Scratching the Surface: MRtoll

April 7, 2015 | Aymann Ismail

ANIMAL showcases a different street artist regularly in our feature, Scratching the Surface. This week, we profile MRtoll.


Decade you were born in:

City you currently live:
I live between Brooklyn and L.A.
My child lives in Brooklyn and my partner (Paola Baldion) is based in Hollywood. I am walking a fine line of being present in both of their lives.

Drugs or natural highs?
Natural high is time with my daughter Paloma. Then at night I smoke weed because I spent time with my Paloma!!!

How did you get your name?
Toll in German means “good,” “terrific,” “great,” or “wild”


Why do what you do?
To kill the boredom of life. It’s called having fun. If you have fun then people around you will also have fun. It’s better to laugh your way through life then cry your way through. No?

How does your mother feel about your art?
My mother is very proud and has encouraged me from an early age. She put me in live drawing classes when I was only 13 years old and pottery classes. I am very grateful for her input in my artistic life.

Are you making a living off your art? How’s that working out so far?
I hate the art world. I have no intention of making profit from my sculpture. Every dollar I make goes back in to making, bigger, better art. But saying that, Paola Baldion and I have now opened the Street Art Penthouse in Brooklyn. It’s high-end accommodation, showcasing Brooklyn based artists. We are now opening Street Art Penthouse L.A. by 2016. So to answer the question, yes I make money off art but not in a traditional way.

Fuck the art world or embrace the art world?
Fuck that shit. Street art is a monster! The art world is changing in front of our eyes! (Thank you Banksy!) Street art is more powerful then people think. Street art has captured the imagination of the greater public. Street art can help to change a city’s economy. More and more street art festivals are popping up every year. It’s ugly, but so is being a banker! I hate bankers….

Do you bring your smart phone into the bathroom with you? Why?
Yes always….I post shit on Instagram about the Street Art Penthouse and look at naked pics of my girlfriend!


Do you ever feel like giving up?
Everyday. But I dust myself off and keep moving forward. I set goals and surround myself with powerful human beings who tell me I am ok.

Suggest an artist to follow.
The most important artists in my life are ELLE and Vexta. Over the last year we all have worked/traveled together and have supported and inspired each other in different ways. Both are at the top of their game and are powerful artists. I am lucky to have them close to me daily.