80'S GRAFFITI ARTIST FUTURA 2000
The urban artist behind today’s underground art
by Ellie Howard
Celebrated abstract graffiti artist Futura 2000 is the urban Renaissance man. Best known for his work with UNKLE and his sideliner gigs with The Clash, the artist is also a pioneer of abstract street art; blurring virtual reality and hyperrealism with a retro-futuristic twist. A graffiti aesthetic that is now reverberating among a new generation of artists and labels; from Lucky PDF to “Not No Fun” house music.
Profoundly disturbed by ‘Future Shock’, a dystopian novel by Alvin Toffler, Leonard McGurr coined the artist “Futura 2000”. In 1981, when still graffiti ‘bombing’ cars as they raced through New York City, the artist was picked up by The Clash for their ‘Combat Rock’ tour. Futura 2000 painted backdrops while the band played live, collaborated on the artwork for album sleeves and produced the music video “Futura 2000 and his escapades” alongside Mick Jones and Fab 5 Freddy.
A piece by Futura 2000, 1982
Back in the days of Marty Mcfly, and before the advent of Adobe Photoshop, Futura 2000 was working with concepts of distorted space and time, navigating the space where the digital and the physical cross over. Today, the millennial “Retromania” trend is having a resurgence and the artist’s abstractions share striking similarities with that of contemporary multi-media artists Ryan Trecartin and Tai Shani. The transition from pre-digital art and contemporary work being the legacy of Futura 2000, leaving his trademark tag upon the art world.
Futura 2000 in front of his NYC wall mural, 1996
Futura 2000, 1984
Futura 2000, 2014
Futura at the "Introspective" exhibition opening, at the Magda Danysz Gallery in Paris
Futura 2000 (ft. The Clash): Cover Art for 'The Escapades Of Futura 2000'
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