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Legendary Graffiti Artist Brings Fresh Perspective in A Mouthful of Crome

Written By Sergy Odiduro
May 10, 2024 at 9:11 AM

Crome with members of the MSG graffiti crew. His exhibition “Mouthful of Crome” offers a look into some of the characters he met during his illustrious career on the streets.
Photo credit Museum Of Graffiti.

Branded public nuisance number one, he was one of the most wanted in South Florida.

Crome was known for dodging the cops while enshrining his name on hard to reach walls and plastering it in unusual places. Many were left scratching their heads while others secretly admired his feats.

By all accounts, Crome, and his partner Crook, could not be ignored. “We would try to pick a spot where we would force you to look at it,” Crome mused.

That was 25 years ago, and today, he doesn’t have to unleash an art based guerilla campaign on an unsuspecting public. Followers of the craft willingly flock to look at his pieces and enterprising graffiti artists are smart enough to take notes.

A Mouthful of Crome, on view through May 15 at the Museum of Graffiti offers a closer look at his latest creations. “The names on the walls are anonymous,” said Alan Ket, the museum’s co-founder. “With the museum show you get to understand what is behind the names. It’s not everyday you can access these artists.”

Three of Crome’s mixed media pieces hanging in the Museum of Graffiti. Photo credit Museum Of Graffiti.

The exhibition is an abstract and gritty essay on the shadowy characters which bubbled out of Crome’s experiences during his illustrious career on the streets.

His technique and his pieces have clearly evolved and are fueled by his insights on battling drug addiction, dealing with overwhelming legal challenges, surviving prison time and maintaining status quo as a diehard graffiti artist.

“Now that I am older I am doing more contemporary stuff,” explained Crome.

However, his core methods remain the same.

He reflects on how technology has affected the art and craft of graffiti.
Though he is grateful for the opportunities that have arisen because of the internet, he has also witnessed an erosion of regional styles that have dissipated and is concerned about its overall authenticity.

“Is the art real?” Crome wonders aloud when asked about modern day graffiti. “Every area had their own specific thing, but now it’s like you don’t know where anything is from no more. A major amount of information is being passed around through YouTube and Instagram, and people are going professional overnight like, but to me it’s also lacking.”

Crosé Rosé, 2020 by Crome. Photo credit Museum Of Graffiti.

Like Crome, Ket views the introduction of technology as a double edged sword. Though he is excited that graffiti has received a wider audience and spawned a new generation of followers and practitioners, he wants modern day artists to stay true to form.

“Technically, it’s the best that it’s ever been but stylistically, I think a lot of it is watered down and derivative of the original… it’s just something that they’ve copied off of the internet.

“People are not as connected to it as they once were when you had to actually learn it from somebody in your neighborhood,” reflects Ket.

“Miami style and New York style and Philadelphia style, they were very city specific and regional, but now [artists] are all over the globe and you can’t ever tell who’s from where anymore.” Ket closed by saying, “I think that makes it take a little bit of the soul of it away from graffiti.”

However, there’s no dispute that Crome’s experience and the other founders of graffiti can not be duplicated.

Baby Teeth, 2021 by Crome. “Mouthful of Crome” will be on view through May 15. Photo credit Museum Of Graffiti.

“Graffiti was a rite of passage,” says Crome. “We had friends that died doing it. We founded it in blood, sweat and tears. And we did it all for nothing but for the glory of making people happy and inspiring people
“It was just fun. You get nothing out of it but getting arrested, doing community service and paying fines.”

Despite this, Crome’s resolve remains unshaken.  He summed up his experience with, “We are all older, but art isn’t something you just quit.”

WHAT: A Mouthful of Crome

WHEN: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, through Wednesday, May 15.

WHERE: Museum Of Graffiti, 276 NW 26th Street, Miami

COST: General Admission $16, Student/Military/Senior $12, Free for Children 13 and under

INFORMATION: 786-580-4678 and museumofgraffiti.com

ArtburstMiami.com is a nonprofit media source for the arts featuring fresh and original stories by writers dedicated to theater, dance, visual arts, film, music, and more. Don’t miss a story at www.artburstmiami.com.

 

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