Doing my part to keep Nace’s memory alive. This roof is just a stones throw away from the old Jersey City Hall Of Fame, a place Nace and I spent many hours spraying.
Nace was the first writer I met that took a professional approach to painting illegal graffiti. His friendship had a lasting influence on my life. Rest In Peace
Photo: Joe Russo
In 2012 the Graffiti world lost a great. NEKST will be missed forever for his bold and unrelenting style. His name will always be synonymous with what a true graffiti writer is. A group of friends gathered in Detroit to reproduce NEKST’S John Hancock on the front of the Detroit Museum of Contemporary Art.
Produced by the Seventh Letter
Directed by Bankshot
Shot by Lyndon French
Music by Clams Casino and Tame Impala
All of the Artsists
The Seventh Letter
Olivia and Jordan
It’s been long over due but in the past few months I have been in the right head space to take on a tribute piece for Dondi White. To those who know, Dondi has been a major influence on many style writers from the past and present. It has taken me some time and effort to sufficiently understand the formulas of “classic” style and to feel confident enough to properly pay respect to such an iconic individual. My goal was not to imitate Dondi’s style on the wall, but to build upon it with what I have learned in my 20 years of painting graffiti.
The opportunity to paint a Dondi tribute came about in Seattle on a wall with Hews, Sneke & Myth. Before i arrived I looked up and printed some Dondi pieces at a motel in Oregon. I started off trying to understand the flow and composition of his pieces with a couple of informal sketches. I felt that the first attempts seemed forced or not as good as the original. Once I felt that I memorized enough of the formula I stopped looking and did it in my own way.
Abandoning the references I continued looking for the right flow. I based the lower two D’s in the first page below on the spine of a ROLL piece. Being that the first letter is so significant and influential to the mood and tempo of the whole piece, I found it difficult to decide on which form of “D” I wanted to start off with. So in these sketches you can see that I was trying to use them all by doing double or triple optioned D’s all within a single letter.
I also began to think about which of his characters I wanted to have around the piece. At first I thought of painting the stretched hand from the Children Of The Grave Part 2 wholecar but was not satisfied with the way it looked on paper. I ended up referencing the young boy character from Children Of The Grave Part 3, the Bode lizard from the 2Many window down, and a warped version of Dondi’s silhouette characters in the stance of one of Martha Cooper’s photos of the artist.
I wasn’t sure which characters to paint so i asked this eccentric cart pusher by the name of GOBEUS which I should do. After a 10 minute ramble about the earth, stars, and the “spin the bottle club” he told me to paint them all. So I did…
Overall I am very proud of the finished product. There are some parts of the piece I wish I would of improved on. The light orange I used turned out to not be more on the muddy side and does not pop out enough against the textured brick. Although I spent so much time doing sketches for the first “D”, it is my least favorite letter in the mix. I do feel that The piece has a good structure and balance of intricate connections from letter to letter.
These days with the internet being the way that new writers learn about graffiti or use it as a source for inspiration, I feel it is important to expose the newer generations to writers like Dondi. I find it strange when I meet young fans who are obsessed with modern graffiti but never heard of Subway Art or of many of the writers from that era. They could tell you everything there is to know about Saber but when it comes to classic work from 30 years ago, they know absolutely nothing.
Rammellzee was on some serious next shit. Rest in peace to the phonics magician-
Public service announcement…
The man behind the mask…
Stylewars DVD extras interview…
Bates‘ tribute to Rammellzee-
I look forward to painting a tribute of my own. Right spot, right time, right frame of mind!
For more on Rammellzee check out gothicfuturism.com
The other day I decided to paint a piece for Semz. It’s quite a reminiscing feeling when painting a piece for a friend who has passed away. While painting, I end up thinking of odd experiences or trips taken with the person. I think a lot about the past and how I ended up where I’m at today. It’s a real sad feeling knowing that the past is done and cannot be returned to. When i go back east it doesn’t feel like home anymore. What i knew has since been knocked down, regulated, or swallowed up.
As Joe became less interested in graffiti, he worked more on his music. The energy and honesty in his music clearly comes across in an inspiring way…
Rest In Peace
I decided to rock a long overdue Iz The Wiz piece out in Hollywood. I did not really know IZ personally but he influenced me in forming my style. Looking at the finished piece I feel that I should have done a style closer to what IZ was known for. Instead I did a mash of different style elements from Subway Art taken from memory.
Hopefully I can do a series of tribute pieces this year for legends from the New York subway era.