Street Art: On a grander scale, this show could be a commentary about the times we’re in, with many doors slamming shut, while others that we scarcely imagined only two years ago are opening wide.  Do you care to philosophize?

Luna Park: I’m an optimist at heart and a pragmatist by nature, as such, I believe very much in silver linings and unforeseen occurrences. Especially in times of crisis, one has to embrace change, because only by accepting change can one move forward. When Billi Kid approached me with the opportunity to co-curate this show, you better believe I opened that door, despite initial misgivings about never having organized anything of this magnitude before.

I can only speak for myself, but having this show – something I’ve come to see as an incredibly positive force in my life – to occupy me and to look forward to has made the struggles I endure at work all the more bearable. I am slowly realizing that this show has opened doors for others, and that has made this experience all the more meaningful to me. By the same token, the outpouring of support from the street art community – BSA included – has been enormous and for that I am very grateful.

Brooklyn Street Art: Given their past locations and your personal experience shooting the streets, what does it feel like to see these doors lined up in a spare white box gallery space?

Luna Park: There is often critique of street art and graffiti work in galleries, in many cases justified in that some work simply does not translate well onto canvas. But in this case, we’re literally bringing doors in off the street and taking them to the next level (the gallery’s on the 2nd floor). Because the doors are relatively large and heavily decorated, being surrounded by a clean, white gallery wall gives each piece space to breathe. Above and beyond that, it’s nice to see the humble door elevated to a place of honor.

“Listen; there’s a hell of a good universe next door: let’s go.” – e.e. cummings

His holiness Blanco for "The Great Outdoors" (photo Luna Park)


Brooklyn Street Art: What door surprised you the most?

Luna Park: Without a doubt, Blanco! I’ve been following his stencils since he first started putting them out, seeing his progression with each, more intricate piece. When we invited him to be part of the show, I had high hopes, but he’s really exceeded all expectations and then some! Bravo, J!

That having been said, I’m very pleased by the quality of ALL the work and am super proud of everyone’s efforts. My sincerest thanks to everyone that helped make this show possible.

Brooklyn Street Art: What time do doors open on Saturday?

Luna Park: Doors open at 6pm. I for one can’t wait to find out if it’s Bachelor #1, #2 or #3 behind my favorite door! ;p

“Ten men waiting for me at the door? Send one of them home, I’m tired.”  Brooklyn’s own Mae West

MAY 2 – 29, 2009

Art Break Gallery
195 Grand Street, 2nd Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11211
Thursday through Sunday, 1-7 pm.

Opening Reception Saturday May 2, 6-10 pm

At the opening Saturday you’ll also get to see a projection show of Luna Park’s photography, specifically images of doors on Brooklyn streets and elsewhere.

Billi Kid

Luna Park

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Portrait of a First Lady:  Billi Kid and Sticker Collabs

Portrait of a First Lady: Billi Kid and Sticker Collabs

Maybe it’s history in the making, or myth-making, maybe it’s unending fascination with celebrity, but many artists, street artists included,

have produced art about Obama in the last 12 months. The new administration is a machine in motion this spring, and while the haterz are looking for ways to play down Obama’s successes, his missus is not missing an opportunity to engage the press with her Harvard Law School graduate brain, her support of military families, her commitment to volunteering, and (oh yes) her fashion statements at the G20 meetings and Personal Displays of Affection toward the British Royal Family (PDABRF).  More popular in polls than her husband, Mrs. Obama’s personal and professional history are being fleshed out daily, and her place as a cultural icon is happening before our jaded eyes.

Brooklyn street artist Billi Kid is no stranger to “Obamart”, having shown his own portrait work of Barack when he participated in a group show in Washington, DC in the days preceding the Presidential Inauguration called “Manifest Hope:DC” with 150 artists including Shepard Fairey and Ron English. Truth told, Billi has done quite a few versions of the president over the past year, feeling like it was a good way for him to participate in the public discussion about the political landscape.  His sticker collaboration collage work has been slapping up in magazines here and abroad, and it’s helping his fellow artists get exposure along the way, which he loves.

Preparing for a new show at ArtBreak Gallery in Brooklyn May 2nd, (this time as a curator), Mr. Kid talks to BSA about his engagement with the political as personal and his experience with his recent Michelle Obama piece;

Street artist Billi Kid scored big with his recent illustration of Michele Obama in New York magazine.

Street artist Billi Kid scored big with his recent illustration of Michele Obama in New York magazine.

Brooklyn Street Art: How did you score a full page in the New York magazine article?
Billi Kid: Luck had a lot to do with it. I pasted a recent piece titled “Greed i$ Good” on the wall of one of my favorite spots on 22nd street, outside of Comme des Garçons. It happened to be right in front of where the photo editor (Jody Quon) of New York magazine lives. One thing led to another.

Wall Street robber amid a chorus of FKDL, KH1, Judith Supine, and more (courtesy Billi Kid)

“Greed i$ Good”; a Wall Street robber amid a chorus of FKDL, KH1, Judith Supine, Peru Ana and more (courtesy Billi Kid)

Brooklyn Street Art: Hundreds of artists made portraits of Obama. Do you think we look to artists to help us understand these people?

Billi Kid: I can’t speak for anyone else, but as a registered independent, I became completely engrossed with the campaign our current president was running in 2008 and immediately re-registered as a Democrat for the occasion. Adding my voice to the streets became a natural extension (of that).

Brooklyn Street Art: Can you talk about the technique you used to produce this?

Billi Kid: I’m known for my combo slaps and had labored during the campaign to get everyone I trade stickers with into the mix. In particular, boards using the epic Obama for President poster by Zoltron as a centerpiece. It simply involves collage techniques and composition. One of these boards made it into Time magazine’s man of the year issue with a Shepard Fairey portrait on the cover.

Billi Kid's sticker combo made it into the Person of the Year issue of Time Magazine in December. (courtesy Billi Kid)

One of Billi Kid’s sticker collaboration pieces in the Person of the Year issue of Time magazine this past December (courtesy Bill Kid)

The Michelle portrait involved a breakdown of her likeness into a two-layer stencil. The actual portrait used in the magazine was a print pasted on the collage board, but this would be same technique used to execute my stencils. I plan some stencil boards of this in the near future. Look for it on the streets.

Brooklyn Street Art: Your work typically employs a lot of color, why did you chose simple black and white?

Billi Kid: So far all of my stencil boards are colored backgrounds with black and white stenciled layers on top. I was planning to do a stencil originally, but time did not allow it. Besides that, stickers became a factor.

Is it all black and white? (courtesy Billi Kid)

Is it all black and white? (courtesy Billi Kid)

Brooklyn Street Art: What is the significance of placing her head on a bed of stickers?

Billi Kid: In conversation with the magazine, I understood they wanted artists to interpret their ideas about Michelle into their portrait. For me, it became clear that I had to use stickers because they represented community and inclusion to me. Precisely what the Obamas are about. It felt right to get all of my brothers and sisters from around the country and the world into the magazine. Kind of a one-world point of view.

Brooklyn Street Art: Have you heard from the other sticker artists who are in the piece? Were they excited?

Billi Kid: Yeah!!! They love this about my work. They trust that the work goes up, instead of into a private little black book. That they get published is icing on the cake. This approach pays ample dividends for me. What goes around comes around.

Brooklyn Street Art: A lot of artists want to be published but aren’t familiar with the process that happens during editing. Was your piece altered at all by the editors? Was there a lot of back and forth discussion?

Billi Kid: We discussed my idea at length and fortunately I had plenty of samples to illustrate my intent. The only discouraging edit was the fact that they cropped the image so tight. The board went temporarily up somewhere in the Bronx and I wanted the environment to be part of the final cut. Unfortunately, this did not happen – for good reason – it was about Michelle after all, lol.

The original piece by Billi Kid

The original piece by Billi Kid

Brooklyn Street Art: Do you have any special connection to the first lady, her personal story?

Billi Kid: Only in so far as what we all have heard about her. Like her husband; a self-made independent person who picked herself up by the straps of her boots and carved a place for herself in the American landscape. Precisely what Republicans always say about their vision for America, no handouts, just the courage to move forward with the gifts given to you by our creator.

Brooklyn Street Art: What role do you think Street Artists play in the public discourse of politics or social issues?

Billi Kid: The same role graffiti has always played on the word stage throughout history; to give voice to opinions not paid for by the ruling parties. Until recently, it had always been about politics, not just pissing on the wall.

Brooklyn Street Art: What project are you working on right now?

Billi Kid: I just completed four canvases commission by the Ace hotel opening in NYC and am now co-curating, with the incomparable Luna Park, an exiting new exhibition, theGREAToutDOORS opening at Artbreak Gallery in Williamsburg May 2nd.

Ultimate Collabo (courtesy Billi Kid)

Ultimate Collabo; Billy and Luna  (courtesy Billi Kid)

Luna Park

Billi Kid

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Week In Images 03.01.09

I'm gaurding these bricks. Don't move any further. (Veng from RWK) (photo Jaime Rojo)
Halt! Step no further! I’m guarding this brick wall. (Veng from RWK) (photo Jaime Rojo)

Honey there's an Alien in the stairwell (UFO) (photo Jaime Rojo)
Honey there’s an alien in the stairway (UFO) (photo Jaime Rojo)

Been awfully windy lately (photo Jaime Rojo)

Been awfully windy lately (Skewville) (photo Jaime Rojo)

There's a party up in here (photo Jaime Rojo)

There’s a Party Up in Here! (photo Jaime Rojo)

(NohjColey) (photo Jaime Rojo)

Derivation of Contemplation (NohjColey) (photo Jaime Rojo)

(photo Jaime Rojo)
Which way is the wild side again? (Nobody) (photo Jaime Rojo)

pity party (photo Jaime Rojo)

Pass me a cupcake, with you? (Karat) (photo Jaime Rojo)

Okay Erykah is Hot but check out my (Goons) (photo Jaime Rojo)

Okay Erykah is Hot but check out my T-shirt (Goons, The Dude Company) (photo Jaime Rojo)

Sweet Tamed (Faile) (photo Jaime Rojo)

Sweet Tamed (Faile) (photo Jaime Rojo)

Wild Librarian on the Loose!  (Billi Kid) (photo Jaime Rojo)

Wild photog on the Loose! Watch out! (Billi Kid) (photo Jaime Rojo)

Hero to Lehman apparently (Billi Kid) (photo Jaime Rojo)

A hero to the Lehman family apparently (Billi Kid) (photo Jaime Rojo)

That's funny, bunny (Aiko) (photo Jaime Rojo)

That’s funny, bunny (Aiko) (photo Jaime Rojo)

Poster Boy and Aakash Nihalani (photo Jaime Rojo)

Overnight delivery in a flash! (Poster Boy and Aakash Nihalani) (photo Jaime Rojo)

(Aakash Nihilani) (photo Jaime Rojo)

Transformer Boxes (Aakash Nihilani) (photo Jaime Rojo)

Are you sure? (Zoso) (photo Jaime Rojo)

Are you sure? (Zoso) (photo Jaime Rojo)

Midwinter spring is its own season (Shin Shin) (photo Jaime Rojo)

Midwinter spring is its own season (Shin Shin) (photo Jaime Rojo)

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