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Brandon Benefield, aka “Real One”, or simply known as “Real” to many, was introduced to Graffiti by a soon-to-be lifelong friend, known around our crew as “Larg One”. During the summer of 1992, Real was forced into summer school. Larg One and Real had a class together. Real noticed him drawing on a book cover in class and at that moment, Real’s life was forever changed. It really piqued this young man’s interest. He had to ask what he was doing and that’s where it all started. Soon they were brainstorming graffiti names. The name “Rel” stuck for a short period until another crew member, now known as “Clown”, said just put the “A” in it and write Real. And, that’s what stuck; Real One. As time went by, these talented artists built their crew. The talent among them grew and grew. Real looked up to the crew member “Clown” and always considered him his mentor. Whether they knew it or not, the leaders of the Graffiti group, Leon and Tone, were mentors for the rest of the crew. Soon, graffiti lead in to meeting all kinds of new people and networking. In 1995, music made its way into the young artist Real’s life. This multi-talented young artist recorded an album. Real One released his first music project independently with the group Cali Souldiers. Real One has since moved onto a solo career releasing his 1st album “Hustlin Habits”. His sophomore release titled “Reefer Madness” won multiple awards. A third album released “Flight 420 Real One” has since been releasing singles working with artists like Grammy award winning artist Grandmaster Melle Mel, Mac Dre RIP, Chief Rocker Busy Bee, Spice 1, San Quinn and so many more. Real One is a self-made man with many talents.
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Fernando Carlo was born in New York City in 1968. He began his street art in 1985 after encouragement from his cousin. Fernando adopted the tag name “COPE2”. Fittingly, this graffiti legend now resides in The Bronx, the birth place of hip hop. He actively painted in the city especially in the 80’s and 90’s. It was like everywhere you looked you’d see a Cope throw up! One couldn’t miss his trademark bubble letters. His crews are “KD”and “TNB” and he is known as the “ambassador” of New York City Graffiti. He started painting in 1978 and his work can be found in galleries and cities around the world. COPE2 is a self-taught artist who is a celebrated figure for the last 30 years in the graffiti art culture. One of New York City’s most legendary prolific graffiti artists, he developed his style in the subways and streets of the Bronx by creating graffiti productions on subways and the streets of NYC. Today, you can catch COPE2 in the studio painting, bringing his raw energy into abstract masterpieces that are uniquely intertwined with his trademark bubble letters and tags on canvases. He has also delved into curating successful group exhibitions. COPE2 crosses between art world, mainstream and street culture
Known in pop-culture and the graffiti circle as “The First Lady of Graffiti”, also known as “Lady Pink”, is a strong, talented woman named Sandra Fabara. Lady Pink was born in Ecuador in 1964, raised in New York City and currently resides in the countryside north of the Big Apple. While still in high school, she was already exhibiting paintings in art galleries, and by the age of 21, Lady Pink had her first solo show at the Moore College of Art. In 1979, she picked up a can and began her journey in graffiti art. In no time, she was widely known as the only female capable of competing with the boys in the graffiti subculture. Pink painted subway trains from the years 1979-1985. Lady Pink used her graffiti and murals as acts of rebellion and self-expression and empowering women. As Lady Pink says, "It's not just a boy’s club. We have a sisterhood thing going." In 1982, she had a starring role in the motion picture "Wild Style" where she was able to display her exceptional art herself. That renowned role and her other significant contributions to graffiti have made her a cult figure in the hip-hop subculture. As a leading participant in the rise of graffiti art, Lady Pink's canvases have entered prestigious art collections such as those of the Whitney Museum, the MET in New York City, the Brooklyn Museum and the Groningen Museum of Holland. She has made a name for herself in the fine arts worldas her paintings are highly prized by collectors all over the globe. Today, Lady Pink continues to create new paintings on canvas that express her unique personal vision. She also shares her 30 years of experience with teens by holding mural workshops and actively lecturing to college students.
If you drove through the streets of San Francisco in the 90’s,you probably came across some painted black and white horses;yes, horses! The incredibly talented woman behind these stunning creations is artist Ruby Neri aka Reminisce/ REM. Her trademark horses were painted everywhere on the city’s walls and trains. REM’s art always stood out from a lot of the graffiti artists at the time and even today, her distinct talent would still set a standard. Roaming around the Bay Area, one would find themselves suddenly in front of a stunning random horse galloping on a wall, or perhaps a simple lone beautiful horse just standing there staring at you. In the early 90’s, Neri (REM) was a core member of the Mission School, a group of countercultural street artists in San Francisco’s Mission District that included Barry McGee and Margaret Kilgallen. Ruby was born in San Francisco but now lives and works in Los Angeles. Inspired by her artistic past and present, she has continued her journey by creating sculptures of women with a graffiti twist. She will be part of a group exhibition at the Modern Museum of Art in Paris in October 2021. Following that exhibit, she will have a solo show with Salon 94 in November 2021.
McGee a San Francisco Graffiti Artist
McGee, a San Francisco graffiti artist, has been producing work on the streets since the 1980’s under the tag names “Twist”, “Twister”, and “Twisted”. His signature motif is the face of a man with sagging, tired eyes, and a screw rendered in an efficient linear style. I remember going to San Francisco in the early 90’s as a beginning graffiti artist myself and being amazed by his work and the spots he would paint. One would see it on the sides of bridges, billboard signs, roof tops, and other places that seemed impossible to get to easily. However, Twist always managed to surprise you with that fearless factor of risking his life to get up on a crazy spot. Twist was like Batman, probably not a billionaire, but a mysterious guy of the night that no one knew about at the time but everyone knew his work. When they saw the faces he did, the screws, throw ups and tags everywhere, he shot to popularity in the graffiti circles. He was a San Francisco city king no doubt. A revered figure in the West Coast graffiti subculture (typically associated with the skater and surfer communities), Barry McGee currently makes drawings, paintings, and mixed-media installations inspired by urban culture that incorporate elements such as empty liquor bottles and spray-paint cans, tagged signs, wrenches, and scrap wood or metal. You can find his artwork and follow him on his Instagram @mcgee_archive
RICHARD 'RICHIE' MIRANDO'S "SEEN"
Richard "Richie" Mirando’s, aka “SEEN”, artwork is synonymous with the historical cityscape of New York. Born in the Bronx in 1961, he has become one of the most well-known graffiti artists and is often referred to as the Godfather of Graffiti. Influenced by comics, “SEEN” first started getting up on the New York City subway systems in 1973, at the young age of 11. Over the next ten years, what began as a quick tag on the inside of a train, developed into producing full-color burners and rockin with his crew, United Artists (or simply UA), which included Duster, Sin, and his brother Mad, who all painted whole train cars. SEEN’S style of art contributed to some of the most iconic images of New York. The artist’s work has moved from the street to canvas and from trains to tattoos and gallery walls. SEEN also featured in the acclaimed 1983 documentary, Style Wars, which explored hip-hop culture. His vision became ingrained in popular culture with images of his work appearing in well-known digital video-games and, coincidentally, also where I first learned of him in the book “Subway Art”. SEEN now has his own galleries in New York and has recently started opening one in the city of sin, Las Vegas. To keep up with what this living legend and hip-hop icon does next, you can follow him on IG @graffitiloser and find his art and other items available at his website
Al Pizarro - Ceo / Founder
Bronx New, York