Though beefs and bickering usually take center stage in the graffiti world these days, the spirit of taking care of your own still finds its way through when needed. This Tuesday night, the 24th Collage NYC will bring together over 75 artists at the Delancey
starting at 7pm to help Ralph ‘TATU’ Perez, one of NYC’s own graffiti pioneers. Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, Ralph founded a local graffiti crew in 1979 known as the X-MEN, and helped it grow into an international creative collective that now spans across five continents. Taking the hard lessons learned throughout his youth, in 2008 Ralph formed XMental
, a non-profit organization/coalition of community organizers, artists, and teachers committed to mentoring and educating urban youth. Devoted to creating a safe space for our youth to practice creative self-expression and develop positive mindsets, self confidence and awareness. Harnessing the power of hip-hop (graffiti, break dancing, DJ’ing and MC’ing) they create opportunities for at-risk youth to discover and develop their talents, showcase their work and engage with their communities in a positive manner.
Ralph also runs the “Paint Straight Program,
” a restorative justice program for non-violent, first and second time youthful graffiti offenders. The 10-week program is run in conjunction with the New York Department of Probation. It is a rehabilitation program designed educate the youth on the history of graffiti and finds positive outlets for their collective creative energy. The program is a wonderful alternative to youthful incarnation, and earned Ralph a spot as NY1 News’ “New Yorker of the Week” in 2014. Ralph continues to practice the art of graffiti, organizing dozens of mural projects throughout the country every year. He is also a prominent spoken word artist, regularly hosting and performing at venues across the Tri-state area.
Ralph has always been described by many of his peers as one of the most selfless people you’ll ever meet. Unfortunately, he’s been ill for much of 2015, over priced medicine and insurmountable medical bills have thrown him into a financial tail-spin. His friends and family are kindly asking for donations to help with his rising medical costs. For people that can’t make it out to the fundraiser they can visit the GoFundMe page at: https://www.gofundme.com/3sa5yedk to give their donations