Grooving on Graffiti: Crash Matos at Tumi

11 Apr

Text, Vivian Kelly

Some things in life grow on you. One of those things, for me, is graffiti. As a child growing up in the secluded enclave of Old Greenwich, CT, it was SCARY and EXCITING to ride into the City and to see the subway cars our Metro North train passed on 125th Street. They were completely covered in graffiti. The scary part was 125th Street, which equaled the wanton corruption I saw on films such as “The French Connection” and the Bond classic, “Live and Let Die”. Some of the best actors to hit the silver screen made appearances in these two period blockbusters: Gene Hackman, and Roger Moore and Jane Seymour.

James Bond, Starring Jane Seymour and Roger Moore

Graffiti was glamorous too and appealed to the rich trust funders who hung out with Andy Warhol and patronized Jean- Michel Basquiat. Uptown fashion designer, Douglas Hannant, even created an evening gown, years later. His fall 2010 collection could be called “the Basquiat Collection”. It was influenced by the artists’ work and was the designer’s  hommage to the early Eighties downtown scene and a long-ago unforgettable party he attended, according to a source. I don’t doubt it, having attended just such a party back then, with every other person in attendance boasting credentials such as “assistant to Patrick Demarchelier, a model who walked for Steven Sprouse”, etc. etc.

These days, graffiti is ubiquitous and can border on pretension. I ran into a reclusive graffiti artist, manning his booth on Union Square. He had some riveting designs, of an eye, hand-painted on “boy-beater” tees. He was uninterested in conversation until I handed over twenty-odd dollars for one of his designs. Even then, “no photographs”. My friend, uber-twitter-er, Lisa Johnson, drolly commented, “With that attitude, we’ll probably be seeing him at the next NYFW”.

Upon receiving her facebook message, I chuckled, half-soaked, while waiting for the X-Town bus on 14th Street and shot her a response back.

“YES, chances are good that we will be seeing this guy in September.”


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