Bianca Romero Erykah Badu Mural
Romero poses with her mural at Underhill Walls. Photo: Bianca Romero/Instagram

Bianca Romero never expected to be an artist.

Not since her childhood, anyway. Though she was raised in New York by fashion and graphic designer parents, who encouraged her budding talent for painting and drawing, the 32-year-old Bushwick-based artist who now has murals on display in Greenpoint, Prospect Heights and various Brooklyn businesses opted to study marketing in college.

I thought, lets be practical here, said Romero. Art was a fun hobby, but I didnt think it would ever be more than that.

After attending school in New Hampshire, Romero returned to New York and started working in event production. But being in the city and surrounded by creative people reawakened her sleeping artistic impulses, and soon she was collaging and painting again. With her marketing connections, she started landing branded gigs. Now, in addition to her passion projects, Romero pays the bills installing murals and window displays in shops and restaurants.

Im kind of glad I took the route I did. I understand how to pitch a creative concept to a client, and for the most part I still have my creative freedom, Romero said.

Art and marketing arent the only disparate worlds Romero straddles. She’s half Korean and half Spanish, and has dual citizenship in the U.S. and Spain. She balances her time between curating exhibitions and taking part in them, as well as creating street art.

That eclectic sensibility carries over to her artistic style, which is a hodge-podge of techniques and mediums. Romero blends print clippings, brushed-on acrylic and spray paint into rich, collaged murals. She draws inspiration from the worlds of urban graffiti, fashion design and pop art, and thrives on mixing those influences with reckless abandon.

Often what looks like the work of a brushstroke in Romeros art, like strands of hair for example, is instead the result of her painstakingly clipping that shape from a magazine and pasting it over a painted background. The effect is layers of rich, bright-hued textures which seem to get deeper the longer you look at them.

For her piece at Underhill Murals in Prospect Heights, Romero painted an Erykah Badu album cover and wheat-pasted black-and-white newsprint into the shape of the singers turban. For this year’s Art Basel in Miami, she painted a wall which incorporated event posters for world-renowned street artist Optimist. Her wheat-paste character, a glued-on version of a graffiti artists tag, is a girl screaming with her mouth gagged, a common sight in Romeros work.

I like the idea of having this little face thats yelling something, and you wont hear her unless you see it, Romero said of the character, which shes pasted all over New York. In the city, theres so much of that, because in any field theres so much stuff going on that its hard to be heard, she added.

While Romero may still sometimes feel like shes struggling to be heard in a sea of artists, she’s certainly making some noise in Brooklyn. And so far, we like what we hear.

If youd like to see Romeros work in person, shes taking part in The Most Illegal Art Show, on Thursday, January 31, from 6:00pm -9:00pm at 198 Allen Street.

You also can find her on Instagram @BiancaDoesNYC.

Alex Williamson

Alex Williamson is a Brooklyn-based reporter whose work has appeared in Brooklyn Eagle, Queens Eagle, Gothamist and elsewhere.

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