As a young adult, Queen Andrea befriended some of the most prolific old school graffiti writers, and also earned her BFA in Graphic Design from Parsons. She then began a successful career, working for worldwide brands who appreciate both the urban creative flavor of her work and her versatile and passionate knowledge of typography, branding and visual communication. Andrea has spent 18 years perfecting her graffiti and typography skills, as well as evolving her style into a burgeoning fine art career.
Back for her second RUN New York City graffiti writer Queen Andrea has brought us The Vandal.
1xRUN Thru Interview
The Vandal by Queen Andrea
1xRun: Is the original still for sale?
Queen Andrea: This art was created digitally, so it only lives as this crisp limited edition print run.
1xRun: When was the piece drawn/created?
Queen Andrea: Earlier this year, it popped into my mind and had to go for it. Such a bold and bombastic design about the vandals in my life.
1xRun: Anything immediate you would like us to highlight?
Queen Andrea: I love working in old school New York signpainter lettering style. This poster take things a step further by focusing on vandalism, in a classic signpainter style and comes with matching stickers! What’s a vandal without a surface to mark? Both the print and sticker are super crisp and the colors are bold and vibrant.
1xRun: Tell us how the idea and execution came about?
Queen Andrea: We all know that graffiti is daring and dangerous and I somehow wanted to capture this in a typography work. “The Vandal, Too Hot to Handle” is a lyric from ‘Protect Ya Neck’ by the Wu-tang Clan. My signpainter style lettering has a New York City flavor and the usage of a bold, hot red color just pops and is really loud. I wanted to create a piece that would shout! While I’m not a dedicated bomber these days, unlike some of my friends, I’m a notable piecer with great handstyles. This poster is dedicated to all the hardcore vandals in my life. It’s meant to celebrate their hardcore struggles and triumphs as mysterious, rebellious vandals who are truly “too hot to handle”. Their marks own the streets.
1xRun: How long did the piece take?
Queen Andrea: This piece took about 20 hours to create.
1xRun: What is unique about this piece?
Queen Andrea: This is a super fresh ode to original hip hop lyrics, vandalism and old school signpainter typography, all in one! The matching sticker enhances the vandalism theme.
1xRun: Why should people buy this piece/print?
Queen Andrea: To celebrate vandals! Whether it’s tagging, stencils or murals, vandals are captivating.
1xRun: Describe the piece/print in one gut reaction word.
Queen Andrea: Illegal.
1xRun: When did you first start making art?
Queen Andrea: I became involved with graffiti as a pre-teen and began writing graffiti at 14 years old. As I explored and refined my fascination with letter-forms and graffiti styles, I also developed a strong interest in graphic design and illustration, which I explored throughout college and earned a BFA in Communication Design. My design, illustration, typography, mural works and fine art practices have steadily evolved together, but my fine art has presently become my prominent focus.
1xRun: What was your first piece?
Queen Andrea: I’ve been drawing since I was a young kid and my parents are artists, but my first real graffiti piece was on a wall next to Lucky Strike on Grand Street in Soho, right near the loft where I grew up. The wall was across the street from the studios of the legendary Videograff Productions and photographer Henry Chalfant. I was 14 years old and just learning graffiti, but I was committed and dedicated to learning the art of letter style, from that early age. My passion for the spirit of graffiti and street art spawned my interest in design, poster art and illustration, which I eventually developed into a career as a recognized Graphic Designer.
1xRun: What artists inspired you early on?
Queen Andrea: Early on I was inspired by the master painters and modern art that I saw at museums and galleries, growing up in NYC. During my graffiti career I sought out new inspiration by old school graffiti artists and b-boys such as Lee, Lady Pink, Doze Green, Kase2, Sento, and later by crews such as TC5, RIS, XTC, FC, COD, AOK and TFP. In the fine art realms, I was also inspired by Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstien, Keith Haring and the entire Pop Art movement.
1xRun: What artists inspire you now?
Queen Andrea: These days I’m inspired by so many new street artists, who weren’t popularly known even in the 1990’s. Street art is really exploding these days. In terms of graffiti, I’m very inspired by The Seventh Letter and MSK crews, and as always, TFP crew and other original NYC graffiti crews. In the fine art realms I love artists such as Frank Stella, Keith Haring, Damien Hirst, Murakami, Emilio Pucci, and more contemporary artists such as Espo, Dalek, Maya Huyak, Morning Breath, the Barnstormers, Doze Green and many others…
1xRun: Do you listen to music while you work? If so what? If not then what is your environment like when you work?
Queen Andrea: I always listen to music while working, I have an amazing library of hip-hop and 70’s funk music, as well as 80’s and 90’s hip hop, and current indie hip hop. I listen to WeFunk Radio almost every day, it’s a gem.
1xRun: If you could collaborate with any living artist who would it be and why?
Queen Andrea: A few. Shepard Fairey, members of The Seventh Letter crew, Frank Stella, or the Guerilla Girls. I deeply admire Shepard’s mastery of concept, composition, execution and the overall meaning of his works. The Seventh Letter crew includes some incredible typographers and graffiti writers such as Revok, Norm and Retna, who are masters of their craft. The Guerilla Girls are advocates and artists who fight for equal rights for women in the fine art world, and I truly resonate with their mission, as a female artist myself. Frank Stella’s incredible abstract expressionist geometry works and shaped canvases are some of the most innovative works I’ve ever seen.
1xRun: If you could collaborate with any deceased artists who would it be and why?
Queen Andrea: Andy Warhol or Roy Lichtenstein, both were incredible pioneers of major pop art styles and themes, which continue to be revered today.
1xRun: What was the first piece of art that you bought? Do you still have it?
Queen Andrea: I’m not a huge art collector, but I trade with fellow artists.
1xRun: What else do you have in the works?
Queen Andrea: So far this year I’ve released 4 limited edition posters, new stickers, debuted my online shop, and released a large custom toy collaboration with Kidrobot. Later this year, I’m debuting my new t-shirt line called SuperFresh, as well as more limited edition prints. I also have a solo show opening on July 11th, 2012 at Fuse Gallery in New York City, where I’ll be showing my new paintings, large-scale typography works, multimedia art and a large group of screenprints and giclee prints.
I will also be traveling to different cities for graffiti events and painting murals all over NYC throughout 2012.
1xRun: Where can people find you across the internette?