Profile: LSD-OM at Old School Event in Harlem
LSD-Om showed some love for 12oz last Saturday night at the most recent event in the series Under the Influence of Lava 1&2 in Harlem’s Maysles Cinema. He was included in a panel discussion with legends Clyde, Bama/Amrl, Lava and Mico, who each helped spark this movement at the turn of the seventies.
Along with the more well-known early writers, LSD-Om was one of the originals who started his career in 1970. He remembers the early days fondly, saying “I have a lot of favorites in graffiti. Each one is the best in their class as to their approach to the graffiti art form. It’s not always about style. It’s about the placement of the name in the physical environment. Phase 2 would be one of my favorite early Bronx writers, along with Staff 161, and Riff 170 and Bama/Amrl. Pistol 1 and Flint 707 were my favorite Brooklyn writers. And then of course, Stay High would be the number one tag style of all tags. And there are so many others.” LSD also founded The Rebels crew with Flint, and was a member of The Ex Vandals, Independence, Three Yard Boys, Wanted and War.
He saw the rise of a second generation of writers as the walls and trains became crowded with thousands of new comers. But In 1975, LSD-Om moved to the Catskill Mountains and chose to remain there without interacting much with the graffiti community as a whole. He has commented “As time passed, writing became more competitive in many ways. Style and quantity of pieces are what brought the tension in the subculture to the breaking point of violence after I left in 1975. Graffiti became almost like a sport; a new American past time was born.”
A humble quiet man, who wanted his years as a writer to remain pure, LSD-Om chose to remain aloof from public events even though fans and friends frequently sought him out to be in shows and do interviews about the culture he helped create. He did keep in touch with friends such as Chris Pape aka Freedom, Zephyr and others, but only joined in public activities once every five years or so. After more than thirty years keeping a low profile, his love of the art form and the people inspired him to get more involved. So, in the past few years he has started contributing to shows and doing interviews whenever the opportunity presented itself, such as in NYC Graffiti Art and in the Pantheon: A history of art from the streets of NYC catalog, which is where the quotes in this post come from.
This event was part of a series celebrating old school writers at the Maysles Institute called Under the Influence of Lava 1&2, who himself is one of the original masters. The event lasted about five hours and included a movie called Urban Writers in the Streets of NYC which was shown twice. There was also an extensive art exhibition downstairs and a panel discussion with Clyde, Bama/Amrl, Lava 1&2, LSD-Om, and Mico up on stage that turned into a lively discussion with people speaking up from the audience, including Riff 170, Wicked Gary and more. Even Cornbread came up from Philly to hang out. Other original writers in attendance, who were part of the gallery exhibition, were Flint 707, FDT 56/Salsa, Kool Kito, Checker 170, Part 1, King 2, Slave, Chain 3, and many more.
Photo: Joe Russo and Johnny Crunch
Text: Daniel Feral