Artist Profile: Mr Mustart
Jersey City, Hudson County
“I must create art. It is how I express and release my emotions,” comments Jersey City-based Mr Mustart (b. 1985) on his choice of moniker.
Growing up in Russia, Mr Mustart’s earliest inspiration was his father. “My father could build anything. He used to burn drawings of various shapes onto our bedroom furniture,” the artist recalls. “And when I was five years old, I began creating art in his workshop.”
Both of his parents, in fact, always encouraged and nurtured their son’s artistic inclinations. Beginning with second grade, Mr Mustart attended an afterschool community center that focused on the arts. And after completing high school, he went on to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts—with a concentration in painting and drawing—from New Jersey City University.
Although Mr Mustart can’t remember a time when he didn’t create art, it was the hip-hop culture that he encountered in his early teens that forged the course of his aesthetic explorations. Immersing himself in it, he discovered graffiti. “I’d be watching videos with B-boys, and there was always graffiti in the background. It opened me up to an entirely new world of expressing myself,” he explains.
Soon after relocating with his family to New Jersey in 1999, Mr Mustart began sharing his distinct aesthetic sensibility in public spaces. He has since become one of Jersey City’s most prolific and beloved artists. Working with a brightly hued palette, he paints in an organic, free-flowing mode. And despite his formal art school training, his aesthetic is marked by a magical spontaneity. With its bouncy beat and restless rhythm, it is visual poetry that mesmerizes.
“I’m on a continuous journey,” he states. “My art is always evolving, and I’m always experimenting.” Among Mr Mustart’s inspirations are: listening to harmonious music, interacting with others, and living a healthy lifestyle with a vegan diet. While his principal and favored canvas remains the streets, he is increasingly spending time in his studio.
“Since the spring, I’ve been working on 20 studio works—all simultaneously,” he reports. “I’m used to painting large, so working small is somewhat of a challenge. But I find that what I do on the streets and in my studio impact each other.”
In addition to painting on the streets and in his studio, Mr Mustart is commissioned regularly to bring his talents to a range of spaces from people’s homes to private businesses. “I am fortunate to earn a living as a full-time artist,” he says. “I am living my dream.”
Mr Mustart is a featured artist in On and Off the Streets: Urban Art New Jersey.
Image Caption: Mr Mustart, Inevitable Decay, Aerosol, 2021, 13 ½’ x 20’. Photo courtesy of Sara C. Mozeson