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.
LSD OM began writing graffiti as a young boy growing up on west 86th street. He was inspired by a lot of the political graffiti of the 60’s including the SDS logo, a name he took for himself for a short time.
He had started writing his name CHAD in 1969, in 1971 his family moved to the Bronx and he took on a new name, LSD OM. By 1972 he was shadowing the tags of STAYHIGH 149 and DEADLEG 167. He took his L and D from DEADLEG and his S from STAYHIGH and morphed them into his own psychedelic tag. After developing the tag he went all over the city trying to hit as many stations as possible where a lot of his tags survived into the 80’s.
If his tag was a thing of beauty then his pieces were “art”.
From 1973 to 1976 he did at least a hundred different pieces with none of them looking the same. At a time when the writing culture was looking into itself for inspiration, i.e. – whatever the last guy did, LSD was too busy pilfering underground comics and record covers and using them as inspiration. His pieces definitely stood apart from the others!
In the same three-year time span he co-founded the writing crew the Rebels, a highly respected group that would become an inspiration for RTW. He wanted the Rebels to reflect the culture of writing itself and the crew had members of all races. It was a utopian vision that seemed to bypass the complexities of race relations that actually existed in the graffiti world. For many white writers running into all black crews usually meant getting jumped, somehow Chad seemed to bypass all of this. Perhaps because of his age
or his great style he seemed to be able to go where he pleased. This just added to his legacy as his tags were found in some of the most dangerous places in he city. He quit writing in 1976 – amazingly some of those tags still stand.