Bianca Romero uses street art to carve out space in a male-dominated field: 'You kind of have to prove yourself a little harder'

·3 min read

Bianca Romero is a muralist using street art to show women can take up space anywhere.

Romero always loved art but she never saw it as a possible career path. With encouragement from friends, Romero started to put her creations out there. Eventually, she had to decide if she should quit her full-time job or become a full-time artist. She chose the latter. 

“I never did murals but I was around a lot of street artists and graffiti artists,” Romero tells In The Know. “I’ve always been inspired by graffiti textures. When you walk around New York, seeing the wheat paste, the layers of posters. You can see all of these layers and marks of what’s been there before.”

The mixed-media artist uses painting and collages with a hint of expressionist style and brilliant pops of color. Romero’s works are also a way of exploring her dual Korean and Spanish identity.

While she doesn’t necessarily follow a consistent theme she tries to evoke emotions that tell stories, like her mural, “Power to the People.” The colorful painting for Black History Month and Women’s History Month combines images of activist icons Angela Davis and Gloria Steinem. 

But she was a bit hesitant to enter the public art space at first. 

“Public art is very public. People are walking by. There’s a sense of like, you’re creating while being judged a little bit,” Romero says. “Also as a woman, it’s intimidating for a couple of reasons, you get harassed on the street a lot while you paint.” 

It’s not exactly welcoming to women either, which is why she feels it’s important for her to be present in the space. 

“Street art is a very male-dominated industry, when you’re just kind of stepping into it, you do get some push back,” Romero explains. “You kind of have to prove yourself a little harder.” 

People couldn’t believe that the artist behind her very works was a woman.

“When I started painting murals so many people would ask me, ‘Where’s the artist?’ They couldn’t believe that a woman would be painting,” Romero says. “The more I got asked those questions, the more I realized how rare it is.” 

For Romero, public art is all about visibility. It’s a way for under-represented voices to leave their mark in places where people least expect it. 

“The visibility is important because it more so reflects representation,” she says. “Women aren’t really seen as claiming space and as taking up space in that way. So from that point of view, I feel public art is really important and it’s an avenue of representation. Whatever you’re painting, your literally claiming that real estate, literally, with your message. 

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