Lauren YS queer antiracist murals
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Lauren YS
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April 25, 2022
Art
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Lauren YS and their off-the-wall paintings

For queer people of color, the cities are hostile, their grey walls a reminding of their violence. The inhospitality of the streets is part of a system of violence. When those walls are covered with colorful paint celebrating them, it’s a symbolic fight at play.

Los Angeles-based artist Lauren YS takes part in this fight with their paint rollers and boundless creativity. The Stanford University graduate has been traveling the world to give life to incredible-scale mural paintings.

Heavily influenced by dreams, psychedelia, queer experiences, and Asian mythology, the artist creates impressive murals full of bluish purples. Exhibited in solo and group exhibitions across the US for almost a decade, Lauren YS’s impact is not to be proven anymore.

Peculiar, from their designs, emanate a specific kind of strangeness, a term they associate with queerness and find power in. Mermaids, monsters, and aliens are common figures within their murals.

Spending their childhood doodling on their family house’s walls, Lauren YS always had a taste for large-scale creativity -and the head in the clouds-. During college, they ran a co-operative house full of murals which got them interested in the practice. From there they started using spray paint on always growing supports. For them, the making of a large-scale mural is in itself a “spiritual”, that they enjoy while listening to music or podcasts on Asian History and folklore, from which they draw a lot of their inspiration.

Progressively their work became more and more political, especially regarding social justice. Aware of the importance of their platform to give visibility to the issues, they started creating art pieces that make a strong statement while opening a discussion. The issues Lauren YS brings to the walls’ concrete spans from racism towards the Asian-American community, queerness, feminism, and environmentalism.

Currently, Lauren YS has been working through Squidtropica, a platform for LGBTQIA+ BIPOC artists, to support Stop AAPI Hate, a coalition addressing anti-Asian and Pacific Islander hate. Through prints and merch sales, they are raising funds to help the organization. Scroll down below to discover more of their art!

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