graffiti 101: john CRASH matos

John Matos, known by the alias “CRASH”, was born in the Bronx.  Like both Donidi and Zephyr, Crash began spray painting on walls and subway trains in the early 1970s.  Most of Crash’s early work has been lost, a casualty of the New York MTA’s vigorous condemnation and war on graffiti art.  Crash is credited as the first artist to incorporate 3D representation into his lettering.

CRASH began working on canvas in 1978.  In 1980 CRASH organized an art exhibition at Fashion Moda, the studio where he and many other artists including Basquait and Keith Haring, among other artists, painted.  The exhibition won critical acclaim and for the first time both the public and critics were forced to recognize the legitimacy of graffiti and it’s influence in modern art.  Additionally the show was the first large graffiti exhibition done for the sake of the art, not in order to sell pieces.

The style Crash developed through his work on canvas  is referred to as Post-graffiti, a style that is present in many other artists work today.  The graffiti influences present within are clear, both in the lettering and the chaos of his pieces.  Likewise he has maintained a style that tries it’s best to create an image that has the dimensions of his early graffiti accompanied by a new level of depth.