BLADE is considered “The King of Graffiti” because by 1980, after painting 5,000 wildly creative trains, he stopped counting. Known and loved by the graffiti community, BLADE is not a myth but a crowned head visionary who has painted a rich collection of artwork on the street and on canvas.
BLADE’s first solo show in Los Angeles, this exhibit features new large-scale spray paint and paint marker artworks on canvas and NYC subway maps. Inspired by his own characters, letters, colors, and abstract imagery from some of his own subway train masterpieces from the 1970’s, the collection of artwork is a throwback to his innovative style that influenced generations of contemporary artists all over the world. Titles like “METALLIC MADNESS” and “METEROIC RAINBOW ” are reminiscent of the silver spray paint and metal trains that BLADE painted fiercely. His gifted perception for color and letter style are not just nostalgic but defining for the golden era of subway art. In “JOINT MAN ,” BLADE paints a character he originally created in 1976, at age 19, on an IRT Train. These new paintings are a look at the past fused with BLADE’s ever-future imagination of today.
BLADE: KING OF GRAFFITI is a colorful hardbound collectible book about BLADE, the prolific and legendary graffiti artist from the Bronx. BLADE’s career has spanned over forty years and writer/NY graffiti artist Chris Pape, aka FREEDOM , sits down with him to recount his high’s and low’s in this 250 page book, packed with vintage photos of his life and artwork. This book parallels the New York graffiti movement almost from its inception, moving through its glory years in the mid-1970s, when BLADE earned his title, and ending in the global art scene, where he remains a major presence. BLADE helped New York graffiti become internationally famous by making it look fun, and, for reasons of quantity, quality, and, perhaps above all, for sheer spirit, BLADE may very well be the most popular graffiti artist with his peers. This recently released book is available for sale at THE SEVENTH LETTER STORE for $39.99.
FREEDOM grew up on the Upper West side of Manhattan and his name became cemented in graffiti history when he painted what became known as the Freedom Tunnel from 1980 - 1996. The tunnel underneath NYC was once FREEDOM ’s personal hall of fame, featuring many of his silver and black spray paint masterpieces, which included recreations of great artworks from history to specifically homage the importance and influence they have on graffiti art.
The city of New York and Amtrak have since buffed much of the Freedom Tunnel unfortunately but FREEDOM has found another a tunnel to paint in Rochester, upstate New York.
Inspired by his new work in that tunnel, THE ROCHESTER SERIES is a collection of 12” x 16” paintings on wooden panels, larger works on canvas, and traditional NYC wild style piece book drawings reinvented with added collage. Exploring pop objects from his youth, FREEDOM is mining vintage imagery as if he is sifting through subway grating looking for urban archaeology.
Using color in ways he never could in the 1980’s, these works are bright with exciting hues. FREEDOM paints iconic comic book heroes and classic products with graphic cartoony logos incorporating distressed backgrounds to bring into the gallery walls his musings from his current tunnel spray paint installations. In “THE THING ,” FREEDOM tags up historical NYC graffiti writers FLINT , MIKE 171, TAKI 183, and many others, again referencing the impact and gravity of his graffiti community, the writing idols of the walls.