ghost girl

matt siren

ghost girl is a ubiquitous image on the streets of new york city and the artist behind this iconic figure is matt siren. beginning as a graffiti artist, siren has developed his works into a series of paste ups on the streets and posters in the studio with subject matter that focuses heavily upon bubble gum grrrls. his clean, curvaceous lines also take in a myriad of other imagery; ranging from jovial day of the dead figures to angelic storm troopers. matt siren brings a classic burlesque refinement to the twenty first century streetscape of nyc.
interview with i.t.a.

check the matt siren gallery

matt we’ve certainly been taken by the range of your art, from your paste ups, to the event posters and the ghost girl figurines. welcome to powder, it’s a pleasure to chat with you.

so let’s begin with ghost girl. what’s the story behind this piece? what does she represent and how did she come about?

In 2005 I wanted to create an iconic piece that would represent the work I was doing at the time. Back then I was illustrating a lot of female themed posters, so to me it only made sense the icon be female. The shapes that make up her face are what I envisioned as being the most attractive - soft and innocent but also a bit seductive. I was more spiritual in 2005 and that's referenced in the flower. The ghost shape came from my obsession with Ms Pac-Man when I was a youngin'.

how’d you get started in art? did you begin on the street? what was your art like back in the day?

I started drawing when I was about two. I come from a long line of amazing artists... it was natural for me. Teachers in grade school started noticing early on I could draw and always pushed me further. My art back in the day was nothing spectacular. For the most part I copied what I visually liked.

what have you been working on lately and what do you have coming up into 2014?

I've been working on my typography, experimenting with different mediums and collaborating with friends. Currently trying to put together a collaborative show with Russell King.

what’s the street art scene like in nyc at the moment? how’s the scene changed over time?

The work I see is always evolving. I've seen a lot of experimental work, different mediums and spots that are riskier than in the past. People are pushing further nowadays to stand out, leave a mark and get that recognition. Also as space gets limited you see more creativity in terms of placement. It's important to keep your eyes open.

who are the artists that are making an impact on the streets of new york at the moment? who are your favourites?

There are quite a few, but I'm going to give the award to KUMA for pushing boundaries & maintaining integrity.

where do you get your inspiration from? and who are those alluring women in your pieces?

My inspiration comes from all different sources - one day it'll be from cartoons I used to watch as a kid, the next a collage piece I might have seen at the MoMa. I've opened my mind up more to abstract art, which has helped a lot with any creative block I've had in the past.

The women in the pieces are collages of all the women I come across on a daily whose features stick in my mind. A little simplification and stylization and I get what I want.

other than your fellow street artists in new york, who has influenced your work over the years?

I've been influenced by Alphonse Mucha, J.C. Leyendecker, Robert Crumb, Egon Schiele, Todd McFarlane, Ragnar, Frank Frazetta, Steve Chanks, Shane Glines, Andy Warhol, and Keith Haring, to name a few.

what does street art give to the community? and what does it do for the street artists themselves?

Street art gives the community life and color. Drive through any city, the work is visceral and impulsive with a desire to satisfy a multitude of feelings. This makes it all the more significant. If you can't appreciate the dynamics of what you see, you're vision is just limited.

Every street artist has their reasons for doing what they do. I'm assuming they all get a certain degree of satisfaction and high from their choice of execution.

have you ever had any trouble with the law while you’ve been out on the street creating?

I've had some trouble. I've been careless a few times and paid the price.

besides the street where else do you display your artworks? what has been the reaction to your exhibitions?

Woodward Gallery, LOT F Gallery, Slingluff Gallery and Pandemic Gallery are a few places I've shown work. I sometimes get a good response (which is absolutely always the goal), but sometimes not.

and when you’re not out on the street decorating the city walls or in the studio creating, what does matt siren do to have a time in nyc?

Usually indulging with beautiful people in a neon lit environment. Bright lit places give me anxiety.

it’s been great chatting with you matt. we really dig your art here at powder and we look forward to the time we turn the corner and see you doing your thing on the city walls.

check the matt siren site