September 5th, 2013 | City

‘Believe in People’ moves work to Asia

Before the portrait was removed, Believe in People brought graffiti to an LC classroom.
Before the portrait was removed, Believe in People brought graffiti to an LC classroom. Photo by Gavan Gideon.

Although several months have passed since New Haven’s infamous street artist “Believe in People” (BiP) last struck the walls in the Elm City, he has not been on hiatus: Instead, he has been spreading his artwork to the streets of Asia.

BiP, who first entered the New Haven scene by illegally spray-painting on a side door of Yale’s Dunham Lab in October 2010, recently posted photos on Twitter of his artwork in Taiwan and Hong Kong. His latest pieces include “Taxi Driver”— a stencil-drawing on a building in Kenting Beach, Taiwan illustrating the profile of a pensive taxi driver smoking a cigarette—as well as “Awkward Dreams,” which depicts a shirtless boy holding a badminton racket. In an accompanying tweet, BiP wrote that this work “started as a piece about awkward dreams” and “turned into a Rockwell about globalization.”

Not limiting himself to walls, BiP also painted a recognizable image of a yellow smiley face that he calls “spray can-eyes” on approximately 40 delivery trucks in Taiwan.

BiP has kept his identity anonymous, but he did give one interview to a reporter of his choice at the YDN in April 2011. The reporter described BiP as a shy, tall and thin man in his twenties, dressed in khakis and a cheap polo shirt. Other clues to the artist’s identity have been released intermittently. In a tweet last year, BiP revealed that he graduated from Princeton in 2007, and, according to an article in the New Haven Independent, BiP became an artist after quitting his job as an investment banker.

Since his first painting on Dunham Hall – which depicted a boy holding a lost dog sign – BiP’s artwork in New Haven has ranged from a painting in LC 211 of a boy considering a future career in finance, to a giant stencil of Anne Frank on the back wall of Partner’s Café on Crown St., to a 15-by-15 foot mural of a pole vaulter, which was painted next to Hull’s Art Supply and Framing with the permission of Hull’s owner.

It is unclear when and if BiP plans to paint in New Haven again: On July 30, he tweeted “still traveling around … new projects in the works but it’s going to take a few months.” Still, it seems like the wandering artists misses the Elm City. Just last week he wrote that he was craving Pepe’s Pizza and that he could use a walk on Wooster Square.

Photos of BiP’s work can be found on his website.