The street artist who likes to retain his anonymity and goes by the moniker Wrdsmth – no vowels please – has a love of words that unintentionally became a worldwide career as a street artist. His major new work is on display in Flagler Park and was painted during the CANVAS run this year. It’s the giant typewriter with a typed message coming out of it.
Wrdsmth started out working in advertising in Chicago, but it was “not my type of writing” he said by phone as he walked around downtown West Palm Beach the day he hit town from California to start his installation. “So I moved to Los Angeles – like a million other people – and started writing scripts for films and a novel. The book was about Hollywood itself and did pretty well, though I think if I had called it “51 Shades of Grey” it would have done better! I have another book in me and screen writing is very tedious but it all got me itching to get away from the computer so on a whim I started doing some small street art just for myself. I thought this is a way to get words in front of a lot of unsuspecting people.”
He made art from what he knew – an image of a typewriter with a page coming out of it. Most of the words are his own, a few he borrows when a poetic phrase strikes him. He put them on telephone poles, electrical control boxes and billboards, anywhere in the public view.
“These are personal words to me,” Wrdsmth says. “I’m a romantic so I write a lot about that. I also write words that I wish people had said to me when I was younger.”
Soon his street art started catching on from social media. “It’s a real adrenaline rush when I know I’m connecting with people, so I was encouraged to keep going.”
After 3 years he is now getting commissioned all over the world. Wrdsmth has done work in New York, New Orleans, Philadelphia, London, Paris, Edinburgh, and Melbourne. He’s been featured in Playboy, LA Weekly, LA Magazine, and LA Canvas, and he was named one of The Art of Elsyum’s 2014 Emerging Artists.
“It’s just been amazing – I thought only superheroes did this!” he exclaims. “Art and creativity was always in my blood, when someone sees my work I hope my words make people smile or think. I like to think I’m inspiring and motivating people.”
His process is simple, he uses a stencil to spray paint the image of a typewriter as the trademark for each piece. He then adds a wheat paste sheet with a layer of text on top to complete his work. It’s similar to what artists like Shepard Fairey – the major superhero of street artists who started with a sticker of Andre the Giant- uses.
“The combination of stencil and wheat paste is something I love,” he says. “To clarify, I never expected to make a dime doing this, and I will continue to do it outside of the commissioned work. I just want the messages out there, they are universal but very personal. Social media helps me see how far the reach is – the tagging, the sharing. I love the motion of the streets, it’s something I will just always do. I started doing it for me and the fact that it’s resonating and people want to see and own them thrills me. It’s my altruistic nature that makes me want to keep giving art out to people.”
In addition to the Canvas project, Wrdsmth has a 15- foot wall commission in New Orleans, and several other projects lined up. He says he loves the traveling too. “I really like getting out and seeing what’s happening on the streets in other cities. It’s great what they are doing in West Palm Beach. It’s curated but I don’t feel I ever did vandalism or graffiti to begin with. It’s a really amazing thing to see all this in such public spaces for people to stumble upon. Street art cuts out the middle man – you don’t have to go into a gallery or museum, it’s right there. The best thing I’ve seen is construction workers taking pictures of my work that is near a job they are working on. Those are people that may never see it in a gallery or anywhere else.”
Wrdsmth’s art has become a favorite for people to post in Instagram, but to keep his work for a greater duration of time, he has also created small paint versions of his art and some of these canvases are also in displayed at Nicole Henry Fine Art Gallery in Downtown West Palm Beach.
See Wrdsmth’s work at Flagler Park and follow him on Instagram to discover and enjoy more of his recent and upcoming artworks.