Afrika Brown for WhiteHot Magazine
The beauty about contemporary art is that it can be found in the most unlikely places. The 2007 New York Auto show brought hundreds of spectators looking to view the latest and greatest automotive designs. Some were looking for what they could afford, others were looking for what they could not afford, but I’m sure that no one was prepared to view art in motion.
Hyundai presented their 2007 Tiburon featuring a mural painted by Billy the Artist. Crowds gathered to view the car and stood in line to meet the man behind the bright, colorful work of art. Billy was very engaging with the crowd, creating drawings on the spot, and giving spectators their own small piece of his reality to take home. The year before Suzuki had commissioned him to paint a mural for their Grand Vitara.
Billy is the consummate freelance artist making his living solely through his art. He is a self-taught artist who decided early what his path was in life and seizes everyday to create his own reality. While Billy is serious about his art, he refuses to be trapped in the box of what some fine art critics think an artist should be. He has been commissioned to create “realities” for several corporate clients such as Sony and Chock Full of Nuts. Billy’s murals have also been on stages of Broadway and Woodstock ’99.
I spent some time with Billy in his East Village studio as he began to prepare for a gallery show in Orlando. As with the Tiburon, I was fascinated with his work. I couldn’t help but feel that I was being pulled right into Billy’s labyrinth of designs, vivid colors, and landscapes of New York City. His work is a banquet for the eyes that leaves you with nothing but happy thoughts on the inside.