In every male dominated scene there are always a few females who run alongside the boys. Some folks like to front like these chicks are just skipping along with the crowd, but the chicks who can hold their own keep up with the pack and sprint full speed ahead, forging their own singular paths to success. In the graffiti world, one of these birds is artist and graphic designer Andrea von Bujdoss, aka Queen Andrea, a native New Yorker who came up alongside some of the city’s legends and greats.
I first saw Queen Andrea‘s talent 16 years ago in a high school cafeteria in The Bronx, as she flipped me through her latest flics – extremely colorful and vibrantly painted graffiti murals on sides of buildings like I saw every day from the elevated subway. At the time, I knew a bunch of guys who “wrote,” and certainly left their mark with hundreds if not thousands of throwies and fill-ins all over the city, and she totally caught me off guard. Her work was bigger and better than anything they’d ever done and the realest deal I’d ever seen.
Fast forward a decade and the Parsons School of Design graduate has parlayed her skills in precise lettering and explosive use of color across many forms of art and media, from curating art shows across the city to designing toys for Kid Robot, contributing art to Missbehave and Art Direction at Mass Appeal Magazine, and designing limited edition footwear for Osiris and Etnies.
Check out the fresh update of her website Superfreshdesign.com.
What woman, besides your mom or grandmother, do you find inspirational?
Marilyn Monroe because she was such an enigmatic bombshell. Her combination of sassy, smart, swag and determination is inspiring. She was a natural talent. These days, so many people are trying to be famous or be internet superstars, so it’s refreshing to remember raw talent and ambition which transcends self-promotion and twitter-style self aggrandizing! Also, her fuller figure made her look like a real woman, it’s unfortunate how the model industry is distorting healthy female body images. And I love her quotes… “Good girls rarely make history” and “If I’d observed all the rules, I’d never have got anywhere”…
How did you get your start?
My passion for graffiti art was sparked when I was a pre-teen growing up in downtown Manhattan. I became determined to try and master lettering and have my own style. At that time in the early 90’s there was so much inspiring underground culture happening downtown, and the graffiti scene pre-Guliani was alive and well. Many things attracted me to graffiti, the rebellious energy, the humor, the subversiveness, the secret societies of graffiti crews and of course the mastery of lettering, color, characters and can control. I’ve definitely paid my dues at this point, having practiced in countless blackbooks, perfecting handstyles, painting on walls and large-scale productions, and maintaining crew loyalty and respect. My graffiti art developed into complex letter studies on canvas, and then I expanded that visual vocabulary by adding design, signpainter lettering, characters, illustrative motifs and larger themes. My current artwork is further explorations of lettering, design and cartooning highlighted by my signature bold color palette and fluorescents.
My career in Graphic Design started after I graduated from Parsons as a young adult and it’s been going strong ever since. I’m a passionate and versatile designer. Typography, design and graffiti have similar roots and I’ve been lucky enough to have some clients who appreciate an urban aesthetic. Because I fiendishly practiced graffiti letters as a teenager, my hand-lettering game is tight, and I’m often commissioned for custom lettering from corporate clients/brands. One of my pivotal professional accomplishments was when I was the sole Art Director/Designer for Mass Appeal magazine for 2 years. Mass Appeal was an amazing work experience because I was steeped in urban culture, and collaborating with incredible editors, photographers and artists. Nowadays I keep my skillset diverse, so during any given week I’m working on varied projects including illustration, lettering, websites, brand identity/logos, and of course painting.
What’s your favorite piece of art (and or graphic) that you’ve created?
One of my recent limited edition screenprints that says in bold, futuristic lettering, “Now or Never, All Or Nothin’, Fresh to Death” is a favorite. I enjoy art with direct and bad ass verbal messages. Another signpainter lettering style work from my recent art show called “Hot Shit, Fame Game” is a favorite.
Who do you want to work with?
There are so many artists I admire. I’d love to collabo with Mr. Cartoon, I love his flavor and I’m a cholo script/gang lettering junkie. The design duo Morning Breath is amazing. Also Hydro74, Shepard Fairey, Siloette, Fafi, Ewok. For brand collabos, Nike, Adidas, Alife… it’s a long list. I’ve been lucky enough to have collabos with Etnies, Osiris, Missbehave magazine, Rayban, JanSport and Kid Robot under my belt so far.
What part of painting (and or graphic design) is the most challenging and do you dislike the most?
I really love what I do and feel lucky to have a strong work ethic, but the deadlines can be unreal and insane. If I’m not getting hefty freelance/brand collaboration assignments, I’m trying to out-do myself artistically, creating larger and more ambitious works. So the deadlines and heavy workloads are not-stop. You’ve gotta love it though, if you don’t challenge yourself to produce and set big goals, you can’t accomplish as much. Most of all, for me, consistently pushing myself creatively is the most rewarding challenge. The all-nighters can be gruelling but definitely worth it 😉
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