Parallel Pioneers


David Tucker

Introduction By Henry Chalfant


Before wild style, bubble letters, computer rock, straight letters, top-to-bottoms, window downs, panel pieces, throw-ups, fill-ins, outlines, pumps, arrows, halos, crowns and drips, well maybe not before drips, there was theTag.  The Tag carries in its DNA all the motivating elements of Graffiti;  getting up, clandestinity, ubiquity, and above all Style.  And suddenly there was Taki 183, standing out amidst his colleagues, Cay 161, Julio 204, Snake 1, Junior 161, Stitch 1, Turok 161, Crazy Cross 136, Stay High 149, Coco and Phase II among many.  Taki was everywhere, in the most surprising places, always simple, elegant, mysteriously present and with Style.  Didn’t it pique your curiosity?  Like, who are these people  and how the hell did they get it up there?  There’s an enchanted quality to it, like the  elves who finish the shoemaker’s work while he sleeps.  It was always an element of the excitement for us, observers, to see where the tags would be next.  Because he caught the attention of the New York Times which magnified his exposure exponentially, Taki became really famous.  Still no one knew what he looked like.  


Through his beautiful, soulful portraits, David Tucker has brought us closer to knowing some of the pioneers of Hip Hop and the Aerosol Art movement, which has spread so widely around the world in the last several decades, to be embraced by succeeding generations of youth. It is especially poignant to see portraits of Taki 183, almost 50 years later in the context of his daily life and to know a little better an artist who remained invisible to his public for so long.  


Henry Chalfant, Brooklyn, NY 2018