WITNES- "Stayhigh Tribute"

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Witnes- Acrylic on Wood Panel. Measures 11x14. 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.


It's hard to imagine that, Tyke, at six foot three, was given his moniker by his older brother's friends for being the runt of the litter back in 1987. Tyke began drawing monsters in kindergarten, but never thought about graffiti until his older brother, SUMET AWR started writing and allowed Tyke to tag along that same year. A few years later Tyke met KRUSH KSN, an early LA style-master who taught him a lot about technique and soon he began intertwining monsters with very complex letter forms, heavy on detail and texture. Greatly influenced by the interlocking mechanical lettering of CASE 2, a style know as "computer-rock", Tyke put his own spin on things and developed "organic monster rock".

After a brief hiatus to start a clothing line called eyewitness, Tyke retuned to graffiti with a new name: Witnes.  He liked the symmetry of the name and began executing pieces with personalities of their own.  Monsters reminiscent of Big Daddy Ed Roth's hotrod creatures -- with drooling fangs and eyes popping out of misshapen faces placed inside twisted color changing letters make witness pieces instantly recognizable.

Recently, he completed graffiti tours of Amsterdam and Vietnam and completed a project at Le Grand Palais in Paris.  He maintains a separate career as a gallery artist and remains a key component of the MSK/AWR/7th LETTER crew.  Revok, one of LA's and the world's top writers, sites Tyke and Krush as the two most significant influences on the development of his personal style.



















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