Luce Design: Five Questions with Street Artist DECOY
June 24, 2014
It's officially summer! And that means the return of Luce Design, a series of talks in the Luce Foundation Center hosting various types of designers and keen eyes throughout the city. We've featured local experts in the areas of fashion, jewelry, interior design, landscape architecture, and even letterpress. This year, we continue to mix things up with street artist Alicia DECOY Cosnahan, confectioner Meg Murray, and knitwear designer Tanis Gray.
On Wednesday, June 25th, local artist Alicia DECOY Cosnahan will discuss D.C. murals and her personal experiences as a street artist. DECOY has developed works of public art throughout Washington, D.C., as well as projects and non-traditional interactions with her audiences through mural jams and hands-on workshops. Eye Level got even more scoop on DECOY and her upcoming talk to kick off this summer's Luce Design series.
Eye Level: Can you tell us a bit more about the origin and creation of one of your many murals in Washington, D.C.?
Alicia DECOY Cosnahan: One of the most enjoyable murals to create was the John Phillip Sousa mural on 15th and Pennsylvania Ave SE, D.C. That summer I really got to interact with the neighborhood, either by chatting with pedestrians or painting with the kids from the area. It was really interesting to learn all about Sousa's life and really connect his history with The Hill and D.C. One really fun part of that wall was that we had a mustache design contest where people from the neighborhood designed facial hair for different characters on the wall, and thirteen were picked and used.
EL: You've also participated in mural jams! What are they, and how can someone participate or find out more?
DECOY: A mural jam is just a planned day of painting, music, friends and family all out creating and having a good time. These are really amazing days where you can see such a variety of styles and artists painting all at one time. Some people come out with groups and have planned productions, or some artists come out alone and do their own thing. How you can participate kind of depends on the Jam and amount of wall space, etc. Some Jams are invite only, some are totally open to anyone and space is given out on a first come basis. We usually have about two big Jams a year in D.C.
EL: In the spirit of merging your experience with street art for a talk inside of an art museum, here's a two part question. First, What is your favorite piece of street art in D.C.?
DECOY: I have a few favorite pieces of art on the streets of D.C. Sometimes I hate to say where they are, in fear that someone would go and remove it, but... there is an amazing metal welded STER piece that has lived in Northwest D.C. around U Street for years now. I love that piece. The Coffee Headed Duck painted wood cut out on Dan's [Cafe] in Adams Morgan. The Gator on the roll down in Northeast D.C. on Rhode Island Avenue.
EL: Second question: What is your favorite artwork in a D.C. museum?
DECOY: Oh my, let's see— I love to visit the Phillips Collection and see the Rothkos and the Paul Klees. At the Hirshhorn, I love to visit the Francis Bacons. At the National Gallery of Art, I love to visit Lichtenstein, Picasso, Calder...
EL: Where else do you get inspiration in the city?
DECOY: I get inspiration from the people of D.C. and the interactions and experiences I have with them. Whether they be kids from the neighborhoods or other artists I know painting in the city.
EL: What can we expect from your upcoming talk in the Luce Center?
DECOY: I will be speaking about how my art and personal style has allowed me to improve public spaces and engage with communities. I will present multiple examples from stickers and posters to large scale murals and interactive events.
Hear from DECOY yourself this Wednesday in the Luce Center, and mark your calendars for the other upcoming Luce Design programs on July 31st and August 23rd. See you this summer!