12oz Twelve: Graffiti Writers Turned Gallery Artists

By - Friday, April 3rd, 2015

In the beginning, graffiti had very little to do with art. These days, that’s not the case. Many well known graffiti writers are doing more and more murals and fine art work. This installment of the 12oz Twelve takes a look at artists who stand out in the transition between graffiti writer and gallery artist.

BARRY MCGEE: One of the earliest graffiti writers to delve into the fine art world, Barry McGee. aka Twist, was a prolific graffiti writer with some of the freshest style, he also accomplished some incredible fine art feats, showing his work in the ICA (Institute of Contemporary Art). 

Barry McGee 

DOES: Does has recently been killing the fine art game. His intricate “graffiti piece,” like his canvases, are quite amazing to take in. Does has an upcoming show “A Major Minority” at 1AM Gallery in San Francisco. 


FUTURA: Futura was an early NYC subway graffiti writer. These days, Futura continues to paint, but now on canvas and in galleries. Futura had a recent show in Shanghai, China. 


HORFE: French graffiti writer Horfe still paints plenty of walls. Horfe has also used his recognizable style to create some great fine artwork. 


JURNE: Jurne is one of the main names in graffiti today, and he continues to put in work all over the country. Jurne has also more recently begun to get involved in fine art, creating prints, drawings and paintings with great skill. 


 GOREY: Gorey is another French graffiti writer. Gorey has worked with paintings and illustrations. He has taken his fine art and collaborated with attire companies like HUF. 


 RETNA: Retna is an LA based graffiti writer and artist. His work is easily recognizable. Inspired by graffiti lettering, Retna has created some of the most famous murals around. 


POSE: As many members of famous graffiti crew MSK have done, Pose has moved into working with fine art. Pose creates some impressive colorful paintings and displayed his work recently at the Library Street Collective in Detroit. 


REVOK: Yet another member of MSK who works on the fine art, gallery game. Revok’s new work will be upcoming also at the Library Street Collective. 


RIME: I guess you could say MSK is capitalizing on the new graffiti to fine art movement. Rime has also been producing dope work. Rime’s latest show just opened at Gallerie Works in Paris, France. 


SMASH 137: Known for his unique graffiti and galery pieces, Smash 137 has made a name for himself with his rad paintings. Smash 137 has been featured in a number of art magazines. 


 ESPO/STEPHEN POWERS: Espo, or Stephen Powers was another early name to move onto painting commissioned murals around cities everywhere. Stephen Powers also works on other fine art projects and has been featured in the New York Times. 


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