Nick Walker is one of Britain’s graffiti pioneers. His works -- including a recent 3D sculpture of the Houses of Parliament in collaboration with Royal Doulton and his celebrated “Moona Lisa” -- employ a great deal of wry humor and irony, as he treats iconic figures with a refreshing irreverence.
Walker cites among his influences the movie Blade Runner and the New York City graffiti artist Dondi. Blade Runner, he has said, helped him develop his own dystopian science-fiction imagery, while the Dondi influence prompted him to use the tag Ego during his own early street-spraying days. Walker has exhibited worldwide, has published the book “The Art of Nick Walker,” and is credited as one of the first artists to use stencils in his work.
He is from Bristol, England but currently lives in New York City.
How do you describe your piece?
The piece depicts Star Trek icon Lieutenant Uhura re-imagined using the legendary Vladimir Tretchikoff work, “Green Lady.” The work is created by hand, cutting an intricate stencil, and then spraying the chosen colors onto the stencil to create the final artwork.For me, the characters in Star Trek exist beyond the confines of race, and I have channeled this idea in creating a futuristic representation of Lieutenant Uhura.
In creating your artwork for the exhibition, what was your inspiration?
The artwork is a collision of two iconic female images. I’ve been wanting to work with the Green Lady image for a while and with Uhura I knew I’d found the right opportunity.
How is your Star Trek artwork similar to or different from your other works?
The Lieutenant Uhura piece continues a theme of female icons in my work, so it’s on the same trajectory as my piece featuring Marge Simpson or my “Moona Lisa” piece that subverts the Mona Lisa. But this piece is a tribute to Uhura and is less subversive than those pieces and more true to the icon.
Why did you choose to use this kind of “halo” effect?
The halo almost deifies Uhura; she’s an icon. Just like the Green Lady. This is icon versus icon; a mash-up of two strong female images.