Rivers of Steel Arts is excited to launch the 2020 Mon Valley Featured Artist Series. Showcasing some of the exciting creative professionals working across the Mon Valley Creative Corridor, this weekly blog highlights multiple artists each month—from a variety of boroughs—to provide a snapshot of the region’s growing cultural vitality.
About Shane Pilster
Our next featured artist is no stranger to the Mon Valley or to Rivers of Steel Arts. Mural artist and designer Shane Pilster has made a name for himself, not only as the Graffiti Arts Curator for Rivers of Steel, but also as one of Pittsburgh’s most respected advocates for local graffiti culture and its important role in reshaping the future of this region. While his work is not confined to the Mon Valley Creative Corridor, many of his most impactful projects have taken place in this region and his hometown of Wilkinsburg has, on occasion, identified itself as part of the Mon Valley. Let’s just call him an adopted son that the valley can be proud to claim as their own.
A Message from Shane
About My Work
I started painting with a spray can around 1997 in the San Francisco Bay Area and instantly fell in love. There have been highs and lows with the medium for me over the years, but in the last several years I have pushed myself to experiment with new ideas, techniques, and styles more than ever before.
I am an artist, muralist, curator, graphic designer, and web developer. Bridging my expertise in graffiti and urban arts with community involvement, I pride myself in also being an educator, advocate, mentor, and well-rounded creative individual. I’ve worked all across Pittsburgh with various organizations while pioneering graffiti educational programming, workshops, guest lectures, and painting murals.
My Adopted Home
When I first visited Pittsburgh in 2003, I was blown away at how completely different it was from the West Coast. Surrounded by brick, abandoned factories, and incredible people, I knew I had to spend more time here. The city became my new home in 2004 and I have not looked back. In that time I have lived in many neighborhoods all throughout the city, but for the last 2.5 years I have called Wilkinsburg home.
In every neighborhood I have lived across Pittsburgh, I love to get involved in the community. Within the first few months of living in Wilkinsburg, I saw there was a new community organization being developed in an elementary school just a couple of blocks from my house. The people of the region are one of the reasons I have abandoned the West Coast, and the people at Community Forge are an excellent example. Within the last two years I have painted several murals on site, worked with the youth, conducted workshops, assisted in design projects, and made some amazing friends for life.
I am currently working with several building owners in the neighborhood, and across all of Pittsburgh, to paint murals that push my skills and bring awareness to graffiti culture and style in a positive way. The love and support I have received over the last decade of doing public art and education in the region has been amazing. And though there are a lot of uphill battles due to my medium, I will strive to create and work within the community.
Find Me Online