SMiLE, it’s good for you
Boulder’s incognito street artist on a life of rebellion
By Emma Murray - April 19, 2018
Emma Murray | Boulder Weekly
Ten minutes before I turn onto Pearl Street, my phone vibrates. A message: “I forgot to ask… Will you keep my identity a secret?”
I’m en route to a cafe, meeting the person responsible for the impressionist cats, portraits and landscapes sprinkled around Boulder’s downtown electrical boxes, alleyways and forgotten doors — like the tri-color tabby’s face that stares at me from a brick wall on 17th Street.
“Of course,” I reply. Inside, I order a coffee and scan the crowd. What does an incognito graffiti artist look like? Painted or dirty nails? Long hair, makeup? Grunge or hipster? Another vibration. “Look for a pair of sunglasses resting on the table,” he (which he may or may not be) tells me.
I walk toward the back of the room and spot them: The glossy lenses staring up from a two-top, flanked by an elbow on each side. One hand loosely cups a mug, the other rests flat on the table. The person is leaning forward, shoulders slightly rounded, gazing down as though examining the creamy chai’s layered design.
As I approach, he looks up. “You must be Emma,” he says.
So this is what a graffiti artist looks like. Not what I expected.More babysitter, less hoodlum. “You must be SMiLE,” I whisper as I sit down.
He glances around the room with fugitive eyes, nods, and we begin.