July 11, 2013
Milwaukee has been invaded by koi. Images of the colorfully patterned fish have been spray-painted throughout the East Side, Riverwest and Third Ward neighborhoods, adorning busy sidewalks.
You’ll find the koi near the Yield Bar, Riverwest Public House, Riverwest Film and Video, the Alterra on Prospect, bus stops on Brady Street, the North Avenue bridge and swimming along the Oak Leaf bike trail as if it were a river.
The koi exemplify an art form known as street art – visual art displayed in public spaces, unsanctioned and at times referred to as vandalism. Street artists use spray paints, stencils, stickers and even video projections to create their work within city landscapes.
In Chinese mythology, koi would change into dragons when they reached the top of the Yangtze River. Today they’re used as symbols of perseverance, courage, independence, individualism and ambition.
The artist responsible for the koi invasion is Jeremy Novy, an out gay man who describes his work as an artistic intervention with urban blight. I recently spoke with him.
Read the full interview at Wisconsin Gazette.