“Street artists believe just because their art doesn’t sit in a gallery, doesn’t mean it isn’t art. Equally, just because society claims beautiful is found in your appearance, doesn’t mean it is.” -Irvina Kanarek, street artist from Newport Beach, CA and founder of, Rewrite Beautiful
Merging street art with eating disorder prevention seems an unlikely feat, but when Irvina when she found herself with 3 very different jobs: a nanny, art teacher, and counselor in an eating disorder rehab clinic, it all came beautifully together. All the girls she came into contact with had one thing in common; they were all jeopardizing their lives to make themselves “beautiful”. The art students were experimenting with eating disorders while the rehab patients were dying from them. Irvina worried that the little girl she nanny’d, would one day grow up and be welcomed into this cycle…. and thus was born Rewrite Beautiful!
Today, Rewrite Beautiful holds street art workshops for the public inspiring action, creativity, kindness and strength. They educate on eating disorders and invite people to make street art stating that beauty is an action, where it is displayed to the public for all to enjoy.
Our little Q&A with the lovely Irvina:
Us: What projects do you have going on for summer? Is there one you’re most excited about and why?
IK: This summer I’m going to be working on the third draft of my first book, How To: Rewrite Beautiful. It’s gonna be an epic book! Part memoir of my days being a hot mess and what I have learned about being creative, kind and a strong girl in the world. It’s so easy to say we want to be a certain kind of person, but it’s so hard to actually do it! I’m talking about different ways of expressing creativity, why it’s so important to be kind to yourself and tools for being strong and going after your dreams.
Us: Did you always know you were going to start a non-profit?
IK: Heck to the N-O! Starting a non-profit was the last thing I thought I would ever do! I grew up with my mom running a non-profit and decided early on it wasn’t for me. However, when I got the idea to start Rewrite Beautiful I could see that a non-profit was the right business model for us. It was a humbling and inspiring moment when I realized that something I had written off years ago was actually going to serve myself and others in a great way. I was also excited to bring my own creativity and life experience to this non-profit and make it apart of my story and help many others through it.
Us: What’s it like talking to people about a taboo subject like eating disorders?
IK: It can be pretty gnarly, sometimes I get so nervous and think, “What am I doing? I’m so not cut out for this.” I relate it a lot to being an artist. You create this body of work and when you show it you’re thinking, “I hope people like it. Do they understand it? Is it inspiring them?” Being an artist is such a risk, but it’s so exciting when someone comes up to you and says, “Oh my gosh! This is amazing! I want this in my house!” It’s the same thing for me. I speak at schools and talk about something that’s never discussed (eating disorders.) While I’m speaking I’m wondering, “Do they get it? Are they inspired?” But, it’s totally worth it when someone comes up to me after and says, “Wow. What you’re doing is amazing. I need help. What should I do? Where should I go?”
Us: When you start planning a street art workshop where do you get your inspiration from?
IK: I get so much inspiration when I go running! I can’t stand the gym so I end up running at the beach, back bay or even the good ole’ concrete streets of suburbia! I’m definitely a thinker, my mind is constantly pacing, running allows my mind to just chill out. Then all the sudden I’ll see the way someone hugs someone, then I’ll see the texture of a piece of trash, then the sunset and boom! I’ll put them all together and have a great idea. So many times I’ll have to run really fast to get home so I can write it down before I lose the idea!
Us: We notice you use a lot of recycled materials in the street art is there a reason for that?
IK: Yes, I’m cheap! Ha! No, I really just love the idea of giving a new life to something that may be seen as trash. For instance the CD’s we used for the last street art workshop to spell out “Beautiful” we’re a lot of old cd’s I used to burn photos when I was into photography. I don’t shoot photos anymore, but the creative time I spent studying photography got me to where I am today. I thought of the purpose they once served. All the sudden I saw all the CD’s in my head spelling out “Beautiful” and the next thing you know I was laying them all out on my bedroom floor trying to see how many I needed to spell it.
Us: Have you always been interested in street art?
IK: I visited Los Angeles a lot as a kid and saw a lot of graffiti. When I mentioned it, my parents would point out the amount of skill and talent it took to make that kind of art and though the people who were tagging walls weren’t doing it legally, they had something they wanted to express. I think this got me to thinking that everyone really is an artist, it’s just a matter of when and where they’re gonna express it. Then in college I was invited to Banksy’s 2005 show in Los Angeles, Barely Legal and I was hooked.
Us: What is an upcoming project you have?
IK: I’m working on getting the Rewrite Beautiful School Programs into more local schools so more kids can hear the message and make art with us. Publishing the book, How To: Rewrite Beautiful and of course our annual art show in the beginning of December! Life is super busy and Rewrite Beautiful takes a lot of work, but I’m really blessed to be working on projects I not only believe in, but that I know are helping others grow into their strong girls they were created to be.
Much love to our girl Irvina for spreading the mission to Live, Learn and Grow!! Read more about Rewrite Beautiful HERE!