Shane Pilster stands as a multifaceted creative force encompassing the realms of artistry, muralism, curation, and graphic design. With a distinctive fusion of graffiti and urban arts expertise, he intertwines these skills with a fervent commitment to community engagement. Embracing roles as an educator, advocate, mentor, and versatile, innovative individual, he champions a comprehensive approach to creativity.
Shane harnesses the power of graffiti as a conduit for the voices of the underrepresented. He ardently shares his profound knowledge encompassing the historical context, technical nuances, and overarching creative dimensions, empowering individuals to channel artistry as a catalyst for change, whether personal or societal.
Originating from Santa Cruz, CA, and firmly rooted in Pittsburgh since 2004, Shane Pilster spearheaded the inception of the Graffiti Art Program at Rivers of Steel (Carrie Furnaces) in 2013. Additionally, he holds the distinction of being a founding member of HCUAP and has collaborated with numerous impactful nonprofits including Hip-Hop On LOCK, The Westmoreland Diversity Coalition, The YMCA, and more. His diverse portfolio spans from collaborating with local entities, businesses, and non-profits to catering to the creative needs of national and international corporations such as Dick’s Sporting Goods, Verizon, and Condado Tacos, among others.
Drawing upon over two decades of spray painting expertise, fifteen years dedicated to youth and public engagement, and a decade-long entrepreneurial journey, Shane Pilster has contributed to the creation of numerous public art installations, collaborated with fellow artists, and conducted extensive workshops. His artistic endeavors extend to his personal studio in Braddock, where he continues to refine his craft and collaborates with his artistic counterpart, Max Gonzales.
In the tapestry of Shane Pilster’s career, one finds an inspiring blend of artistic prowess and a steadfast commitment to nurturing creativity within communities, fostering social change, and leaving an indelible mark through vibrant expressions of art.
Max Emiliano Gonzales, also known by their artist name “GEMS”, can be classified as an activist, art educator, muralist, graffiti writer, curator, and much more. Originally from the Southwest side of Chicago and raised in Latino communities, Max brings a unique perspective to Pittsburgh and their Garfield community.
Max was brought to Pittsburgh in 2012 to attend Carnegie Mellon University’s Fine Art program on a full-ride Scholarship. By 2016 Max had graduated with honors, secured multiple positions with the University, and was arrested as Pittsburgh’s most wanted graffiti artist. Rather than let the notoriety of their graffiti identity dwindle, Max has gone on to develop a career from it as a practicing artist, muralist, curator, and art educator.
Max has presented as a guest artist, lectured, and run workshops at locations including The University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, Winchester Thurston High School, Pittsburgh CAPA, Propel Schools, The Carnegie Libraries, Youth Places, Assemble Pgh, and The Environmental Charter School. Max is also a member of Hemispheric Conversations Urban Art Project, the Uptown Arts Council, and the Maxo Vanka Educational Programming Committee.
Lately, Max has become most well known for their spray paint Murals and community-driven Mural events. As a full-time muralist, Max wishes to use their identity and vast knowledge of the arts to serve the public and brighten the walls of any community they may be invited into.