Find Stay High 149- Wayne Roberts Art!

Stay High 149 Life & Legacy Wayne Roberts Pioneering Street Graffiti Artist

, by Bobby Banks, 6 min reading time

Find Stay High 149- Wayne Roberts Art!

In the world of street graffiti, few artists have left as significant and indelible a mark as Stay High 149, born Wayne Roberts. As a pioneering graffiti artist, Stay High 149 played a vital role in shaping the graffiti scene during its early years in the 1970s and beyond. In this article, we'll explore the life and accomplishments of Wayne Roberts, the man behind the iconic tag "Stay High 149," and delve into the lasting impact he had on the graffiti community. Wayne Roberts was born on October 20, 1950, in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City. From a young age, Roberts was interested in art and drawing, often sketching cartoons and comic book characters. As he grew older, he became captivated by the burgeoning graffiti scene in the city, which would ultimately pave the way for his future as a renowned street artist.

Find Stay High 149- Wayne Roberts Art!

Stay High 149: Birth of an Icon

In 1971, at the age of 20, Wayne Roberts created the graffiti tag that would become synonymous with his name: Stay High 149. The tag combined the phrase "Stay High," a popular slogan during the counterculture movement of the 1960s and 70s, with the number "149," a reference to the 149th Street subway station in the Bronx. This station was a hub of graffiti activity and served as a platform for many artists to showcase their work. Roberts' tag quickly gained notoriety, thanks to his unique style and the incorporation of a stick figure, "The Smoker," which was inspired by the television character "The Saint." The Smoker's halo and joint made the tag instantly recognizable, and it soon became a symbol of rebellion and creativity within the New York City graffiti scene.

Golden Age of Graffiti

Throughout the 1970s, Roberts honed his skills and developed his distinctive style, painting on subway trains, walls, and buildings across New York City. His work was characterized by a unique balance of bold, colorful designs and intricate lettering that captivated both fellow graffiti artists and casual observers alike. As the graffiti movement grew in popularity, so too did Stay High 149's prominence within the community. Stay High 149's work was emblematic of what would come to be known as the golden age of graffiti in New York City. During this time, artists like Dondi, Zephyr, and Lady Pink also made their mark on the city's streets and subways. Together, these trailblazers created a new form of artistic expression that would later influence generations of street artists and redefine public art.

Decline of Graffiti and Stay High 149's Retirement

By the 1980s, the once-thriving graffiti scene in New York City began to decline, as city officials cracked down on vandalism and increased security measures in subway stations. Additionally, the introduction of new, graffiti-resistant subway cars made it more difficult for artists to leave their mark on the city's transit system. As a result of these changes, many graffiti artists, including Stay High 149, chose to retire from the scene. In 1982, Roberts hung up his spray cans and returned to a more traditional form of art, working as a muralist and sign painter. Despite his absence from the graffiti world, his influence continued to resonate with new generations of street artists, who continued to draw inspiration from his innovative style and iconic tag.

Revival and Later Years

In the early 2000s, with a resurgence of interest in graffiti art and its history, Stay High 149 returned to the scene, revitalizing his iconic tag and reconnecting with the graffiti community. Roberts began collaborating with younger artists and participating in graffiti events, bridging the gap between the golden age of graffiti and its contemporary incarnation. As he reestablished himself in the world of street art, his work was featured in numerous exhibitions and galleries, cementing his legacy as a pivotal figure in the history of graffiti.

Influence on Modern Street Art

Stay High 149's influence on modern street art cannot be overstated. His iconic tag, innovative style, and pioneering contributions to the graffiti scene have had a profound impact on the generations of artists that followed. Today, his work is celebrated and studied by street artists, art historians, and enthusiasts alike, who continue to recognize the significance of his contributions to the urban landscape. Not only did Roberts inspire other graffiti artists with his unique style and technique, but he also played an important role in legitimizing graffiti as an art form. By pushing the boundaries of what was possible with spray paint and public surfaces, Stay High 149 helped to redefine the way society views street art and paved the way for future artists to build upon his creative foundation.

Legacy and Final Years

Wayne Roberts, known to the world as Stay High 149, passed away on June 11, 2012, at the age of 61. His death marked the end of an era, but his contributions to the world of street art continue to live on through the work of countless artists inspired by his groundbreaking style. In the years since his passing, Stay High 149's work has been featured in numerous exhibitions and retrospectives, celebrating his unique artistic vision and the lasting impact he had on the graffiti community. As more people continue to discover his work and recognize his contributions to the art world, the legacy of Stay High 149 will undoubtedly endure for generations to come. Wayne Roberts' impact on the graffiti world cannot be overstated. He was not only a master of his craft but also an innovator who helped to shape the culture of graffiti and public art. His iconic tag and signature stick figure, The Smoker, inspired countless artists to develop their unique styles and push the boundaries of what was possible in public spaces.

Roberts' impact was not limited to the streets of New York City, where he made his name. His influence extended far beyond, inspiring artists around the world to create their works and legitimize graffiti as a legitimate art form. His contributions to the urban landscape helped to break down the barriers between fine art and street art, opening up new avenues of expression for artists everywhere. Wayne Roberts left an indelible mark on the world of street art that continues to inspire artists and enthusiasts today. His unique artistic vision, bold approach, and pioneering contributions helped to redefine the boundaries of what is possible with public art. And while he may be gone, his legacy lives on, inspiring new generations of artists to take up the mantle of creative expression and push the boundaries of what is possible in the world of street art.

Find Stay High 149- Wayne Roberts Art!

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