Freight Friday: Rehab and Yen 34

By - Friday, October 4th, 2013

How old school yo? This 2006 piece by Rehab is done in the style of the original graffiti masterpieces and outlined tags from the time between the summers of 1971 and 1972. This is according to the( somewhat contested) history, as acknowledged by the author, told in Graffiti Kings: New York City Mass Transit Art of the 1970s. The time between the summers of 1971 and 1972 was an historic one for graffiti art. El Marko 174 almost created the first masterpiece, but the piece is sometimes considered only an large outline. At that time an outline was a tag with a shell around the letters, an evolution of the simple tag created either by Cliff 159 or Evil Ed in late 1971. The reason El Marko 174’s outline can be considered a masterpiece is largely due to its size. The first outline was about 5 to 9 feet long. However, in the summer of 1972, Super-Kool 223 created the first fill-in. And this, according to most experts, is considered the first true masterpiece. This revolutionized the art by filling-in an outline of letters with volume then outlining, as we know it now, with a different color. He is also credited as the first to start adding ornamental bits and doodads in and around his fill-ins. In this particular book there is no piece with a strictly dotted shell, a clever twist on the classics and another innovation. But Rehab may not be the first ever to do this. See the foundation which Rehab is paying homage to, and building on, pictured below. After years of innovation, Yen 34 has a lot of well-executed simples running on the lines to this day. In this 2006 piece, he rocked a two color simple with overlapping letters. Cliff 159 is credited with the first overlapping bubble letter outline piece, painted in late 1971. This is what we would currently call a hollow throw-up. Pick up a copy of Graffiti Kings: New York City Mass Transit Art of the 1970s by Jack Stewart to learn all the details surrounding the birth of the movement.

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