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Brooklyn-based graffiti artist Stash – real name Josh Franklin – exhibited his first canvases alongside pop art trailblazers Keith Haring and Jean-Michael Basquiat when he was just 17.
And when his fellow contemporaries turned to the glistening world of Pop Art, Stash stayed true to his roots. The Subways of his native New York.
“I knew where my different colours were and sort of choreographed the design in my head”
Shrouded in the depths of the night, he would remain unseen in dark tunnels, covering subway cars in 20 hours until he called time on his city-dwelling escapades in 1987. His last underground piece was created alongside fellow graffiti stalwart, Zephyr. Stash’s early works on canvas would harken back to his earlier career in the use of subway map-collages and signature bold outlines and clean shapes.
Stash is a master with the spray can. Possessing an artisanal control of the spray, his works usually revolve around sporadic drips and splotches that come together to become multi-coloured collages of paint and creativity. His symbiotic relationship with the different hues of greys and blues transcends the conventional colour combinations and has cemented the union of the two colours as his very own.
When the ’90s rolled through, Stash stood at the forefront of what has become the norm. Streetwear collaborations. His signature graphic elements found a new lease on life on the fabrics of huge culture-moving brands such as Nike and Bathing Ape. This venture meant that graffiti found itself in front of a larger audience and in turn, a general acceptance amongst the public. Graffiti as we know it today could very well be contributed to the work of Stash. And his influence knows no bounds. Equipped with an obsession with urban environments and the world of urban design, his latest photographic work marries city motifs alongside the latest lighting and print techniques.