RIFF 170, Titled “Untitled#1”- Marker on paper . 2009. Size measures 8”x 11”
RIFF 170 established himself as one of the most important writers of the early subway movement. His versatility as a technician and his appropriation of pop imagery became the blueprint for generations of writers – particularly the Death Squad which cites him as their major influence.
RIFF started painting trains in 1972 under the guise of various names including: DOVE 2, CASH, WORM, CONAN, POD and many others.
Unlike many other writers RIFF wasn't concerned about the fame aspect of graffiti, in fact many writers of his generation didn't even know his other names. RIFF was inspired by popular imagery all around, his names were a reflection of marketing devices that seeped into his brain. The name DOVE for example came right off the supermarket shelves. CONAN was a famous comic book and CRUNCH was a shortened version of Captain Crunch cereal.
He picked names that he liked and reinvented them on the trains with new lettering combinations that hadn't been seen before. He was one of a handful of artists to show with UGA in the 1970's, today, he continues to paint for private collections around the world.