Artist Nina Abney's work in Coney Island

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Once a shy little girl from the south Chicago suburbs, Nina Abney's artistic voice is anything but. It is loud, confronting and sarcastic.

In her latest public project at Coney Art Walls presented by Thor Equities, Nina flaunts a bit more whimsy than she's used to. As she puts it, this painting is just a bunch of mermaids having a good time.

But the rest of her body of work might suggest Nina is a political artist. She asks the tough questions about racism, sexism and voyeurism with a disarming cartoonish charm.

Her now famous painting called "Class of 2007" that was her MFA thesis project at Parsons caught the attention of a prestigious New York art gallery where Nina sold every last piece at her first show. She's been labeled a rising star ever since. The Whitney featured a massive mural of Nina's earlier this year.

But believe it or not, Nina almost took another path -- computer programming. Though she traded the click of a mouse for the stroke of a paintbrush she is in a sense coding, or decoding, the complexities of American life layer by layer.