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Paying Sharpie Its Due at Crewest

By Kristin Friedrich
Published: Saturday, February 07, 2009, at 11:16AM
Crewest Sharpies

The good graffiti artists don’t just pick up a spray paint can and go to town. The progression from name tagging to elaborate mural painting is a journey, and that journey almost always includes Sharpie pens. To honor the instrument and the role it plays in the graff world, Crewest Gallery puts up “The Sharpie Show,” opening Feb. 7.

Man One, who co-founded Crewest and curated the new show, says he's used Sharpies for as long as he can remember. "They produce a nice black line and they were the perfect consistency for marking on Pee Chee folders during class or on your girlfriend's slip-on Vans, or hitting up USPS priority stickers for street slaps."

As a graff artist evolves, Sharpies also become integral to his or her black book, a collection of sketches and tags. "That’s the number one reason graff artists prefer Sharpies — hitting up black books,” Man says. “The passing around of black books at shows, gatherings, or crew meetings is almost a ritual in every city."

As a function of Man and the gallery’s vast urban art network, “The Sharpie Show” features hundreds of pieces by graff artists, tattoo artists and illustrators including Lalo Alcaraz (he of the comic strip La Cucaracha) and Overton Loyd (Parliament’s “Motor Booty Affair” album cover). There will be stylized hand signatures, portraits, throw ups, and stickers. According to the Sharpie blog (, it’s the first show of its kind.

"The Sharpie Show" runs through March 1 / Opening reception Feb 7, 6-9pm with beats by DJ Phyz Ed and live printing by Two Rabbits / 110 Winston Street / (213) 627-8272


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