For the street artist known as Amilli, anonymity provides the power to directly inject ideas into the public vein. Even written on a sticker, the phrase, “Life is Beautiful,” can have a profound impact when seen in an unexpected place. A dumpster, an insurance building, your windshield.
This mantra of “Life is Beautiful” wasn’t coined overnight, however. Amilli was born and raised years in Neenah, WI and is just months away from finishing a culinary arts degree right here in Appleton. As for street art, Amilli has been shaping this craft since beginning as a small-time t-shirt designer for local Neenah bands at age 14.
After making a decent profit for a while, the focus shifted to stencils and spray paint, and at age 18 Amilli began doing street art seriously. Since then “Life is Beautiful” has popped up in at least 20 states, including 10 cities in Wisconsin. Amilli also has family in Puerto Rico; needless to say, not only has the country become a frequented travel spot, but it is also a tropical canvas for Amilli’s street art. Over time, cost-effective stickers have become the preferred medium of choice for the anonymous artist.
But what makes Amilli’s anonymity relevant on the Lawrence campus? Well, Amilli might cook your food. Amilli might sweep your floors. Amilli might hear your conversations, know how you walk and talk, how you dress, or what you eat. You would never know.
It’s remarkably reminiscent of Fight Club, but we don’t talk about that.
Unlike Fight Club (spoiler), however, there are no plans of overhauling the system or destroying credit card companies for Amilli; just a – relatively-normal life, with the occasional act of what some might call ‘vandalism.’
And yet, some of us see street art not as vandalism but as an under-exploited means of city beautification. Amilli is inspired by this notion of street art in general; not so much big names like Banksy, but the little guys like graffiti artists. No, Amilli does not support territorial graffiti or the gang violence behind it, but has tremendous respect for the art.
Also, it’s important for you to know that the name has nothing to do with Lil’ Wayne, whatsoever.
To pass the time between travelling and doing street art, Amilli enjoys skateboarding, snowboarding, cooking, fashion design, and cutting loose and partying from time to time, but Amilli says, “I’m trying to cut back on drinking,” a good lesson for us all.
Amilli is a skater, a chef, an artist, a woman, and most of all, a free spirit. To her, life really is beautiful, and you should never waste a minute of it. Even if you’re between jobs, finishing a degree, and moving into a new apartment, there’s still a little time to express yourself and make the world more beautiful.