TERROR 161 "Stayhigh" Map

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TERROR 161 "Stayhigh" Map. Paint marker and marker on NYC Transit map. Measures 23"x32" 2012.


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.

TERROR 161 began his career on in 1973 under the name  TARANTULA 235 with a spider icon dominating the virgin territory  of his neighborhood, the Riverdale section of the Bronx.  By 1974 he had developed style and the new name TERROR 161, an homage to the two great writers JUNIOR and CAY 161.  From 1974 to 1977, TERROR 161 and his crew The MOB ( Masters of Broadway ) went to the One Yard – located in their backyard in Riverdale – every weekend. TERROR started a string crude pieces that he began numbering. He hit the insides hard as well.  In 1977 he retired with a reputation as a strong blue-collar writer on the One's – but there were a lot of those, and TERROR 161 wanted more. In 1980 he bumped into his old crew mate AMMO. The two old friends got to talking and before either one of them knew it they were climbing the fence to the One yard with a bag of paint. TERROR changed his name to JAYSON(J.SON for short) and The MOB was back. The older and wiser duo   began to venture onto other lines with writers as diverse as CAP, SEEN, and T.KID 170.  The once prestigious 2 and 5 lines had become a war battlefield. Silver throwies had replaced the colorful burners of the past. Not so on the Six train, an isolated line and safe haven dominated by SEEN and the UA crew.  From 1982-83 SEEN and JAYSON teamed up to do some highly memorable cars in the demilitarized zone.   Although J.SON retired in 1984,  he has remained active in documenting graffiti for over 15 years.  His recent book Graffiti 365 (Abrams 2011) is an encyclopedic tome documenting both street art and letter based graffiti world-wide.










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