Meet Krista: The Face Behind WORM NL
Updated: Dec 23, 2020
Visual Artist, Graphic Designer, and Graffiti Artist Explains How Her Signature Orange Worm Became a Popular Phenomena of Southeastern Connecticut
By Bridney C.
Krista Stanowicz, better known on social media and in the art community as WORM, is a visual artist from Groton, Connecticut. She is the artist behind the orange worm that has been seen on murals, clothing, and in artwork throughout Southeastern Connecticut.
The orange worm is often comically shown holding signs containing one-word phrases while smiling, posing with macaroni and cheese, or vomiting hotdogs. Krista says the inspiration of her worm is inspired by the environment around her.
"Anything and everything is an inspiration for the worm because the worm can be, do, or say anything," says Krista, 31.
As stated on her Instagram profile, "NOT A HOTDOG," Krista says there have been times where people have confused the worm with being a hotdog, noodle, and thumb. Playing on the idea, the worm has evolved into anything including illustrations of the worm tangled in bunches of knots.
"I enjoy my canvas and wood panel paintings because I can get so much detail when turning the worms into big partying messy knots," says Krista.
Most recently, she has found a newfound love of spray painting murals. To spray-paint the worm on a larger scale and explore her street art interests, Krista surrounded herself with graffiti artists who specialized in murals.
She considers "aerosol arts" as being her new favorite medium because of the large scale, the final result that could be appreciated by the public and art enthusiasts. In addition to researching the history and culture of graffiti art, Krista considers her aerosol art as practice and enjoys practicing at permission spots or legal walls.
Sparking a new sense of adventure for her, she says her favorite part about spray painting murals is traveling to new places and surfaces to paint on. One of her art murals is on view at the Hive Indoor Skatepark in New London, Connecticut.
Her spray paint murals are evolving, and as of now, there are three other locations in Southern New England where Krista's worm murals can be viewed:
The Avenue Paint Bar - Providence, Rhode Island
The Havens Skate Park - Hartford, Connecticut
Edgewood Skate Park - New Haven, Connecticut
She is the first person in her family to pursue a career in the arts and has been creating art since childhood, but did not take her craft seriously until her senior year of high school. Realizing she needed to do something significant in her life, Krista enrolled herself at Quinebaug Valley Community College in 2008.
Her worm character came from a design class project that started from a simple doodle to convey her name. She drew one worm holding a sign that said "Kris" and the other worm had a thought bubble that read "duh."
She drew the doodle as an simple, yet silly way to say her name, Krista. Initially intended for a class project, the orange worm stuck with her, and she decided to use it in her art.
After graduating from community college, she attended Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts in Old Lyme and received her Bachelor's of Fine Arts in Drawing in 2013. While studying at Lyme Academy, she rented out a studio space in downtown New London and frequented the bars.
"Maybe I ended up being that drunk guy vandalizing local bar bathrooms with my silly doodle. Oops!"
The worm started to become recognizable all over town, and people assumed it was a male artist who came up with the original drawing. Her worms went from being drawn with markers on bathroom walls to screen printing, block-printing, and recently, spray-painted murals.
"For years, I spent much more time on my fine arts paintings and drawings than my silly little side piece doodle, the worm. For the past seven to eight years, I have been trying to unlearn some of my fine art education or make it work with the more fun, playful side of art-making, which got me interested in a career in the arts in the first place."
Although thankful she received an education in the fine arts career field, she ponders on the thought as to whether she would have developed the same skillset and level of talent without a degree. Nonetheless, the worm has cemented its place in New London culture and beyond.
"Art heals me by letting go of expectations, and it challenges me to do better at the same time."