Talk of the Town - Haute graffiti July 31 2002

Two-bedroom loft in Cabbagetown

Keri Blair and her shy tabby cat, Brindle, occupy an airy two-bedroom loft in Studioplex ($900 a month), a renovated 1905 cotton-bailing factory that is now home to artists and other creatives. Her walls resemble some of the nearby streets and tunnels, with random renderings by a graffiti artist. Along with the graffiti, her Cabbagetown loft's uniqueness is defined by an array of PEZ dispensers (150 in all) prominently showcased on a bedroom wall.

CL: So did you do this graffiti yourself?

No. I saw a colleague of mine drawing some pictures in training and they were really cool. So I said to him, "Hey, I just got a new loft and haven't decorated yet. Wanna come by and paint the walls?" He freaked out at the chance. I mean, graffiti artists don't really ever get that kind of offer — legal and all. I paid for his gas, paint and food. It took him about two days. I guess it cost me close to $150.

That's crazy. It looks really good. Seems to match your personality. You said he was a colleague. What do you do?

I'm a makeup artist for M.A.C. [Cosmetics].

What made you want to live in a loft?

Oh, ever since I was a kid I wanted one. My mom and I used to watch "Days of Our Lives," and Bo Brady had this awesome loft. Of course, this one's not anything like the one he had.

No, I don't remember him having graffiti on the walls.

Hey, let me show you my man in the closet!


Another graffiti in the other room.

Oh, gotcha. I thought you meant ...

Uh, no. No hidden boys 'round here. The only one that hides is Brindle, my cat. See, there's my man in the closet.

He's frightening with those enormous eyes. The perspective is really good in that piece. I notice you also like PEZ? I don't think I've ever seen this many in one place in my life.

Yeah, I'm not sure where my desire for PEZ came from. I just have a knack for all that is random. See this one — it's got a whistle on it. I think they made it in the 1940s. It's from Hungary, but I think it originated in Austria. It's weird, you know? People still think that I'm 17, but I'm, like, 30 years old. My friends keep coming up to me and saying, "Oh, Kari, I found you this really great PEZ." And, I'm like, "Great. But I sort of need wine glasses."

Tough world, huh?

Yeah, but I'm totally aware of how ridiculous I am. I mean, my life's all about juxtaposition. I have this really great job that lets me travel all over the world — Paris, Thailand, New York — but all I come back with as a souvenir is some PEZ dispenser. Ridiculous. There's this saying, "You're not famous until your head's on a PEZ."

Is that your goal?

Not really.

Hey, is that you and Richard Petty in that photo?

Yep. I used to work for NASCAR.


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