Lady Pink: Graffiti HerStory
Lady Pink is a pioneering female artist from New York City. Pink’s art career began in 1979 as a thrill-seeking teen, joining the male-dominated graffiti subculture with abandon. She proved to be as tough and creative as the best of the boys, developing her style along with friends and artistic mentors Seen, Doze Green, Daze and others. In 1980 while still in high school she was invited to participate in her first gallery exhibition – the historic GAS (Graffiti Art for Success) show at the Fashion Moda gallery in the Bronx. By the age of 21, she had her first solo show at the Moore College of Art in Philadelphia. During these early developmental years, she collaborated with feminist artist, Jenny Holzer, producing works that are now in museum collections around the world. By the 1990s, Pink was a staple in the gallery world while also maintaining a public art practice – painting murals by day and trains at night. In the 1990s she began her work of teaching youth how to paint large scale murals; a practice she continues to this day.
In her art, Pink has focused on activism and empowering women, using graffiti and murals as acts of rebellion and self-expression. Lady Pink’s current canvases continue this mission as seen in the work Black Venus (2020) that features the Venus of Willendorf (25,000 BCE) reimagined as a voluptuous Black woman, covered by colorful tattoo style art, holding Lady Liberty’s torch while wearing a pink “pussy hat” made popular during the 2017 Women’s March in Washington DC. In Activism is Never Done (2008), she addresses the challenges that women face in society including inequities in pay, teen pregnancy, incarceration, poverty and exclusion from the art world by painting graphic images of women shackled, behind bars, and pregnant rising out of a cavernous inferno.
For her first solo exhibition at the Museum of Graffiti, Pink has also created a body of work that celebrates her mentors from within the graffiti movement including KEL139, Caine One, Crash, and Erni Vales. Producing these rare portraits of some of the graffiti world’s most important artists is a new direction for the artist who believes that through her paintings she can keep their names and their history alive. Along with these pieces on display in the room to your right, we present important milestones from Lady Pink’s impactful career that come together to tell Graffiti HerStory.