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  • Sarah Sansom

Phoebe New York's Solo Debut

The SOLD crew was thrilled to attend PhoebeNewYork's 1st solo outing at 212 Arts gallery last week.

As you can see, Phoebe's dark and funny explorations into love and life reflect creator Libby Schoettle’s vulnerability, raw emotions, and witty observations.

Her paper characters adorn many of New York's lampposts, mailboxes and walls; and she is admired for consistently getting her work up. You can always find a fresh Phoebe!

Amazingly for such a prolific artist, this is Phoebe New York's 1st solo show. It was a great feeling to be in a room full of her work after hunting it on the streets for years!

This wall of miniatures was a big hit:

We spoke with Libby to find out more:


Sold Crew: What can you tell us about the show - your approach, goals and challenges?

Libby Schoettle: The biggest challenge was fighting the desire to say “no” to the show out of fear. So, I think the fact that I decided to say “yes” is part of my success before even getting to the art. It does seem obvious, though, that this was the right time to accept an invitation to have a solo-show—I’ve been working obsessively on art for over twelve years!

The real obstacles weren’t actually related to making the art. It was choosing pieces and figuring out how to present them. I prefer custom-framed art, but frames are expensive (for the artist and the collector), so I decided to have half the art framed and half not. That way, people have an idea of how the art looks behind glass.

SC: How did creating street art come about, and what do you get out of it?

LS: I’ve been working on a docu-series for years, and one day the director and I began talking about ways to show my art. We both agreed that Phoebe has a voice people might relate to.

I started spreading my art with stickers and immediately developed a relationship to the street. At first, I knew very little about the street except that I liked the way Phoebe looked on walls and poles. And, the more I did, the more I began to notice all of the other art literally imbedded in our city. Doing street art has been an education I could never have learned anywhere else except from actually doing it.

From stickers I moved into wheat pasting: I found this method had a more layered and artistic feeling. I often want to take home the walls and poles I have attached Phoebe to, because I feel together that is the art.

What I get out of street art is a strong sense of community with the people who find it. It’s not always easy to go out there, and sometimes it’s scary, but for me it’s all about the magic of others finding and sharing the messages in my art.

The street has provided a true gallery for this to happen, and has had such a positive effect that I can’t imagine my life without it.

​Phoebe's currently on the street

SC: What’s next?

LS: This show has been a great launching pad into 2018. Initially, I was afraid having a show in January might be a bad idea because January can be cold and miserable, and comes right after the holidays. But then I decided—on the contrary—this is just what we need, ART as a way to bring us into the New Year.

I will continue doing street art and making collages, but I also hope to do more fashion collaborations (Phoebe loves fashion!). Doing large-scale work on buildings is another goal. Trying to find a publisher for my written work that’s about ‘me as Phoebe’ is a goal as well.

I always dream big, and yet I think you have to, even if the dream never happens—it could.


For Phoebe New York news, visit

Phoebe New York's First Solo Exhibition is open now through January 31 at:

212 Arts, 240 E 4th Street (map)

Thursday - Saturday 3-7PM, Sunday 2-8PM

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