At149st.com has the best bio for graffiti pioneer TAKI 183: “TAKI was by no means the first writer or even the first king. He was however, the first to be recognized by the news media.” The “news media” they’re referring to is the New York Times (PDF of article), who wrote a story about him back in 1971. It’s no doubt that this was a significant moment in the history of the outlaw movement, but is he going too far in this recent interview with author Roger Gastman, when he says that Washington Heights isn’t the birthplace of graffiti because it lacked media coverage?

I would say the east side of Manhattan was the birthplace of graffiti because that’s where the media picked it up. They couldn’t give a crap what happened in Washington Heights or the Bronx. When it happened on the east side, that’s when it was in the paper.

I’m not sure really sure why it doesn’t count unless it’s in the newspapers, but I haven’t been huffing markers for the past 40 years either. Read the rest of the interview over at www.ilovegraffiti.de.