Prins and his graffiti influence

In the 1980s many people started doing graffiti in Sydney which of course was prepackaged from the United States. Graffiti art was a burgeoning subculture which in many ways was flexible enough and innovative enough to capture peoples attention. Getting your own work noticed was the name of the game and many have tried and failed. In some cases people not only learned the ropes but innovated in highly sophisticated and creative ways. This turned what would have been a fad into a vibrant and exciting art form. In 1986 I went to Martin Place in Sydney’s CBD and happened to bump into one of the most revered and respected graffiti artists in Sydney. My friend, another young creative hopeful who had met Prins before was lucky enough to receive an outline from him. Which by the way found its place onto his bedroom wall. There were a few highly cited graffiti artists in the mid 1980s and Prins was one of them.

As a younger graffiti artist meeting other artists who were well established such as Rexzy, Paze, Rama, Best and Prins to name a few was exciting. The term of course was ‘Kings’ and they were revered as such setting a high standard that others like myself could only hope to aspire to. As others retired from graffiti in the late 1980s it seemed Prins had only just gotten started. Innovating in new ways that set new standards coming into the 1990s. There was no doubt that he was established in the subculture setting the course for many artists. In the 1990s as I found myself making a name for myself in graffiti I visited Prins with friends to see his new work in the hope that his innovation would maybe brush off onto me. I definitely stole ideas as his style was too good to ignore. Thankfully I found my own voice eventually but unfortunately didn’t hit the same league as Prins. People would travel to the north shore just to see what he had been up to and really it was rite of passage.

I spent many hours under bridges or other sites which in some ways had become sacred just through the skilful application of aerosol paint by Prins. The fact is he was highly creative and inventive. Eventually he started exploring his own ancestry through carving. His importance in graffiti was paramount and still is. The fact that he broadened graffiti through his carvings as well as through aerosol techniques established Prins as one of the most innovative artists. Graffiti has been one of the most important art forms of the twentieth century and still holds influence and importance today. Prins found many ways to innovate with it and made an indelible mark.

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