Tuesday, June 29th, 2010
(Image: Kostas Seremetis)
We are sad to report the death of pioneering graffiti, hip-hop, visual and performance artist, the one and only Rammellzee. Check out Fast Company’s profile and the tribute below, sent out today by our friends at Anonymous Gallery:
New York artist and performer Rammellzee (born in 1960 in Queens, New York) is credited with being one of the inventors of graffiti art as we know it. Through writing, drawing and painting on subway cars in spray paint and felt-tip pen in the late ‘70s, he became interested in the symbolic value of letters. Rammellzee named his style “Gothic Futurism,” describing the battle between letters and their symbolic warfare against any standardizations enforced by the rules of the alphabet. When his style of writing became more mainstream in the world of graffiti, Rammellzee built his letters into flying armored vehicles, bursting forth with a style and philosophy all his own that he termed “Ikonoklast Panzerism”
He has continued to explore these ideas through a variety of media ever since, from the paintings that in 1988 Gerrit Henry described in Art In America as having “a Star-Wars-via-Jackson-Pollock look” to the legendary hip-hop single “Beat Bop” that was produced by the artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, and became not just one of the most collectible hip hop releases ever, but a model for generations of witty and experimental musicians.
In 1982, he appeared in the seminal hip hop documentary Wildstyle by Charlie Ahearn. Rammellzee has shown in galleries and museums throughout the world including P.S. 1 in New York and performed in his iconic self-designed masks and costumes at the 2005 Venice Biennale. His work is in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, however Ramm always contended his highest achievements could be viewed from the train yards…