Wednesday, June 30, 2010

ARTIST OF THE MONTH :: Samurais Don't Blink: RAMMELLZEE R.I.P. (1960-2010)

RAMMELLZEE (1960-2010)
I've seen it online and also got a sad message to confirm it from his close friend Doze about the passing of Rammellzee, one of the most important artists today. I was told only a couple of days ago, that a lot of my imagery (including the snowleopard totem, the samurai gear fetish and my mask) reminded them of Rammellzee's stuff, which is why I was so drawn to his work when I first encountered it...his untimely death is just a huge loss to the art world, which I think still owes the proper recognition for his enormous legacy. Always one step ahead of his time, he was one of the foundational figures behind a lot of art forms that we take for granted today. A huge inspiration in many ways, he was one of my favorite living artists. Rest in Power
you can see his work at

“Always ahead of his time, New York artist and performer Rammellzee (pronounced “Ram: Ell: Zee) was born 1960 in Far Rockaway, Queens. Credited with being one of the inventors of graffiti art in the late 1970’s as well as one of the original hip hop artists from the New York area who introduced specific vocal styles which date back to the early 1980s. His influence can still be heard in contemporary artists such as The Beastie Boys and Cypress Hill and his legendary hip-hop single “Beat Bop” with K-Rob was produced by the artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, and has become one of the most sought after hip hop releases ever.

In the mid-80’s, Rammellzee became associated with a group of artists who painted or tagged in a style known as East Village wild style. This was an illegible, dynamic style of writing letters derived originally from the Gothic script of Medieval manuscripts. In 1982, he appeared in the seminal hip hop documentary Wildstyle by Charlie Ahearn, his fame in graffiti circles was established when he painted New York subway trains with Dondi, OU3, and Ink 76, and Doctor Revolt. Rammellzee’s graffiti and art work are based on his theory of Gothic Futurism, which describes the battle between letters and their symbolic warfare against any standardizations enforced by the rules of the alphabet; his treatise, “Iconic Panzerisms”, details an anarchic plan by which to revise the role and deployment of language in society.

Rammellzee’s work has been exhibited internationally. His work is in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York. He performs in self-designed masks and costumes of different characters of his own creation, one featured within his board art named “Reaper Grimm”.”
To find out more about him, you can read an interview with him on

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