eattle native Angelina Villalobos got caught tagging public spaces in her teens, which landed her in a city-sponsored art program that steered her life’s path away from illicit art and toward commissioned public projects. Her murals are bold, colorful and fairy tale-like, blending iconography from Catholicism with folkloric creatures and pop culture. These days she focuses primarily on facilitating public art programs that incorporate youth as artists. She’s also a founder of Art Primo, an online art supply retailer with a shop and gallery on Capitol Hill.
Kristen Ramirez grew up in Sacramento, Calif., and began her art career in printmaking and painting, creating nostalgic signage-inspired pieces that resemble the faded advertisements found on old buildings. She has since forged a career as a muralist, working colorful geometric patterns into spaces in Seattle, Tacoma, Bothell and Portland. By day she manages public art projects for the Seattle Department of Transportation, where she serves as the liaison to the Office of Arts & Culture and helps figure out how best to spend resources that come from SDOT’s capital projects through the city’s 1% for Art program, which requires that 1 percent of the money for those projects go toward art.
The two got together to talk at Ramirez’s home on Beacon Hill, where they dug into the politics, problems and pleasures of public art in Seattle.
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