Taki 183- One of the artists who made the earliest impact on the graffiti art world in NYC was Taki 183. He grew up as a Greek American and the 183 in his tag represents West 183rd Street in New York City. He is significant because he was one of the first graffiti artists in New York City to be recognized by the media. Taki 183, amongst other young artists in New York City, started to tag their names on everything. This trend is still popular today and he opened the doors to thousands of artists in the big apple.
Billy 167- Billy 167 is known for being one of the most talented letter stylists of all time. His signature style was probably known as the swirl side of piecing. He was from the Bronx and created the most artwork between 1972 and 1977. He did some outstanding work on the subways.
Kool 131- Kool 131 was from Harlem and was most famous between 1975 and 1984. He started writing when he was only fourteen years old and is known for his extremely unique style which features clean fill-ins. This differs significantly from the camouflage style and is believed to be harder to obtain. A rumor about this graffiti artist is that he would have to start all over if his outline didn’t work. He will be remembered for having the ability to create clean and crisp artwork.
Lady Pink- One of the most influential female graffiti artists of all time is Lady Pink. Sandra Fabara, “Lady Pink”, was raised in the Queens. Her name is inspired by her love for historical romances from the Victorian period. And she began to tag her boyfriend’s name across the city after her boyfriend was arrested. Her first solo show was called Femmes-Fatales and was presented when she was only twenty one years old. She was amazing at using colors in her artwork and was known for being intelligent and quick-witted.
Dondi- Doni was a graffiti artist who was from Brooklyn, New York. He was one out of fourteen children and had a difficult time growing up. In interviews, Dondi has stated that he was forced to join gangs in order to prevent himself from getting jumped. In the earlier stages of his career, he liked to tag his name on buildings. Because he wanted the public to see and recognize his work; he drew in readable letters. But after a couple of years went by, he began drawing detailed paintings that covered large areas. Dondi’s most famous art piece is probably the Children of the Grave. It took up three entire cars on the subway trains in New York City between 1978 and 1980. Sadly, Dondi passed away from HIV/AIDS in 1998.
Kel 139- Kel 139 was from the Bronx and is probably most famous for being a part of three major graffiti art crews. The three crews include IRT lines, Roc Stars, and RTW. He later used his artistic capabilities to help businesses create and market their products. Kel’s crews were the first ever to use commercial pressure washers to wash off other “taggers” work to put up their own. This has since become very popular among graffiti artists who “beef” with one another.
Despite the fact that this style of art started to become associated with violence and crime during the 1980’s, museums and the general public are starting to see the value in graffiti. The different styles and designs can be seen throughout the entire city. Whether you are in the subway or walking through Harlem, there is an abundance of graffiti to be seen and enjoyed.