Groundswell Artist

Christopher Cardinale

Christopher Cardinale is a graphic novelist and muralist but really he just likes to make images about things that matter to him. He grew up in five states from Ohio to New Mexico.  While living in Guatemala and Mexico his work was inspired by encampments of striking workers and anarchist punk collectives. He has been publishing comics since 2001 when his first visual narrative appeared in World War 3 Illustrated Magazine. Since 1996, Christopher has collaborated on and led large-scale mural projects in a diverse range of communities in New Mexico, New York City, Italy, Greece and Mexico. His work addresses such diverse themes as labor organizing history, cyclist and pedestrian rights, post-Katrina New Orleans and his experiences working in the jail at Rikers Island.   Christopher illustrated the graphic novel, “Mr. Mendoza’s Paintbrush,” by Luis Alberto Urrea. It was chosen by Kirkus Reviews as one of 2010’s Best Books for Teens. He also illustrated “Which Side Are You On? The story of a song,” by George Ella Lyon which received the Aesop Prize from The American Folklore Society and The Anne Izard Storytellers’ Choice Award.   He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Sharon and their son, Macéo.
Christopher Cardinale's profile


  • Project | 2016

    Bronx Heritage Fordham - Belmont

    In a mural installed in a high-traffic staircase, students at IS 254 used art as a tool for social change to educate their peers about the history and heritage of the local Fordham Heights and Belm...
  • Project | 2014

    Violence Destroys the Light of Today

    With the support of NYC Council Member Jumanne Williams through the Department of Cultural Affairs' Cultural Afterschool Adventures program, twelve PS/IS109 students worked with two Groundswell art...
  • Project | 2013

    Attack of the Second Hand Smoke

    To create You SmokeWe All Smoke and "Attack of the Second Hand Smoke, students from IS 318explored smoking as a public health issue in partnership with Woodhull Asthma Awareness Progr...
  • Project | 2013

    You Smoke…We All Smoke

    To create You SmokeWe All Smoke and "Attack of the Second Hand Smoke, students from IS 318 explored smoking as a public health issue in partnership with Woodhull Asthma Awareness Progr...
  • Project | 2002

    The Children's Grove

    This mural was created for the Children's Grove Park in Bushwick, a park built by members of Make the Road by Walking/Se Hace el Camino al Andar for all residents of the neighborhood to enjoy.
  • Project | 2004

    Lead Safe House

    Groundswell collaborated with the Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation to create a six-story mural on its Lead Safe House Building. The youth artists spent the first month of the project lear...
  • Project | 2005

    Home in Our Eyes

    As part of our Summer Leadership Institute, Groundswell collaborated with the South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation (SoBRO) to create a mural for the lobby of its main building.
  • Project | 2005

    An Environmental Partnership

    Groundswell partnered with the Brooklyn Museum and the Brooklyn Academy of Science and the Environment (BASE) to create a mural for the elevator bay of the fifth floor of Prospect Heights High School.
  • Project | 2007

    FUREE Downtown Campaign Poster

    Groundswell artist Christopher Cardinale worked with youth and adult members of Families United for Racial and Economic Equality (FUREE). Together, they designed a poster for FUREE’s Downtown Campaign to organize community members around the real estate development of Downtown Brooklyn.
  • Project | 2007

    Hunger for Knowledge

    Groundswell partnered with students at the High School for Leadership and Public Service to produce two banners for the schools lobby. The youth muralists developed themes that they felt illustrated the unique qualities of their education
  • Project | 2007

    Not One More Death

    Youth participating in Groundswell’s Summer Leadership Institute created a large-scale mural and developed imagery for a community organizing campaign to reclaim neighborhood streets from sustained traffic-related deaths in Downtown Brooklyn.
  • Project | 2007

    The Spirit of Rhythm

    “The Spirit of Rhythm” is located in the music wing of Brooklyn High School of the Arts. A group of art and music students participated in the creation of the mural by contributing drawings and suggestions for the design.
  • Project | 2007

    UPROSE Buses

    Groundswell artist Christopher Cardinale worked with youth from environmental justice leader UPROSE to develop designs for a series of wrap-around vinyl banners.
  • Project | 2008

    Incarcerated Minds

    In the spring of 2008, Groundswell partnered with the New York City Department of Correction to create “Incarcerated Minds,” a mural designed by students at the Austin H. MacCormick Island Academy High School on Rikers Island Correctional Facility.
  • Project | 2012


    Installed on a streetfacing wall of PS 10, "CautionMan" depicts an intersection with a crosswalk like those found adjacent to a school. Two children, painted in the style of a street sign silhouette, are about to step into the street.
  • Project | 2009

    Bridging the Gap

    Bridging the Gap is a mural that highlights the importance of bridging the gap between community elders and youth as illustrated by different activities and services offered by Baileys Cafe.
  • Project | 2009

    Growth and Change

    "Growth and Change" is featured in the courtyard of MS 210 in Ozone Park, Queens. The mural was painted by fifty sixth and seventh grade Advanced Art students and spans 70 feet.
  • Project | 2015

    Mapping Aspirations

    Groundswell worked in collaboration with Rikers Saturday Academy to create a mural inspired by the Nelson Mandela quote: “For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”