Fab 5 Freddy, born Fred Brathwaite, is a Hip Hop icon and famed graffiti artist. In 1980, he paid homage to Andy Warhol by painting the side of a New York City subway car with cartoon Campbell's soup cans, solidifying the link between Pop Art, graffiti, and big city life.
Brathwaite's new show at Gallery 151, "New York: New Work" consists of multimedia works on canvas with hand placed Swarovski crystals that give the effect of Pointillism. The images, meant to re-imagine famous graffiti tags, mostly depict models and boxers. His art is also currently featured at MoCA's "Art in the Streets", which fellow street artist Banksy recently declared would be free every monday.
In an interview with HipHop DX, Brathwaite discussed the show, stating
I call the exhibit 'New York: New Work. We take these images [of boxers and models], we digitally alter them, and then the images are printed on canvas, and then we apply thousands of these little of these Swarovski crystals to them...these [other] pieces are new wave work with with elements of graffiti, and the background is a train that I executed quite a while ago, which was a homage to Andy Warhol..I'm remixing forms and shapes of my past and turning it into something new.
Brathwaite, along with legendary graffiti artist Ventura 2000, hosted the first graffiti art exhibit.
[My first graffiti exhibit] was a show called 'Beyond Words' that I curated in 1981 with [tagger] Ventura 2000 at the Mudd Club, which was a place where new wave and punk rock and Hip Hop folks came and all mingled together for the very first time," he said. "Graffiti [was] in the beginning, and a lot of still is, just rebellious teenage energy. Out of that energy, people began to develop techniques and a desire to really be real artists.
The show is on view at Gallery 151, 350 Bowery New York, until July 1st.