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antigirl

antigirl
Jamie Peachey

VISUAL ARTS
Collage, paint, and wheat paste

antigirl doesn't go by her first name, or her last. By definition, her work is rogue; she has to remain somewhat anonymous.

By day, the 28-year-old is a graphic designer whose clients include Showtime, The New Yorker, the Root, and Suicide Girls. She admits her career's been unpredictable — her work appeared in national publications, books, and shows in Belgium, Canada, and New York before it was ever taken seriously in Phoenix.

When there's a lull in her schedule or she happens to be awake when the rest of the city's asleep, she packs a few printouts of her own work, a small container of water and cornstarch, a small squeegee (or her boyfriend's Blockbuster card), and hits the streets.

If you've walked down any alley or around a few of the abandoned buildings in downtown Phoenix, you may have seen her (night) work. Most recently, she's been pasting large hearts inscribed with a large, simple font.

"Love Life," they read — a message she says should be used more often and seen more often in daily life, especially in Phoenix.

We meet for lunch at Sens, a downtown Asian restaurant where one of her first heart collages is hanging on the wall behind her. "A Heart Condition" is a chaotic display of paper, paste, and paint in more than 60 frames.

She says antigirl comes from a comment made by a classmate in high school. "'Why are you so anti, girl?' she asked me . . . I guess it sort of stuck."

She's since built a brand, under which she meticulously categorizes her work on walls untouched by many of the much "tougher" local street artists. Unlike many Phoenix street artists, she doesn't write her name, nor does she belong to any sort of crew. She's also a girl.

"There aren't many females who do what I do during the night or day. I guess it's part of the design world and definitely part of the street art world . . . I try not to think about it — I get much more work done that way."

antigirl may be cautious about sharing her real name, but she's not afraid to show her face. The waitress at Sens recognizes her as one of the regulars; antigirl orders a noodle dish and a cocktail before acknowledging that she should be a little more careful.

"At the end of the day, I'm probably a little bit naive about what I do. I run into people I know while pasting, or people make the connection between my design work and street art, but I really can't imagine getting in trouble for saying what I really believe."


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