Monday, October 7, 2013
On the subjects of 'kings' I had to mention Phase 2 at some point. I first saw his work in the now legendary Steven Hager book about Hip Hop culture from 1984. It featured some of Phase's subway cars, but also a spread of all of his outlines, demonstrating how his style had evolved from 1973-1983. He was the pioneer of the 'bubble' letter style that most graffiti adopted back in the early 70's. He'd actually been painting for 10 years already when I'd discovered him. Also, he was one of the first to cross over into the fine art world with the infamous Razor Gallery shows.
Years later, he was pretty active in the culture, designing some flyers with Buddy Esquire for some classic shows. He had all sorts of things happening in the early 80's including Fab Five Freddy playing his namesake in the movie Wild Style. He also came out with a record on Celluloid, back in a time when lots of graffiti artists has musical aspirations, which can be heard here. You be the judge.
Phase, along with Vulcan, started a great graffiti magazine. Back in a time when none existed. It was called International Graffiti Times, and, it came in the form of a giant color newspaper. Kind of like an underground 'street sheet' for graffiti. When I could find it, I'd always grab a few copies, knowing I wouldn't see one for a while.