Kathrina Rupit, an Urban Artist

Hi, Hello, Hi. At university I had to give a presentation about one of my favourite Street/ Urban Artists and then my professor decided that we should speech freely and my text got useless. At least you get to read it. Thisis also a thrust against my former teacher, who claimed I couldn’t speak english very well. Nice try honey, but no.

Kathrina Rupit, also known as #KINMX was born in Mexico City. At home in one of the not so well off districts of the capital Kathrina‘s parents started to worry very early about the violent neighborhood caused by drug dealers and city gang wars. Free spirited as their daughter was and still is, the family tried numerous ways from preventing their daughter to wander off alone in that area?. Therefore Kathrina got introduced to the practice of painting at quite a young age. Fascinated by the beauty of the interaction between colors, water and paper she started to paint more often and it didn’t surprised anybody when Kathrina applied for the University of Visual Arts in Northern Mexico and was accepted. In the following years she would study graphic design and photography and in the afternoon hours she would use the university‘s free working space with all the tools to get into screen printing and making paste-ups and stickers. Finally she was able to channel her anger about the social injustice, discrimination, corruption and the silent border war in northern Mexico into something that she really loved: Street Art.

At the beginning she pasted her pieces hesitant and in constant panic to get caught from the police, but soon she got more confident. Before she even realized, she was addicted to the rough beauty of the Street Art scene in the city of Nuevo Leon.

Powered by her anger and the search for a peaceful society she continued to improve her skills. Her name and identity became known more widely and soon she had her first solo exhibition. During this evening she realized two things. First that she wasn’t alone with her feelings and fears towards her home country, and second she began doubting herself and especially her cause making this kind of art always in fury and unstable. She wanted to stop these negative emotions. After all Mexico was a beautiful country with beautiful people and culture. She decided to use her art to create an antipole against the harshness of the daily life of her people. She wanted to turn the world into a better place with much more peace, love and happiness than people were used to.

After graduating in 2009 she nixed her original plans to get a proper job in an office setting and started traveling around the world. One day she came to Dublin and was forced to sell some of her art on the street to continue traveling. One thing led to another and suddenly she was organizing Street Art meetings, jams and festivals together with Irish and other international artists. The key moment that settled her decision to move to Dublin and leave Mexico was that she painted outside, alone and two dubliner police officers were walking towards her. She prepared to run, but instead of arresting her, one of them said: „Nice, it makes the city look better“. This little story seems to have some kind of a fairytailish outcome, but it’s true. Dublin is very liberal when it comes to street art. If you are visiting the city, especially the district called Temple Bar it’s impossible to overlook her works, as they are all over the place, vibrant in color, bold and energetic in style. Today she considers this experience as the starting point of her legal career and it shows. She has worked from all over Ireland up to Miami, Dallas, New York, San Francisco, Hong-Kong, London and Tel-Aviv. All important cities and Hot Spots for really good Street Artists.

Its Mexican influence and Kathrinas admiration for strong female icons is a unique mixture that catches every eye no matter where in the world she paints her pieces. Especially Frida Karlo is often portrayed by her. Which is no surprise considering her significant role in celebrating and spreading the Mexican culture and heritage after ten years of civil upheaval and political messes. Unfortunately her messages, actions and engagement were often ignored by the public due to her being a women. Instead Diego Rivera, José Orozco, and David Siqueiros earned most of the praise. In the course of the new generation of South American Street Artists and the female empowerment young women like KINMX are now reclaiming Frida Kahlo and her former importance in the national movement.

Besides females, she also uses her love for flowers as an inspiration. No matter which type of flower you could imagine, Kathrina has painted them. Next to the skulls it seems sometimes a bit morbid, but the skulls are actually the second big topic which Kathrina uses for her murals. The fascination of the circle of life is strongly connected to one of the most important holidays in Mexico: the ‚Dia de los Muertos‘ or in English the Day of the Dead. It’s basically a reunion between the already dead family members and the ones that are still alive. At the evening of the November 1st the celebration starts and it ends in the early morning hours of the following day. Cemeteries are decorated, grandmas often tell folk-tales, the children are playing with sugar skulls and candies next to little toy-graves and for the adults there is lots of dancing, music and of course alcohol.

In memory of her wonderful grandma, who taught her the principle of life and mortality she is still only working with recycled materials which are often souvenirs from her journeys to other places and countries. Old stamps, newspaper articles or magazines, any kind of tickets, flyers, underground maps and even comic strips. Sooner or later they will all end up on the wall somewhere else in the world. From assembling her chosen pieces to the finished art work it’s still a long process. Depending on what she is planning to draw, her Murals always start with a collage telling a story from another person, Kathrina encountered on her current journeys or her past. Once the collage is assembled, she starts to paint over it inspired by the patterns from ceilings, airport carpets, clothes ore simply nature – guided by her feelings, hopes and dreams. The finishing touch consists of spray-paint elements and varnish. Well aware of what crime against the environment these spay cans are, she reached out to the RGB crew in Italy, who developed a more environmental friendly spray can. The outer shell consists completely of aluminum, the paint is made out of less toxic acrylic and the whole thing is recyclable. Disregarding the artistic process and the possibility to express herself, she also loves the fresh smell of paint, the big walls as canvases and of course the ride with the scissors lift. If she should have a bad day (which is very rare), she tries to relax with a good book, a hot cup of tea or she visits her friends until she can concentrate on her art again.

Her favorite piece until today is the mural in Decazeville (France), which was created in the context of the Mur Murs Festival. It was the first time that the Street Art Festival took place there and everybody was a bit nervous about how the villagers would react after the murals and pieces were all done and the Festival was over. It turned out really well, the habitants liked that their village was more colorful and embraced the whole experience. Kathrinas motif was inspired by one of her trips through the jungles of Mexico, where she got into the Mayan culture. Recently she changed her focus more to traditional Japanese styles of art and therefore is planning to visit Tokyo in the near future.

Since her experience in France she strongly believes that society is finally changing their minds about Street Art and Graffiti. People are starting to explore Street Art themselves and embracing the „new“ kind of urban beautification. Kathrina hopes that one day people will take on the mindset of a true artist. It shouldn’t matter what skin color, religion or gender an artist has, the true thing that matters is the shared passion for art and making the world a better place.[1]  According to her everyone should be an artist. It doesn’t matter if one is already skilled or still at the beginning of their journey. Skill is something that everyone can improve sooner or later. As long as a person is passionate about their doing, it will pay off.


The sources:

Biographie, Kathrina Rupit mit der Graffik Gallery

Interview mit Kathrina Rupit mit dem All Public Art Magazin

Interview mit Kathrina Rupit mit dem Amsterdamer Street Art Magazin

Interview von Rashers Tierney mit Kathrina Rupit

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