‘we can only advance our culture only by our own accounting’- This is my sentiment heading into the new year 2012.

Ive questioned post graffiti early on since my early visits to N.O.G.A (Nation of Graffiti Artist- circa 1978), the first place I had every seen graffiti painted on canvas by the likes of Kase2, Scorpio, Chino Malo and others and then there was the Souls Artists collective and also the Sam Esesse studio project whose participants where, Shy147, Dondi, Kel, Crash, Haze, Futura, Bil Rock, myself and many more- circa 1980.

These where milestones moments that in our collective history, moments that we can honestly record as our truths, our story, without them we wouldnt be as far along as we are today.

-Soul Artist 1981 Daily News-

They say that there was nothing to predict the outcome we have been witnessing lately with the culture, to an extent thats true but we can not discount the groundwork laid before us. Lets recall the pioneers of this culture artists like True222 (Phase2), Tracy 168, COCO144, Snake1 and others (artist who I often say are immortalized and honored by virtue of the work we continue to advance.) They were the first to begin applying the art to more than just trains, they were the first to paint on walls, canvas, clothes, design flyers, show in galleries and more.

-Early Phase2 canvas-

Though this is all little known history I wish to share a clip by Futura that discusses these important milestones.

Futura Out-Takes from The Creative Lives on Vimeo.

I post this going into the new year with a sense of optimism about the road ahead. Coming off the success of Art Basel and the onslaught of legit and illegit art making one can only say that culture has gone pandemic and there is no stopping it now. This year what I took notice to was how important documenting was to many of us, how the present time was precious and of value to us, whether painting next to Kofie, chatting it up with West, or admiring the works and words of How and Nosm, these stories that laid in small pockets of a larger clusterfuck of art world mania are the most relevant to our present and future.

Young photographers and video makers found clever and ingenious ways to ramp up their production values, they asked smarter and more in depth questions not just about the present but the past as well. I recall a young photographer asking me a question about the pioneers being left out of the picture, I told him to sharpen his focal lens, ‘I am here, TKid170 is close by, Haze is painting out back and Erni opened his own gallery.’ We have come a long way I said and many are gone but not forgotten and so long as we do our part and you ask the question I am willing to honor my history by words and works.