“It’s always interesting for me to think of the effect this will have on kids today. Because it doesn’t mean ‘Hey kid, go out and do this’. It means ‘Hey kid, in the world of art, there could also be space for this culture’.”
Futura is a graffiti artist best known for his abstract approach to street art. Born in New York, he began painting on the subways, as a teenager in the early 1970s, and over the course of his career has been associated with the writing groups 3YB, CIA, FBI, Interpol, and KGB. While other graffiti artists of the 1970s and 1980s focused on lettering, Futura was unique in his abstract style. In the 1980s, he began to work on canvas, and exhibited along with American artists such as Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Kenny Scharf.
Futura’s studio work grew increasingly abstract and was exhibited in Gas: Graffiti Art Success at Fashion Moda in 1980 and New York/New Wave at P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Centre in 1981. Stating that his arrival to abstract arena was not calculated, Futura indicates that he could never imagine that he would inspire a new community some decades later.
In the early 1980s he teamed up with the punk group The Clash for their European tour of 1981, painting the backdrops for sets and designed the sleeve for their This Is Radio Clash single. In 1982 he hand wrote the sleeve notes and lyrics sheet for their Combat Rock album. He continued to tour with the band and spray paint backdrops during the performances.
After a decade of being one of most exhibited graffiti artists, he moved into product design. He worked with companies such as Nike, Recon, and Medicom Toy, and has been designing clothing for his label Futura Laboratories. According to Futura, whose work has been exhibited in numerous galleries and museums, graffiti is the ultimate art of self-promotion.
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