Nadia, Spray-Can Artist

By Lisa Calcasola

Nadia is one of the many street artists trying to make a living in Manhattan. I found her in Times Square on a Wednesday evening after the #FightFor15 protests. She laughs at my
attempts to pronounce her last name and says to stop trying.

“Please,” is all she can say.

Nadia is a short girl with cropped pink hair. She currently lives in Brooklyn and comes to Manhattan every day to set up shop on the sidewalk.

“I work eight to ten hours a day,” she says. “Sometimes more, sometimes less, depending on the weather. I get two months off when it’s really cold, in December and January, but the rest of the time I’m out here.”

Nadia has been interested in art ever since childhood. All of her artwork is done with spray cans. On display that night were lots of pictures featuring a brightly colored moon against a black sky and the city skyline. Space seemed to be a central theme for her artwork.

Nadia’s hot spot right now is Times Square, because of the thousands of tourists that go in and out every day, but she’s also been around the Central and Bryant Park areas.

“It’s hard to be stable,” she says. “One day you get lots of business, and the next day you get none. And right now I’m too far down the street. People come from that direction and pass by other artists before they get to me, and buy their paintings instead.”

When asked whether she decides the prices of her artwork, she laughs and says, “No, they are pre-determined, the same as everyone else’s. Paintings are $20, $30 with the frame.”

“This is my fourth time to New York,” she says. “People come here to make money.”

I ask her what she thought of the protests that happened on this day and she said that she understands where the people are coming from. “They work long hours and do not get paid a lot. I understand why they’re upset.”

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