Name: Chris Pyrate
Least favorite color: red
Creative Influences: Moebius (Jean Henri Gaston Giraud), Ralph McQuarrie, José Ladrönn, & Michael Jackson
Currently on Rotation: Kids See Ghosts, & the latest Nas album.
Chris Pyrate is super easy to talk to, so I chatted with him this week while he was working on new art to send to LA. The youngest of 3 kids, he grew up in DC, New Mexico, and California. He’s a graphic designer, illustrator, and mural artist, working on a new mural in Raleigh. You won’t miss it – his signature dragon and a vortex of purple, pink, and blue flowers is on the wall leading down the stairs to the entrance of Imurj at 300 S. McDowell St. (below Whiskey Kitchen).
Before coming to Raleigh, he completed a 3 panel mural for Coffee Mob in Brooklyn. While he was finishing it up, word of the murder of 15 year-old Lesandro “Junior” Guzman-Feliz, in the Bronx spread through NYC. It came up in conversation between he and his business partner and community activist in NYC, and he mentioned a desire for a memorial mural for the teenager. Chris was immediately interested, desiring to give the community something that would bring hope and joy in the midst of a terrible tragedy. Supplies and a wall were donated, and Chris donated his work to make the memorial mural happen for the neighborhood. Since completing it, he’s had several news interviews and met tons of Junior’s friends and family who say the mural brings a positive and hopeful energy to them.
Working in such an emotionally charged atmosphere wasn’t easy, but coming to Raleigh from there has been a calming change of pace. Pyrate really digs Raleigh and the creative vibes he’s found here so far. Working on a mural in a place where there’s art, music, and other creative events going on constantly has been a very motivating environment. He’s been doing murals up and down the east coast since 2014, and is currently working on a new project in conjunction with Tekton LA that will include an art show, a ceiling mural, and a custom illustration for a billboard near the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
When you stop by to check out the new mural, make sure you tag the artist (@chrispyrate) and us (@imurjraleigh) online in your photos – we’d love to see them and will often repost them!
- Amber Echevarria