• Words and Photos by Kristy Calabro

Five Facts for Friday with Early Riser

Facts are always welcome, sometimes hard to find, but they're truths we seek here at Sold from some of your favorite and up-and-coming artists. "Rising" onto the street art scene is, Early Riser. We've been noticing her work around and wanted to find out more about this poetic illustrator and painter, who is a friend to all animals.

Early Riser at Greenpoint Ave. photo by (@kristycnyc)

Dancer in Greenpoint, Freeman St./Franklin St. photo by (@kristycnyc)

FACT #1. Early Riser was inspired to make pasteups by seeing a PheobeNewYork piece in SoHo.


Early Riser graduated with a degree in Printmaking and a minor in Illustration and has worked in the arts ever since. Some of her influences include Goya, Toulouse Lautrec, Desarrollo, Miro, Calder, Mies van der Rohe, Basquiat, Warhol, Hopper, Sherman, Stan Lee, Picasso, and Caravaggio, among others.


Her style has evolved, but she will always have that printmaker's eye for refined shapes and color separations. She wanted to express herself with the bold forms she used as a printmaker, but her fans who were already familiar with her current style, were not interested. She then came up with the idea to have an alter-ego who would try out these new styles while keeping up with the watercolor illustrations and oil paintings.


Early Riser wanted to get her work out to a more general, every day audience, who she wasn't reaching through her gallery work. She got the idea of posting artwork on poles and also started putting up magnets around the Twin Cities.

"...by chance I saw a wheatpaste in Minneapolis, shortly after Prince's death. It was a life-sized silk screen image of Prince, from 1979, pasted on a corner of Lyndale Ave. I reasoned that the artist had done the piece on white wallpaper. Then I had it. I realized that the way on to the street was through posting bills."

Early Riser's Prince in NYC on Lispenard St., Tribeca. photo by @kristycnyc


This was a perfect opportunity to break from her other persona, a new beginning, in this completely different forum. She still went back to the types of art she did at the start of her career by utilizing simple, refined forms, and bold colors. One day, Early Riser was walking through SoHo when she came across a Phoebenewyork piece on the base of a pole. She said the Phoebe paste was so unassuming and seemed so feasible, it made her feel she could do it herself, in a way that the large Prince paste in Minneapolis did not.

"I sat down on the first bench I saw and Googled, 'paste art' and watched a 'how to' by Shepard Fairey. By weeks end, I had my first pieces up in Harlem,"

​ Boxing bunny and another who's neighbors with Stikman (Bushwick/Jefferson St. and Greenpoint/Greenpoint Ave.)

photos by @kristycnyc

FACT #2. Bunnies are her spirit animal.

Early Riser loves animals and visually loves their forms. Animals provide an opportunity to explore distilled emotions; for example, how many lines do you need to portray longing? We see so much expression in animals faces despite most being covered in fur or hair. When you portray an emotion on an animal's face, people experience it purely and with so much raw emotion without projecting themselves into the animal's place. That doesn't happen with human subjects because we can't help but put ourselves into that particular scene.

"...animals interest me. I also am terribly upset and worried about what humans are doing to the world that we share with these creatures. Most of my work with animals depicts them either fighting back (the boxing rabbit), contorting their behavior to try to live in our world after being forced out of their own (Nike Sheep) or succumbing to it (Deer, birds)," - Early Riser

She wants to bring these realities to the forefront of people's consciousness through the streets no matter how uncomfortable it may be. In NYC especially, while we are going about our day, it's easy to forget the incredible cost human existence has on the natural world. She has a connection to bunnies in particular.

various pasteups found in Manhattan and Brooklyn. photos by @kristycnyc

Mooooove, get out the way... a herd of cows in Greenpoint, Brooklyn Kent St./Franklin St.

photo by @kristycnyc

Early Riser said, "...like them (rabbits), I am twitchy, careful, ghost like and ever vigilant. Also cute and fluffy!"


FACT #3. Cey, What? Early Riser met Cey Adams and he gave her some words of wisdom and advice. Who, Early calls "A Role Model."


Early has chatted with Cey from time to time and she thinks he is a "straight up" genius! He is brilliant artistically and who is responsible for influencing so many modern street styles.


"He is also an incredibly gifted visual designer and entrepreneur. Finally, he is humble and giving. He had no reason to befriend me or offer any of his time to me, but he has. I am incredibly fortunate to have met him..." said, Early Riser.


He’s also reminded her about the importance of art as a means of communication and that you need to work hard at your craft.


Pic courtesy of artist's IG (@earlyrisernyc)

Cey Adams is best known for being a founding creative director of Def Jam Recordings and is known for his work with Beastie Boys (designed their logo), RUN-D.M.C., Public Enemy, LL Cool J, Jay-Z, and Mary J. Blige.(Sold talked to Cey on our podcast, "In the Spray Room" from Welling Court, 2018. Click here to listen.)

FACT #4. X-ACTOmundo! Her favorite artist's tool (other than a pencil) is... the X-ACTO Knife.

She uses it every day. She can go on and on about her favorite tools because they are all endlessly fascinating, but the X-Acto knife is completely indispensable and she has one on her at all times.


Here’s a list of the tools Early Riser wouldn't be able to do her street art without:


  1. Krink K61 and K63 Mops

  2. Custom filled 4mm bullet point ink marker, filled with OTR, Magic and Montana Cans Bold ink.

  3. Montana Cans Bold 8mm round and 15mm square markers.

  4. Montana 5mm bullet tip paint markers

  5. Montana Cans acrylic liquid paint

  6. MTN 94 paints

  7. 70lb drawing bond

  8. 20lb butcher paper (I buy this by the 1000’ roll)

  9. Shelf paper (for use as stencil)

  10. MacBook Pro

  11. LG PH550 projector

  12. Epson 4880 large format printer

  13. Foam brushes

"I use different inks for different types of paper"

She also mixes her own custom colors, for her refillable markers, that can't be matched anywhere else.

Figures drawn with refillable markers and custom mixed paint. (Greenpoint, Brooklyn and Williamsburg, Brooklyn.)

photo by @kristycnyc

FACT #5. She's the Collab-Queen that everyone wants to work with!

First, she's completed collabs with Raddington Falls (below), Diva Dog LA and Sunflower Soulz. Upcoming collaborations to look out for with Coloquix, Antennae, Iron_D and Art By Eyebrows.


Also, on September 13th is an upcoming art show at the Buren featuring all women street artists. Then on September 17th Early Riser is hosting a “Create your own street dog portrait," event at Boris and Horton in the East Village. She's going to teach people to create their own dog art. Tickets available on Evenbrite. Click here: Make Your Own Dog Themed Street Art with Early Riser.

"I also have two REALLY big projects coming up. I can’t say much about them, but both are things never seen in NYC and both are HUGE! Finally, expect to see a very large mural project in the new year"

Early Riser and Raddington Falls on Elizabeth St., NYC. photo by @kristycnyc


Bonus fact: Early was once an overnight DJ at a LITE FM station. Maybe she has some broadcasting tips for the Sold Crew and will one day join us on our podcast, "In the Spray Room." Look out for Early Riser on the streets of Soho, LES, Greenpoint, Bushwick, and more! Exciting things are on the horizon for Early Riser, we will follow along and bring you the latest on where you can find her next!


For more information:

Instagram @earlyrisernyc

(@earlyrisernyc) Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Green St./Franklin St. photo by (@kristycnyc)

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