Lord of the Underground
If you rode New York City’s subway or walked its less savory streets in the 1970s and ’80s, you were likely treated — perhaps unwittingly — to one of the city’s most prolific and prominent artists. Known by the pseudonym Iz the Wiz, Manhattan native Michael Martin reportedly tagged more subway lines than any other artist of his day, from simple signatures to major works he called “burner top-to-bottom jammies” — elaborate frescoes that spanned entire cars, including a John Lennon homage he created after the pop icon’s death in 1980. After serving a brief stint in jail for vandalism and suffering health problems as a result of toxic chemical exposure, Martin retired to Florida in the mid-1990s. On June 12, 2009, he returned to New York City for what would be his final exhibit, spray-painting a mock subway façade at a Bronx tattoo studio before a group of awestruck onlookers. Five days later, he died of a heart attack.
AS SEEN ON http://www.time.com/