Lee Quinones has a {he}ART For Haiti

In Lee Quiñones, the subway movement midwifed one its most prolific sons: that’s a fact that I dare you to argue. From the time he was just another Puerto-Rican born teenager living in the Lower East Side during the 1970s, Lee was already shaping a personal narrative. He went from painting 40-foot subway car murals in 1975 to becoming of the most important conduits of the downtown ’80s art scene, a marriage that was masterfully represented in Blondie’s Rapture video, in where he also co-starred with Jean-Michel Basquiat and Fab Five Freddy. He starred in the iconic film Wild Style, loosely based on his life, as well as Style Wars. Fast-forward a decade later, Lee has transferred his narrative from subway cars to canvas. Where Lee’s work may have been sandblasted by the MTA during his days as an underground Sufi of graffiti art, it’s now being housed in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of Art, the Museum of the City New York, and others around the world.

Lee’s achievements are outstanding, but they’re not the reasons why I dig him so. He’s hysterically self-deprecating, consistent and supportive. He’s also spontaneous: what started out as a dare turned into a New York City to Miami bike ride where Lee raised thousands for Hurricane Katrina. He is so unarming, in fact, that it’s easy to forget all the contributions he continues to make in the contemporary art world. His work speaks for itself: volumes.

Lee also has a big {he}ART for Haiti. We are auctioning off two of his pieces, not pictured, titled The Lying King and Money Flies, for which inquiries are already being made! Below, a quick scan into his mind’s eye:

Style master? Rammellzee

What or whom will you come back as in your next life? A pigeon

What’s your motto? Sustainable conscience

If I could channel any artist, living or dead, it would be Francis Bacon

If I were a photograph, I’d be called In Living Color

Technology is overrated

Favorite destination: Peace of mind

I’d answer God is and Art is like this: Graffiti is an art, and if art is a crime, then God forsake us all.

What quality do you most admire in others? Their word

What quality do you least like in yourself? Lost in space, my studio is a blast zone

I can’t live without my open heart

Rasta Monsta truck by Lee Quiñones, as seen in How to Make it in America, HBO

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