10 questions with Pittsburgh street art king Jeremy Raymer

Read this, then join us for Ride with Raymer, a mural tour with The Incline & Healthy Ride.

60 cans of spray paint + 60 hours of work = 1 intense mural.

60 cans of spray paint + 60 hours of work = 1 intense mural.

Photo courtesy of Jeremy M. Raymer
Rossilynne Culgan

Some of Pittsburgh’s most beloved art doesn’t live in a museum.

Instead, it meets people on the streets where they walk, bike, and drive. It’s bold, vibrant and hulking (sometimes figuratively, sometimes literally).

You can’t miss Jeremy M. Raymer’s work. His 46 murals span across Pittsburgh’s neighborhoods. And if you haven’t seen them in real life, you’ve probably seen them on Instagram.

I’ve been keeping a close eye on the Pittsburgh artist’s work and writing about it often, chronicling his Magneto, Homer SimpsonHulk, and more. Readers have devoured these stories. I think that’s because there’s something magical about Raymer’s process — how he transforms derelict walls into fine art canvases, molding nothing into something in just a few hours.

It’s been a dream of our staff to pull together a mural tour with the artist himself, and we’re happy to present to you Ride with Raymer, a mural tour with The Incline & Healthy Ride.

The event includes a guided bike tour with Raymer featuring more than a dozen of his murals, then some time to socialize over food at Talia Cucina & Rosticceria. Bring your own questions for the artist (and your own helmet).

In preparation for the mural tour, we dug through our archives and sat down with Raymer to talk through his murals, his neighborhood, and his other art. Responses have been edited for length and clarity.

How did you get started as an artist?

It all started with a trip in 2013 to Wynwood Walls Garden in Florida, which he calls “the street art capital of the United States.” The visit sparked his passion for a new medium.

“That was my first experience seeing a high concentration of murals. I literally came home and I brought spray paint and I started.”

But he worked as a senior electrical engineer at Westinghouse, so art was just a hobby until May 6, 2016, a date etched in Raymer’s memory.

In college at Pitt, he balanced his engineering coursework with studio art electives. During class, a professor told him that he drew like a painter, so he tried a painting class and learned the oil painting skills that would inform his work.

How would you describe your artistic style?

Raymer describes his work as “melancholic beauty,” and he’s influenced by the artist Man Ray.

“Portraiture is definitely my main thing and being able to capture the essence and a feeling within the eyes and the emotion.”