Gordon Wayne Roberts created the tag Stay High 149, combined it with a smoking, halo-adorned stick man he borrowed from The Saint television show and changed the face of graffiti. It's hard to imagine a trip through the subway system in early 70's without seeing his name a dozen times. Changing to his secondary alias, voice of the ghetto, around 1974 , ,he introduced the world to two and three toned markers that spewed rainbows of psychedelic cool. After a 25 year disappearance , a time during which many assumed him dead, he reappeared at a graff show in 2000 and soon launched a comeback that gave a new generation a chance to know and love his work. His tags had the rarest combination of style and meaning I've ever witnessed . High Maintenance is about paying back one of the most inspirational , yet humble cats to ever wield a marker. His spirit and legacy has touched every era of a culture that's blown up world wide. The artists who so generously donated their work for this benefit are giving their collective thanks to a man who transcended graffiti culture and in time be remembered as an American Folk Hero. All net proceeds from this sale will go to Stayhigh's Family.
When Barack Obama broke historical records by becoming the first half black President of The United States in 2008, most of his supporters, around the world, touted the same boldly graphic image to show their enthusiasm: a red and blue stencil-like image of Obama's face, with the word "HOPE" stamped underneath him. It appeared on stickers, posters, t-shirts, and all other manner of campaign paraphernalia, lighting up the internet like a bottle rocket. This image was designed by one of street art's reigning kingpins, Shepard Fairey.
Fairey has a lot of experience designing imagery that goes viral, verging on propaganda. He began his street art career, in the late 1980's, with the now legendary Obey Giant campaign, featuring a stenciled image of now-deceased wrestler Andre the Giant. He continued the campaign for over twenty years, placing hundreds of thousands of stickers, stencils and massive, wheatpasted posters of the Obey imagery on the walls of almost every major city in the world. Today, the Obey Giant campaign is seen as a cornerstone of street art's foundation, laying the groundwork for the medium of wheatpasting altogether.
Based in Los Angeles, Fairey is also responsible for the Studio number one graphic design agency, Swindle Magazine, Subliminal Projects Gallery, and the Obey clothing brand. The artist still sells limited edition, signed prints from his website for under $100, and he exhibits internationally, including most recently at the Boston Museum of Contemporary Art.