Art Basel/ Im in Miami bitch– Had fun with this ,a little sample below

AK: What should we know about the early days?

An ode to the pioneers. it was fun, it was hard! Some new school cats are so sick of hearing it. It’s like taking a boring history class. But, it’s the truth and you need to know! That in today’s world of internet gadgetry, insta this, insta that, most of today’s writers don’t work for shit! You non-history having mother fuckers have no clue! You want it now! You get it now! If you don’t, you whine about it! Poor fucking YOU!!! From your Stencil, to your outline of style that you stole from the latest aerosol legend from bum fuck nowhere, to pulling out a credit card to order your paint from a palette of colors that exceeded any of the last century’s master artist dreams, you just don’t know!

Then to add insult to injury because your just not sure between the style you stole and the low pressure paint you ordered overnight that it will make you next month’s internet Graff wizard! So just to cover all bases you order two dozen variety caps. Caps by the way that never existed in the “early days”. From a hairline outline to the fat cap that is the circumference of my social studies teachers’ globe. Then you have the audacity to show up to a wall and ask neighboring homes and businesses for permission to utilize their electrical socket so you can plug you’re fucking projector in. Because, god forbid you have to actually eyeball something to figure out some dimensions! That might overload your aptitude to actually fucking figuring something out on your own! Noooooo! You need color by fucking numbers!

Yeah I’m talking to you! Yeah you and you! The next, Banksy, Shepard Fairey wanna-be’s That think well, they did it why can’t I? Why? Because they had an original thought, fuck wit! You on the other hand are an asshole, a copy cat, a fucking Fugazzi! Just like once upon a time struggling artists turned newbie gallery owner/ broker who have minimal understanding of the culture but, capitalize fiscally from the very people that created it. Now if that is not a culture vulture what is? Or the one’s if it weren’t for mommy and daddy’s money would probably be taking it in the ass due to the series of petty crimes they would commit to supply their drug habit based on their in ability to deal with the real world.

Yes, the real world. Not the one where they act like they have a profound understanding of art and culture that to them consists of a hobby and riding the dick of the newest quote “Street Artist!” If that’s not bad enough get a couple of drinks in them at some social event and all the sudden boom! They’re Superman! They get a little froggy and think well? I represent a Street Artist, I must have an understanding of the street! Maaaaaan!!! You don’t have an understanding of shit! You non-history having motherfuckers have no clue! You don’t understand the very foundation and history of where it all came from.

So let me break it down to you, Dartanan!, Once upon a time there were some adventuresome group of adolescents that in most cases weren’t privy to or didn’t have the means to attend art school. It started in Philadelphia and was developed in New York Late 1960’s-late 1980’s these individuals decided to express themselves in a manner that included choosing a fictional name, within that name are letters of the alphabet which became the template of which these individuals developed and reworked over decades and made their own. The tool of choice was “spray paint. Now most didn’t have the resources to buy their spray paint so they decided to (slang word) “Rack it or Steal it). Where would they paint these names? Well, some in obscure areas of the city some not. It was done in the most primitive of ways called single hits or a tag.

That led to tagging most any objects, rolling or not. Then of course the New York City Subway System. Which became the premiere billboard for young aspiring artists. As the time went forward so did the progression of lettering and style. Gone was the original single letter hit style which now developed into a bubble letter style. By this point early 70’s some writers decided that character examples, ie Yosemite Sam, Beetle Bailey, Stick Man (no names do your research) alongside their names would bring additional flair, it did.

So, what started as a tag randomly placed on the car grew into a double outlined letter. Then a bubble letter, later the basis for the Throw Up. The quickest way to get your name around with the least effort. That grew to writers manipulating the letter with shadows, 3D, arrows, bits etc. Later that style of lettering became known as “Wild Style.” Now window down planned letters and color schemes were the norm. That eventually gave way to planned out whole car productions. Some of which could have been witnessed at a variety of stations most famous of which was the gathering hole of the 149th Street bench. Where writers would take images, socialize and exchange tags or styles in the their black books.

Now with the spike in growth of different writers from different areas of the city, coupled with the inherit dangers of traveling alone. It only made sense to create a group or “CREW” normally consisting of writers from an area or a reputation or self imposed image of themselves, ie The CRAZY 5, The FABULOUS 5, The MAGNIFICENT TEAM (TMT) United Artists (U.A.) etc. Going into the 1980’s with the influx of more writers and crew’s and the diminishing amount of train space to paint. It became an inevitable breeding ground for beef between writers and their crews. The beef varied from territory, respect, rules, to outright dislike. Unlike the watered down versions heard today, the reality is some cases turned quite violent via your typical beat down. It turned into getting stabbed or shot and although not often, even death.

The writers of the early years were ingenious in many regards starting with contributing to the advancement of the letter, the planning and preparation it took. Most of which to have their names(art) seen. They went through a myriad of obstacles some of which and aren’t limited to, racking paint, no one bought paint! And trying to rack it. Based on the theme/drawing they had planned prior to going. Sneaking into the yard hiding from work bums(employees of the Transit system), hiding from the oncoming trains themselves depending on what side of the layup you were painting. You never quite knew if that was the train and at night if you were going to get raided by the Vandal Squad. Also, being aware of the 3rd rail you didn’t want to get electrocuted. You didn’t want to be rolled up on by writers who you or your crew had beef with or even if you didn’t, they just wanted to jack your shit just because they could!

These of course are just some of the experiences that took place! It inspired music and movies like Style Wars, Beat Street, Wild Style and books like Subway Art, Spray Can Art, to name a few. It inspired the largest worldwide movement that has produced some of the best artists in the world. This all took place during a time and era that no matter how hard others try to emulate, it can never be replicated again! In the big scheme of things there were only a handful that, lived it and I’m fortunate to say I was one of them!

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