“I want to give young women an opportunity to make art that is really loud.”
What compels you to make art?
Working and collaborating with other women. Working towards a world where women are heard. My latest, biggest project currently is Graffiti Camp for Girls, where I am director and head instructor teaching girls how to use spray paint. For each class we complete a public mural.
What are the biggest challenges you face as a working Oakland /Bay Area artist?
Oakland’s rent is rising, as well as the cost of living – weeding artists out. There is a saturation of murals here, which is good for Oakland, but more competitive for artists on an individual basis. Many of the bigger mural gigs are going to international artists, making it tougher on us locals, but we stay – we strive – because the spirit of Oakland is strong.
What makes living and working in Oakland worthwhile and/or rewarding?
That Oakland spirit – nowhere else do my projects get this much encouragement and support from the community. I feel carried here, lifted up. My Graffiti Girls classes got so much support, I’ve been given the confidence and pride to bring this program to other cities. Last February, I even got to bring the classes to Phenom Penh, Cambodia! Oakland livin’ is exciting and diverse, it’s loud and proud – and we fight for what we believe in. Things are changing and it’s a struggle, but I’m among my friends and family here, and they are the toughest, brightest innovators I know. We got this.
This summer I’ll be painting murals and teaching my Graffiti Camp for Girls classes in Petaluma, San Diego, San Francisco, Cincinnati, Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, and Portland. And I have a class in Oakland in August – of course, gotta do it for the hometown!