Our Man Flint… Terror161 Drops Knowledge About A Widely Unknown Legendary Graff Figure
Jay Edlin featured a profile on the early graffiti writer Flint… as well as a handful of photographs from his archives in the book Graffiti 365. Flint… made a name for himself in the early 1970’s writing with LSD OM and Tracy168. He was also one of the few graffiti writers at the time behind the lens of a camera documenting what was going on around him. Today he is beginning to receive recognition for his prolific body of work (and is the subject of 12ozProphet’s next collaboration dropping soon!) Scroll down to read Part 1 of Terror161’s biographical post on Flint…
Flint Gennari remains one of the most unique artists and photographers ever spawned by the graffiti movement. A loner with a rebellious spirit, FLINT…, like Stay High 149, co-opted his identitiy from a popular spy series, in this case borrowing his moniker from super-spy Derek Flint played by James Coburn in late 60’s James Bond parody films “In Like Flint” and “Our Man Flint”. Impacted by the Kennedy assassination, The Viet Nam War and the civil rights movement , he began carving the name Flint.. into picinic tables and writing long political diatribes signed by his new alias. This was the gestation period for the graffiti moniker he would popularize later. Flint Gennari grew up in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn , just a few blocks away from Ex Vandals founder Dino Nod and legendary first generation Brooklyn tagger Scooter.
Although he rolled with the Ex Vandals , the first all city graff crew, FLINT.. remained somewhat of a loner. He developed a love for photography and found he had an innate sense for capturing the moment. As graffiti transitioned from signatures to piecing FLINT… kept his work conceptual. As graffiti became a sport for the masses , FLINT… stopped writing political sayings and began implementing thought provoking catch phrases that epitomized cool and left readers scratching their heads. The plain FLINT… tag changed as Gennari added seriphs to his letters making his tags look as though they were typewrittten. All of us were trying to forge our own identities as non-conformist rebels, but when thousands of kids embrace non-conformity simultaneously they become conformists. FLINT.. approached writing conceptually. As a kid I was blown away by FLINT…‘s neat tags with sayings that are forever embedded in my cranium such as :For Those Who Dare, Bad But Not Evil, For Ladies Only and the ubiquitous THINK FLINT… which a slew of other writers appropriated. FLINT… attended Art and Design High School where he would drop his photography major, finding he already knew more than the teachers and take up film making instead. Just as he did with writing FLINT… approached photography from an outside the box perspective. While most photographers and writers concentrated on capturing simply the pieces on the train, FLINT… focused his lens on the people and the process.
Using only black and white film he captured portraits of the architects of graffiti in their prime, building the most historically significant archive ever captured on film with an insider’s eye . During this period he would meet Tracy 168, LSD OM and fellow alumni, Steve 61, SJK 171, Shadow, Dime 139 and Al Diaz aka Bomb 1 , who would eventually write SAMO along with Jean Michel Basquiat .
Coming Soon: Part 2 – The Rebels and Al Diaz on FLINT… and Basquiat with exclusive video interview.