Ulster County Executive's Arts Awards 2023
ART IN PUBLIC PLACES
Lady Pink, who was born in Ecuador but moved to New York City when she was seven years old, was always a talented artist. “I’ve been making art since I was a little kid and then a middle school teacher inspired me to build a portfolio and I got into the High School of Art and Design,” she says.
But it wasn’t until 1979, when a 13-year-old Lady Pink started writing graffiti on subway trains, that she began to make a name for herself as the only female capable of competing with the boys in the graffiti subculture. This is where her moniker originated. Lady Pink’s real name is Sandra Fabara. “But my friends in high school decided if I was going to be the only girl in a group of about 10,000 boys, I needed a female name. They dubbed me ‘Pink’. ‘Lady’ came from my obsession with historical novels. I loved the romance of the aristocracy.”
While in high school, Lady Pink began exhibiting paintings in art galleries; when she was 19 she landed her first mural commission, for the Plaza Hotel. Since then her canvases and murals have been entered into collections at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Whitney Museum, the Brooklyn Museum and more.
“I’m so honored,” says Lady Pink, who has been living in Gardiner for the past 10 years, regarding winning the Ulster County Executive’s Art Award for Public Art.
Today, Lady Pink paints murals all around the globe. She travels with her small team, which includes three assistants—most plucked right from New Platz High School—as well as her husband of 29 years, who was also a graffiti artist. “He was a little more into the vandalism aspect; I was more into the art aspect of graffiti,” she says. Earlier this year they painted in Spain, Italy and Germany. This summer they will be crafting murals at several schools, including ones in Poughkeepsie and Gardiner. “I paint dozens of murals a year. Some are interior commissions in fancy galleries and some are community murals. I always study the site and learn the neighborhood. There’s still a lot of things going on.”