While B-boys have the dance floor and rappers and DJs have the stage, hip hop’s fourth tent pole, graffiti, is trickier to position artists head-to-head. You can have two pieces side-by-side, but the circumstances always differ when throwing up art in the mid of night.
Enter Sunday’s Write of Passage event, where legendary graf crews TMT and TC5 painted the same model IRT train. The groups assembled at the Red Bull Studios New York, where a train tunnel setting was simulated to precise detail: a subway grate above, a blue light appearing in the distant background, subway sounds playing overhead.
Dave “Chino” Villorente was on hand, and said that rather than try out new art, the crews, led by SEEN.TC5 and SKEME.TMT stuck to their roots. “Both are capable of doing all sorts of fancy new types of pieces,” he said. “If you went to see Rakim, you don’t want to see him do 2013 material. These guys took it back to the styles of vintage classic that might have been peeled off the train in 1982.”
Both cliques were excited to participate, and had been competing prior to the event, going car for car and documenting them through Facebook and a blog. Chino says he was too young to roll with the crews themselves, but that the fan in him was thoroughly excited. “People assume because I know so much about graf I have a favorite writer,” he said. “I think that they both did a remarkable job of painting the train.”
The train is on display as part of our Write of Passage Exhibit at the Red Bull Studios in Chelsea for spectators to view. “As graf artists, we’re very proud about our work,” Chino said about what’s at stake for the crews. And who does he think painted the best? “It’s a tough call. It’s almost asking me what my favorite hip hop track is.”
Come on down to The Red Bull Studios New York to see the Write of Passage Exhibit on display every Saturday starting tomorrow. Full programming details below and at www.massappeal.com/writeofpassage.
Write of Passage Exhibit
The Red Bull Studios New York – 218 W. 18th Street, NYC
Open Every Saturday, from October 19th – November 23rd, 1-5pm.
Workshops & Screenings start promptly at 3pm
- October 19th – Video Graf with Director Carl Weston
- October 26th – “Wall Writers: Graffiti In Its Innocence” Screening & Panel Discussion with Mike 171
- November 2nd – “Cops & Writers” A conversation with Steve Mona & Special Guests
- November 9th – “Style Wars” Screening & Panel Discussion
- November 16th – Chino: My life in graffiti through the lens of photography
- November 23rd – Handselecta: A conversation about the evolution of tagging