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Pointing out the Elephant in the Room with Al Diaz



al diaz

Today’s guest on the show is Al Diaz. In this episode we talk about SAMO, razor tag, first jobs, the art world, early graffiti culture, internal motivation, Hugh Masakela, old New York and kicking heroin.

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Al Diaz is best known for his collaboration with Jean Michel Basquiat on SAMO©, graffiti that appeared in lower Manhattan from 1977 to 1979. SAMO© initially became known because of its wit and sarcastic humor; but became a globally recognized graffito after Basquiat’s rise to fame.

A prolific and influential first-generation NYC subway graffiti artist, who later became a text-oriented street artist, Al Diaz’s career spans 5 decades. He currently works with WET PAINT signs used throughout the New York City subway system. After cutting out individual letters to create clever, surreal and sometimes poignant anagrams, he hangs the finished works in subways stations throughout New York City. His WET PAINT work was  featured in the 21st Precinct Street Art Event ( July,2014) , a solo show at “Outlaw Arts”  (March, 2015) and  will appear in the upcoming book, “Street Messages” by Nicholas Ganz.

Show Notes

  1. Brooklyn, NY
  2. Hugh Masakela
  3. Hugh Masekela-Grazing In The Grass – YouTube
  4. Herbie Hancock Head Hunters Album
  5. SAMO for a bloated multitude. – Al Diaz Quote
  6. SAMO for those of us who merely tolerate civilization – Al Diaz Quote
  7. Planned obsolescence definition
  8. “Stuffed for the kill” – Al Diaz Quote
  9. “Stay the F out of Jail” –  Al Diaz Quote
  10. Inside the Abandoned Spofford Juvenile Jail in the Bronx, Poised for Redevelopment by NYCEDC
  11. Razor Tag
  12. Rikers Island
  13. The cost of cigarettes
  14. Krink Markers
  15. Tamra Davis Filmmaker
  16. Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child
  17. Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn
  18. You want change or you want to accomplish something, the motivation must be internal.
  19. What do you miss about old New York?
  20. How long does it take to be a real New Yorker?
  21. “I got 58 years” -Al Diaz
  22. Constrained Writing
  23. SAMO because someone has to point out the elephant in the room.-Al Diaz
  24. Bomb-One
  25. Wet Paint
  26. Just do art.
  27. Graffiti Culture and Street Art Culture two different things.
  28. Christopher Hart Chambers
  29. Linus Coraggio
  30. Snake 1
  31. Flint Gennari Interview
  32. Jester 1
  33. Tracey 168
  34. Lee Quinones
  35. Taki183 New York Said Episode 40
  36. Washington Heights, NY
  37. Going All City
  38. Bowery Wall
  39. Tags
  40. Throw Ups
  41. Murals
  42. Getting ragged
  43. Bansky Mural on Bowery Wall
  44. Banksy
  45. 5Pointz
  46. The Words in Graffiti
  47. SAMO was never a religion
  48. The Goldman Properties
  49. Live and embrace life to the fullest, you only get to go around once.

We would love to hear your thoughts on the episode. Leave a comment on the Apple Podcast app and don’t forget to rate the show.

This episode is sponsored by Gorilla Coffee.

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