Street Artist KidWiseman Is Tearing Down Walls by Painting Them

Outside the lines.

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  • Written & photographed by
    Kat Monk

There’s a quintessential project almost every art student has experienced at least once in their lifetime: “OK, class, time to paint a bowl of fruit.” Artist KidWiseman has other ideas. He’s on a mission to make street art—not just the traditional fine art that is part of art curriculums nationwide.

The word “kid” is universal for youth. KidWiseman represents taking the knowledge you’ve gained as an adult and applying it to what you loved to do as a child. Combine the kid and the creative career, and you have KidWiseman—also known as Evan Farrell.

As a multimedia street artist, KidWiseman sees every blank wall as an opportunity for creative youth to express themselves. The city of Manhattan Beach commissioned him to paint the two low-standing walls in the public parking lot at 14th Street and Highland. Sticking to his belief system, he enlisted some local kids to help him with the mural project.

The abstract mural reflects a day in the life of Manhattan Beach residents from dawn to dusk. Triangles represent mountains, waves represent the ocean and lightning bolts represent energy.

Grand View Elementary also commissioned KidWiseman to help their students paint a mural on the school’s upper playground. Heather de Roos, president of the Grand View Elementary PTA, notes, “It was a project everyone had a hand in making happen. My son, Tate, still remembers the section he and his friends painted.”

“Most students in public high schools don’t even consider anything creative as a job opportunity. It is not on their horizons.”

Evan grew up in the inner city of Indianapolis, both in and out of public and private school systems. One day his buddy Patrick showed him how to write graffiti and taught him: “If you can draw it, you can paint it.”

“From that day forward, my backpack was full of sharpies and spray paint,“ shares Evan. “I was always working in my sketchbook on my next piece. I would skip school and go paint under bridges around the city. Even though it was illegal, I felt that I had to do it for my soul.”

Soon he realized that there were legal ways to do street art too. Street art comes in many forms: spray paint murals, graffiti, wheatpasting (poster art), moss art (succulent walls), yarn bombing (a telephone poll decorated in yarn) and even a flash mob (an organized dance routine in public).

Art and creativity saved Evan’s life and offered him a fulfilling college experience at Savannah College of Art and Design, where he double-majored in performing arts and graphic design. While in school he decided his future would include helping underprivileged youth find opportunities to use their creative side to tackle their future.

After college he worked as an independent creative director, contracting for mostly global brands and music festivals. He created large-scale murals for companies such as Red Bull and TOMS Shoes and taught art and production to high school students throughout Los Angeles and San Diego. After work he would go home, eat and go back to use their facilities (with approval) to create KidWiseman.

“Most students in public high schools don’t even consider anything creative as a job opportunity. It is not on their horizons.” He believes showing them that they can use iPhones, cameras, lighting and drones to make money is a terrific start.

Tyler Paget, a producer from Red Bull who worked with Evan to curate a KidWiseman workshop, says he is “an innovative artist who brings a state-of-the-art production for students whose art funding has been cut.”

Tyler adds, “The workshops allowed the students to get informative insights from industry professionals. The way Evan uses his passion isn’t just inspiring to those in the same industry but also to those who dream to pursue an arts-driven career.”