SKEME – Who Died and Left you King

Screen print / Serigrafia, 4 layers
50 x 70 cm, 2020
Old Mill paper, 300 gr.
(Fluo colors)
Limited edition of 30

Not Available

Artist info


Skeme was born in Bronx, New York, in 1964 and lived there for up to five years old when the family moved to Harlem, Manhattan. During his teenage years, he came in contact with all the free art that covered the New York metropolitan area. Skeme began writing graffiti in mid-1978 but he hasn’t “made” his first train until 1980. When he was fifteen years he got the “past level” and adorned with his graffiti 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, To, CC, D, E, F, J lines and M of the MTA subway system in New York. The passing of his pieces through the many subway lines that run through the five boroughs of New York has become known as the “All City” [throughout the city], a success achieved by very few artists. Skeme was famous for his “bombing”, a kind of interior writing with a unique and sophisticated style that has become one of the most recognizable “single hit tags” in the history of graffiti. Over relatively short two years, he has been able to cover the exterior of trains with more than 100 works of graffiti. Skeme’s pieces go trough  from complex “simple silver” to elaborate “wild style burners” to  “whole car” [wagonloads] productions. At sixteen, Skeme was the undisputed king of lines 1 and 3, due to the predominance of his masterpieces  traveling along trains. Skeme had the honor to create works of art with some of the most important artists of graffiti, including: Phase 2, Chain 3, Kool 131, Tean 5, Kade 198, Smily 149 (RIP), Dez, Part 1 , Kase 2 (RIP), EN005 (RIP) and Daze. He was a member of some of the crew recognized as the most famous: TMT, TNT, TDS, INDS, TED, and 3YB. Skeme has achieved the fame with his mother after appearing in a documentary about Graffiti and Hip Hop, called “Style Wars”, by Henry Chalfant and Tony Silver. He remember how one of his greatest glory moment when the pioneer and legend of Graff Phase 2 (INDS) ask for his help to achieve the famous wagon “TUFF CITY”. Skeme consider itself as a lettering purist and he traces his style to the crew Phase 2 – INDS, Riff 170 -INDS, Chain 3- TDS / TMT, Kool 131 – TDS, and Kade 198 – TMT. Skeme Graff carreer was cut short when his mother gave him the ultimatum to fall into line or leave home. The temptations of the metropolis was too strong for him and his mother forced him to present himself at the center of the US military recruits where he joined the army at the age of seventeen. In the fall of 1982 Skeme joined the army and served in various parts of the world, including Vicenza where he served as a paratrooper. Skeme returned to his homeland in 2010 after 28 years of service to find out that not only graffiti art was still widespread, but that was flourishing as never before. Although during the military life he painted only in few occasions, his interest in graffiti has never ceased, and soon he resumed the activity having discovered through the internet thousands of new works of graffiti spread worldwide. Skeme now paints to keep alive the tradition of the purists of the lettering and the teachers previous to him

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Signed by the artist.

“Who Died and Left you King” by Skeme is a screen print realized in collaboration with 56 Fili on occasion of Varsi 7th birthday.

It is from the famous documentary “Style Wars” that are taken the words coming out from Skeme mother’s mouth in this print “Who Died and Left You King?”, asking ironically herself who passed to her son the royal scepter of Kingship in terms of Graffiti lore. A thought to this woman, a very influential figure in the artist’s life, who “left me in the world to continue my journey, alone”. 

This work is also an ode to influential writers from the past, both living and deceased. The artist says, “when you even dream of speaking of Kings, specifically Kings of Style, it is only fitting to honor the memory of fallen writers, Kase2; a walk down the memory lane, heads bowed, not sad but solemn.”

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