For graffiti artist and MSU Denver grad Keith “Lemon” White, supporting youth is part of the picture.
By Roger Fillion
Publish Date: October 20, 2014
SEE the process of how the mural was painted.
Keith “Lemon” White joined the graffiti scene later than most, particularly for a guy who would make a career out of spray painting walls and countless other surfaces.
“Growing up in Wyoming, my access to graffiti was very limited,” said White (B.S. technical communications ’04). In 2002, White met an aspiring graffiti artist named Wiser, who shared his sketchbooks, or “black books,” as well as his passion for the art form.
The duo began painting what were known as the old “Revolution Walls,” or “Revos,” near 8th Avenue and Inca Street. They met other graffiti artists and established their reputations.
“By 2006 we realized we could take what we learned and develop it into a profession, not just something we enjoyed in our spare time,” said White.
This realization led to the creation of Your Name in Graffiti (YNIG), a social enterprise that sells custom graffiti art and performance work to fund educational programming and urban youth mentorship in the arts, social responsibility and personal and professional development. A performance, for example, might involve painting a mural live at a corporate party.
Today White leads a team of two other graffiti artists who work in Denver communities. Wiser contributes when he can while living in Canada and continuing his graffiti career.
“We have painted pretty much every type of wall you can think of and also shoes, hats, apparel and cars,” White said. “One of our recent projects was a corporate party downtown on Larimer Street, where we painted an 80-foot-long temporary mural, custom painted a pickup truck that was used as a DJ booth, and tagged custom name boards for guests.”
Another recent project for White and his team was a mural they painted on the south side of the 5th Street Hub building on the Auraria campus in August.
White said YNIG has allowed him to use his MSU Denver degree in “a creative technology-infused environment.” White learned about website design and development at the University and has taught others about the elements involved in producing a large-scale project like a mural.
YNIG has shipped artwork around the country and overseas, including the Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand and England. Larger clients have included the City of Denver, Denver Public Library, Denver Public Schools, the Canadian comedian Russell Peters, Ford Motor Co. and Verizon Communications Inc.
Among YNIG’s more unusual projects was “to custom paint 100 pairs of Supra sneakers as party favors for a bar mitzvah in 2013,” White said. “We had boxes of shoes covering our entire studio floor.”