BLACKFOOT -- Andrew Horner took cans of spray paint out of his bag and grouped them in the shade to protect them from the scorching sun.

Horner stepped back to survey the half-painted restaurant-on-wheels. He lifted a can and sprayed a ray the color of stone that emitted from a painted black sun. It took him three hours to finish the two-day project. The process aggravated the tendinitis in his wrist.

 

 

     It's a long article, so I omitted some of the boring stuff for ya.        

Post Register, 17 Aug 2013 pp.A1-A2

Graffiti gone LEGIT

 

 

 

 

Horner, 24, is a street artist gone legal. There was a time when he awoke at 2 in the morning to tag walls and Dumpsters with graffiti. Today, he gets paid to do it in broad daylight.

His business is called Color Cartel.

"I figured I was good enough to get paid for it. That and I had too much to lose by doing it illegally," Horner said.

As Horner finished speaking, his wife, Nikki, arrived on a sleek green motorcycle wearing a pink helmet. She walked over and kissed him.

Meeting Nikki two years ago was part of what led him to the straight life.

Pat Sutphin / psutphin@postregister.com - Andrew Horner spray paints a custom van July 5 in Rexburg. He has never taken an art class.

Her father owns The Craze Fun Zone in Rexburg, which features laser tag, miniature golf and a café. There was ugly graffiti on the outside of his building. Horner offered to paint over it. The Rexburg city government wouldn't allow him to do it because it requires a signage permit for any artwork or logos that can be seen from the main roads.

Nikki's father hired Horner to paint part of the building's interior instead.

 

"He came to talk to my dad, and I just thought he was stinking cute," Nikki said. "I thought it was really cool that he was into graffiti. The first time he came to paint, we started talking and hanging out."

Within a few months, Horner decided to give up his illegal street art.

 

"I didn't know he had decided that when he met me," Nikki said. "It wasn't until a few months later that he told me that was his first legal job. That was the first time he said he would stop doing it illegally. He didn't want to go to jail when he got married."

The person who hired Horner to paint the truck thought highly of his work.

 

"We think it's excellent. We've referred him to everyone who asks. He did an awesome job in a timely manner considering how large of a piece it was. We looked him up (online), and we called him up and a week later we got started on the project," said Kayla Krehbiel, owner of Big Mama's Pizza, the restaurant-on-wheels.

 

Although he makes more money than any of his professional artist friends, Horner will graduate next year with a degree in economics from Brigham Young University-Idaho. He believes he can help more people as an economist than as a graffiti artist.

 

Horner, who was raised in a Mormon family, said he and his brothers would talk for hours about their favorite artists, trends or pieces of art. Brother Joseph, 19, was named an outstanding artist as a senior at Bonneville High School. Joseph paints murals and canvases.

Dad David Horner conceded that both sons are talented artists , but admitted he wasn't thrilled when he learned of Andrew's fascination with graffiti.

 

"At first I didn't like it at all because graffiti is usually done in the dark anonymously. And I don't like that kind of graffiti at all. But the way he does it, I don't mind it at all. He is a good artist," David said...

 

In addition to spending two years in New Orleans, he has lived in Meridian, Boise, Moscow, Tucson, Ariz., and Sierra Vista, Ariz. He currently lives in Rigby [Idaho].

While other street artists gravitate to the dark side, Horner's work tends to be uplifting -- light and bright.

 

"I like making a bold statement with the art, but at the same time, I like to be uplifting to people. I don't... take myself too seriously."

Despite his success, Horner doesn't think the U.S. gives proper recognition to graffiti art...

Reporter Cody McDevitt can be reached at 542-6751.