Tuesday, October 30, 2012


RIP to the legend Tracy 168....Below is some info on him and his graf career.

Michael Tracy, AKA TRACY168, one of the original creators of the art form called "graffiti," studied at the institute of Higher Learning, better known as the Lexington I.R.T. His canvas was the subway car and his pallet various cans of spray paint. TRACY 168 ® - A Train "The best year for graffiti was 1973," he ruminates. "Styles were coming out. We got into this thing with colors. First it was two colors, then three colors, then four. What makes me a powerful artist, " he states, " is that my paintings are alive, strong and very bright. The color combos make it. Balance: each color as strong as it is enhances the color beside it, going back and forth.

Giving style and balance and movement, that is what makes a good artist." "After the colors," TRACY 168 continues, "the challenge became who could do the biggest piece, the wildest. Then it was top-to-bottom, whole car, whole train. We worked on clouds and flames. We got into lettering. Everybody was trying to develop their own technique. When I would go into a yard (train), the first thing I would do is look around and see who was good. That would be my objective. To burn the best writer in the yard, and I wouldn't leave until I did something better than him." Because of these types of beginnings, most street graffiti was based on the macho culture of competition. How long will you take to do a car before you get caught? How big can you write your name? It was fueled by a rage against a society which didn't care about its kids. It was a form of communication and a way to gain recognition outside of community. It was perceived as the only way to escape the ghetto, and to become known and recognized in faraway places, like Brooklyn.

Eventually, TRACY 168 became bored by spray painting trains as he felt he had no competition. He turned to painting wall murals in 1978 and his first paid assignment was the side of French Charlys Bar on Webster Avenue in the Bronx. Regarding memorial walls for victims of urban violence, for which he is "artist of record" on many, he knows it is only a matter of time before there is another mural to be painted and another mother crying. "Like they said in the bible," he was recently quoted, "The dead will walk the earth. Sometimes I wonder if it started happening. The buildings are starting to look like tombs, and the people on crack are the walking dead." His murals quickly became recognized for their individuality because of his need to give back to the community. He would ask people for their ideas and he would plan his mural so that it would have some message of guidance. For the kids, a positive message - no violence, no drugs. http://www.bronxmall.com/tracy168/past.html