Arts / Museums

The Life of a Street Artist

Fighting a Graffiti Rap, Struggling To Make Money and Love

BY Kate Hinnant // 01.27.16

Street art is big. From gigantic murals on buildings to tiny stickers on the backs of stop signs, this urban art form is also a way for artists to send a message or influence their audience.

A local street artist in Houston who goes by the name Wiley shares positive and cheerful messages with his many followers and viewers. His most popular work is the word “Love”  — seen almost everywhere in Houston and in many other cities across the U.S.

I sat down with Wiley recently for some coffee and conversation. I had contacted him through Instagram, and we arranged to meet for breakfast at the Antidote Coffee House in the Heights.

“I like to spread positive messages to the public, rather than dark and dull symbols,” he said. “I really love Hispanic culture, and my creativity is influenced heavily by those types of drawings and that style of art.”

The life of a street artist might seem a carefree existence, but according to Wiley, there are some challenges one must often overcome. One is vandalism; after all, the work is in the public sphere, there for anyone to touch and perhaps damage. But the biggest struggle, Wiley said, is “making nice art and still making money, too.” That is an all too common problem, unfortunately.

But Wiley said he is not going to stop creating. Look for his work everywhere

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