Of Puerto Rican origin, Cope 2 is known as the legendary graffiti artist of the South Bronx –often referred to as the Ka’bah of Hip Hop culture– where he was born and raised. He was introduced to graffiti in 1978 through his cousin Chico. Writing his first tag “Nano” under the staircase and on the roof of his grandmother’s building with the markers he secretly borrowed from his cousin, he found himself covering New York’s 4 Line with his name only two years later. Soon, his best friend Kope gave him the pseudonym Cope 2. When the group KD (Kids Destroy) he put together in 1982 came to be known as “Kings of the 4 line,” the name was changed to “Kings Destroy.”
Advancing his style in the streets and subways of the Bronx and soon hailed as one of the most prolific and legendary graffiti artists of New York, Cope 2 has been painting the streets for more than thirty years. Apart from his productivity, his unique Bubble-style letters have earned him worldwide fame. Although he is largely known by this style today, he also mastered the complex Wild Style as well. The artist, who toured the world over the years and left his signature on the walls of every country he visited, continues to live and work in the Bronx.
“Once the earliest names of graffiti chose to go in different directions as of 1988,” says Cope 2, “the subway era came to an end.” He adds that he never severed his ties with graffiti despite the challenges he encountered. In the early 1990s, he began –like many others- painting on permitted walls and continued to spread his name under less stressful circumstances.
Cope 2 does not distinguish between the graffiti he paints on the street and the canvases he creates for galleries; in both cases, he continues to express himself in the most natural way. Working at full throttle as he paints on the street, the artist notes that due to the time-consuming nature of details that the canvas requires, the experimentation with a range of media other than spray paint, and the formality the canvas demands, he strives to go beyond his limits to always reach for something better. In describing himself and his art, Cope 2 notes that his objective is to stay as natural as he possibly can and underlines the importance of being a good person and respecting others.
Using his boundless energy to establish a connection between the street and the gallery, the artist cannot help but paint his trademark of round Bubble letters on the streets of a city he visits and adds these letters to the abstract works he creates in his studio.
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