While the world moved past the death of Basquiat in 1988, NYC changed again. Al Diaz also moved forward with his life; playing music and a career as a carpenter. Around 2010, Al agreed to work on the documentary The Radiant Child,directed by Tamra Davis. He realized then for the first time, he had a voice to contribute to that period in art history, in the history he was an enormous part of. He stayed hidden for a long time; strung out, fallen on hard times, but was now in a positive place of reflection.
After decades of darkness, it was time to re-emerge. Al began playing with the WET PAINT signs and MTA service alert notices. He cut them up, collaging the letters and symbols into a limited vocabulary of phrases and statements. These anagrams breathed new life into Al's artistic career. He was ready to contribute to a new generation of street art. Then this past November, a few hours after the Trump election announcement, Al had heard enough.
And with that, Al Diaz made his return to the city streets, after over 30 years. His first illicit graffito in a long time, and now there have been over 100 in this era of Trump. He also began collaborating with street artist Jilly Ballistic, by contributing his text art to her vintage images. She works mainly in the subway too, and their styles blend perfectly for the topic they are tackling.
I want to thank Al for inviting Sold Magazine to his studio, participating in the video, and talking to us candidly about his life journey. I know I speak for the team when I say it was a pleasure, and also a lot of fun. We hope to see everyone Saturday Night for our Re-Launch Party & celebrate with all of our artists! See the link for details & make sure to RSVP!