"I'm continually amazed at how much fun and how many smiles a simple little flower can spread in such a big place." – Michael De Feo
|De Feo's s silk-screened flower poster on a city's street|
Written by Lucy Coker
The city’s streets have served as Michael De Feo's gallery for the past 20 years. De Feo is most recognized for his spontaneous scattering of flowers across New York, and any other city he visits. Since his street art days, he has dipped his foot into many gallery spaces, been on the cover of the New York magazine and published a children’s book titled, “Alphabet City – Out On The Streets.”
The Freedom of Graffiti Art
The graffiti artist gained a diploma from the School of Visual Arts in Graphic Design, although, oddly enough, his final portfolio didn’t included any graphic design. It was full of street art and paintings, yet De Feo still received top marks. He first began using the streets for his graffiti art as a way to avoid the high art gallery system. The gallery space confined him but on the streets anything was allowed. Furthermore, sporadically placed buildings and streets, anyone could witness his work even if the didn’t want or mean to see it.
His art embraced and explored the free world of urban and low brow art. Entering into the gallery space through the back door, De Feo side stepped the restraints of conventional fine art allowing more space for his spontaneity and resourceful inspirations.
Around 1992, Michael De Feo used silkscreen drawings from his high school art and began placing them out on the streets of New York. He initially used childlike imagery of moons, minnows, flowers and safety pins, cutting these images out of FedEx cardboard to make spray paint stencils. These images soon led to his single silk-screened flower image and eventually to his later paintings on found blueprint paper.
After finding his flower image, he printed hundreds before deciding to make them street art. He glued them on everything from from newspaper dispensers to city buses. Since the birth of the flower project, it has enjoyed exposure in countless news articles and media outlets including The New York Times, Time Magazine, The London Sunday Times Magazine, and on the cover of New York Magazine's "Reasons to Love New York" issue (three times). His work has also appeared in numerous music videos and film documentaries including Banksy's film, "Exit Through The Gift Shop."
|Michael De Feo's cover of the New York Magazine|
Michael De Feo’s children's book “Alphabet City”: Out on the Streets", employs New York City as his canvas. He incorporates his graffiti art into the book by assigning each one to illustrate each letter of the alphabet. The book received rave reviews internationally, “De Feo's art evokes beauty and optimism with a childlike simplicity while paying homage to gritty Manhattan." (Newsweek International)
Michael De Feo’s experimental and free artistic spirit reflects that of many Thumbprint Gallery artists. You can browse and buy a variety of works at Thumbprint Gallery’s online store here.