When did you start making work in the street? How did that progress over time? Did you ever paint murals or more representational work?
In 1999 when I was kicked out of school in Atlanta, I carried a ladder and rubber hammer from my father’s garage to my local Shell station and smashed the “S” out of the large, lit up sign. That was maybe my first serious public artwork.
A few years ago I was commissioned to make a mural for the "Big City Life" project in the government housing project Tormarancia in Rome. Instead of painting, I knocked on the doors of the families that lived in the building and asked them if they had any problems or uncompleted repairs in their apartments. Eventually, I decided to use my mural budget to solve these problems and make these repairs. The exterior wall was left blank. I titled the work "Fiscal Shifts and Problem Solving as Mural.”
from Juxtapoz, with the publishing of Downey’s new book Slapstick Formalism.