Archive for March 26th, 2011

March 26, 2011

Lee Quinones

Born Of Many Apples by Lee Quinones

Lee Quiñones [kwi-nohn] (b. 1960) is one of several artists rising from the NYC subway graffiti movement. Born in Puerto Rico and raised in Lower East Side Manhattan, Lee was constantly drawing since the age of five and started with graffiti in 1974. By 1976, Lee was a legend, working in the shadow, leaving huge pieces of art across the subway system. His style is rooted in popular culture, often with political messages. Along with Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat, Lee Quiñones was one of the innovators of New York’s street-art movement and is considered the single most influential artist to emerge from the graffiti era.

As a subway graffiti artist, Lee almost exclusively painted whole cars (all together about 125), and he was a major contributor to the first-ever whole-train. In November 1976, ten subway cars were painted with a range of colorful murals and set a new benchmark for the scale of graffiti works. Quiñones often added poetic messages in his pieces such as: ‘Graffiti is art and if art is a crime, please God, forgive me.’ He was one of the first street artists to transition fine art. The 1979 exhibition of his canvases at Claudio Bruni’s Galleria Medusa in Rome introduced street art to the rest of the world.

March 26, 2011

Graffiti Research Lab


Graffiti Research Lab is a NYC art group dedicated to outfitting graffiti writers, artists and protesters with open source technologies for urban communication. The members of the group experiment in a lab and in the field to develop and test a range of experimental technologies.

The GRL is particularly well-known for inventing ‘LED Throwies.’ Each extension of Graffiti Research Lab is called a cell. Localized cells are found in Vienna, Amsterdam, and Mexico, copying and extending the work of the NY based organization. The cells cooperate and communicate, but are not one formal organization.

March 26, 2011

Wild Style

Wild Style

Wild Style‘ was the first hip hop motion picture. Released theatrically in 1983, featuring Fab Five Freddy, the Rock Steady Crew, The Cold Crush Brothers, and Grandmaster Flash. The protagonist ‘Zoro’ is played by the legendary NY subway graffiti artist Lee Quinones. An early version of the ‘Wild Style’ logo appeared in the Fall of 1981 when director Charlie Ahearn hired graffiti legend Dondi to paint the ‘window down’ subway car piece that appears in the film. The Dondi piece was the inspiration for the animated title sequence designed by the artist Zephyr in 1982.

The ‘Wild Style’ logo was designed by Zephyr and painted as a huge ‘burner’ mural by Zephyr, Revolt, and Sharp in the Summer of 1983. In addition to covering street artists, the film depicts several prominent figures from the early hip hop culture, engaging in activities such as MCing, turntablism, and breaking. The film has been sampled by many prominent hip hop artists (e.g. ‘Illmatic’ by Nas, ‘Midnight Marauders’ by A Tribe Called Quest, and ‘Check Your Head’ by Beastie Boys).

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March 26, 2011


alphabet graffiti

Wildstyle is a difficult and intricate form of graffiti. Due to its complexity, it is often very hard to read by people who are not familiar with it. It incorporates interwoven and overlapping letters and shapes, and may include arrows, spikes, and other decorative elements. It has also been common practice to incorporate 3D elements into the pieces, and even transform the whole letter structure into three dimensions, to add to the depth of visual perception of the work.

The numerous layers and shapes make this style extremely difficult to produce homogeneously, which is why developing an original style in this field is seen as one of the greatest artistic challenges to a graffiti writer. Wildstyle pieces are also known as ‘burners,’ meaning ‘hot’ as fire.

March 26, 2011



bozo texino

Graffiti refers to images or lettering scratched, scrawled, painted, or marked in any manner on property. Examples date back to Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire. The word ‘graffiti’ and the singular, ‘graffito,’ are from the Italian word ‘graffiato’ (‘scratched’).

The first known example of modern graffiti survives in the ancient Greek city of Ephesus (in modern-day Turkey). It is an advertisement for prostitution. Located near a mosaic and stone walkway, the graffiti shows a handprint that vaguely resembles a heart, along with a footprint and a number. This is believed to indicate that a brothel was nearby, with the handprint symbolizing payment and the number indicating the price.

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