Born and raised in New York, COCO 144...
participated in the first wave of subway writing and was a founding member of UGA, a group that was formed in 1972 with twenty of the best writers in the city. For him, coming to the Wynwood Walls with his longtime friend and contemporary PHASE 2 was a great opportunity to go back to the roots of things and to represent the early writers, painters and expressionists of the subway art form. He describes his pieces: "On the left-hand side I did a COCO 144, sort of an old school blockbuster, and on the right side I did some of the work I'm doing now. I think it was a good parallel. The old and the new."
In the new Wynwood Doors area that opened up in 2010, COCO was the first to paint the roll-down gates that are emblematic of urban environments. He initially planned to use stencils, but because of the uneven surface of the gates he changed his approach and used spray paint freely to create the atmospheric backgrounds and abstract and figurative forms that we see. "I adapted to the surface, and I found it a great challenge to paint on gates, which I had never done before." As a nocturnal person, he particularly enjoyed being able to work at night, which for him has a certain energy and spirit.
COCO was invited to return to the Wynwood Doors to paint portraits for its 2011 reopening. "I'm going to do a portrait of Alice Coltrane because I've been influenced by her music. The other portrait I'm going to do, to balance things, is of Abdul Mati Klarwein. I was influenced by a lot of the album covers that he did, and I don't think he's been celebrated the way I want to celebrate him. It was the music that I was listening to during my youth and that influenced me artistically. Same with Alice Coltrane, I really like the voyages that Alice's music took me on." For his third portrait, COCO honored a notable and elusive individual who he respects.