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GRAFF: MAR2INA transitions from doing graffiti to making art

Taiwan’s leading female street artist makes the move from the streets to the gallery

LiFTED | Words by Marcus Aurelius/Photos by Danny Chu | 20 Oct 2022

For many graffiti artists, the thrill of bombing streets and getting their name up all around the city or country is what attracts them to street art in the first place. MAR2INA is the opposite of that. Instead of running from the cops or hiding from security late at night, she prefers to take her time with her art. The results are astounding as her pieces have layers and depths to them that most spray painting doesn’t.

This week, MAR2INA will be featured in six spaces at ARTTAIPEI, one of Taiwan’s most prestigious art events which she has been preparing for the last year.

LiFTED caught up with MAR2INA before the exhibition to chat about her beginnings as a graffiti artist and how she’s gone from spray painting buses to working for art galleries.

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How did you get started with graffiti?

I’m a self-taught artist. I think it was in 2005 that I joined my first street art event where I got introduced to graffiti.

Have you ever bombed the streets?

I did it in the beginning but I realized that this is not what I want to do. Instead of just a tag, I want the whole wall to myself.

What do your parents think of you doing graffiti? Are they supportive or have you had to fight them?

When I was young, studying was not my thing. Over the years, I learned that this is my thing. Doing art is something that has changed my whole life. My family never had problems with this because as soon as I started doing well in the drawing events, my parents backed me up 100 percent. This makes me very happy because it’s rare for Taiwanese parents to be so supportive of the arts.

We see you’ve done busses, walls, clothes, and a lot of toys. What’s your favorite medium to draw on?

I love everything so there’s not really a favorite. Right now, I really love painting. A lot of people are buying my paintings so I am transitioning from doing graffiti to making art.

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Who are some of the artists that inspire you?

I don’t really have any favorite artists. I try not to look at any other artists to copy them.

Tell me a little bit about your rabbit character/figurine. What inspired her? Is she you? How are you similar?

This character represents me and how I feel. I use the rabbit to express my emotions.

Have you ever been made to feel different because you are a female graffiti artist? Do you think being a female in the art world has helped or hindered you?

I’ve never had anyone say anything bad because I’m a female graffiti artist. I think this is because I am the first one and my art speaks for itself.

We see you are going to be at the ARTTAIPEI show next week. That is huge for a Taiwanese graffiti artist. How do you feel about this?

I am very excited about the event this weekend because Investors got six spots for me. I’ve been getting ready for this event for the whole year. This is the first time in three years that ARTTAIPEI will happen in person so I’ll get to see a lot of art that I’ve never seen before.