Here’s a wall I rocked with my boy Scam 13 years ago in Toronto. Ripped from VHS, shot time-lapse by our good friend Jen Law.
This is a news story that documented the second Hex vs. Slick battle. It took place behind a Los Angeles Levitz furniture store in 1990. I grew up in Toronto and somehow got my hands on a VHS dub about a year after, shit is legendary!
Whenever I’m in New York my home base is the Lower East Side, so for this next little teaser I chose the iconic Arlene’s Grocery as a backdrop. More importantly though, this clip introduces the one and only Bronx King CES to the LEPOS arcade project. Along with REVOK and GIANT, I’ve got three legendary motherfuckers down with this. BIG shoutout to them. Thank you!
I was doing some online exploring late last night and came across an interesting French blog post that documented “Digital Graffiti”. It focused on arcade games from the late 80’s and early 90’s, but most of the content was from Konami’s 4 player beat-em-up Crime Fighters. As an undercover cop, your mission is to fight your way through the mean streets of New York and rescue a group of kidnapped girls from the cities crime boss. Besides being awesome, the game portrays the grimy Koch-era by covering streets and subways with some pretty hilarious graffiti. Some tags include ROOTS ROCK REGGAE, PUNKS RULE and SLIME BALL RULE OK. The only one that stands out is a green BIO tag on a subway window which I’m sure was more of a happy accident than a shout out to TATS Cru. At the time this game was being made, graffiti was still relatively young and far from accepted commercially. Overseas, the Japanese crew at Konami did the best they could while being completely in the dark about the movement that was coming up.
From the man himself:
“Recently I’ve decided to explore where my graffiti can live within the matrix. I’ve always loved video games and building things so here we are. The future of graffiti for me will be in the form of black hat tactics.
MINECRAFT offers me a way to connect with my untainted inner youth and create expressions of criminal activity without the police punching me in the head or rival graffiti writers shooting at me. During the construction of this “KA” throw-up, I experienced extreme moments of vertigo when accidentally falling off the top of the letters. I have an incredible ability to truly feel the experience within video games which makes me sweat and scream while playing in first person. Also peep the fame tokens.”
Yesterday I found out NEKST passed away, I never met him but always admired his bombing and overall letter style. He wrote MSK, I discovered his work through the stuff he did with Revok. It always sucks to hear this kind of thing, condolences to his friends and fam. Here’s an interview from 2002.
I really hope that one day we get arcades back, with new games. Depressing. This photo was jacked from Thomas Schultz’s flickr.
In case it’s not obvious enough, the art and design of Neo-Geo games is the main inspiration for the LEPOS arcade aesthetic. I had a piggy bank as a kid, actually a giant Pepsi bottle, that I filled with coins and small bills hoping to one day purchase the $800 home system. It never happened, but holy shit I can afford this. This fall for $199.99 the new hand held system comes out, pre-loaded with 20 original SNK games. It also includes both a NeoGeo X Joystick and a NeoGeo X Station which used together turn the device into a full-blown console that connects to your TV. For a list of games and more info go here.
It’s been about ten years since I’ve picked up a can, but the more I work on this graffiti arcade shit the more inspired I am to paint. Here’s a flick of what I did this weekend with PRO rocking some abominable snowman metalhead characters. Sight and Spydr pieced on either side, once their background is complete I’ll post the whole production…
Next time you’re in New York don’t forget to hit up 149 St.-Grand Concourse. Find out more about this amazing project here.
I’m still working on a short film/faux trailer for the project, but in the meantime check out this bonus round I created. REVOK VS. GIANT!!!
Graffiti Heaven is a new game for iPhone’s and iPads. The premise is kind of interesting, you take on a graffiti writers soul after he dies and keep getting up. Like Enter the Void meets Video Graf? No. It seems the game play involves “testing your precision” by tracing a dot around graffiti photos the development team has taken. Like those old follow the bouncing ball cartoons, but more urban. The artwork consists of Live Traced photographs of Italy with cheap flash animation. It’s insane how some people spend so much time and money on things they obviously know so little about. I don’t think I’m jumping to conclusions by assuming this, if they knew one of the artists who’s artwork they put in their game they could have gotten a half decent designed title instead of using a terrible tag font. Also, the term “graffitist” they throw around sounds like something a grade nine art teacher would use. I’m not going to play this game, so if i’m wrong about all this hit me up.
Buy Graffiti Heaven for $0.99 at the App Store here.
I did a quick interview for German videogame mag Gamereactor… They were nice enough to send me a pdf of the page, I’m still not sure what it says though. If any heads out there can translate, hit me up!
Jet Set Radio came out for Sega Dreamcast in 2000. As far as I remember it was the first video game to incorporate graffiti into the mix, and according to wikipedia the artwork was done by Inkie. I’ve always felt like the graphics and overall style of it were incredibly wack, but I do remember it being pertty fun. It’s being re-released in HD this summer and doesn’t look any hyper to me.