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Published on Jul 1, 2009

In a career spanning twenty-six years, graffiti artist RISK has impacted the evolution of street writing as an artform here in Los Angeles and worldwide. His signature tag ran on the subway cars of New York, becoming the first writer outside of New York to be recognized by the same legendary graffiti artists who inspired him early on. In L.A. RISK continued to push the limits further than they had ever gone before by bombing what would later be referred to in the graffiti world as a heaven on freeway overpasses and other highly visible spots throughout the city gaining much notoriety for his unique style. At the peak of his career he took graffiti from the streets and into the gallery with the launch of the Third Rail series of art shows; he later parlayed the Third Rail brand into the first authentic line of graffiti-inspired clothing.

Before hed ever heard of graffiti, RISK was unconsciously writing it. As a child, he filled sketchbook after sketchbook with images, not just of people and things but also letters. He even had spray paint in his hand before ever applying it to a wall, using it to paint BMX bikes. Even back then I think I was addicted to spray paint, he recalls. I just loved painting with it.

In describing this exhibition, he states:

"Twenty-Six is a collection letters that I painted as if I were painting on the streets, using what paint and materials I had in my studio. I sat and pumped them out, making sure they all had movement and the energy of good old school graffiti. It is a celebration of where I'm at today and where I have come from. Twenty-six letters of the alphabet, twenty-six years; I cant think of a better way to define myself and my view of graffiti art."

Contemplating the arc of his career, RISK attributes his success to something deep inside him. I think I was the first to do a lot of stuff because I was competitive. I always wanted to take things one step further.



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