Subware

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Blue Works Studio

Josh “Stash” Franklin was born on Long Island in 1967 and came of age in the East Village in the early 1980’s, when his first canvas was shown alongside Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat in FUN Gallery’s “Graffiti, Thanks a Lot!”.

Stash’s work has since been shown in New York, Los Angeles, London, Paris, Rome, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Dubai, Singapore, and Moscow, and joined the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Brooklyn Museum.

Stash is also widely known for incorporating spray nozzles and other graffiti iconography in streetwear design. His high-profile collaborations with Nike, Burton, Medicom Toy, A Bathing Ape, and other brands during the 1990s played a key role in the general public’s eventual appreciation of graffiti’s cultural and aesthetic value.

The through-line in all of Stash’s work is the style and ethos of 1980’s NYC subway graffiti. His earlier paintings incorporate subway maps and “Wild Style” lettering. Stash’s more recent paintings are abstract; their references to his origin in a counterculture are metaphorical rather than explicit. Fragments of earlier pieces since painted over can be seen behind the bold colors and linework in the foreground of the painting, figuring the palimpsestic nature of subway cars that were tagged and painted by graffiti artists, buffed clean by the transit authority, and tagged and painted again. Stash paints his memory of a personal and collective past that remains partially obscured by imperfect retellings.

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