Featured Artist: Danielle MastrionSeptember 9, 2013
We met Danielle at a recent art exhibit we sponsored in Spanish Harlem, and we immediately fell in love with her mad mural skills. She recently took a few minutes out to chat with us about her love of 5Pointz, murals, and even created her own Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavor.
How does painting murals compare to the other types of art that you create?
I am a classically trained oil painter who began painting murals because I found my canvas work became bigger and bigger. I naturally began painting larger and larger. I also became quicker & quicker; oils turned to acrylics and acrylics turned to spray paint. My murals are just another extension of the work I cannot fit onto a canvas, but I have to keep in mind that these are for public viewing. My work isn’t just for myself or whomever would like it hanging in their living room. That is why a lot of my murals reflect recognizable public figures; pop culture, musicians, poets, and leaders. I want everyone to be able to appreciate and love something that they can see every day.
What is the most memorable project you’ve ever been involved in creating?
The first time I got to paint alone at 5POINTZ in Long Island City and the subject matter. I got to paint a portrait of MCA of the Beastie Boys right after he passed away. Very simple: Black & Grey & Red. Growing up in NYC, 5POINTZ (and Phun Factory before it) was the cultural mecca for music (hip hop, electronic, the changing graffiti walls) it was where I registered to vote when I was 16! It was always my dream to be able to paint a huge wall at 5POINTZ and be a part of that NYC legacy. Also, I grew up on the Beastie Boys. MCA went to my high school, so that mural was a double-whammy for me. The fact that Meres (curator & founder of 5POINTZ) trusted me enough to give me such a prime location, entrust me to paint a great tribute, and then left the mural up for a YEAR is something I will never forget. I got to pay tribute to two hometown heroes: 5POINTZ & MCA. That mural got so much coverage, I am still getting photos sent to me regarding that piece.
What inspires you?
A good book & lots of travel. 90’s hip hop. Yoga. All my artist friends & the work they create.
If Ben & Jerry’s were to create an ice cream flavor in your name, what would be in it?
I’m gonna go with “Brooklyn’s Finest”. That was really cheezy but I don’t care. It would be made with Almond Milk, by the way.
What are you working on currently? What’s on the horizon for you?
Walls: In the next few weeks, I am painting a big Nelson Mandela mural at The Bushwick Collective with Joe Ficalora (Curator). The gravity of that tribute is extremely important to me. I’ve been pouring over Mandela’s books, memoirs, letters, speeches. Even reading his wife’s autobiography to use that as inspiration. I just wrapped working as Art Director on a short film set to come out next year called No Milk and I am planning walls for this year’s trip to Art Basel Miami in December. Exhibitions: I will be in a group show curated by POPUP X NYC at Studio J on Saturday, September 21st (Opening is 7-11pm); on Sept 14th I will be in a fundraiser exhibition called Bringing It To The Streets at 147 West 105th Street and I am in a group show at Low Brow Artique in December.
Where can we check you out on the web and in social media?