N.Y.C. artist transforms downtown Markham wall
Bold lines, wide-eyed winged creatures and glowing neon colours are what New York City graffiti artist Kidlew’s murals are known for. It’s also why he has been commissioned by the Remington Group, a development company, to transform a 40-foot-by-50-foot wall in Markham. Kidlew’s mural is set to replace the existing art piece on the wall,
Shadowman, as the building’s exterior is used as an outdoor gallery space, which exhibits different artists’ work periodically.
Graffiti first began to capture Kidlew’s imagination on subway rides in New York City with his grandmother in the ’70s. His street tag “Haloz Wuz Here” and the characters that emerge from it are influenced by a childhood bursting with Disney and Loony Tunes animations and ’80s pop culture.
Kidlew’s art has been shown in galleries in the U.S, Japan and Europe. He has also worked with infamous British street artist Banksy on the Carlton Arms collaboration in New York.
You would never guess that Kidlew, recognized for his vibrant choices in paint, is actually colour-blind.
As an art student, Kidlew would struggle in using and mixing coloured paint. It wasn’t until a teacher created custom colour charts to help him identify colours that he realized the extent of his colour-blindness.
For most of his early career, Kidlew hesitated to use any colour in his work. “In my gallery work I was using black and white and maybe sometimes silver or gold, but I think people started to think my work was incomplete,” Kidlew said.
It was only when he became interested in graffiti that he started to infuse his work with colour.
“When I started using colour in my work, I chose colours that really jumped out. I thought if I could see it, then everybody else must also,” said Kidlew, a member of the prolific Ex Vandals crew, one of N.Y.C.’s earliest organized graffiti artist collectives.
Passersby will be able to take in the mural, which will sprawl against the east wall of the commercial building that sits at the intersection of Enterprise Boulevard and Birchmount Road in September.
L–R: Kidlew sporting a can of spray paint in front of one of his creations; one of the artist’s graffiti murals in N.Y.C.; and the artist working on a wall