Al Díaz is best known for his friendship with Jean-Michel Basquiat and collaboration on SAMO©…, a well-known graffiti project appearing in lower Manhattan from 1978 to 1980. The tag and text slogans became known quickly on the streets and in the local newspaper media because of their wit and sardonic humor. The SAMO©… legend has become a globally recognized graffito and has been celebrated as cutting social commentary throughout contemporary art history.
Al Díaz’s career spans five decades. Born and raised in New York City, he was known by age 15 as a prolific and influential, first-generation subway graffiti artist. During the early 70s, his was known primarily by“BOMB-1.”
Díaz’s artwork has been shown and privately collected internationally, including in Beyond the Streets, The Urban Arts Fair and the World Trade Center. He has been featured in a number of film productions, magazines and book publications, such as Jon Narr and Normal Mailer’s The Faith of Graffiti and BBC’s American Masters. He has been a highlighted speaker and artist for a variety of panel discussions, including at the Brooklyn Museum, The New School and the Museum of Modern Art.
Currently, Díaz works with signage used throughout the NYC MTA subway system. After cutting out individual letters to create clever-sounding, surreal and poignant anagrams, he hangs the finished messages in subway stations.
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