Taking the Pulse of the City With Graffiti Artist EKG

Though New Yorkers are currently chasing down the next piece of Banksy street art, graffiti typically blends into the background. If you’re not a tagger, you most likely are not paying attention to the coded messages embedded in the endless stream of stylized names, faces, animals, and jokes that are constantly thrown up then torn down, sometimes in the very same day.

One street artist, however, has recently caught the attention of gallery curators and bloggers. His unique emblem: a short, bright orange electrocardiogram pulse running across walls, trucks, and mailboxes throughout the five boroughs, and on to other cities around the world.

EKG, as he is known, has had two gallery shows in the past six months. The latest, at Pandemic gallery in Brooklyn, featured a huge opening party and a large array of his distinctive scientific scrawl.

Because graffiti is illegal, EKG remains anonymous. In the following, he explains through email exchanges, what is behind his signature, and what he seeks in scientific symbols.

EKG. Full wall installation, Pandemic gallery, 2013.Courtesy Hugh Burckhardt

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Nautilus

Nautilus4 min read
A Hologram Shows How Space Could Pop Into Existence: The holographic principle—with a real hologram.
I remember buying my first hologram as a college student in the mid-1980s. It showed a bed of nails. I came across it at a gallery in what was then the world’s capital of spacey trinkets, Haight Street in San Francisco. When I picked it up, the holog
Nautilus4 min read
What Color Really Evolved For
What color were the dinosaurs? If you have a picture in your head, fresh studies suggest you may need to revise it. New fossil research also suggests that pigment-producing structures go beyond how the dinosaurs looked and may have played a fundament
Nautilus8 min readSelf-Improvement
Why Monster Stories Captivate Us: Our brains are compelled by category violations.
I was 13 years old when the movie Alien was released. It scared me into a month-long spell of anxiety. The hair on the back of my neck was perpetually up and I had the jittery demeanor of a combat veteran. While the full-grown xenomorph alien was chi