Lee Quinones

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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.

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