The fine artist and Street Artist named Purth has been completing an urban installation of her family this winter in Austin, Boston, Brooklyn, Cincinnati, and New Orleans . Not literally her blood relatives, the oversize portraits of females are mirrors of her emotional journey and echoes of relationships she may have experienced coupled with ones she is creating for her future. Coupled with bits of prose that ground them somewhat, these women are strong and searching.
This kind of internal migration is not unusual for a painter in scanning the horizon for something however the actual physical distance run, with it’s long spaces of time and travel in between, is. It’s also something that Street Artists around the globe are setting a new standard for by completing installations in towns and cities around the globe much like a campaign. In her dog-eared travelogue, Purth carries ruddy hued people from her fluid imagination and raises them amidst abandoned rubble; high enough to be seen from a distance.
Having completed roughly the first half of the installations for “The Deleras Project”, she shares these images before Purth hits the road again to complete it with installations in Oakland, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Chicago, Detroit and Cincinnati.
With the completion of “six months on the road, (with) snow storm & tornadoes endured, a car accident survived, and life affirming environments broken into,” the artist took a moment to chat with Brooklyn Street Art about her project:
Photographer Heather McGrath and a friend assisting Purth after installing The Deleras. East Boston (Photo © Purth)
Brooklyn Street Art: Who are the individuals depicted on your paintings?
Purth: Each piece was created from different sources of inspiration: references of old photographs I’ve been collecting for years, reflections … perhaps of someone’s lover, someone’s child. There will be ten once the work is completed, all of women, young & old, scattered across the country, & each installed with a single stream of thought. The writing is sourced in a very similar way … some pulled from found material, some from the words I was lucky enough to hear uttered; fragments to create a whole. I guess in my mind, they have become the women they are now. Completely independent of the remnants that built them up or who they are to me personally. I hope that for them … the right to stand on their own.
Purth. Detail of Delera. Abandoned brewery directly across from the Roxbury projects in Boston. (Photo © Heather McGrath)
Purth in Cincinnati. A slightly damaged Delera (due to bad climate conditions). She is included “as she is beautiful” (Photo © Zach Fein)
Brooklyn Street Art: Why are you traveling around the country putting them up on abandoned walls and buildings?
Purth: Abandoned spaces have a pronounced hum to them. They are shed, in a sense, but are still heavy with profound undercurrents that I believe can be tapped into … & reinvented. It seems completely fitting for me to search out these spaces as possible locations for the work even if they ultimately make home above, along side, or in areas close by. In regards to the distance covered … we have gaps that need to be bridged. I see them as shepherds and black sheep. It’s my responsibility to find them home.
Purth. “Opal” “I swear there are diamonds …. hundreds of them …
everywhere” East Austin, on the corner of E6th & Chicon. (Photo © Andrew Ashmore)
Purth. “Patricia the Beater” “I will grow …fiercely, love”, New Orleans. (Photo © Zack Smith)
Brooklyn Street Art: What is the genesis of this project?
Purth: The first, Delera, was created at an intense, pivotal moment in my life. I became very weak around the end of 2009 and I began painting her like a child screaming at an overbearing parent. In the simplest sense, I was depicting the strength I needed to rediscover in myself. Once she was suspended and I saw her upright for the first time, she literally took my breath away. Something so intimate, so tender, and so sincere towering over me … it was like gold leafing vulnerability and then lighting the shit on fire.
She was the first, the idea for the others quickly followed.