Arlin Graff had multiple careers before becoming a world-renowned muralist. Industrial design, digital work, and art/creative direction were not quite large enough canvasses for his talent andenergy. For 10 years, he was a graffiti artist painting on trains and wherever he felt needed a shot of bold color and concept. This explains his mastery in cutting through larger than life installations. With a handle bar mustache, paint coated RayBan glasses, and a well-worn gas mask, he cranks up the music and rides the lift into the air above the Guild Parlor. From his perch, he wields spray paint cans like a surgeon. Guild’s very own large, colorful zebra is a constant reminder of Arlin’s passion and talent – and a call to Let Your Inner Out.
Animals are often your main subjects. Why?
I find contrast in animals. I also love to paint endangered animals to bring attention to them. And I love to put animals in cities where most people would never have the chance to interact with them.
How does your background influence the murals you make?
I was an art director and creative director, so I bring a strong digital background to my work as well. And, my father was a wood worker – he built things like bird cages. I would play with the scraps of wood in his shop and make things. All of these experiences to have influenced my style.
How did you come up with the idea of your mural in Guild?
The zebra is large and bold. Zebras live in communities and this will be a community that centers around the artwork. I love the different colors within the mural; they represent diversity. I also was inspired by the Bauhaus style of the building – the clean lines are reflected in my work.
How did your signature style evolve?
I have 20 years of experience using spray paint. I started out as a graffiti artist and painted on trains for 10 years. I love to contrast colors. For example, the turquoise and the neon green is a signature in my work.
Do you prefer public or private spaces?
I love doing work in private spaces because it helps build a community. My large, public works are also very important. I was doing a large mural in Istanbul and people had never seen anything like it before. My art has the ability to influence and inspire a community.