KEO (Blake Lethem), ‘Untitled (3. Crescent)’, Doyle

A legendary link between the worlds of Hip-Hop and Graffiti, KEO (aka Blake Lethem) is part of the seminal XMEN crew, the Graffiti group who pioneered the use of stickers and wheatpasting in Street Art—influencing the iconic graffiti duo Cost & Revs, as well as Barbara Kruger and Jenny Holzer. Urban legend also claims that KEO was the first white MC and DJ (predating the Beastie Boys), a beloved forefather of Hip-Hop culture. KEO remains active today, a creative force responsible for MF Doom’s classic “Operation: Doomsday” album cover, as well as steadily creating and exhibiting his complex and powerful fine art.

From KEO’s series of mixed media letter paintings, #3 in the series features letter C. This work, and the entire series, reminds us that before the term “Graffiti Art” entered the mainstream, the medium was known within its community as “Style Writing.” Calligraphy and typeface were, and are, essential to the art form and revered by the artists – and with this work, KEO presents an etymology surrounding the letter and its form. —Courtesy of Doyle