HUF x STAYHIGH 149 Collaboration.

 

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HUF have payed homage to legendary graffiti-writer STAYHIGH 149 with an exclusive collaboration that feature’s the artist’s iconic “Smoker” tag. Wayne Roberts, the man behind the tag, was born in Emporia, VA in 1950 and grew up amidst the social unrest and riots of 1960s Harlem. In 1969 his family left for the Grand Concourse in the Bronx, where Wayne’s good friend gave him the nickname ‘STAYHIGH’ due to the amount of weed passing through his lungs. It was a lot too, roughly an ounce a week.

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As graffiti goes STAYHIGH 149 is a legend, forget about your Banksy’s, this guy is real. In the early 70s he started writing STAYHIGH along the Grand Concourse, adding 149 to the tag for the street number he lived on. After taking a job as a messenger on Wall Street, where he sold loose joints on his lunch break, STAYHIGH would also paint trains on the way to work and back and even in-between daytime deliveries. Often hitting hundreds of trains a day.

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His style evolved hugely. Then in 1972 he added the final piece to his signature the ‘Smoker’ by adapting ‘The Saint’ stick figure from the popular television show, drawing him with a joint. Due to his iconic style many writers agree to this day that it was the best tag ever.

 

 

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New York magazine published an essay on the subway graffiti movement in 1973, which included a photo of a STAYHIGH piece on a train alongside his portrait and tag, linking an identity to the name. Wayne was arrested a month later and given a $20 fine. After the arrest, STAYHIGH had to give up his name. For a brief period he began writing VOICE OF THE GHETTO, based on the popular newspaper column Voice of the People. But his iconic status as STAYHIGH was cemented in the writing world with the 1974 publication of ‘The Faith of Graffiti’.

 

 

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After retiring from writing for 25 years, STAYHIGH reappeared at a gallery show in 2000 to a huge audience who admired his work. Since that he began writing again for a new generation. In 2006 he visited the HUF shop in San Francisco, where himself and Keith Hufnagel became acquainted and produced a personalized ‘VOICE OF THE GHETTO NYC to SF’ painting that reflected Keith’s history. That is where their relationship started. STAYHIGH continued to leave his trademark “Smoker” image everywhere until his untimely death in 2012.

 

 

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The video below, shot by filmmaker Brandon Kuzma, showcases HUF’s latest Holiday apparel and footwear that can all be found here at The Black Sheep Store. Peter Ramondetta, Dan Plunkett, Brad Cromer, Remio, Matt Gottwig, Matt Field, Zack Krull, and Eugene Hood hit up the city’s hilly spots in all the latest clobber. Including a few hidden faces making the most of the new HUF x STAYHIGH 149  wide marker pen. I’m not implying we go around tagging the city, although lets keep STAYHIGH 149 alive and lets get creative.

 

 

 

 

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