I saw this Haze throw on a desolate street in Miami a couple of weeks ago. I didn’t know how rare it was until I recently read his blog post in 12ozProphet.
Haze, one of the pioneers of graffiti art in New York and now a successful artist and designer, says that before 2010, he hadn’t picked up a can of spray paint since the late 1990s, explaining that he likes to think he “hung up my cleats after the golden age of the New York subways.”
- In his early years tagged by the name of "SE3"
- Has a "Haze" brand clothing line that sells in the Harajuku area of Tokyo
- Has done work with Public Enemey and the Beastie Boys
That’s pretty incredible – not only to quit at the top of your game, but also to make such a sharp departure from your comfort zone and where you’ve had your greatest success. Needless to say, it’s all worked out pretty well for Haze, who has shown his art in New York, Los Angeles and Miami over the past couple of years, in addition to collaborations with companies such as Nike and Stussy.
He says he returned to spray paint in Los Angeles. That was during the summer, when he painted a really dynamic wall with graffiti artists Revok, Rime and Risk. He didn’t spray again until Miami, which probably explains why when I ran into him there – in front of the piece he painted for Primary Flight – he was taking an endless number of photos.
I watched him for about 10 minutes: He was hunched over his camera as if he were sneaking up on a butterfly. He took a photo, took a step to the side, took another photo, took another step to the side. I distinctly remember wondering, “Why is Haze taking photos from every angle?”
But now I know.
In his blog post, Haze goes on to reflect on his return to spray paint this year. “Along with a growing appreciation of all the great work people are pulling off with spray paint these days,” he writes, “it also reinforced something pretty essential to me: that when it comes to the simple act of writing your name on a wall for the pure rush and pleasure of it; I think it’s fair to say that the game has changed in more ways than we could have ever imagined over all these years … but then again, at the same time, maybe not so much.”
Follow Richard S. Chang on Twitter: @r_s_c