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We talk Spike, street art and generosity with KODACHROME Magazine Issue 4’s cover artist, Mike Dellaria


From vibrant silk-screened statements that shout from the walls to hand-stamped stickers left to brighten street corners – Mike Dellaria’s public art has made him one of Rochester, NY’s cult heroes. Who better then to forge a front-facing statement for our analog underground issue? We caught up with the man wielding the wheat-paste to uncover the positive inspirations driving his work.

On taking things as they come

“I didn’t grow up thinking I’d be an artist. But I’ve always found it easier to communicate visually rather than verbally. Somehow it worked out this way. I’m entirely self-taught, so my visual style happened organically. I’m very drawn to bright colors and simplistic design. I think the advent of photography fundamentally changed art – as have computers and digital design in more recent years – and I’m just trying to stay true to this moment in time and space and use the tools at my disposal to do so.”

Mike Dellaria - Street Art

On taking his work to the streets

“I really didn’t know what to expect when I started putting up public artwork; I just went for it and have been learning as I go. But people have responded so positively, and I’m very grateful for that. The joy that I get by giving art to people who want it, but might not otherwise be able to obtain it, far outweighs the joy I receive by making money off of that same print or sticker from selling it. I’m super appreciative when people buy my artwork – that’s the only reason I’m able to do what I do. But I have a roof over my head, food to eat. I’m able to do something that I enjoy. That’s enough for me. Beyond that, I’d just like to be able to share everything else with the world.”

Mike Dellaria - Street Art

On meaningful encounters

“I’m a fairly shy and introverted person, and so doing the print/sticker drops has helped me strike up some really meaningful conversations with people on the street that I otherwise wouldn’t have had. Hopefully it serves to bring other people together as well. I’m inspired by kindness and compassion and learning and growing.”

Mike Dellaria - Street Art

On Kodak’s hometown

“I love it here and couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. There is a palpable vibe that makes Rochester, Rochester. Much of my artwork obviously wouldn’t be possible without photography, so Kodak means more to me than I can adequately convey. George Eastman brought the world closer together by making film affordable and available to the masses. I look up to him immensely. Kodak is a sense of pride for Rochesterians (and deservedly so), but the impact extends so far beyond that.”

Mike Dellaria - Street Art

On Kodachrome’s cover star

“I have tremendous respect for Spike Lee, both for his talent as a director and for his willingness to tackle issues of social and racial importance. I was honored to have been asked to be a part of this project.”

Mike Dellaria - Street Art

On cultural icons

“It’s interesting to me how and why certain things puncture the mainstream and ingrain themselves into our society. Certain aspects of pop culture are so uplifting and witty and thought-provoking. Some parts are simply funny or entertaining, and that’s totally cool too. But then there are other aspects of culture that can be so shallow and not particularly positive, and it’s just like, ‘Why is this a thing? Is this how we, collectively as a society, wish to be portrayed?’ In my work I like to give attention to people who inspire me and who can hopefully serve as inspiration to others. I try to focus on positive things.”

Mike Dellaria - Street Art
Mike Dellaria - Street Art

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