Futura " Titled "For Wayne" Acrylic and Spray on canvas. Size measures 11" x 14"x 3". Signed, titled and dated by Futura.
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.
Leonard Hilton McGurr has always been ahead of the times. In 1970, inspired by the typeface Futura and the epic science fiction film “2001 A Space Odyssey,” the fifteen-year-old New Yorker adopted the tag FUTURA 2000. He had fallen in love with the ultra-creative street art of PHASE II and other graffiti progenitors like AMRL, FLINT 707, and STAY HIGH 149, and was determined to become part of the scene. McGurr toed the line in the U.S. Navy from 1974-78, but when he returned to civilian life he started painting entire subway trains, always preferring solo missions. His unique work earned him space in a 1980 exhibition at Fashion Moda, and in New Museum and Mudd Club shows the next year. By 1982, “Fut” was featured in solo exhibitions at Tony Shafrazi and The Fun Gallery, and was tapped to design album covers and stage sets for The Clash. It’s been a long time since Futura painted subways, but he remains true to his aesthetic, continuing to create inventive and visually-stunning art on everything from broken windows and burnt exhibition invitations to clothing, toys, footwear and his website, where he has posted new art every single day for years. Futura’s Kandinsky-esque abstractions feel as though he takes a chain saw to the solar system and cuts, carves, and colors his very own cosmos. Whatever Lenny chooses to do in the future, one thing is certain ― people will be following.