Born on January 23rd, 1957, Blade (aka Steven David Ogburn) began writing on the trains in NYC in 1972, he painted his first train in the Bronx when he was only 15 years old – he then became one of the most prolific street artists of his generation creating over five thousand pieces throughout the Big Apple between 1972 and 1984.
Nicknamed “The King of Kings”, he founded the TC5 (Crazy five), one of the most famous groups in the history of graffiti, which worked on the metro lines 2 and 5 running from New York’s Bronx to Brooklyn.In terms of styles, he created overlapping 3D letters in 1975 and Blockbuster Letters in 1977. If you see the Subway Art book (Henry Chalfant & Martha Cooper), his best pieces are there, documented for all time!
In 1980 BLADE did some of his greatest whole cars,these cars were as much about concept as they were characters. His walking-letter car (one of the most iconic trains ever painted) had nicely rendered clouds in the background when viewed from the streets, the painted clouds merged with the real ones, his letters seemed to walk through the air.
He then had his first show in Europe in 1981 BLADE where he began working in other media including spray paint, markers, and acrylic on canvas, producing artworks suitable for indoor exhibitions that have brought him worldwide recognition,BLADE also produces many Abstract pieces of art as well and he was the first living artist to grace the cover of Sotheby’s in Amsterdam since Andy Warhol.
BLADE has travelled the world and been in the best museums (Whitney in NYC, Gronigen Museum in Amsterdam, Boijmans Museum in Rotterdamn, Netherlands, MOCA in LA).
Books by BLADE;
King of Kings Book By Henk Pinjenberg 2009 (available here)
Blade king of Graffiti Book by Roger Gastman 2014
Blade is the 1st living Artist since Andy Warhol to Grace the Cover of…
Smog one, born in Paris France (with his family from Fano in Italy) and raised there till he was 13, then he and his family moved to Florida, USA.
His first friends were b boys, so he learned how to breakdance and got introduced to graffiti, he was attracted to the style and fell in love with it. He did his first piece in 1989, then joined FS AND BSK crew in Miami in the early 90’s. He then joined the legendary New York crew the XMEN in 2012.
Smog-One is always looking for the next level of graffiti to come about and the first time he saw a 3-D piece by Erni, in the early 90’s, it inspired him to try 3-D.
Also his inspiration comes from a mixture of artists, everything from Michelangelo to M.C. Escher, from Mode 2 to some of the best graffiti artists of today.
His art has been featured in the classic film Style Wars as well as the critically acclaimed book, Martha Cooper’s Hip Hop Files, and most recently the books, Burning New York, New York City Black Book Masters and Graffiti Planet. His biography, Part One – The Death Squad chronicles his art spanning more than 30 years.
PART is active today painting both on canvas and on walls around the world and is truly a giant among giants and he has pieced with this generations best writers including;
CES, Bates, Ewok One, Muse, How and Nosm!
When he was 16, T-KID was badly wounded by three gunshots in a gang shout out and left there almost dead, he survived after weeks in a hospital where he drew endlessly, and it was there that he chose to become T-Kid 170 – He painted with Tracy168 but his real mentor was Padre Dos.
He dedicated to turn the subway cars into rolling works of art that brightened the darkest tunnels of the New York City subway system. T-Kid was renowned for his letter style and use of colors. He later became the president of TNB (The Nasty Boyz) and ex-president of TVS (The Vamp Squad), one of the most notorious New York graffiti crews and by 1979 he was a consistent presence on Broadway (IRT 1 Line). He later expanded to make his mark on the 1,2,3,4,5 and 6 IRT subway lines.
By the early 1980’s his trains were the ones to watch out for and were photographed by photographer Henry Chalfant and included in the book, “Subway Art.”
He was also one of the first Graffiti artist to start painting Graffiti on canvas when he was invited to be a part of the Sam Esses project in 1980, some of the other artist that where a part of this project where Futura2000, Zephyr, Haze, Bilrock to name a few.
In 1982 T.Kid left the subways and painting graffiti illegally so he could exhibit his art in Galleries all over NYC. His first exhibit was at the 1199 gallery. This was the working people’s gallery and all his work was sold. He later exhibited in the Fashion Moda gallery, the Fun gallery, Ok Harris, P.S1, Sidney Janice Gallery and countless small galleries in the SoHo area of lower Manhattan. Eventually T.Kid would travel to Europe painting his first mural for T.D.K cassettes on a bill board in Vauxhall crossing in the heart of London England. Later on exhibiting in galleries in Berlin Germany, Paris France, Stockholm Sweden, Madrid Spain, Johannesburg South Africa and Countless other countries.
T-Kid is still active and his work can be seen in the Bronx as well as around the world. He is also a member of MAC crew from Paris.
And he also has a book out called “The Terrible Nasty T-Kid 170,” which chronicles the artist’s life from childhood to the present and features pictures of his work by graffiti photographer Henry Chalfant. He also appeared in the Graffiti Documentary ‘Bomb it’ – directed by Jon Reiss and more recently a film biography directed about his life as a graffiti artist Directed by Carly Starr Brullo Niles called ‘The Nasty Terrible T-KID 170’
BG183 was born and raised in the South Bronx. One of the founding members of the legendary Tats Cru – The Mural Kings. Defining his style as the Art of Letters. He has painted graffiti for 37 years and exhibited artwork around the world.
He has become world famous for his many styles of letters, detailed characters and complex backgrounds. BG183 is one of the most dynamic and innovative graffiti artists of our time.
His work has been exhibited in museums and galleries throughout the United States and internationally including The Smithsonian Museum, The Bronx Museum, BOX Gallery Guangzhou – China, Casa de Cultura – Mexico, Hip Hop Paris 2015 – France, Jardin Orange – China, La Jardin Rouge – Morocco.
BG183 is continuing to develop his many style of letters, create colorful artworks, paint dynamic wall murals, exhibiting his work locally here in New York and around the world.
WILLIAM ‘NIC ONE’ GREEN
NIC ONE was born in the South Bronx. As a kid growing up there he would become fixated on the New York City Subway movement. Through the many colorful influences that he would pick up on. He grew up living close to the subway train lines and because of that Nic One would become that which he came to admire the most, a graffiti artist. Being an active writer and loving the artwork that he would often see on the side of the subway trains he would not only writer his name but grow to eventually photograph the subway movement. In time he would become known as both an graffiti artist and a Hip Hop Photographer.
In 1989 became a video production assistant for Videograf Productions, the very first video graffiti magazine to shine light on the New York and LA Graffiti scene. Nic One has been featured in many Art Gallery and Museum events throughout the years. Some of his art gallery achievements have been showing’s at The Whitney Museum in NYC, The Times Square Gallery NYC, The Chelsea Hospital NYC, The ARORA Gallery in NYC, Danny Simons Gallery- (Brother of Russel Simons) NYC, Fashion Moda Gallery in the Bronx, Haven Arts Gallery Bronx, Crane St Studios Queens, Gallery X in LA and The Photography Center in LA. The Drouot Montaigne Gallery Paris. The African Globe Theatre NJ. Other noted showing’s at 1st Powers Street Garden show Brooklyn, Danceteria club, The Limelight club, The Powerhouse Arena and Club Jungle Green.
His work has also be published in various Graffiti books as well as his Graffiti Photography. Noted books are: THE GRAFFITI HALL OF FAME, TAKING THE TRAIN, NEW YORK CITY BLACK BOOK MASTERS. FRESH PAINT NYC. AEROSOL KINGDOM. GRAFFITI NEW YORK. “GRAFFITI NYC-THE NEXT STAGE (Japan).” BROKEN WINDOWS-Graffiti New York City.” BURNING NEW YORK. PART ONE “THE DEATH SQUARD” (Photo Work) and BLADE KING OF KINGS (Photo Work). His artwork also appeared in Glamour fashion magazine and a Calvin Klein advertisement for the New York Times Home Style section.
His Graffiti artwork has been seen on various television shows and in graffiti videos. Some examples are, The Eleventh Hour show PBS,(1990) In The Mix show (PBS-1993)..YO! MTV RAPS (1992). The Real World Japan edition (2004). Good Day New York (1989). Wpix Ch 11 News Segment on the New York Graffiti movement (1992). The Reporters (with Host Ronald Reagan Jr (1993) and also (Videograf Graffiti Video Magazine (1989-2010).
In 2005 Nic One was honored for his contributions to the Graffiti movement on VH1 Hip Hop Honors and his artwork was featured in the 1st ever Graffiti video game called “GETTING UP.” He was even featured in the international Graffiti documentary titled; BOMB IT! His artwork was featured as background fill work in the graffiti movie BOMB THE SYSTEM. And he did some commercial artwork for the Cooper Hotel Wall project in New York City. In 1992 he moved into photo documenting the Hip Hop Music culture as a Hip Hop photojournalist. Nic One’s music industry photo work has been published in several rap magazines such as: The Source, Vibe Magazine, Blaze Magazine and 4Korners Hip Hop News Paper.
In May of 2002 Nic One became the head curator and event coordinator of the first ever Graffiti Outdoor Museum called 5Pointz in Long Island City New York. He severed on the board of directors and was the assistant art director there as well as the sites graffiti historian, teacher and head site photographer. Nic One’s biggest achievement at 5pointz was organizing and promoting the Old Timers Day events. A yearly event which paid respects to the Graffiti Writers of the 1970’s. (2002-2006). ;Nic One has also worked as a co/producer for Videograf Productions from 1989 – 2010 and he has worked as a video production assistant for HENRY CHALFANT of (Style Wars and Subway Art) from 1989-2010.
He is still into his photography but these days he is most actively illustrating and painting canvas and anything else that fits his creative eye.. He’s still actively painting walls, mostly with his crew that he founded in 1988 called The Aerosol Kings.
Charles Loreto….aka KEON ONE from Brooklyn, aged 56 and born in Manhattan.
Graffiti never dies…..ex.vandals …mg boys mission graffiti.. my crews……He started writing 1975 to 1987 attended and graduated school of Visual arts..1980 to 85…East village 1981 to 1986 artist at the new math gallery selected shows east village – I also taught at the school of Visual arts in the sculpture dept.1984 to 1990…..writing partner was joust one gnd nsa non stop action….. taught art in NYC public schools from 1996 to 2000….
Occupation artist…published in the piece book by Sacha Jenkins and David Villorente
Projects with graffitti… graffitti on wedding dress movie marcy x…graffiti
Sculpture at Leo Castelli 40th year anniversary show curated by museum of modern art.
First graffiti clothing line olivieri
Olivier cover Hamptons magazine sold in Patricia fields and trash and vaudeville 1982….
Headline lettering graffiti on graffitti universe……selected shows NYC on demand and known as the map king.
TACK (Edwin Ramirez)
Edwin Ramirez was born in 1963 and raised in Spanish Harlem in a Puerto Rican household on Broadway 140 th street (ballbuster territory)
In grade school he found himself drawing cartoons that he found in the pages of Marvel Comics and upon entering Art and Design High School he caught interest in graffiti art introduced to him by DOZE and SEEN Tc5.
He became known as TACK and started painting trains on the Broadway line in 1979 and made a name for himself by painting complex pieces and original characters on beautifully decorated whole cars – and he was also a member of FBA (Fast Breakin Artists).
TACK’s style of fantastical characters were animal and insect like and inspired many others around the world to move beyond the typical b-boy profile. His trains are featured in the book, “Subway Art.” he painted his last subway train in 1986.
Dennis Stumpo aka RARE 1 is from the Bronx. He started writing 1979 in Hillside projects when he was 12 years old. Currently 50 years of age and a Professor for the City University of New York in the Library department. He left the world ofgraff in 1986 to go to school, get married, have children and so on.
He did not come back to the world ofgraff until 2009 when his old block had a reunion (238th St and Nereid) and kicked off the artistic person in him once again. In a much better place in life today, his art is growing by leaps and bounds.
RARE 1 has been on trains and puts in a lot of work on the streets since his comeback in 2009 with Easy, Sen4, Lewy, Sy, Kech, Dover, Remo, Arc..u5 and Bester. Now concentrating on art for the world to see and enjoy and it has become more natural.
Currently running one of only a couple legal places left to paint in New York (Bronx, N.Y called Graffiti Universe) RARE 1’s artistic abilities came back slowly but surely after all the years he took off to live life. But he does this for the world to see and enjoy his art.
Eddie Rodriguez (1957 – Present)
Snake 1, one of the original members of Writers Corner and United Graffiti Artists, started experimenting with graffiti at the young age of thirteen. In the 1970’s, the tag TAKI183 caught his eye,he began noticing it around the neighbourhood and then throughout the city.
Eventually,the Puerto Rican artist began tagging his name SNAKE 188 on street pole lights, mail boxes and then any where he could get away with it.However,he later changed his tag to SNAKE 1, deleting any reference to his street address in order not to get caught by the police.
After gathering a following in the streets of NYC, Snake 1 and his writing partner STITCH 1 started writers corner 188. It was a place for writers to hang out and exchange stories.
After hitting the buses and trains, Snake 1 transferred his works onto canvas, which led to many of his pieces being displayed in galleries affiliated with United Graffiti Artists Organization.
Snake is known for his “KING OF ALL SNAKES YA Dig” and has worked on all IRT and IND lines. Snake 1’s work was exhibited at the first ever graffiti show, Razor Gallery. He continues to be active today, painting on canvas, creating murals, participating in large group shows across Europe..
ROCKY 184 WC 188 was born in 1956 and raised in Washington heights NYC 188st ….what was deemed as writers corner.
She was girlfriend and partner to Stitch 1, co founder of writers corner. From 1969 to 1972 she was known as a ‘tagger’ (wall writer artist).
ROCKY 184 works with her now partner Keon One as a seasonal window artist and muralist, which was documented in the movie ‘Wallwriters’
Between 2012 to 2017 Rocky shows her current artwork at selected group shows throughout the New York Metropolitan area of works in mixed mediums on canvas.
Nic 707 figures prominently in the history of the New York graffiti movement which began to flourish in the early 1970’s. Born in Argentina as Fernando Pablo Miteff, he is the son of the famed Argentinian Heavyweight boxer, Pablo Alexis Miteff.
Fernando was raised in The Bronx, where he became part of the City’s radical and youth-driven urban art explosion. Inspired by the bold antics and ubiquitous works of artists like Phase 2 and Checker 170, he began as a “tagger” under the names of Stine 169 and Tuc 2. Fernando adopted Nic 707 in 1974 to experiment with combining the “Styles” of earlier artists he admired as well as his creating own unique styles. Nic 707’s work soon became a common site throughout New York’s IRT and IND subway lines.
Nic 707 is an early “Style Master,” a rare title of merit that acknowledges exceptional creativity, refined artistic talent and the willingness to share techniques with other artists. Nic 707 is one of the last surviving links between the 1st generation of Style Masters and the 2nd generation, exemplified by Chain 3, Kool 131 and Kase 2.
Nic 707’s enduring influence on the world of graffiti includes the mentoring of up and coming artists and noteworthy collaborations with many of the field’s celebrated luminaries. Of particular note is the success of Nic 707’s protege, Noc 167 (Melvin Samuels, Jr.), who is considered one of graffiti’s legendary talents. Nic 707 also founded the renowned OTB (“Out to Bomb” or “Only the Best”) graffiti crew and was its first president. Today, OTB boasts an active membership of thousands of dedicated artists worldwide.
In the summer of 1973 a little known teenager from Bushwick, New York produced this stunning and meticulously designed three dimensional striped masterpiece. Done with using multi colored Red Devil and Krylon aerosol spray paint demonstrating perspective and shadows giving the illusion that the letters are protruding from the train’s surface making them pop out.
This timeless painting is now considered the famous revolutionary piece that inspired, which is now an evolution of many generations of super writers and artists around the world.
Born in New York City’s Hells Kitchen in the revolutionary 60’s and growing up in the crime ridden streets of East New York Brooklyn during the 70’s,
Crime79’ works are mostly defined as simply revolutionary. His messages provide a dosage of consciousness that force the viewer to think.
Drawing since a child he started painting on subways in 1977 and is considered a true pioneer. His works are documented in Subway Art, the true bible of street art as well as documentaries, films, music videos, publications worldwide. His works have been seen in The Source Magazine, Art News, Print, Warp Magazine, Stress Magazine, The Village Voice, BET Television etc.
Crime79 is one of the early artists to transition from the subway era into the gallery scene in the early 80’s and has continue to be involved creatively since day one. His works have also been shown in the states and abroad and have been widely acclaimed in auctions.
Ree Vilmar started painting subway cars in the early 70’s to late 77.
The first line that I started to paint a subway car was in the 1 and 3 lines (Broadway). By 1975 move over to my home line in the Bronx with was the 2 and 5 lines and in between tag up the 4 and 6 lines. Most of my cars were whole top to bottom.
One of the sickest graffiti writers in New York, and also one of the most underrated.
SERVE brought a unique style and flare to the NYC subways with his colorful pieces in the 80’s. Serve’s skills are as on point as ever rocking some of the dopest pieces and characters with lightning speed and pinpoint can control. His black book work is amongst the best ever seen and he does 90% of his work for the pure love of the art.
SAR was born in Brooklyn NY and raised in the neighborhoods of South Queens, he starting writing in 1977 in true graffiti form, tagging the insides and painting the outsides on NYC transit to the end of the clean train movement in the 1990s, representing THE MASTER BLASTERS and ROLLING THUNDER WRITERS with alliances with TOP RIS SV VOP UA MAFIA.
Many consider him a historian of BMT graffiti from his Queens neighborhood. During his days as a writer, he has traveled throughout Brooklyn,Bronx and Queens and has teamed up with some of the most famous writers in the game to include: IZTHEWIZ QUIK REVOLT FUZZ GHOST SACH SIKE BOOTS119 LEE VICTOR161 CAVS KEY MIDG COPE VEN KET ALE TEEBAG170 and BLADE SAR’s work has been exhibited in shows in NYC AMSTERDAM AND LONDON HIs work has been published in numerous magazines and books and other related projects to include publications UNDER THE BRIDGE FROM THE PLATFORM, FREIGHT TRAIN GRAFFITI, TAKING THE TRAIN, FUZZ ONE a Bronx childhood, and Elemental and hip hop connection magazine to name a few.
In 1991 He Was also featured in the Rap Video By THE LORDS OF BROOKLYN titled Bombing THe System. In the 1990s He is also featured in the graffiti documentaries Video Graff. SAR also worked on backdrop graffiti for the movie Sleepers. His other passion are old Cadillacs. SAR is the past Vice President of the Cadillac Club of LI., his 1979 Coupe DeVille is being featured in the upcoming John Travolta movie about John Gotti, And also was featured in the movie My Father My Don.
Wayne Roberts was born in Virginia in 1950, his family migrated to Harlem in 1958 and the Bronx ten years later. By 1969 the New YorkCity graffiti movement had begun and Wayne took an immediate interest in it; he preferred writers with a message or slogans like Pray, Worship God and Free Huey. His friends on the grand concourse began calling him STAYHIGH because of his penchant for smoking weed, he liked the nickname and in 1971 he added the number 149 to it to become STAYHIGH 149. In 1972 he completed the signature by adapting the stick figure from ” The Saint ” TV show, he gave it a joint to smoke and unified it with his tag. It was far and away the most stylized signature of it’s time.STAYHIGH hit the streets and trains with his ornate signature for two straight years, he was considered by many to be an all – city king. He became so famous that his face appeared in “New York” magazine in 1973, without the anonymity he was quickly arrested while writing in Brooklyn and he knew he had to give up his name. He floundered for a while until one day, on the way to work, he came up with his second name: VOICE OF THE GHETTO. At a time when writers were using smaller names Wayne Roberts chose to go big, the name VOICE OF THE GHETTO could soon be found on many of the IRT train lines in a very unique style – he would write the name with a three toned magic marker that was two inches thick called a uni – wide. By the end of 1975 he had retired from graffiti, he would soon disappear from the graffiti community altogether with rumors touting his untimely demise.
In the summer of 2000 there was a small graffiti show in Brooklyn that attracted hundreds of writers, after a twenty five year absence Wayne Roberts re-emerged. That night, in a two hour period, he signed over 400 autographs and finally slipped out a back door from sheer exhaustion. The New York Times covered the story in it’s metro section the next day. Soon, STAYHIGH began to adapt his talents to canvas selling to private collectors all over the world. As a graffiti icon he’s done work for companies as diverse as Reebok, Ecko Unlimited and Zoo York.
King Capone, is an ultimate legend of the graffiti culture, his accomplishments first as a progressive writer in new york cities graffiti movement was about getting up, and as an artist has proven himself, an artist true to our culture with a name that will stand the test of time as being about conquering new ground/more, with over 30yrs as a writer/artist cap is one of the cultures most accomplished artist doing thousands of throwups and pieces in his time on the trains of new york as well as painting in 7 countries and doing many more. adding his famous cap throwup to projects for companies that he has been involved with. cap continues to paint the hell out of anything, doing projects with seen and cope as well as many other friends. Here is a chance to purchase a true piece of art history with these N.Y subway maps that are hand painted by cap. truly a must to round off any collection of graffiti.
OSGEMEOS (also known as Os Gemeos or Os Gêmeos, Portuguese for The Twins), born 1974 in São Paulo, Brazil, are graffiti and street artists who are identical twin brothers Otavio Pandolfo and Gustavo Pandolfo. Os Gemeos started painting graffiti in 1987 and gradually became a main influence in the local scene, helping to define Brazil’s style.
Their work often features yellow-skinned characters – taken from the yellow tinge both of the twins have in their dreams – but is otherwise diverse and ranges from tags to complicated murals. Subjects range from family portraits to commentary on São Paulo’s social and political circumstances, as well as Brazilian folklore. Their graffiti style was influenced by both traditional hip hop style and the Brazilian culture.
From their beginnings in Brazil to today, Os Gemeos has reached international acclaim and commercial success. Their work appears on streets and in galleries across the world. The duo are considered two of the most influential street artists within the genre.
He started to paint illegally on New York City’s subway in the early 1970s, working with other artists such as ALI. In the early 1980s he showed with Patti Astor at the Fun Gallery, along with Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Richard Hambleton and Kenny Scharf.
Futura painted backdrops live on-stage for British punk rock band The Clash’s 1981 European tour. In 1985, he was on the first meeting of the graffiti and urban art movement in Bondy (France), on the VLP’s initiative, with Speedy Graphito, Miss Tic, SP 38, Epsylon Point, Blek le rat, Jef Aérosol, Nuklé-Art, Kim Prisu, Banlieue-Banlieue. More recently, he is a successful graphic designer and gallery artist.
One of the most distinctive features of Futura’s work is his abstract approach to graffiti art. While the primary focus, during the 1980s, of the majority of graffiti artists was lettering, Futura pioneered abstract street art, which has since become more popular. Conversely, his aerosol strokes are regarded as different from those of his peers, as they are as thin as the fine lines usually associated with the use of an airbrush.
While he is primarily known as a graffiti artist, much of his work is as an illustrator and graphic designer of album covers, first becoming involved with The Clash; producing a sleeve for their “This Is Radio Clash” 7″ single and handwriting the sleeve notes and lyrics sheet for their album Combat Rock (1982). He also toured extensively with The Clash during the Combat Rock tours, “performing” with them on stage by spray painting backdrops whilst the band performed.
Years later James Lavelle resurrected Futura’s career by getting him, alongside Ben Drury, to produce the artwork for several releases on Mo’ Wax records; this also led to Futura producing the imagery which has largely defined Lavelle’s Unkle project.
During the 1990s he was involved with clothing companies such as GFS, Subware and Project Dragon. More recently much of Futura’s artwork has evolved into the production of collectible toys, sneakers; and a diverse range of creative media, working with Recon, Nike, The North Face, Medicom Toy, Undercover, Supreme, Levi’s and A Bathing Ape.
Futura also designs his own clothing under the label Futura Laboratories with a store located in Fukuoka, Japan.
His 2012 exhibition Future-Shock was curated by Nemo Librizzi and shown by Andy Valmorbida in New York City. Past galleries who have organized one man exhibitions include Fun Gallery, Tony Shafrazi Gallery, Philippe Briet Gallery, Galerie du Jour Agnès B., and Galerie Jérôme de Noirmont. Museum exhibitions include New York / New Wave at PS1 (1981), Coming from the Subway at Groninger Museum (1992), Beautiful Losers (2004) and Art in the Streets at Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2011).
In 2012, Futura designed the special edition Hennessy V.S. bottle.
Ces53 is the graffiti name of Tonny van Hoenderloo, street art/graffiti artist from the Netherlands. Ces53 has been active since 1985 and is the creator of many international street art/graffiti paintings, predominantly in European cities but also worldwide in Mexico, United States and Burma.
Ces53 started as a traditional graffiti writer, one of the first to paint graffiti on trains in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. He became world-famous because of his high-quality graffiti paintings, also adopted more traditional art forms during the years, including painting and sculpturing. He became renowned for his innovative styles, quantity of work, and gained a lot of fame and followers within the graffiti community. Since 2005 Ces53 is also part of Lastplak, a world-famous Dutch street art collective.
MODE 2 is a central figure in the history of Graffiti Art. His globally acclaimed charismatic style has left its mark on Street Art aesthetics and has influenced many artists around the world. MODE 2’s career began in 1984 in London, when he came to the fore of the emerging Hip Hop scene. In 1987 he was rejected from London’s St. Martin’s College of Art and Design. However, he went off to Paris that same spring ‘87 to work in computer graphics alongside Pierre Buffin; also that same year MODE 2’s work appeared on the front cover of the book “Spraycan Art” published by Thames & Hudson, which exported his name and style to every corner of the planet.
DAIM is a German Graffiti Artist, who lives and works in Hamburg, Germany. He is particularly known for his large size, 3D graffiti lettering which has become his trademark. For his technically sophisticated style he obtained the reputation of being one of the best Graffiti Artists in the world. According to DAIM form is created by a few lines, colour becomes an emotion, and shapes reminiscent of architectural elements grow and extend into space. Still plains contrast with dynamic elements which divide and cut across the image.
DAIM succeeds in balancing a variety of content and techniques with his individual style. His geometric figures and letters obey the laws of light and shadow but defy gravity and curve space. The beholder is sucked into the image or feels transported to new dimensions.
Akut, Case, Rusk and Tasso, the 4 members that make up the East German based MA’CLAIM Crew are regarded as one of the best Spray Can Art crews in the world, and with their revolutionary photorealistic techniques and impressive skills, they have gained global respect from the Graffiti Art community, which has resulted in opportunities for them to work freelance in a professional capacity, by painting facades and canvasses around the globe from Italy to New Zealand.
The members of MA’CLAIM continue to expand individually, not only in the streets, but in galleries and publishing as well, with their work being published in their first self titled acclaimed book ‘MA’CLAIM Finest Fotorealistic Graffiti’ which follows the crew through their daily triumphs and travels at graffiti jams and competitions, with showcases of MA’CLAIM’s commercial work, including the acclaimed ‘4 Elements’ canvasses that includes ‘Wind’ and ‘Earth’.
When he was just 11 years old, a young Arron Bird picked up a can of spray paint for the very first time and created his first painting. Since then now known as ‘TEMPER’ he has achieved phenomenal commercial success as a Graffiti Artist with a number of sold out exhibitions and high profile commissions for Coca Cola, Ecko Unltd and Saatchi & Saatchi and has become one of the world’s most collected and acclaimed Graffiti Artists. In 2007 TEMPER became the first Graffiti Artist to be awarded a commission for a major piece of public art and in 2008 TEMPER’s tenth collection, ‘Post Graphaelite’ sold out within 5 minutes of its launch for £1.4 million.
TEMPER’s original artwork now sells for tens of thousands of pounds with private collectors including Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne, (Chelsea Football Club owner) Roman Abramovich, former Birmingham City football player Robbie Savage and former Arsenal and England International Footballer Ian Wright. Another owner of TEMPER’s work legendary Hip Hop/R&B DJ, Record Producer and Actor ‘Jazzy Jeff’ visited Arron’s studio and by the time he’d left, he had already picked out four original paintings to adorn the walls of his new home quoting “The man is the most incredible artist I have ever seen, I’m in awe, and I’m just trying to take everything in here.”
Graffiti Artist CHU has been painting in the streets since the early 1980’s and is probably the first acclaimed 3D Graffiti Artist. Wayne ‘CHU’ Edwards was born in Blakenall Walsall in 1971. He went to college in Walsall to study Graphic Design but dropped out before finishing the course. He then spent several years working with Walsall Borough Council running aerosol workshops. This led to him setting up one of the Country’s flagship ‘legal’ graffiti locations, ‘The Paddock’ and becoming ‘Part-time aerosol art co-ordinator’. CHU then worked for a computer games developer on games such as Aladdin for the Gameboy.
Since 1996 he has worked freelance which has included working as a print/design and events consultant for BANKSY and collaborating with Jamie Hewlett on a massive 434m mural on a Virgin Pendolino Train promoting the Opera Monkey Journey to the West. Most recently he has been to Afghanistan running workshop’s on Graffiti Art in Kabul with Afghan art collective ‘Roshd’.
Keith Hopewell aka PART TWO or Part2ism is one of the UK’s leading contemporary Street Artists. Before the bubble of Street Art was created PART TWO was ahead of the curve pushing boundaries in graffiti as well as installation based conceptual projects in the streets of York and around the UK with a number of successful solo and collaborative exhibitions including Retrospective Show, The Architects and Project Infinity.
Anyone that knows and follows the traditional UK Graffiti Art scene from the 1980’s knows that PART TWO has been an acclaimed renegade of the scene for decades.
A living legend of graffiti art scene whose work is known throughout the world, Richard Mirando, better known as SEEN, became active on the streets of New York City at the time when graffiti was not as fashionable as today. He started by creating subway graffiti in the early seventies and came to prominence thanks to his vibrant lettering and masterful depictions of mass-media cartoon characters like Wonder Woman, Hulk and the Smurfs.
Richard “Richie” Mirando was born in 1961 in the Bronx. Growing up in New York City, he picked graffiti as his game of choice and began spray-painting subway trains in 1973 when he was only twelve years old. As he became more and more active in the city, he was also becoming more and more skilled. Along with his crew – United Artists (UA) – SEEN pioneered painting of top-to-bottom whole cars becoming one of the most famous graffiti artists on the scene at a time when graffiti was in its infancy. Additionally, he has started to make pieces with more than just his name: Fascinated with comic heroes and television cartoons, the artist added illustrations, full of scenery and cartoon subjects to his tags.
SEEN created his first painting in 1979, and in the early 1980s, he began exhibiting his work in galleries throughout the United States and overseas together with great names such as Keith Haring, Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Dondi, Quik, and Blade. During those years, SEEN opened his tattooing studio – Tattoo Seen – which quickly became one of the most successful studios in NYC. Additionally, SEEN’s work has been published in many acclaimed books including Subway Art by Martha Cooper and Henry Chalfant, and American Graffiti by Margo Thompson. Also, his oeuvre has been featured in Style Wars (1983), a documentary that chronicled the rise of subway graffiti in New York in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
In a career that encompasses over forty years, SEEN has found himself among the most famous graffiti writers in the American scene and beyond, often called the Godfather of graffiti. SEEN’s work has had a huge impact on today’s generation of creatives. In recent years, he began producing three-dimensional sculpture, mixed media work with reclaimed or discarded materials (often found in the street), and a series of hand-painted, limited-edition MTA New York subway maps. SEEN continues to create and exhibit his oeuvre worldwide.
Henry Chalfant (born January 2, 1940 in Sewickley, Pennsylvania, United States) is an American photographer and videographer most notable for his work on graffiti, breakdance, and hip hop culture.
Starting out as a sculptor in New York in the 1970s, Chalfant turned to photography and film to do an in-depth study of hip-hop culture and graffiti art. One of the foremost authorities on New York subway art and other aspects of urban youth culture, his photographs record hundreds of ephemeral, original art works that have long since vanished.
Exhibits of his photos include the O.K. Harris Gallery and the landmark ‘New York-New Wave’ show at P.S. l, and important galleries and museums in Europe. He has co-authored the definitive account of New York graffiti art, Subway Art (Holt Rinehart Winston, N.Y. 1984) and a sequel on the art form’s world-wide diffusion, Spray Can Art (Thames and Hudson Inc. London, 1987).
Chalfant co-produced the PBS documentary, Style Wars, the definitive documentary about Graffiti and Hip Hop culture and directed Flyin’ Cut Sleeves, a documentary on South Bronx gangs, in 1993. He produced and directed Visit Palestine: Ten Days on the West Bank in 2002. His film From Mambo to Hip Hop was featured in the Latino Public Broadcasting series, Voces in 2006-2007, and won an Alma Award for Best Documentary.
Chalfant is a resident of New York City with his wife Kathleen, an actress. They have two children, David, a musician and producer, and Andromache, a set designer. He continues to make documentary films about urban popular culture.
KIT 17 was born and still lives in the Bronx, New York and began writing his name on New York City buses. In 1974 He graduated to New York City subway trains after being introduced to the yards by Mark 198 and Hysen, members of Mission Graffiti crew aka MG Boys. This crew was instrumental during the mid to late 1970’s, and instrumental in pushing forward the new subway train era in New York City Graffiti History. Known as a Colourist Kit 17 produced a significant amount of work painting on 100’s of New York City subway trains.
His graffiti has been featured in the documentary films: Watching my name go by (BBC, 1976), 80 blocks from Tiffany’s (1979) and Stations of the elevated (1981), as well in the books: The History of American Graffiti (Caleb Neelon & Roger Gastman, 2011), Fuzz one: a Bronx childhood, 2005 (Vincent Ferdorchak), Don 1 the King from Queens ( Louie Gasparro, 2014) Graffiti New York( Eric Felisbret, 2010) and Classic Hits ( Alan Fleisher, Paul Iovino, 2012).
Still actively painting graffiti, KIT 17 also works on canvas that explores abstract art letter Styles, color palette and designs reminiscent of his days fighting his way through the subway yard to get his name up. These paintings explore memories, inspirations and document a history that evaporated before the impact of graffiti captured by the mass media in the 1980’s. His work is collected privately and shows in Gallery exhibitions throughout the US and Europe.
Stash was born in Long Island, New York in 1967. He is considered one of New York’s graffiti legends, pivotal to the East Village scene of the early 1980’s. He exhibited his first canvases alongside pop art pioneers Keith Haring and Jean-Michael Basquiat when he was only 17.
While his contemporaries turned to Pop Art, Stash stayed true to the subway, working on trains until 1987 when he created his last underground piece alongside Zephyr. His early works on canvas demonstrate a loyalty to his early career in the use of subway map-collages and signature bold outlines and clean shapes. By the late 1990’s, Stash had pioneered the use of graphic elements of graffiti on streetwear through high-profile collaborations with companies such as Nike and Bathing Ape. The move ensured his work reached a much wider audience than the gallery visitor and played a key role in the widespread understanding of graffiti, which in turn led to its public acceptance. Stash is now firmly established as an innovator and influencer in the world of urban design, and his fascination with the urban environment is also evident in his perfectly executed photographic work, which features a combination of city motifs alongside the latest lighting and printing techniques.
JAMES TOP grew up in the East New York Section of Brooklyn. He began his writing career in 1971. In the mid 1970s JAMES would would join forces with writers like MICKEY and HURST in the legendary crew The Odd Partners. JAMES hit IRTs, INDs and made an especially strong effort on the J, LL and M lines of the BMT division during 1977 and 1978.
JAMES did a great deal of this writing under the alias JEE 2. After 1978 the founding TOP president MICKEY became less active. At that point JAMES undertook the role of leadership for the crew and maintains it to present day. In the late 1990s JAMES revitalized the crew with talents such as KEO and ADER and others.
The same skills JAMES utilized to maintain the TOP crew on the streets and subways he now draws upon to bring graffiti art into more formal venues such as art galleries and television. JAMES has helped transform TOP into a collective of professionals in arts and communications.
JAMES has held successful aerosol art exhibitions at Polytech in Brooklyn, Genesis Arts and Exhibit “A” Gallery in Harlem. These shows have featured work by talented writers from many different generations. Pioneering artists such as STAY HIGH 149, MICO, FLINT 707 have participated in JAMES’s exhibits. Painters from the 1970s and 1980s such as IZ THE WIZ, DURO, FLIN, ZEPHYR and KEO have also displayed work, as have newer artists such as MERES.
Paul Cavs Cavalieri was born in Manhattan and raised in the Wakefield area of the Bronx. My friends from Matilda Avenue block introduced me to graffiti in late 1982. By 1983 I was motion bombing the #2 line. East 238th street on the 2 line was my home line. I had the east 238th street bridge to paint plenty of walls, freight train spots in the area as well. In 1983 on the PBS channel 13 “Style Wars” aired for the first time. I was inspired and that’s what made me take pictures of the subways which I documented from 1983 to 1989. The first real graffiti crew I got down with was G.U. Graffiti Unlimited. Pove is the president and he brought me to Esplanade layup stick outs in the day time summer of 1983. Pove did a Assault piece while I did throw ups. My first piece on the train was at Esplanade Tunnels in 1985 with Seen UA, Raz and Pjay. Seen helped me with my first piece while the rest did whole cars. Seen was definitely my mentor who showed me the ropes aswell as Sento who helped me get up on the lines. In my writing career I wrote with some of the best and greatful that I’m able to share some of my collection with the world. My next book is about my graffiti career. I’ve had a lot of graffiti related injuries which is putting me at an early retirement but I worked since I was a teenager starting from a paint store, Burger King, Howard Johnson’s, street messenger, 3 different law firms in Manhattan as a Records Clerk/Analyst
Graffiti writers and street artists around the world know the name that started it all: TAKI 183. A kid from 183rd Street in Washington Heights in northern Manhattan, TAKI’s simple signature captured the attention of a reporter and, in the summer of 1971, an article appeared in The New York Times. TAKI was the first New Yorker to become famous for writing graffiti. The floodgates opened. In the summer of 1969, Demetrius was bored. He lived uptown, north of Harlem, in a neighborhood full of Greek kids, like himself, and also a growing population of Cubans, Dominicans and Puerto Ricans. The Savage Nomads gang was headquartered a block away, but they didn’t bother the locals.
One afternoon that summer, Demetrius’ friend Phil wandered down to 183rd and had some news for Demetrius and his friend Greg. A kid in Inwood, 20 blocks north, was writing his name and street number: JULIO 204. Demetrius and Greg thought that was pretty cool. They all started to write their names. Demetrius wrote ‘TAKI,’ a diminutive for a number of Greek names, and his street number. In the fall of 1970, TAKI went to high school in Midtown Manhattan, taking the 1 train down and back. Along the way, he wrote TAKI 183 on the subway stations and anywhere else he thought was a good spot. He had seen the election posters and stickers plastered around the city in 1968, and again in 1970, and emulated their campaign tactics.
When he started working as a delivery boy in midtown, running packages of high-end cosmetics to fancy places like the Upper East Side, he held the box up against light poles, using it as cover while he wrote his name. It was probably one of these tags on the Upper East Side that caught the eye of the New York Times reporter, who tracked TAKI down near his home. On July 21, 1971, TAKI’s fate was sealed: “TAKI 183 Spawns Pen Pals,” read the headline of the Times article. Just like that, TAKI 183 became the father of contemporary graffiti. His legend grew, and rumors spread that TAKI even tagged a Secret Service car and the Statue Of Liberty.