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Boston- based art collective, Paint Pens in Purses, redefine the cobblestone city

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November 21st, 2009


l 7a8cfdc201be46b095b5976b4bec49b4 Boston  based art collective, Paint Pens in Purses, redefine the cobblestone city

“Boston’s most promising urban artists…” wrote Marc Caballero from the Boston Herald in latter 2008 regarding the Allston art collective, Paint Pens in Purses, a group of artists working hard to redefine a lagging urban scene in a city out-of-touch with artistic alternatives.

Check out my interview with the group’s founder Shayna Shenanigans.

Boston isn’t the first place to strike most as a thriving art hub and that’s because as far as diversified artistic expression is considered, it really isn’t. Galleries cluttering Newbury St. and the South End can’t be considered the most vivid places for art because they are in the business of catering to a small segment of the population; a population that doesn’t always authentically manifest artistic ingenuity– generalization maybe; price tags speaking for themselves– completely.

With that being said, artists are working hard to eclipse the prejudice against the Boston art scene.   Paint Pens in Purses is a group of artists gaining notoriety for their wielding of urban expression in the cobblestone city. Based out of the Allston area, the collective was founded by artist Shayna Shenanigans in 2008, whose has been featured in Urban Outfitters and ads for Adidas with exhibitions spanning Brooklyn, NY to Melbourne, Australia.

Interview with Shayna Shenanigans aka Shayna Yasuhara

Geetha: Representing the collective, how would you describe the relationship you have as a group of artists with Boston the city and art hub? Good place to be? What was it like getting your start here?

Shayna Shenanigans: Boston is a city that needs more urban art events. In general people are very supportive and interested in the events when they are planned, and there are definitely talented artists to be found here, the problem is that there is a shortage of people willing to plan the events. And venues are hard to find; either because the galleries tend to be too conservative or bars and clubs don’t usually hang artwork.

I think getting a start here can be sort of difficult for an emerging artist but once you know a few people you will meet others in the art community pretty quickly.

Can you describe the formation of Paint Pens in Purses?

The group was started in the summer of 2008. I originally planned to host one all-female urban art event but as I started planning I noticed more potential artists and ideas for future shows and decided to start a collective versus just throwing one show to keep it open-ended.

What direction are you hoping to take the collective in?

I am hoping to expand the collective geographically and idea-wise. We are currently working on a book, which is set to be released in the fall, and we are doing a show in New Jersey in the near future.

Why should people care? What does Paint Pens in Purses have to say with their art and what makes you different as an art collective?

We don’t care if other people care but it’s nice when they do. We don’t have one particular message and we don’t want to take ourselves too seriously. In general, the group was started to make Boston more interesting, a place where artists would like to call home, versus just a stopping place before a bigger city, like CA or NY. I pick artists that are genuine and that clearly do art for their own reasons and not for money or fame or anything like that.


How would you sum up the group in one sentence?

An all-female urban art collective & really awesome creative family.

If you’re in the Allston area, swing by the recently vacated Marty’s Liquor to the exhibit that will be up until the building is reprimanded. Tons more Paint Pens and Purses artists featured work featured at the group’s myspace: www.myspace.com/paintpensinpurses

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