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Street Art: Interview with Tatyana Fazlalizadeh

In Activist Interviews, Stories, street harassment | on 10.05.12 | by | Comments ( 0 )

You’ve seen, loved and shared her artwork about street harassment, now hear from the artist herself.

Tatyana Fazlalizadeh is an oil painter / illustrator whose work focuses on portraiture and social/political themes. Currently based in NYC, she exhibits her paintings in galleries nationally, while working as a freelance illustrator and muralist.

Stop Street Harassment (SSH): What inspired your art project about street harassment?

Tatyana Fazlalizadeh (TF): The project was inspired by my daily experiences with street harassment. Being harassed on the street is exasperating. I’ve wanted to do some art work on the issue for a while now, but I couldn’t figure out how to properly communicate what I wanted to say in my primary artistic medium – oil paint on canvas. Over the past year or so I’ve started working in public art as a muralist. Thinking about  creating art in a public space led me to this idea of wheat pasting posters. Because what better medium to create art about street harassment than street art.

SSH: Some of the prints are up on walls around Philadelphia, right? How many did you put up and how did you select where to post them?

TF: Philly, yes. As well as other places that I’m often in, mostly Brooklyn and other parts of NYC. This project is still very new and I plan to continue it and expand it, that includes venturing to different cities. I’ve placed them in areas that receive foot traffic, areas that I’ve personally been harassed, and spots that work well for wheat paste.

SSH: What reactions have you received from people who’ve seen them in person and from people who saw them on your Tumblr page?

TF: I’ve received a lot of positive reactions from women who relate to the captions on the posters. I’ve been having a lot of conversations, and a few debates, about street harassment as a result of this.  I wasn’t sure what to expect because the state of this medium is very temporary; it’s likely to put up a piece and for it to be gone a few days later. So to have the pieces captured and widely shared online was surprising but, I’m also very happy about that.

My intention with putting up these pieces was to artistically speak up for myself and other women who are harassed on the street. In the moment, you don’t always speak up for yourself. You ignore them, walk faster. So with this work, I wanted to say what I actually think when being hounded by men (though, they aren’t my exact thoughts because those usually include a lot of expletives). After having conversations with friends and women that I know, I decided to also include their words and thoughts as captions. So, the work is for women but also, and maybe even more so, for men. I haven’t received many reactions from men, and I’m trying to figure out a way to find their reactions and thoughts, if there are any.

SSH: Do you plan to create more artwork to bring attention to the issue of street harassment?

TF: I do. I’m plan to revisit this topic in my painting. I’m also looking to create some mural projects around this theme.

SSH: Please feel free to share anything else you want people to know about your project.

TF: I’m glad that the work is resonating with women. The process so far has been fun, and the art and issue of street harassment is something I’m passionate about. It’s great to put my art in the streets and make these public statements that women aren’t outside for the pleasure of men.

If you love the shirt Tatyana is wearing, you can order one too!

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