About Kool Koor:
I grew up around artists. My mom is an artist. As a kid I can remember her doing a lot of realism works in pastels. My sister Evelyn is an artist as well. Her portraits were so so good, that as a teen-ager she was already getting commissioned jobs. She still paints and makes sculptures today. All through my years as a youngster I was drawing in a technical manner. I was influenced by space-age technology. I was a product of the 60′s sci-fi boom. Back in 1976 at the age of 13 I started writing graffiti. What got me into it? I saw a girl in my building writing GLORIA on a yard wall outside of my second floor apartment window. So I yelled at her and she cursed me out and kept on painting. Wel I said to myself that if she could do it, so could I. So I went out into the hall ways and started writing MELLOW C. That same week I went up to the eighth floor of my building to see A-One and talked him into going writing with me. Sadly he passed away in Paris on November 11, 2001 (R I P my brother). His first name was GRAND MASTER B. That became A1-Dash. Then he dropped the Dash. Me, I was ARK II, then OMINAR before settling into KOOR in 1979. Toxic lived across the street. He used to write SELF back then. We went on bombing sprees regularly. Though I painted many walls, I was strictly a motion writer (That means writing inside the train cars while they’re rolling). I used to get loose in front of passengers on a daily basis. ADRENALINE ANYONE? This of course got me caught one day with (A One, of course). But as I was 16 at that time, I only paid a 10 dollar fine! Picture that today. One thing is for sure, I got a whole lot more craftier after that.
In September 1978 I entered high school. It was an adventure for me because I lived in the South Bronx and my school (Art and Design) was in midtown on 57th street. That meant I did a lot of writing on the trains on my way back and forth to school. There was also a lot of writers in A&D. More collaborations and elections into crews took off for me then.
Towards the end of 1979, I was introduced to the modern art world as a result of passing by Fashion Moda, an art gallery in the South Bronx. I used to walk inside and talk with the director Stefan Eins from time to time on my way back from high school. One day, he invited me to participate in a show after having seen one of my drawings . I consider that experience to be the beginning of my professional art career.
Exhibiting in art galleries while still attending High School was an experience I will never forget ; there I was, an 16 year-old, explaining my paintings and drawings to patrons, collectors and critics who were all at least 10 years older then me. Although some teachers in my school could not consider that educational, because the subject of my work did not fall under their guidelines as traditional art, it was interesting and certainly educational for me.
In 1979 I met RAMMELLZEE (R I P 1960 – 2010). He was from Far Rockaway. He and I connected directly because of our mutual affinity for space energy and the letter . After many long talks and fights we agreed to disagree on many subjects. It was a great battle with him. We both had our own beliefs and wouldn’t let anyone tell us different. In other words we were laughing and fighting all the time. But we did agree that the letter was more important than the word! He then created T.M.K. (Tag Master Killers) and made me a General. At that time this crew consisted of Ramm , A-One and myself B-One. To be in this crew you had to be able to design and build a letter Tank. I chose the B because my artist name was KOOR and in this you can find the letter B (B-R-K-13). Toxic also became a member of T.M.K. as he A-One and I were always hanging out together and Ramm was in our close circle of downtown friends.
We all met Jean Michel Basquiat back then. Hanging downtown and just being in the scene. exploring, creating and having fun. Jean liked us because we were not like a lot of other cats downtown then trying to grab on to other peoples fame. We were young and creative cats with a lot to say. The whole downtown scene was electric and on fire. Graffiti art was the talk of the town and we were in the epicenter of it. Fashion Moda may have called but we brought the SOUTH BRONX down town. And this had a huge impact on the scene. We used to bring our friends from uptown with us downtown to the gallery openings and the after parties. The Mitchell crew was everywhere. Name a club, we were there. Name an opening, we were there. Name a private party, we were there. So much so that it led to Jean Michel doing a painting titled “Mitchell Crew”.
There is a very clear line to be drawn here. What we were doing artistically was very different from classical graffiti art. IKONOKLAST PANZERISM and GOTHIC FUTURISM was the war of the letter. We put this first. and it was perhaps to deep for a lot of other writers of the time. However some did get it. The galleries showed that they to had problems getting it. It wasn’t about being easy. Easy was…. too easy! There were too many fakers out there clinging onto art forms that have already been done as fuel in their creativity. We were charting new water. Pushing boundaries and making what we thought was some serious work. Contributing to the art scene as a valid member of the culture. RAMMELLZEE was “the equation”, A-One was the “Figurative warrior”, I was the ” The Arbitrator and Draftsman”, Toxic was the “abstractionist”. Together T.M.K. was expanding and waking up the city.
We will show works in the Look for Street Art Exhibition on Arti11 in The Hague and Kool Koor will be exhibiting at Look for Art Gallery in 2012.
Check some video’s:
Coming from the subway