December 31, 2021

The Queen of Graffiti Hearts


The Queen of Graffiti Hearts
This is graffiti in Russia. It is not Kate Tova's work. For that, go to her Instagram page. Wikimedia Commons user IngimarE

A famous new American graffiti artist is a Russian import, Ekaterina Toluzakova. She goes by Kate Tova, which probably makes her name much more accessible to American ears and eyes.

She grew up in a village in the Saratov Region, imagining the oceanic scenes she painted while staring at smokestacks.

Toluzakova met an American guy on a language learning website and found herself in San Francisco. She had begun learning English in the village just because she believed it was a good skill to have, never dreaming she would end up living in an English-speaking country.

Most of her street art is of Black Lives Matter activists, LGBT San Franciscans, and representatives of other marginalized groups.

Tova describes her style now as bright colors using reflective materials. But her work ranges from impressionistic landscapes to realistic portraits. She did not even start painting on the sides of buildings until the COVID-19 pandemic began – when wooden boards adorned the buildings of downtown San Francisco, especially during protests. She started with hearts. Eventually, she signed the work with her Instagram information, and people started thanking her for the uplifting hearts.

There is a large Russian-speaking community in San Francisco, though Tova is not really a part of it. Find her artwork here.

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