“I remember the first time I heard a hip-hop song. I was in the house and my brother was a DJ and he was playing the song RUN DMC, Sucker MCs and I walked into the room and said what is this?
That was the trigger for the passion of Tony Peralta, a young artist of Dominican parents who grew up in Washington Heights.
“Hip hop inspired me to do this. The artists I was listening to at the time, Ice Cube, were people who were rebellious and free changed my life because they gave me permission to be different,” he says.
Be different and take risks. A philosophy shared by artists who, aerosols in hand, leave their mark on subway cars and city walls.
“I realized I was a little crazy when I left my house at midnight and went to the ugliest places in New York to paint trains, paint walls and fences with barbed wire.”
Lady Pink was born in Ecuador and grew up in Queens. She was one of the pioneers of graffiti, which would become one of the main elements of hip hop culture over the years. “Everything was invented by young people, kids aged 13, 14, 15.” They invented graffiti and breakdance and MCing, DJing and all that… It was the kids who created something, nobody studied that, we changed the world,” says Pink.
But this world wasn’t very woman-friendly. Lady Pink not only made her way in a male-dominated environment, she also became one of the main representatives of graffiti.
– Was that a need for you to express yourself artistically, or simply an act of rebellion?
“It was an act of rebellion for me to be part of the cool crowd. This is important for teenagers and also for the quest for fame. We were specialists in our names and always repeated my name Pink, Pink, Pink.
Many of these young people followed in the footsteps of artists like Andy Warhol and Keith Harring, representatives of the so-called pop art.
Peralta has brought a very Dominican touch to what he defines as Latin pop, without neglecting the connection to New York street art that has shaped him as an artist and as a person.
“I don’t consider myself a hip-hop artist, I am hip-hop,” he explains. “I belong to this culture. I’m 49 years old, look at how I dress… it’s all hip hop,” he points out.
Lady Pink also remains connected to the city where she grew up and matured as an artist.
Although he lives about two hours from the neighborhood where he grew up and made his name, he has not lost his passion for taking his art to the streets of New York by creating murals in collaboration with students and community organizations .
“Our artworks will be with us for hundreds and hundreds of years. What else can we expect? This street art and hip hop movement can be found in all corners of the world.”