John “CRASH” Matos and Eric Orr met for the first time as high school students. Although the exact location is unclear, both agree that it would have been at either Fashion Moda or the Writers’ Bench at 149th Street and Grand Concourse.
Founded by Stefan Eins in 1978, Fashion Moda began as a “cultural concept” whose principles revolved around the fact that art can be made by anyone, anywhere and art should be accessible to anyone, anywhere. Located in the South Bronx, Fashion Moda embraced new talent and encouraged creative production across all mediums. The gallery has been credited as a major force behind the recognition of graffiti writing as an art form and it played a pivotal role in a community where Hip Hop was rapidly emerging. CRASH was only 19 years old when he curated “Graffiti Art Success for America” at Fashion Moda and his varied experiences at the gallery would later inspire his founding of WALLWORKS.
The 149th Street Writers’ Bench, located at the back of the uptown platform in the 2/5 subway station on Grand Concourse, was a meeting place for graffiti writers in the 70s and 80s. Artists congregated at this particular bench, arguably the most popular in NYC, to discover and appraise each other’s work, both on the trains that sped through the station and in the black books they all carried. A visit to the Writers’ Bench became a daily routine for many, including CRASH and Eric and today it is a reminder of a vibrant and dynamic shift in NYC’s art landscape and a place where lifelong friendships were made.
CRASH and Eric headed in different directions after high school but when they were reacquainted in the early 2000s, CRASH offered Eric his first solo show in NYC. The rest is history that commemorates the release of this special print edition -- 35 years in the making.
Artist: CRASH X Eric Orr Year: 2021 Medium:Silkscreen and hand embellishment on 320 gram Coventry Rag paper Dimensions: 18.0" x 19.0"