Affectionately known as The Mural Kings, Tats Cru is a collective of artists that have revolutionized how graffiti artists and street artists approach work on walls. While there is a ton of material written online about their standing historically, as a group of artists, and their impact on the Bronx; Our co-author Jonathan Drexler has been fortunate to begin documenting their work and careers individually, like the recent write up about Tats Member BIO. This article will serve to shed light specifically on BG 183 (@bg183_tats_cru). BG recently had a show at WallWorks New York (@wallworksny), a gallery in the Bronx opened by Crash (@crashone). Jonathan caught up with BG as he walked through the showcase and his work in review.
“I was introduced to art at the age of 4. I remember seeing my older sister Lillian working on a drawing. I walked away just wanting to do that myself. I continued drawing and painting all the way through high-school. Personally, I was always drawn to the artistic side of things and I really devoted myself to trying to improve as an artist. It was never just about graffiti for me. Growing up in the Bronx, I saw it everywhere. However, I was moreso drawn to learning how color and paintings worked. It was not until high-school when I would meet those who became part of Tats Cru with me that I got into the nature of graffiti and lettering.
I attended James Monroe high school. When I was a junior and Bio was a freshman; we met in art class. It was not long after that when I was introduced to Nicer and things just kind of fell into place from there.This specific show is called ‘The Wall’. The reason for that is because everyone in our trio is known for something. While Nicer does our characters, and Bio does our lettering–it is my job to always bring detail to our scenery like the buildings, for example. In this show I really aimed to showcase what I have devoted many years of my life to mastering artistically. For years I have been painting walls–and so here I just wanted to flip the scene by painting that theme this time but with the same medium of mostly spray paint.
One thing I have become known for over the years is the use of a fire hydrant. That is why I painted the two larger canvases. It happened organically too because I often look around the scene where we paint for inspiration. One day I threw it on a wall and had some of the water gushing out–then over the course of time it gained momentum and I just embraced it. The opening reception of this show was awesome because you always want to see people viewing your work as an artist. I was really thankful to see nearly 350 people in here seeing seeing what I worked on. I remember standing back and observing people shoulder to shoulder observing my work. It was so gratifying and really a reminder as to why I have worked so hard over the years to master what I love. I am just an artist at the end of the day–I paint because that is what I love to do and to be able to bring people together with that ability of mine makes all of what I have sacrificed worth it. For me, the buildings represent positivity. Historically within the Bronx, abandoned buildings were burned down by their owners so that insurance could be collected. Having the ability to paint these large structures as standing and put together means that they are full of life. Not just each individual building–but their communities as well.
It is nice to observe my career thus far and pull everything together in a unique way. Graffiti has the ability to bring people together and to show the scenery that I am from and personally find inspiration from in a positive light is what I strive to do. In my mind’s eye; buildings have life and potential within them. And the hydrants being full of energy represent a youthful energy that the streets of New York City is known for. So in my opinion; this show really does showcase my work to it’s fullest capacity because the love for this scenery is what I am all about.
I would like to give a huge thanks to everyone who has supported me as an artist over the years and in particular those who came out to this showing and purchased many of the canvases that are in this room today.”
The ultimate take away from BG walking through his solo show for us was how down to earth he was. BG, just like all of Tats Cru have devoted themselves to being personable and approachable as artists and professionals–not just graffiti writers. Their work reminds us all that graffiti can uplift communities and bring us together. Their commitment to hustle cohesively shows all of us that love for art can be used to build relationships as opposed to misunderstandings that tear them down. BG’s work of mastering how to paint scenery plays a huge part in that and artists like him not only deserve a follow; but our support for his work.