Futura formally known as “Futura 2000″ is an American graffiti artist. He started to paint illegally on New York‘s subway in the early seventies, working with other artists such as ALI. In the early eighties he showed with Patti Astor at the Fun Gallery, along with Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Richard Hambleton and Kenny Scharf. Futura began painting “legally” as the live on-stage backdrop painter for British punk rock band The Clash’s 1981 European tour. More recently, he is a successful graphic designer and gallery artist. One of the most distinctive features of Futura’s work is his abstract approach to graffiti art. While the primary focus, during the 1980s, of the majority of graffiti artists was lettering, Futura pioneered abstract graffiti art, which has since become more popular. Conversely, his aerosol strokes are regarded as different from those of his peers, as they are as thin as the fine lines achieved only through the use of an airbrush.
While he is primarily known as a graffiti artist, much of his work is as an illustrator and graphic designer of record sleeves, first becoming involved with The Clash; producing a sleeve for their “This Is A Radio Clash” 7″ single and handwriting the sleeve notes and lyrics sheet for their album Combat Rock. He also toured extensively with The Clash during the Combat Rock tours, “performing” with them on stage by spray painting backdrops whilst the band performed.
Years later James Lavelle resurrected his career by getting him, alongside Ben Drury, to produce the artwork for several releases on Mo’ Wax records; this also led to Futura producing the imagery which has largely defined Lavelle’s Unkle project.
During the 1990s he was involved with clothing companies such as GFS, Subware and Project Dragon. More recently much of Futura’s artwork has evolved into the production of highly collectible toys, Sneakers; and a diverse range of creative media, working with Recon, Nike, The North Face, Medicom Toy, Undercover,Supreme,Levi’s and A Bathing Ape.
Futura also designs his own clothing under the label Futura Laboratories with a store located in Fukuoka, Japan.
His most recent exhibition Future-Shock was presented by Andy Valmorbida and curated by Nemo Librizzi at 560 Washington Street in New York City. Past galleries who has exhibited Futura’s work include Fun Gallery, Tony Shafrazi Gallery, Robert Fraser Gallery, Galerie du Jour Anges B, Sidney Janis and Galerie Jerome de Noirmont. Museum exhibitions include “New York / New Wave” at PS1 (1981), “Coming from the Subway” Groninger Museum (1992), “Beautiful Losers” (2004) and “Art in the Street” MOCA (2011).
In 2012, Futura designed the special edition Hennessy V.S. bottle.
Futura’s new book, published by Rizzoli, will come out in 2014.