Al Diaz & Linus Coraggio, 2011
Mixed media collage on board
36" x 24"
Al Diaz is best know for his collaboration with Jean Michel Basquiat on SAMO©, graffiti that appeared in lower Manhattan from 1977 to 1979. SAMO© initially became known because of its wit and sarcastic humor; but became a globally recognized graffito after Basquiat’s rise to fame.
A prolific and influential first-generation NYC subway graffiti artist, who later became a text-oriented street artist, Al Diaz’s career spans 5 decades. He currently works with WET PAINT signs used throughout the New York City subway system. After cutting out individual letters to create clever, surreal and sometimes poignant anagrams, he hangs the finished works in subways stations throughout New York City. His WET PAINT work was featured in the 21st Precinct Street Art Event ( July,2014) , a solo show at “Outlaw Arts” (March, 2015) and will appear in the upcoming book, “Street Messages” by Nicholas Ganz.
He has been a featured speaker on a variety of panel discussions, including at The New School, The Museum of the City of New York, and NOLA Arts Festival in New Orleans.
Linus Coraggio began drawing as a one-year-old and sculpting intricate cardboard and wood sculptures at age 8. He designed and built his first piece of furniture at age 12 . A New York City native, he attended Music and Art High School where he met and collaborated with other local artists. Coraggio first began showing his sculpture in group exhibits in NYC (some of which he curated at spaces like ABC not Rio while still studying for his BFA at SUNY Purchase. It was during this time that he invented a genre of street art called “3-D Graffiti” (welded, graffitied constructions bolted onto No-Parking signposts in several major cities). After graduation, Coraggio very actively participated in the blossoming East Village art scene. He formed and galvanized a sculpture group known as the "Rivington School" that created massive junk sculpture installations on the Lower East Side from 1985 to 1997 (including the infamous Gas Station - his sprawling scrap metal studio of 10 years in a former gas station on 2nd St.and Ave B).