Metal Monday: Happy Holidays from JSON and SEEN
Today’s Metal Monday post is dedicated to this holiday classic by the great writers Seen (Richie) and Json in the 1980s. It is one of Martha Cooper’s best photos and showed how graffiti brightened the community.
While many of us know the story of Seen through the film “Style Wars,” many are not familiar with Json, who frequently collaborated with Seen for many train pieces. Json started writing in the 1970s and had a comeback in the 1980s. He has written many other tags like Terror 161 and Tarantula 235, but fans of the work of Seen know him as Json. To read more about the career of Json or Terror 161 please check out this interview he did with Montana. Here is a small excerpt about the graffiti movement connecting with New York City art scene in the 1980s.
From 1980 to 1984 we bombed more trains than we ever had before. I was a bit old for it, but from a fame standpoint graffiti entered its Golden Age. The media attention from 82 to 84 put certain writers in the spotlight . The art world started to pay attention to guys like Zephyr, Dondi, Lee Quinones and Futura 2000, New York also became the birthplace for what would become Street Art as guys like Keith Haring, Richard Hambleton, Kenny Scharf and Crime Stopper used images to make a “name” for themselves. The ubercool NYC night clubs became like an above ground yard. Subway painters, street artists and celebrities hung out in the chicest . You had to be cool enough to be picked by doormen with attitudes to get into the club, and I never was that cool. I wanted to write on trains and wasn’t interested in art shows or hanging out with famous people. I wanted to be famous, but I didnt want anyone to know my face. For me that was the core, the essence of graffiti.
Respect the greats and your elders this holiday season. 12oz wishes everyone a safe and happy holiday season!