Beyond the Streets on Paper: A Conversation with David "Mr StarCity" White
For BEYOND THE STREETS on PAPER, David "Mr StarCity" White, whose infectious spirit and powerful visuals have turned his storytelling into essential reading, presented 3 massive new works on paper. His "Big Bless" sign-offs and ability to create positive and supportive communication through his art has created a unique universe around the NYC-based artist.
Has the past year impacted or influenced your work in any way? How so?
Yes, this past year has taught me that everything that’s meant to stay, will stay. Everything else is just shifting to make space for what deserves to come next. I create and create to find a voice for the times I’m living in. Some things stick and some things don’t, but it’s a constant revolving door of ideas and creativity. This past year taught me to be more urgent in my intentions because you never know how quickly situations can change and have an impact whether that’s in your own life or another’s.
How has the mood of your most recent work changed or shifted from past work we’ve seen?
The past couple of years have put us all through some tough times, so I was inspired to bring bright colors into my works to encourage positive emotions. My hopes with the new works from my “LOVERBOY” series were to brighten up someone’s day and summon a smile during these trying times. My last series “Fractured” was darker in subject and tone, addressing mental health issues and how seriously it has affected my family. Executing that series allowed me to reflect and acknowledge that we did, and continue to do, the best that we can given the circumstances that we find ourselves in. I feel there is peace and freedom in being able to acknowledge that. In a way, I came back to the drawing board by circling back to my “Fractured” series with a renewed sense of understanding, peace and fearlessness to move forth, embracing adversity and all the lessons that come with it.
What would you say is the medium that has defined your work as an artist?
My favorite medium is definitely sand and soil. I like to mix them to add texture and sculptural elements to my works. I’ve been doing it since the beginning of my career after much experimentation, trial and error. And, funny enough, I’ve been seeing more artists follow in my footsteps, incorporating heavier textural elements into their works. They say imitation is a form of flattery… Personally, I’m not sure how I feel about it yet, but I know firmly that I am here to inspire.
When was the last time you produced works on paper?
I’m always producing works on paper. I never like to be wasteful so I tend to give new life to unused paint and marked surfaces to create completely new works on paper. The works included in this year’s Beyond The Streets were my first large-scale works on paper and I’ve grown to love creating through this process even more thanks to this exhibition.
What does working on paper look like for you?
To sum it up in two words: Fun and Freedom.
It seems like in the past year artists everywhere quite literally went back to the “drawing board.” What was that experience like for you as an artist or an individual?
I never left the drawing board. I never stopped working hard because I’m forever searching for the next ideas. Surrendering to change has become one of my favorite habits lately.
What does urgency mean to you?
Right now. Exist in it. Believe in it. Trust in it. Love it. Work for it. Work through it. Keep it. Hold it. Honor it. Urgency is understanding and respecting time, understanding that it will not last forever. Urgency comes from the word urge, meaning to encourage and that’s what I’m here to do. To encourage myself and others to be and do the best that they can.
Has your relationship with time changed at all in regards to creating?
I have grown a great respect for down time. The times when nothing is moving or being done. Stillness can be such a beautiful thing. Accept that there is nothing wrong with not being busy, just have to remember to allow your lungs to catch up with your mind, giving your body a chance to breathe. Sometimes, the most movement and creativity is found when you stop committing to doing, and instead, commit to being.
What are some new hobbies or skills you cultivated in the past year that you have continued to keep up?
I’ve been doing more photography and shooting more short films using my Instagram as the outlet where I release and workshop all these ideas that I cultivate in my mind. I never know where anything will take me until I do it. Some paths seem clear until you get up close to them, and then they take a unique shape of their own. A different route can still take you to the same destination, remember that.
Any playlists or podcasts you listened to while making your works on paper?
Yes. Beatstumentals!! I love them. I’m a songwriter and poet. I like to listen to beats, freestyle and flow aloud while I create. It’s an amazing and inspiring feeling for me. It keeps my mind sharp and my vocabulary full. I love freestyling and just enjoying the moment. Your inner child never truly dies. Sometimes that part of you disappears for a brief period, but, a lot of times, your inner child is just waiting to be woken up. Freestyling always wakes me up! Big Bless.
BEYOND THE STREETS ON PAPER is on view at the Southampton Arts Center in Southampton, New York through August 28, 2021