Clark FlyID paints the Morgan Ave. wall!

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I try to keep my blog meaningful. I only write when I want to. And, while I’ve been busy building connections and expanding the network, I haven’t exactly had much to say. I think a lot of the reason I’ve been able to develop such a devoted following is that I keep it about the photos, and more importantly, about graffiti. Every so often, though, I have the privilege of linking up with an artist that makes an impact on me personally, and Clark FlyID is such an artist.

I’ve been following Clark and FlyID’s work since 1995. Back then, we used AOL to connect to the internet and downloaded our flicks one at a time using a phone line. People used to trade flicks on floppy disks, or actual prints, and sent them through the mail. Getting a package of photos from across the country was like Christmas. You’d get so pumped to bring them to school and show off the work writers were putting in elsewhere, and (of course) you’d be excited to try to bite their technique. And then, I found Artcrimes.

Back then, I was living in Seattle, and seeing work from the mecca of graffiti (New York City) was one of the most compelling parts about the Artcrimes website. I’d look at the flicks from those pages over and over and over. When I was expelled from school (for writing Frame), I was no longer allowed to use the computer as it was seen as the source of my interest in graffiti. To bypass this, I’d have my little sister browse the Artcrimes pages while I looked over her shoulder. Technically, I wasn’t the one using the internet, Mom! But I’ll never forget how important those images were to me. I was willing to sacrifice even greater punishment simply to get my New York City graffiti fix. One name I remember seeing repeatedly, and executed perfectly, was Clark FlyID.

So, when I had the opportunity to meet up with Clark this past weekend, it felt (quite literally) like my life in graffiti was coming full circle. It feels wonderful to collaborate with artists you’ve looked up to for well over a decade, but it feels even better to know that it is a result of your own hard work and dedication. Although, even that wouldn’t have been possible without a little help. And that help came from the prescient facilitation of Clark’s wife, Erotica67. Thank you, E!

I was fortunate enough to spend the entire day with Clark. I learned about his life, his family, the launch of his new clothing line (FlyID Apparel), his history as an artist and the challenges he’s faced growing up in the Bronx and NYC at large. What I value most about these opportunities is the chance to get to know the people behind the artwork, and I can say without equivocation, that Clark is one of the most positive and solid writers in the business. Trust me, I’ve met hundreds, maybe thousands.

I’m skeptical these days of writers that want to take advantage of my the audience I’ve built, but I could tell within seconds that is not what this was about. It was about building something together. Clark would occasionally stop painting the piece to ask my opinion about a particular fade, color, detail. And I’d give him my honest evaluation. To be included in the creation of something like this felt special. Not many writers care what you think, or especially what I think, but Clark cares about a lot of things most people don’t.

As I write this, I am aware, that I come off a little like a jock, but that is an immature perspective. One that doesn’t take into consideration the fact that Clark doesn’t see me that way, and I don’t see myself that way. All I intend to do with this post is to provide a bit of background on a writer a lot of people have slept on. As graffiti progresses and evolves into something so far away from actual graffiti, it is important to pay homage to the artists that built this community. No, it is essential. And I refuse to see the history that brought me this far disappear.

So, today or tomorrow, or next week; take some time to peruse the pages of Artcrimes, do some searching on Google and Flickr, ask around about those names you haven’t thought of in years. Just do something to pay tribute to the men and women that have created this world we are all a part of and benefiting from. I can say quite honestly that I would likely be dead if it weren’t for graffiti, and I know for a fact, I’m not the only one that can say so.

I’m ecstatic that the world of graffiti continues to develop and grow, and even more so, that there is a place for someone like me within its circle. To be standing side by side with someone like Clark FlyID and to have him see me not as some jock fanboy, but as an equal, is a testament both to have far we’ve come and a testament to his strength as an individual. Keep your eyes peeled for more future announcements on the FlyID Apparel line and more exclusive action shots, possibly even a video. I wish Clark & Erotica67 the best of luck in their mission to raise a happy, healthy family and much success in the launch of the label.

Forever Living Your Infinite Dreams, 2012.

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