/  About

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About the Artists: Apse + Iva

 COLOR CARTEL  (Est. 2011) is pair of lovers and graffiti artists who found freedom in painting and adventure. Andrew APSE & Nikki IVA create murals that turn spaces into urban temples that invoke feelings of elegance and grit, individuality and togetherness, peace and explosiveness. Their pieces have large features and details, often with powerful lines and movement. They take inspiration from from each other's playful attitudes, from skate and street racing culture, and from empty walls. They are constantly pushing and critiquing their work together until both confidently approve. Their work sprawls from NYC to Honolulu. They reside in Austin, TX.

They have been Artists in Residence at Texas A&M University, and their work was featured in a solo show at MSC VAC Gallery. They participated in the group show Hops for HOPE (a benefit for HOPE Outdoor Gallery), and Scene Makers for the gallery Art for the People.

Andrew aka APSE  (sounds like "apps") has been liberated by letters, speed, and action sports all his life. This translates into a graffiti style filled with motion, and bold lines and colors. In university, he studied economics by day and graffitied by night– painting words and witty poetry on power boxes and abandoned buildings. Ultimately, this led him to Nikki, a sketch artist who helped him paint a graffiti mural one night.


 Nikki aka IVA spent many evenings killing cans of paint with Apse on the roof of her apartment building. She picked up the skill quickly. Her attention to detail, good taste, and endless patience complimented APSE's boldness and motion. Together they made a smashing team, calling themselves the Color Cartel. In 2012 they were married in Idaho, near the Grand Tetons.

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what's it like working with color cartel?


Having done hundreds of murals, we've made this a friendly, entertaining  experience. 

We understand the expenses that come with making great art safely, so we won't underquote or  surprise you. 


Examples of art and environments are helpful for inspiration, but we will not copy them nor their style. Please don't ask us to.


This is called biting in our world. If you insist, you will meet a brick wall of nope.


We're open and easy to work with. We'll let you know if certain items or subjects you have asked for will hurt or cheapen the look of your space. 


Impact of murals are less about the content, & more about the aesthetic.


Color Cartel donates murals and mentorship to impactful schools and organizations.

Del Vale Alternative High 2015

Wooten Elementary 2016 

Winn/KIPP Elementary 2017 

Community First! Village 2018

Barbara Jordan Elementary 2019

Community First! Village 2019

...also, what's an "apse?"

"I was reading 'The Story of Christianity' when I came across a discussion of gothic Catholic architecture and art; a critical component of both was the apse (pronounced "apps". An apse is a dome feature in cathedrals, usually filled with art. Art that represented meaningful stories to largely illiterate congregations of the era. 


"The apse has a different connotation to different people: as an architectural term, it was the front inside of the building that ends in a dome, for most it was the part of the building that respresented all of the creativity and art of the whole building tied into one feature. I liked the double meaning, and the letters in the word apse.

"Furthermore, as the power of the church grew, the larger the churches needed to be. Cathedrals got taller, and then almost completely made of stone, and the walls were too heavy for glass windows. 'For this reason, Romanesque churches had very little light, and windows were generally limited to the facade and the apse.


Graffiti, for me, has been an avenue of light and creativity that taught me mental freedom and exploration."

- Andrew aka "APSE"