The Street Level Artist

Apr 1, 2015

For my research topic, the increasing popularity of street art and graffiti over the years, I looked at an article in the New York times on an artist called Mr. White.

They call him the "street level artist" because he is confined to a wheelchair due to a spinal injury he received in high school. What was interesting about the article that I especially connected with was that Mr. White was that he spent a lot of time in Utah, and you don't see many well-known artists with inspiration from more suburban areas like Salt Lake. He started out trying Van Gogh style oil painting but instead preferred the street art style.

He broke his back while pole vaulting in High School, and moved to Utah to join an intensive rehabilitation program to try to gain reuse of his legs again. Although he was able to get up and walk with braces, he prefers doing his art in a wheelchair, as he believes this makes his pieces more accessible and relatable since they're at eye level. What he does is indeed illegal, but he's part of a huge movement of people that value the art itself much more over the property it's been painted on.

What's more is that Mr. White moved to New York because his art form wasn't well received in Utah and no galleries wanted his work, but when he moved into NYC he very quickly gained a pop up show in a gallery on Broadway in SoHo. Mr. White says that the New York streets are his canvas, and he's simply joining thousands of others trying to liven up the cities walls.