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STATEN ISLAND: RIME / TOPER
Graffiti giants like Rime and Toper made Staten Island their stomping grounds during their New York City come up. And even if it is a place known for welcoming transitory residents (see some notable members of the infamous Wu-Tang Clan) or cats from Jersey— since the Bayonne Bridge connects to the Garden State— Staten Island breeds them hard. This is probably why powerhouses like Rime and Toper don’t find it too hard to “regulate” on walls and surfaces like they had to commandeer growing up writing together.
Where Brooklyn at? Apparently everywhere and anywhere if you let ubiquitous cuts like The Notorious B.I.G.’s infamous “Madison
Square Garden Freestyle” call it— a staple at any hip hop party’s peak. Though the idea is more metaphoric than anything— being
everywhere at once really defies the laws of physics— Brooklyn sons like graffiti legend Chino BYI can testify to covering more County of Kings ground than most.
Harlemite and native New Yorker Micah, of über-successful local lifestyle brand Only NY, knows this probably better than anyone. He cites the city’s unlimited sights, sounds, and pulses as the unlimited source of inspiration for his art. Well, that and his fondness for the tranquility of nature— the complete opposite of the urban jungle. This limbo or understanding of balance, if you will, is what best describes his art’s flow, a parallel to the city’s momentum and pace.
It was for this reason that the Queens-founded Smart Crew decided to make use of their special box truck canvas, provided by Nike NYC, to commemorate the spirit of the biggest soccer event on the planet. Formed circa 1997 by original members MEY, SYCO13, and LUK, the diverse squad has been gaining attention and strength since. They approach graffiti in a very collective and calculated manner that very much reflects, not only their name and iconic “S” with graduate cap emblem, but also the diverse unity found in soccer culture. The crew gets down like the teams get down!
Some samples of works on paper from Reaction Lines at Galerie Wallworks.
Toper, Serval, Rime, 2014
For show and catalogue information: