Friday, April 26, 2013

Feminist graffiti artist, Stela: Think critically or die tryin'

think critically or die trying, Stela // Starchild Stela 
If you are in Montreal, and you are like me, you've been getting out more since the days are warming up. It's been much nicer to take walks and bike rides on sunny days with snow-free sidewalks and back-alleys. Maybe, on your excursions, you've been paying attention to what's on the walls and in our public spaces? What's really caught my interest is the work of Montreal graffiti artist, Stela--I promise that you will be drawn in by her beautiful pastels, swirling cursive, and powerful feminist messages.

In an interview on The Art of Getting Ovaries, I've learned that Stela sees her work not as "street art" but more as a "hybrid form of graffiti" most often using spray-paint, but not painting letters. In relation to the historical significance of graffiti she speaks to it as a form of resistance, "talking back, reclaiming the space that is controlled by people beholding power." 

Stela was asked if her graffiti takes on a social message, in addition to style, or if it was a combination of both. She says it's both. "I love adding a little feminist twist to my pieces. I don't' really intend to add a social message to my pieces, the words I add often reflects the discussion I'm having with friends. But indeed we are talking about what matters to us, and what makes us pissed off. I guess the social message resides in the eyes of the viewer too."

cats against cat-calls
fuck you and your macho bullshit
While Stela talks about how her graffiti is a combination of both style and message, for her, it is primarily about self-care. "It's a way to make me feel better first, a way to cope with society's and personal bullshit. I like adding sentences like, "Think critically or die tryin'" or "Fuck your macho bullshit" under my characters." It's clear that the presence of Stela's work in our public spaces is resonant with viewers.

If you are interested, I really suggest checking out her interview where she touches on "the value of finding a peer to paint and talk feminist politics with, her social and political aesthetics, public reception and how painting helped her 'reclaim her girlhood' and her feminist identity, the value of illegal graffiti, and being an out queer graffiti writing wishing for a community." 

Wall of Femmes loves what you are doing, Stela!

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