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STAY HIGH 149 NY 2019

Wayne Roberts, “STAY HIGH 149,” is the pioneering writer behind the ubiquitous “Smoker” tag of a haloed stick figure he left throughout New York in the early 1970s. Borrowed from the 1960s TV show The Saint, the image deviated from the straight letter tags of the period. The graphic combined with the long text of his name or alternate tag, “Voice of the Ghetto,” made an indelible impression on generations of graffiti writers. The Bronx-based writer painted trains and re-imagined subway maps as canvasses, often using a two-inch wide magic marker known as a uni-wide, sometimes loaded with two different inks. The pivotal figure died in 2012 yet his marks on the graffiti and fine arts scenes remain.⁠

BEYOND THE STREETS New York, 2019. Photo by Dan Bradica.