Photos: 5,000. Views: 201,493.

RIP Sure 1986 - 2010.

Here we have some examples of the plexiglass used in the traditional newspaper boxes found throughout NYC by free publications like The Voice, Gotham Writer’s Workshop, etc. In my obsessive quest to flick ever Sure sticker I could find I’d occasionally encounter broken or loose pieces that I’d save rather than let disappear. I uploaded this to Flickr today as my 5000th public photo.

Seen here, far right, is a limited edition zine called, “Strictly 228’s”, compiled by the creator of “The Old New York”. This zine focuses on the ubiquitous USPS Label228 which has been an impressive tool in the proliferation of graffiti. 24 pages of the zine are dedicated to exclusive scans of private stock Sure labels that don’t fail to deliver. Visit the blog at: Strictly228s.tumblr.com for information on purchasing.

Below are some words I wrote to put photo 5000 in context:

When I attended New York University between ’00-’03 I essentially lived and breathed East & West Village. Even years after, I honed in on writers who embodied what I categorized as elevated graffiti. Writers who were excellent at both producing volume and quality. Sure’s stickers were always different, always nearing inhuman perfection. I have been studying graffiti every day of my life for over 16 years, I mention this only to possibly qualify the following statement: when Sure passed away he was putting out some of the best graffiti in the world.

And that is tragic. It is also, evidently, what allowed me to feel affected by this man’s death. A man I’d only met once. 2, maybe 3 minutes. A relative stranger whom propelled me into a photographic frenzy that inevitably bettered my skills. I can say with total confidence that Sure’s graffiti led me to a clearer artistic vision and helped me to refine and discover my ability to contribute to a community that has granted me great strength and individuality.

This is no small accomplishment. It is not a coincidence that I strive to honor the memory of fallen writers. I have towed the line between life & death privately, quietly & constantly. And what will keep me alive is all of these wonderful new talents I never knew I had.

Each person we’ve lost only reinforces the idea that all of us, all of this work & beautiful artistic creation is temporary.

But the impact graffiti can have on the public is infinite and ever lasting. Perhaps I take away too much meaning from something so seemingly insignificant, but maybe that is what makes me different.

I have improved as a photographer more than I could have hoped. Of the 5,000 photos uploaded I have an additional 60,000 on hard drives. All of this activity and development is owed completely to the graffiti community at large. I can’t express enough gratitude for the lives and contributions of others.

Thank you for reading, watching and participating. May the world grant me another 16 years and untold thousands of future photos to look forward to.

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