TRACY 168 (born Michael Tracy in 1958) is a renowned American graffiti artist. He was the first to do the artful interlocking letters in 1973 which is now the standard of graffiti art. He was the originator and the prisoner of that movement which as part of rap music changed world culture.
TRACY 168 was born at New York Hospital on E.68 Street. He is known as one of the founding fathers of the art form and started Wildstyle graffiti. The name also refers to a crew he founded which features Chris Ellis (“Daze”), Lava I & II (founder of the “Black Spades”), Fernando Carlo Jr. (“Cope 2”), Dan (“Plasma”) Rauch, and others. He is featured extensively in the documentary “Just to Get a Rap” and discusses WILDSTYLE and the troubled relationship between graffiti and the established art world. In July 2006, an art piece by Tracy 168 from 1984 utilized a real subway car door and showcased his piece on it. The piece was shown at the Brooklyn Museum of Art during their month-long exhibit, “Graffiti.”
Tracy was the mentor to many street and graffiti artists, Keith Haring and SAMO amongst them. Despite appearing in major gallery and museum shows, “Tracy” maintains a solid street presence with his classic STREET MURALS in Brooklyn and the Bronx, where he currently resides. Tracy 168 is famous for his tags of a drawing called Purple Haze which relates and serves as a tribute to Jimi Hendrix. The artwork was part of the Experience Music Project.
Wild Style (1987)
Bugs Ascending Stairs
Voice of the Ghetto (1979)
Tracy with Self-Caricature (1983)
All images © Tracy 168