Another Guerrilla Artist Posts Art Across the Hamptons

A painting by Tanster, which had bee
A painting by Tanster, which had been posted on the eastbound side of the highway where Route 27 becomes County Road 39.

A new guerrilla art project has popped up in the Hamptons and is as far reaching as Riverhead.

These paintings are signed Tanster and include the URL for an Instagram profile on the back:

This particular piece above, painted over a sign for Hamptons Hoops Academy, was installed on September 27 on the eastbound side of where Sunrise Highway/Route 27 becomes County Road 39. Perusing the artist’s Instagram account, it quickly becomes clear that she wants the work to be taken.

Many of the pieces include all the colors of the rainbow, plus a stenciled pegasus or a pasted on black-and-white valkyrie. got in touch with Tanster through Instagram and spoke with her over the phone Thursday morning about her inspiration and intent.

The 40-year-old revealed she is a Hamptons native and a resident of the Water Mill area. However, she would not reveal her identity. She wishes to remain anonymous so the police don’t come to her door and tell her to stop posting her art.

Tanster said she stopped painting 10 years ago because her walls had no more space left. Rather than stacking art in a corner, and hoarding it, she quit painting. But recently she felt compelled to resume making art.

“I despair over the state of our culture on a pretty regular basis,” she said.

She thought that spreading art could boost culture locally, and give her more places to display her work now that she has run out of room in her house.

“The price of that is giving it away,” Tanster said.

She is influenced by Richard Wagner, the German composer and director who created Ride of the Valkyries. Tanster explained that she uses rainbows because they are positive and get people, including herself, excited.

Some of her pieces were made on canvas, while others are painted over roadside signs she collects. But she doesn’t take just any sign she finds.

“I do not take signs from events that are still going on,” Tanster said. “I do not take anything that I think someone will get pissed about.”

She took a different tack than a Hamptons artist who last year, during campaign season, took candidates’ signs, covered the signs in spraypaint, printed a photo on them, and put them back (illustrated below).

Guerilla Art on a campaign sign for Southampton Town Council candidate Frank Zappone
Guerrilla art on a campaign sign for Southampton Town Council candidate Frank Zappone in 2013. Photo: Oliver Peterson

Though they both used similar signs, Tanster said she was not inspired by or even aware of that artist. But this summer she has noticed Michael R. Zotos’s artwork (see below) posted all over the Hamptons. Zotos calls his amorphous art “spontaneous entities.” Tanster calls them “amoebas.”

Michael R. Zotos dropped by the Dan's Papers office August 1 with some of his artwork, which he posted around the Hamptons all summer.
Michael R. Zotos dropped by the Dan’s Papers office August 1 with some of his artwork, which he posted around the Hamptons all summer. Photo credit: Brendan J. O’Reilly

Tanster is a fan of street artists, such as Banksy, but she is opposed to using someone else’s wall for her art. She said she would not appreciate it if someone used her property for their own purposes, and she also does not want to give the police a reason to tell her to stop. “I really don’t want to stop.”

Tanster decided to chronicle the posting of each work on Instagram and record when it disappears, so her art can continue after it has been removed. “Each picture has its story,” she said.

She only posts art on “her route,” she said, so she can check on it every day without having to go out of her way. Once a piece is taken, she goes to Instagram to report it is gone.

Back in July, Tanster did a test run with two paintings on canvas that she vacuum sealed. She posted both in Water Mill, and they stayed up for three weeks before they were removed. In early September, she began posting paintings in earnest. She numbers each piece, but not in any order. She just picks a number, and makes sure not to have any repeats.

Though she is anonymous to strangers, Tanster’s friends recognize the art as hers. “Anyone who knows me knows it’s mine,” she said. “I’m a goofball.”

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