Unlike many street artists in New York City, Jerkface is a native. Born in Queens, the whimsical 32-year-old makes it a point to never take himself too seriously. As of recent, he has painted several nostalgia-inducing murals* so ANIMAL asked him a few questions about this latest series.
In the past few months, you’ve done walls depicting Mario, Pink Panther, TMNT, Tom & Jerry, Cookie Monster. Why are you painting these childlike images?
It’s really a personal journey back into my favorite childhood characters. The fun of recreating them and helping others relive there own childhood, it doesn’t get any better. Feel good stuff.
How long does it take you to come up with a sketch? How long to actually paint the wall?
A sketch can be a few hours or days. Depends. Pink Panther took six. Cookie Monster took four. TMNT took one. I’m getting faster or I waste less time.
Wall space in NYC is very limited. How do you go about securing it?
It all comes down to getting the property owner on board. Either you or someone else has to make it happen.
Why is there tension between street artists and graffiti writers? What do you consider yourself?
Graffiti is unsanctioned, not accepted by the masses and not meant to be. Street art is the opposite. Street art gets a lot of love, graff don’t, not by the masses anyway. Is it just some hater shit by certain writers? I don’t know. Even if I didn’t like graff, if someone from New York was slaying the scene, I’d be proud of them. I was doing shitty burners in the 90’s when I was 15. I did my first legal wall last November. I don’t think I’m either. I came up in the scene on canvas. I’m just a creative kid from New York hustling his ass right out the frying pan.
What’s the worst thing about street art/graffiti?
Street Art — hard to make a living just doing walls. Graffiti — catching a bullshit arrest.
When did you paint you first wall and what was it of?
First wall since I was a teen. Homer Jerkson, across from 5Pointz.
*Most of these murals still exist with the exception of Mario. RIP. (Photos: Aymann Ismail/ANIMALNewYork)