In the 70’s and 80’s, graffiti was extremely common in major cities like New York. As the act became increasingly associated with crime, police heightened surveillance of street art. Still, little tags can be seen almost everywhere you look, including bigger pieces that make quite an impact. While some citizens clearly aren’t fans of graffiti, others are glad that these anonymous artists are being generous enough to create free, original artwork for the public.
There are many female pioneers who painted the way for women in the mysterious world of street art. Unsurprisingly, many of the amazing graffiti writers originate from right here in New York City. Recently, vibevixen.com put together a list of NYC’s most influential spray-painting ladies and we’d like to share this list of the list of these creators along with some more info, links, and videos.
Barbra 62 and Eva 62
This legendary tag-team duo was one of the first female street artist pairs. Barbra 62 has been tagging the streets since the seventies, while Eva 62 began in the eighties. Not too much is known about these mysterious women, but one of their best know exploits involved spray-painting a boy’s shower room at DeWitt Clinton, an all-boys high school in the Bronx.
Claw, AKA Claw Money, is from Queens; her standout tag is a bear claw that looks very chubby, cute, and feminine. These days, she runs her own fashion line, creates original design, and writes books. Check out what she’s up to on her site: clawmoney.com.
Lady Pink & Lady Heart
These two ladies are known for the intense colors on the artwork they sprayed in the 80’s. Lady Pink is also one of the few women who made an appearance in the classic hip-hop movie Wild Style. She earned the title “Queen of Graffiti of New York” and continues to create art to this day.
Swoon is based out of Brooklyn. Her work is a hybrid of spray paint, paper cut-outs, and wheatpasting. People tend to describe her work as melancholy, often depicting hardship. Currently, she works on large installations and exhibits internationally.
Ms Maggs had a very influential role in graffiti in the 90’s. She’s best known for potent burners (essentially a very nice piece of work that includes bright colors) and bubbly roller letters. Her full story still remains a mystery.
Toofly began doing graffiti on her way to school when she was a teen growing up in Queens. She was heavily influenced by calligraphy and illustration, and in the 90’s, began making her style more concrete and creating her own characters. She became incredibly popular, but remained true to her roots. A few years ago, she co-founded the art collective Younity. She also runs her own fashion line, and has had her work appear in various books and magazines. Check out her website: tooflynyc.com.
Photos via VibeVixen.com and Dre Grigoropol