KAVES - "Graffiti Writers Never Die". Ink on art paper. Measures 19.5x27.5. 2012
Michael McLeer a/k/a Mr. Kaves' life up to this point represents all that is amazing, albeit and tumultuous about growing up as a street kid in Brooklyn, NY. Rising up from a loving, yet chaotic family life, Kaves began flexing his artistic urges in the tunnels of the NYC transit system at the ridiculously young age of 10. These activities were well documented in Henry Chalfant’s (Style Wars) pioneering book in 1984 titled, SprayCan Art. While these endeavors secured him a spot in the graffiti hall-of-fame, they almost landed him a rap sheet.
Realizing that his creativity could be applied in more productive areas, Kaves utilized his boundless energy and well-oiled savvy to knock down the doors of several major corporations and became their go-to street artist and trend forecaster. Kaves has designed exclusive material for NIKE, Rockstar Games, WWE, PONY, MTV, RECON, ADIDAS, Van's Warped Tour and many others. Kaves has also designed logos and various graphics for world-renowned artists such as Beastie Boys and Everlast. Additionally, Kaves’ has been commissioned to do paintings by various musicians, entertainers and athletes. His work has been displayed in magazines and at various art shows and events. He has been published in books including SprayCan Art, Burning New York, Mascots & Mugs: The Characters and Cartoons of Subway Graffiti, Fresh Paint NYC, Graffiti Planet 2 and Piecebook: The Secret Drawings of Graffiti Writers. Most recently, Kaves was commissioned to contribute paintings to the MTV Real World Brooklyn loft, as well as, contributing works to the permanent installation in the Gunter Sachs Museum of Fine Arts in Germany, The Blackstone Hotel in Chicago, Illinois and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio.
Another huge piece of Mr. Kaves' life has been spent as a rap pioneer. His hip-hop group formed in the early 90's, Lordz of Brooklyn, left a substantial impact on the music business worldwide for over a decade. Today, Kaves continues rocking the mic as the co-frontman of the punk/rap group, simply titled The Lordz. The band's debut album The Brooklyn Way was recently released via Warner Music Group.
Branching out to television, Kaves co-created and produced The Brooklyn Way, a multi-episode docu-series about life as The Lordz, which premiered last year on Fuse TV. The show incited a remarkable regional groundswell during its first season on Madison Square Garden’s MSG network and was then picked up by nationally by Fuse. As a result of the tremendously received album and TV show, the group’s music has been heard recently on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Good Day New York, New York Knicks, Giants and Mets games, CBS TV’s CSI: New York MTV Real World: Brooklyn and a performance on NBC’s Late Night with Conan O’Brien.
In addition, Mr. Kaves owns and operates a successful art, apparel and tattoo shop, called Brooklyn Made Tattoo, which also serves as the hub for all his creative endeavors.