The First Stencil


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The First Stencil

Spraypaint background + screenprint edition of 23

Image size: 10 1/2 x 16 in. 

Paper size: 15 x 22 in.



More prints by COCO144

Considered to be one of the pioneers of the graffiti/street art movement, COCO144 is a kid from the sixties who grew up scratching his head in Harlem, asking himself a lot of questions. Wandering in a turbine of enigma, he found a vehicle of self-discovery through writing his tag name on the trains.


His 30 years of experience working at a medical scientific university has helped him develop a complex practice and unique language. While still working with his name, COCO becomes a scientist and looks at his subject as if it were under a microscope. He then proceeds to dissect, destruct and layer it in fractals. By analyzing his own identify through his name, his work becomes a metaphor of rediscovery and evolution. This resembles exactly what taggers were doing on the streets back in the day. The act of repetitively writing one’s name serves as a resetting button, allowing individuals to evolve and reassure their own existence.


On the search for innovation and uniqueness, COCO introduced the use of stencils in the early 70’s. This ingenious tool would help improve the production and speed of his writing. Today’s print is a screenprint of what was the first stencil made out of cardboard back in 1972.


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