Yesterday on June 11th 2012 Wayne Roberts A.K.A.  Stay High 149 died. In the world of graffiti it is hard to put into words how important Wayne was to a culture which most people don’t understand. I’m sometimes surprised that stuff we did forty years ago has gone global and infiltrated everything including the corporate world. TV shows and movies have “experts” come on to their shoots and try and duplicate the writing from different eras. They usually fail badly. Meanwhile hundreds if not thousands of teenagers and kids all across the five boroughs tried to come up with a tag that wouldn’t pale in comparison to Stay High’s…Once again, most failed. Many people wanted to stop graffiti and the majority of the stuff one would see, was indeed crap. Stay High-149’s tag was art, buried like a needle in a haystack amongst the scribble scrabble of his younger fans. Wayne’s tag was never topped in almost half a century of attempts by what now may now be millions of guys and gals across this planet!

I was lucky enough to watch him in action back in ’74 and he made me feel silly for what I thought was a respectable tag at the time. His other tag “Voice of the Ghetto” while not as spectacular, was every bit as true as Stay High was. He was a voice for all the aspiring artists as they toyled with their black books, hoping to come up with their own iconic logos…

©Matt Weber

4 thoughts on ““Stay High-149” R.I.P.

  1. Was he by any chance featured in the documentary Style Wars…although I think that film focused mainly on subway graffiti?

  2. Greg,

    I haven’t watched Style Wars in at least twenty years so I’m not sure, but SH-149 was MIA for twenty five years including the year the film was made…

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