"Futura's contributions to the abstract element of graffiti are well documented,” asserts Eric HAZE, famed for his graphic design work with Public Enemy and the Beastie Boys. “His important place in art history will remain clear.”

 

Futura was able to strip away the letters for pure abstract color and form, making a statement that is still being digested today. —Poesia, Graffuturism

 

“It’s hard to explain how important Futura is to our evolution as artists,” says Poesia, a major figure in the Graffuturism movement. “As the cliche states, Futura was ahead of his time,” notes the Bay Area artist. “He was a complete paradigm shift... Futura's purely abstract whole car in 1980 can be compared to Wassily Kandinsky's first purely abstract paintings. Both were firsts and painted almost 60 years apart. Kandisky opened a door to modern art, Futura has opened a door to what we are doing today. Futura was able to strip away the letters for pure abstract color and form, making a statement that is still being digested today. The graffiti artist leaving figurative letter forms, the graffiti artist transcending aesthetically, the graffiti artist becoming an artist, graffiti becoming art—Futura addressed so much with one painting. It didn’t stop there. He’s had huge impacts in streetwear, photography, design, publishing and much more. He seems to always be first to the punch on so many things. Legend is not a strong enough word. He is the exception to every rule, unparalleled.”

Despite his OG status, Futura keeps his finger on the street art pulse. “Logan Hicks is a mastermind, Saber is the sweetest spray painter, and C215 is my brother from another mother,” says Futura, applauding those who wave the flag of progressive graffiti. “There is a whole new crew, this Graffuturism crew. I love that,” he says, “The thing that is great is that it has been coming for a decade. It was great to see 2010 hit. I see things from a decade-to-decade perspective and I see abstract having its time now.”

Although he enjoys the universal respect of his peers, Leonard McGurr remains, as Poesia puts it, a “humble visionary.” Thanks to his keen interest in history, he knows his place in art is understood and rarely toots his own horn.

“Who started all that?” Futura asks, ashing his cigar, then half-jokingly answers his own question. “Duh, Lenny.” All jokes aside, Futura says that “It has never really been about me.” Still he concedes that “I need to be more assertive in the art world—and I will be.”

PAGE 6 of 7