What do all of these internationally-renowned artists have in common?
Surprising as it may seem, they have all left their mark in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, as I discovered on a recent trip. (Believe me, I was as surprised to discover them there as you are to read that. And to think, New York City doesn't even have work by some of these artists!)
In addition to this panel of globally-recognized artists, Pittsburgh also has its fair share of local talent. Topping that list in my opinion, in both quality of work and volume on the streets, is Jeremy Raymer, whose work is constantly taking on new forms.
I spoke with Raymer to get his insight on what makes his city such a special place for urban art.
"Pittsburgh is unique in that even though it's a well-established metropolitan area, it's still largely a wide open territory for street artists."
"There is a growing demand for artwork in this realm. There are people in town that see the value in the art and bring the artists in. And in some instances it's the fact that the artists are interested in Pittsburgh one way or another. Pittsburgh has been regularly coming up in the news for 2-3+ years now as a city on the rise. Being here and feeling the pulse of the city, I feel we are at a big turning point, the knee of the curve, if you will. Since the scene is still young here, it's unique to be able to get in fairly early. Also, geographically and architecturally (primarily the plethora of old buildings) makes Pittsburgh an amazing canvas to work with."
When asked to describe his personal art style, he had this to say:
"My style is kind of all over the place. You could say, my style is ever-evolving.
Over the past 2 years, I've really come to appreciate the power art can have. From extreme hate (stemming from me covering a stephen foster mural, to inspiration to love, I've experienced firsthand from my own art the feelings it can evoke. I hope that my art creates a positive energy in the world."
Here are some of the many works of his I spotted around town:
"In terms of artwork, especially murals and spray paint, I'm self taught. I went to Pitt for BioMechanical Engineering and for Electrical Engineering. I took a few studio arts classes when I could, drawing, sculpture. My drawing II professor said I drew like a painter and that I should try painting. That was like 2003. So in 2004, I took a painting class (my only one). I liked it, and was okay. After school, I moved to San Francisco for work and started painting as a hobby in late 2005. I painted portraits in oil on canvas until about 2013. At that time, I visited Wynwood, saw the murals and was inspired to try murals with spray paint. By mid-2016, I resigned from my Senior Engineer position at Westinghouse to pursue art full time. Working with the spray paint really broadened what I could paint and the scale and speed I could work at. With oils, I typically painted in very muted sepia tones. Now, with spray, I use the entire spectrum and continue to experiment with new combinations. I work with stencils and wheat pastes and free hand spraying, all depends on the project."
"Since I created my first mural in 2014 to the current time, I've painted about 50 murals all over Pittsburgh and in the neighboring towns. I wake up excited to create art every single day. Projects are always on my mind and I try to improve my skills with every project and create new and interesting pieces."
What can we expect to see from Raymer in the future?
"People can look forward to seeing some more custom fashion items from me through the winter and into the spring & summer seasons. I have several big concepts in the works for 2018. I can't provide details currently, but they will be first of a kind experiences here in Pittsburgh."
Although Raymer's work is hard to miss on the streets of Pittsburgh, there is also quite a bit of work featured by local and visiting artists alike. Areas to spend your time exploring include Lawrenceville, South Side Flats, and some portions of North Shore. Although, it seems, there is art to be found all over the Steel City. You just need to do your homework first.
If you find yourself in Pittsburgh, enjoying the sights of the Steel City, be sure to wander the streets admiring its urban art scene. You just might be surprised at what you find. So, what are you waiting for?
You can find out more about Jeremy Raymer and his art at any one of the following: