Graffiti School – Art & Design High School (NYC)

I currently have a copy of the book “Mascots & Mugs” in my bathroom “library”. Reading through the book, I noticed that a lot of the writers interviewed attended the High School of Art & Design in Manhattan. I had no idea that so many influential graffiti artists attended this school. I did some research and compiled a list of notable alumni

Some Writers who attended: Taki 183, Flint, Pistol, Tracy 168, Lee, Daze, Lady Pink, Mare 139, Erni (Paze), Midg, Size, Seen TC5, Kaze, Tack, Airborn, Doze TC5, Web TC5, Pure, Sento, Reas, Kev Tm7, Son One, Opel, & Fab 5 Freddy

Other alumni: Tony Bennett, both members of the rap act Mobb Deep, Pharoahe Monch, fasion designers – Calvin Klein and Marc Jacobs

Spray cans and underage drinking on school grounds. Graffiti art show at Art & Design (From Hip Hop Files)

Mare 139 & Lady Pink in an Art & Design Bathroom (From Hip Hop Files)

I also attended this school from ’93 (Freshman year) – when I got kicked out in early ’95 (still a Freshman). Maybe it was the 2 hour commute from Staten Island, or maybe it was my fault that I fucked up by majoring in architecture, but the only class I could pass in that school was gym.

From what I remember Art & Design was an underfunded public art high school. It was seven floors with escalators that did not work and no lockers for students. We had to buy and transport our own supplies. As an architecture student they expected me to carry a T-Square everyday on the ferry and train. Many times we would arrive at the school in no mood to sit in bullshit classes. We would often end up bombing in the school stairwells, leaving to walk around Manhattan catching tags, Riding the outside subway lines, checking for spots, or heading over to the Met Museum of Art. We were not interested in looking at the art, we would go there because they had cushioned couches to sleep on near the dining area.

Going to Art & Design, I did learn a lot more about Graffiti. I ended up having a better idea of who did what, and where they were from in the city. Writers came to that school from all 5 boroughs. Linking up at school, I was able to network with kids, venture out to new places to paint and see what was going on. There were often black-book sessions in the school lunchroom. Black-books and Design markers were sold in a store right in the cafeteria (but who was buying shit back then?)

70 thoughts on “Graffiti School – Art & Design High School (NYC)

  1. Very fascinating. I got accepted there but didn’t end up going. I drew this male “model” its funny picturing that guy sitting on that stool now. that school really was a s* hole but that’s why it was awesome haha

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  4. Art & Design is NYC graffiti school of higher learning. I learned more about graffiti drugs and boosting then anything else, what a great time. I believe Doc, Muse, Kez, Skuf and Noxer also attended A&D. I know that Doves, Kelt, Was and pretty much all of 718 CREW attended A&D as well. I met pretty much everyone that I still hang out with to this day there, my wife as well. I remember Skoot and Rena bringing flicks in of what HLK or Omega crew had paint that weekend, always something dope. I hate sounding like Al Bundy but dam that really was some of the most funny of my life.

  5. Also, interesting you mention that the only class you passed was gym,
    I remember reading this article some time ago:

    on athletes it writes:
    ‘a textbook example of burying the lead…One of these characteristics can be thought of as drive—a strong desire to succeed and unswerving determination to reach a goal, whether it be winning the next game or closing a sale. Similarly, athletes tend to be more energetic than the average person, which translates into an ability to work hard over long periods of time—to meet, for example, the workload demands placed on young people by an investment bank in the throes of analyzing a transaction. In addition, athletes are more likely than others to be highly competitive, gregarious and confident of their ability to work well in groups (on teams).’

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  7. holy fuk…i found this site by accindent looking fer a pic of my h.s a&d…
    dam i think i learned more reading thiz then in my classes…wich still suk…but fyi they tore down the gym now we only get weight room lmao
    i love art nd design in a way illremember forever…like i could 4get the fucking crap they try 2 pull…my skewlreally does suk ass…


  8. I Auditioned for the skool this year with my friend cuz i wanna go there 2 get more better for my graff n i met a writer n we was tlkin waiting for the people to call our names to show them our work…
    hop i get writers..n have fun taggin!!

  9. Yoa! yea.. i rememeber 93…have some of your old throwies on my blackbooks. Damm that was ages ago.

  10. I attended H.S. of ART & DESIGN from 83-87 Im KOOL CHANGE tha prez of T.D.R.- THE DEADLY REBELZ Me and my man Roberto Diaz -SIEN5 started it. Strictly old skool

    • 83-87 made lots of friends that opened my eyes to a whole new world of graf, SNATCH,JOEY,SON ONE,PAR,RAD,PAZE,SIZE,POKE IBM,DEAN,PINK,2CUTE,EMAD,EBN,WORE,GNOME,MAZE,REASE,SNARE, im sure forgot many, for its been a long time since i have seen them,but i will never forget to what i learned at A&D,and by the i still can get down…lol…peace.

  11. I come from the golden age of graduating A&D in 1979… majored in cartooning and animation under the teaching guidance of Myron Strauss, Ferguson and Negle. (forgive the spelling, it’s been a long time ya know!) Graffiti was present, but didn’t really have any relevance till later in the 80s, but I do remember a Keith Haring influence creeping in. Ralph Bakshi was a BIG, BIIIG influence back then – as was Vaughn Bode who was featured in Heavy Metal magazine. Bode is dead now, but for some reason his lizard creatures live on in the world of graffiti. I understand his son has somewhat picked up in his footsteps, and is a big supporter of his graffiti followers.

  12. A&D graffiti alumni is indeed a long list. I am lucky and glad to have met some of the most influential and creative minds (although some were not the most stable minds) while attending during the mid 90’s. Some of the people I met have become close friends and most of the memories I recall have become some of the most exciting and memorable experiences in my life. Thanks A&D.

  13. the school is way different now it needs work but its amazing and there building a new building so a7d as it is now will soon be knocked down to never be seen again… wow sad.. ohh well at least i get a new school lol and they make it very clear now tht they dont sapport any type of grafetti what so ever

    • They didnt support Back then…so no worries. do your thing.
      And I heard of the develpoment that are doing. Its def going to be fresh. The whole thing will house a whole foods , luxury Condos and A & D… go figure. Stay up..

  14. Supp my GBU heads. ’92-’96 was great meeting all the writers Fie * Clef * Jend * Kelt * Neps * Joker * Vel * Reaf * Lady Dose * Hek * and anyone i might have forgotten GBU all day!!

    • Yo Kips! whats good my friend. How have u been. This guy was the throwee style master. Holla at your boy.


  15. Damn aint this a blast from the past.What up Kelt what up Rime. Good to see ya still around homies. Ya forgot to mention BISHOP,ELM and all my BK kats that ran the lunch room and hallways..-1

  16. Man what great times I had in the This school , i dropped out around 84 , but I took a great piece of the passion I need to become the man I am today
    A&D for ever.


  18. 83-87 made lots of friends that opened my eyes to a whole new world of graf, SNATCH,JOEY,SON ONE,PAR,RAD,PAZE,SIZE,POKE IBM,DEAN,PINK,2CUTE,EMAD,EBN,WORE,GNOME,MAZE,REASE,SNARE, im sure forgot many, for its been a long time since i have seen them,but i will never forget to what i learned at A&D,and by the i still can get down…lol…peace.

    BlusterOne says:
    May 10, 2010 at 7:19 pm
    I resided at A&D from 84 – 88….

    The FUN years !


  19. Class of 89′ – 93′!! KayLove, EOS, STP, KD, MSD, 123, UMXS. The days of the deceps, LO LIFE$, bombing the locker rooms, vamping, running into Bloomies boosting, the infamous Talent Shows, jumping out from the terrace, Spring Fair…VINZ, NOID, DART4, SIRE, JABS, SABS, OLI, MUZE, RUEN, SKUF, KEZ5, RAID, FOCUS, etc…

  20. WORD! great memories of smoking on the terrace, Danny (Revolt) also went to A&D. I loved the school at the time, it wasn’t a dump yet…I left after the first year, couldn’t deal with the 2 hr. commute each way troopin on the train! Kids had mad talent…we started in 1974, b4 you catz was born yo! PEACE! JD One

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  22. Graduated in 1955 when it was HS of Industrial Art. I had the most interesting, adventurous, time of my life there, and not one moment of regret. We were there because we WANTED to be there, and shared that common bond. The famous went there, taught there, spoke there, and contributed to my years there in ways you can only imagine. Hooray for SIA !

  23. AIM, Revolt, Daze, Fabel, Wiggles(REK), Erni, Seen, Doze, Airborn, Mare139, Midg, Ense, Tack, Beam, Web, Mixer, Ezo, Sizer, 2Cute, Abby, Lady Heart, Tack, Rine, Sexer, Pase, Score, Tab, Conan, Poke, Quasar and myself. (PythonTC5/ROC)

    The school was strong with the TC5 family, IBM and FBA ~ big time. However, it is overlooked that the NCB crew and some strong artists from the outer boroughs repped strong here, with Conan kinging the 7 line and Score/Rine/Pase rocking the BMTS and INDs with No Comp/Seven Deadly Sins crew. Most of the artists listed above were gone by 84.

    • brother you forgot one of the CB5, the dude that did the show with you, the piece next to pace,score,(the little girl looking out of the train) lol

  24. Just went by the site on Saturday, the old Art and Design building is gone, just an empty lot. The new building looks very nice and modern, but it is till sad to say goodbye to the old building.

    • Thank goodness I have a copy of a photo from the internet, of the original building. Last time I was there visiting in 2010, it seemed fine to me?! WTF? ALso I have several pics of the infamous terrace 😉

      • The demolition was very swift and under wraps. There will of course be the usual luxury tower on the site. At least the school is still there next door in its streamlined state-of-the-art new form. I am surprised they allowed for a school to be built at all, and not just more high-end retail.

  25. It’s really quite amazing how many artists out there used to go to Art and Design. This school looks like it used to be a really good art school. But, it upsets me, as a current student at art and design that we don’t get to express ourselves like the students that went here years ago. The picture of Mare 139 & Lady Pink in an Art & Design Bathroom; is just beautiful. For the pass few years they have been painting over any artwork we do on the bathrooms or anywhere else in the building. A lot of students that were passionate about art, aren’t as passionate as they were before. I could say at least 85% of the students here don’t care for art anymore. Some of the students that got in this school never got tested but got randomly accepted while others bust their ass to get into this “amazing art school” that they set themselves to be.

    • @ Anon, When we attended A&D in the eighties we made our own moves to be artist, designers ect. The school served as a hub were we all shared ideas and motivated each other. We were creative that way. What you young people fail to realize is you have to be passionate about what you want, we were passionate, driven. Get together with the students that have the same passion you have and get creative. Make a movie, organize a show, develop your skills and forget about what happened in the past and pave your own road.

  26. Hi All. This is Emad. The graffiti writer/artist from A&D back in 83′ to 87′. Old School…The Best years of my life. Saw some of my trains on 1 and 2 line on U-tube the other day. Can’t believe what we went trough to get fame in the 5 boros. And some of us did get famous. Guess it payed off. The best high school ever, I will never forget.

    On another note:

    If any one can help me locate two of my best friends who where graffiti writers in the same year wrote”POKE” and “KOZE” it would be a blessing to see them after 2 decade.

    Any can feel free call me or pass my number



  27. Having attended A&D from 1974-1977 I recall that ‘some’ of our 70’s OG’s included FLINT…, LSD om, Seven, LEE, Tracy 168, Trouble, Bomb 1, Defie, Shadow (RIP), Cor2, Shaun 67 (RIP), DON 1 (RIP), Aim, Delta2000, Madpete, Dime 139, Pax, and so many, many more I have regretfully forgotten over the years (pls forgive). Many early cliques were either originated or repped here as well: The Rebels, Soul Stoned Brothers, 3YB, BYB, SALSA, M.A.F.I.A., to name a few.
    Surely someone can add to this list, would be nice to see after all the years!

    • Yo I’m attending A&D now, I’m trying to become a graffiti writer myself, the building now is hella new, there’s a standed glass mural in the cafeteria

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