Ask a Graffiti Artist

By THE NEW YORK TIMES
This week, Lee Quiñones, an artist who emerged from the subway art movement of the 1970s, will be responding to readers’ questions about his life, work and the evolution of graffiti as art in New York City.

To ask Mr. Quiñones a question, please use the comments box below. His first set of answers will appear in City Room on Wednesday.

Mr. Quiñones painted his first subway piece in 1974. Inspired by the leading figures of subway lore, including Cliff 159 of the 3-Yard Boys, and Blade One of the Crazy 5, Lee began creating 40-foot subway car murals in late 1975. Over the next decade, he painted an estimated 115 whole subway cars throughout the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s system. In late 1975, Lee was asked to join the Fabulous Five, an elite quintet of seemingly mythic graffiti writers. The Fabulous Five’s greatest feat — the only running 10-car train painted from top to bottom, end to end — made its journey in November 1976.

As his work gained widespread exposure, Mr. Quiñones found himself at the cross-section of two movements in their infancy: hip-hop and punk rock, which provided context for the direction of his work. During the early 1980s, Mr. Quiñones starred in “Wild Style,” a film directed by Charlie Ahearn that premiered in 1983. His work also appeared in Tony Silver’s and Henry Chalfant’s 1983 documentary film “Style Wars.”

Mr. Quiñones’s body of work extends across a huge scope — from canvas to large murals and installation to elaborate commissions. His paintings are housed in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of the City of New York, the Groninger Museum in Groningen, the Netherlands, and the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and have been exhibited at the New Museum Of Contemporary Art in New York City and museums in Paris and Germany.

Mr. Quiñones was born in Ponce, P.R., in 1960 and raised in New York’s Lower East Side.

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