Known to fans by the tag Queen Andrea, the New York-based graffiti artist, typographer and graphic artist credits the city around her as one of the largest influences on her work.
"I grew up in SoHo, and there was street art and graffiti everywhere," says Queen Andrea (whose given name is Andrea von Bujdoss). "I thought it was risky, intriguing. A lot of street art really is art for the people. It's on the street. It was on the subway trains. It's people just doing creative things in places that you would never imagine it could be," she says.
Andrea was first drawn to the medium on subway rides to and from her high school, in the Bronx, where she saw train cars transformed by the designs of graffiti writers. "I realized that I wanted to be able to paint my name in all these colors and make this happen somehow," she recalls.
And she did. After studying art in college, Andrea explored graphic design before eventually pursuing commissions as a muralist — which dovetailed with the movement of street art shifting from the fringes to a more widely accepted art form.
Andrea has been tapped to paint dozens of large-scale murals around the world. Life and Money by Citi recently caught up with her in New York, where she was working on a wall prized among graffiti artists.
Watch the video above and read below for more about a day spent tagging along with Queen Andrea in lower Manhattan.
76 East Houston Street / Lower East Side
In 1982, contemporary artist and activist Keith Haring put the now-iconic Houston Bowery Wall on the art world map with a bold chalk-and-paint mural, making this a coveted spot for street artists — the latest being Queen Andrea. In June she teamed with Citi and Goldman Properties, the wall's owner, to create a vibrant new mural work. "The Houston Bowery Wall has a special meaning for me because it's always been a part of my urban experience growing up," she says.
"My inspiration for this mural is juxtaposing patterns, detailed color fields and dynamic geometry shapes that convey the excitement and vibrancy of city life," Andrea explains. "My 'Believe' typography messaging is a focal point painted in super bright colors, along with 'Love More' on the lower right corner at street level, which are both encouraging messages to stay positive and believe in what inspires you the most."
399 West Broadway / SoHo
Opened in 2009, this welcoming café is what every neighborhood coffee shop aspires to be — laid back, light filled and always buzzing. Gourmet sandwiches are made in house daily, and the strong brew is from beans sourced directly from independent farmers and roasted at the shop. This all lends to the convivial community atmosphere of this local SoHo spot.
300 West Broadway / SoHo
The lower Manhattan scene that Queen Andrea came of age in during the '80s and '90s has certainly shifted over the years, but a handful of venerable restaurants, bars, galleries and shops still anchor the area. Scrap Yard NYC is one of those fixtures. New York's longest standing graffiti shop, this is Queen Andrea's go-to for painting supplies and to catch up with other artists and friends. "I used to hang out there every day after school. It's beloved among street artists and it's an important place to me," she shares.
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