A New York duo takes Paris by storm, showing a versatile mix of street-art, graffiti and media.
In mid-September we heard back from Younity co-founder Alice Mizrachi, AM, "As of now YOUNITY is working on personal projects..." Okay, so what is your personal project, we asked? AM and her partner-in-projects DCAP, Daniela Capistrano, were off to Paris for a 1-month residency, including stencils, wheat-pastes, big walls and generally awesome antics. Following them this past month was a drug, so we share with you our latest obsession.
Where are you from and how did you get started with graffiti?
I am from New York, I was born and raised in Queens. I have always been inspired by graff since I can remember, when I was a teenager we used to walk around with a marker and catch silly tags in my neighborhood. My brother was a big inspiration to me as well, he was a B-boy and graffiti was introduced to me from him as well. As I got older I started to meet more and more people who were involved in graff and that's what got me started using a can. About 7 years ago my childhood friend Cern organized the Meeting of Styles in Brooklyn and that was the first time I used spray paint. Both Cern and Space really encouraged me.
What are you doing in Paris and what is the nature of your residency?
I am in Paris for a month long residency project. I am creating 7 block prints while I am here, painting a few murals, working with youth and wheatpasting. My friend Daniela is documenting the whole project and will be making a feature length documentary on female graff/ street artists worldwide. Paris is our first stop.
Did you choose Paris, and if so, why?
I chose Paris because a close friend of mine suggested that Paris would be an amazing place to go and do a residency. I thought about it and realized that anything is possible. I am really dedicated to manifesting my dreams. I did some research, put together a proposal and the rest was pretty much smooth.
What is the difference between the graffiti scene from NY and Paris? What have you noticed so far? Any fun/interesting stories you want to share?
I'm not sure I can answer this question only being here a few weeks but I have been very blessed to meet the people I have met. I think worldwide when you are tapped into the community of writers or artists then u are part of a family. Coming here it was very easy to meet the people I needed to get walls, paint, you know the ins and out of any city you would visit. And that's because I have my friends in NY who easily referred me to the right cats.
Bobigny Graffiti jam
AM and Kashink in Paris
How do you organize your works (wheat pastes, paintings, etc)? Do you do sketches before? Do you have any "gestures", characteristics or paint habits?
I usually work in series but not always. Depending on the medium my process changes. When printmaking I take more of a traditional approach where I come up with the idea, sketch and then execute it. Then those prints become large wheatpaste images. With my more painterly work I usually freestyle with some idea but not as tight. With my murals I usually work from a image that I sketch. It really depends on the medium and the way I feel. Sometimes I just want to paint and not think and I allow myself to do that.
Can you explain us what tools do you use? (stencil, wheatpaste, spray can...?)
I am really experimental and I love to use all materials. I use spray paint, I stencil, I wheatpaste. When I'm in the studio I use brush but sometimes I use all together. I don't like to limit myself to one thing.
In the street, are you more quantity or quality?
I would say quality. There are writers in NY that are up everywhere, I admire them and love it but I would say I'm more about quality.
How do you choose your images and where they are placed?
When I wheatpaste I choose locations that will be seen a lot. When I paint murals they are usually productions that are organized.
What artists do you admire, or were there any specific artists that really motivated you to get started?
Oh there are so many but I would have to say that one of my biggest inspirations is Jean- Michel Basquiat. I feel strongly connected to his work.
Are there any collaborations you are working on? What artists have you met in Paris so far? How does it feel to paint with someone new?
Well right now I am working with my friend Daniela who is making a film about women graff/ street artists. That is a collaboration that I'm excited about. I've met lots of dope artists out here as well like Reach, JayOne, KayOne, Banga, Dey, Ema, Kid Acne and Kashink. I got to paint with EMA who did a wall with YOUNITY last year. I also had a chance to paint with Dey and Kashink who I just met here. So much fun!!! I'm excited about that because I love painting with the ladies!!!!
With Kid Acne and Ema
Dey and Am
With Kay One
Are there any current projects you are working on, and what should we look for next from you?
Well Paris is the first stop for this film, we are planning on going to Argentina and South Africa. I am also working on a new series of cityscapes inspired by my travels when I return to NY. I have a solo show coming up in Philly this winter and I will be painting at Art Basel in Miami. YOUNITY also has another exhibition coming up next fall.
What else AM?
If you could float in a hot-air balloon over any city or place in the world, what would you choose to float over?
I would love to float over the Himalayas. I once promised someone that if the world were to end we would meet there. That was a long time ago, but I still wanna visit.
Suppose for a moment that you are truly color blind: all you can see is black and white. Then one day you wake up to find you can now see one color. Which color would you want it to be? And why?
My favorite color is red so I would instinctively say red but after thinking about it I think I might want it to be green because everything in nature has green in it. It is a more peaceful color.
What kind of reaction do you want your art to evoke?
I want my art to reach peoples soul; that place you feel when something really touches you. I want them to feel connected from the inside, I want them to feel - whatever they feel is fine but I want them to feel. With that feeling they get I want them to become inspired in their world to create whatever it is they create with more conscious love and attention.
Finally, any notes on being a female graffiti artist? Any advice for other girls that are starting out?
I love being able to use all materials and get down the way that I do. I think really knowing who you are as an artist and not trying to be someone else is very important. As for girls starting, I would say to practice your craft as much as possible and meet people with the same interests. Growing with those people will give you your own community and network that will help you grow as an artist and an individual.
Photo Credits: Daniela Capistrano