FREEDOM - "Black Book - Nixon". Marker,Collage, Ink and spray on paper. 11x14. signed.
"Roaming around storage areas are often where I often spend my days, and where I have made many of my best personal discoveries. It was in the archives of the Museum of the City of New York that I first came across the treasure trove of black books that came to be featured in the recent exhibition and companion publication City as Canvas.
When Dirty Pilot asked me to look around their virtual “back pages” to look for a selection of overlooked gems, I gladly accepted. What is better than the thrill of the hunt? The results are a selection of work from the “back room” that are exceptional pieces by some of the masters of this art form – be it the iconic tag of TAKI 183, the psychedelic bubble stylings of PART ONE, or the comic book influenced spray can man and “Jack Kirby krackle” of DR. REVOLT,
Regardless of whether these treasures are created with pens, markers, paint, or spray paint, the common thread is lettering. It was the origin and will always be at the heart of this particular art form.
My treasure hunt is now yours to enjoy. Make a few discoveries of you own."
Sean Corcoran, Curator at Museum of the City of New York
More about the show at MCNY - http://www.mcny.org/content/city-canvas
Chris Pape / FREEDOM
Born in 1960, Chris Pape began painting trains in 1974 as a teenager in New York using the name GEN 2. His early train painting career came to a halt as he entered the prestigious La Guardia High School of Music and Art in 1976. The Music and Art curriculum was ambitious and gave him a foundation in skills as diverse as printmaking, watercolor and oil painting.
After leaving home, the artist returned to graffiti in 1979 with his new name FREEDOM. While painting trains he noticed he was able to get grey tones while painting in silver and black, with the tones he realized he could draw with paint.
In 1980, while exiting Riverside Park, FREEDOM watched as joggers stopped and stared into a grating above an abandoned tunnel. That March he painted something that would stare back, a twenty foot high mural of the Mona Lisa.
It was to be the beginning of a sixteen year run of paintings
and drawings that would come to be known as the Freedom tunnel.
In the 1980’s FREEDOM had one foot in the gallery scene,
showing with CRASH, Jean Michel Basquiat, FUTURA and others. In 1989, with the emergence of the “Mole People” in the tunnel he chose to abandon his gallery career and focus on painting and drawing the homeless. In 1996 the tunnel was closed off and the artist painted his final work titled “Buy American”.
Chris Pape has continued to keep busy, reemerging as an author and filmmaker, and considered by many to be the leading archivist of the New York subway graffiti movement.
He has painted the entire time, doing commissions for collectors around the world usually based on the eclectic works in the Freedom tunnel.