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April 25, 2024
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Tysen Knight – Utilizing Architectural Pieces of The Environment as a Canvas

Street art is considered as one of the biggest artistic movements of the past decade, which has gained immense popularity over the years and continues to grow as an art form. Street art is mainly found in public places and urban locations such as highway bridges, overpasses, exterior building walls, streets, sidewalks and many publicly viewed surfaces, and is an extraordinary way to describe the outlook of various cities and neighborhoods all around the globe. An artist uses stencils, spray paint, stickers, LED lights, aerosol paint and wheat paste posters to reflect on social, cultural and political issues through their art.

For some people, street art appears as an insignificant scribble or tag, but in reality, it has a deep meaning. It is a way for a street artist to express his emotions, thoughts and ideas through creativity; and gives him the freedom to voice his opinions in a peaceful way on the political and social injustice present in a country. Besides the political and social significance, street art adds aesthetic beauty to the streets and cities by making them colorful, interesting and enchanting, which develops a feeling of joy, happiness and intrigue in the passing pedestrians, inhabitants and tourists. But in order to become a successful street artist, a person should have the vision, creativity and skills to create an artistic masterpiece.

One such artist who is known for his exceptional and exemplary street art is Tysen Knight, who was born on 29th June, 1976 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Knight is a muralist, an international pop urban artist and an award-winning filmmaker, whose work is based on Buddha’s philosophies and pop art sense. He is inspired from the works of world-famous street artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso and Keith Haring. From painting and drawing cartoons on jeans for $25 when he was a teenager to becoming a world-renowned street artist, Knight has made a huge leap in his professional career. Since his childhood, Knight had a passion for street art and graffiti, which he used to convey his views through artwork on vacant buildings and walls.

One of his popular projects is the Street Bench Art Pilot, which was envisioned by the City Council Downtown Subcommittee, Main Street Palm Springs, and the Palm Springs Public Arts Commission. Knight created and decorated the benches all across downtown Palm Springs and applied the Urban Desert Palms and Icons theme on the Palm Canyon Drive between Museum Way and Arenas Road. The icons included Garland, Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Lucille Ball, Warhol and Frida Kahlo.

After performing a series of minor roles in music video and films, Knight got his first break through his documentary, The Art of Hustle: Street Art Documentary, which proved to be a stepping stone of Knight’s career as a regular gallery contributor and filmmaker. Three years back he also launched his Masterpiece Mash-Up Series collection at Times Square, New York, in which he re-envisioned the paintings of artists such as Leonardo Da Vinci, Pablo Picasso and Grant Wood.

Knight has an extremely decorated career and has received awards such as Best Feature Film, at the Oregon Documentary Film Festival, in 2018 for The Art of Hustle: Street Art Documentary, Best Director Award in 2019 at the Marina Del Rey Film Festival for his second movie project The Art of Hustle: Homeless Street Artist Documentary, , Exceptional Community Leader Award in 2020 given by Palm Springs Unified School District, Spotlight award at Red Dot Miami and Best Local Visual Artist given by CV Independent Readers’ Choice of 2021-2022. Apart from all these awards, Knight was also part of Black History Month Exhibition in 2020, where his artwork was displayed at the Palm Springs Art Museum.

Over the years, Knight has collaborated with various charitable organizations and has made numerous contributions for the welfare of the society. In order to build homes for the homeless, Knight joined hands with the Habitat for Humanity organization and, later also got associated with the Midnight Mission organization in an effort to provide food and encourage art for homeless and troubled kids free of cost. He also created the Boys Art Mentorship program in collaboration with Palm Springs Unified School District in California for the youth. BAM program was a platform for kids, which guided them to use street art to express themselves artistically. Knight also established a Scholarship Fund, through which he financed students so that they can pursue a career in the arts.

Tysen Knight through his work has not only achieved respect and acknowledgement in the community, but has also increased awareness on various social issues and has conveyed messages of peace and positivity for the amelioration of the society. Knight has set an example for others that if street art is utilized the right way, it can act as a medium of self-expression and a vehicle to bring change.

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