Crayone is a legendary West Coast aerosol artist and pioneering figure in the Bay Area Hip-Hop community.
Born in Manhattan’s Greenich Village to a Korean mother and Yugoslavian father, his family soon relocated to San Francisco where Crayone would grow up and make his mark on Hip-Hop Culutre.
After seeing the movie Flashdance and the documentary Style Wars in the early 1980’s, Crayone was inspired to start breaking. He traveled throughout the Bay Area to various functions and competitions, connecting with other dancers and helping start the All City Crew.
Breaking eventually led him into writing, when a fellow crew mate named Fury showed him a piece that read “Omega”. “This is what they do in NY,” explained Fury and from then on, the art had Crayone hooked.
He became infatuated with writing and quickly developed his own style. Not tied down by traditional rules, Crayone pushed the boundaries of aerosol art, experimenting with never-before-seen concepts, using intricate colors and incorporating illustrative characters in his pieces. His crew, TWS (Together With Style), became world-renowned for their innovative approach and originality, which became labeled as the “New Wave” style.
“We weren’t coming from the New York school of bar letters. We were trying to break the rules, do things that people had never done before,” he explains.
As one of the dominant and most influential writers in the Bay Area, Crayone gained wide exposure and media notoriety. He was the first aerosol artist to have a one-man gallery show exhibition on the West Coast. Also the first to put a piece on a San Francisco Muni Bus and the first to do a whole car Southern Pacific Railway Car in the United States. His work has also been featured prominently in such publications as Spraycan Art, Freight Train Graffiti, Graffitio, The History of American Graffiti, and the award winning documentary Piece by Piece.
He went on to attend the AI Collins Design School in Arizona and the California College of Arts & Crafts, further honing his artistic talents and graphic design skills. Crayone has done professional graphic and art work for the likes of Asianweek, Jobs and Careers, Macy’s, Pepsi, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, LA Opera, UbiSoft Corp. and the San Francisco Youth Expo. He is also recognized for being one of the first street artist to integrate writing styles into web graphics. This web work has earned him several awards and accolades, most notably for his design on Hip-Hop.com (1995-2000) and HipHop-Network.com (2000-02).
In the summer of 2011, Crayone was asked to become an official member of Style Elements, a fellow Bay Area crew he had seen innovate the dance of breaking reminiscent to his crew’s influence on writing. With a shared passion for the preservation and elevation of Hip-Hop culture as whole, Crayone became a part of the SEC family and lent his talents to the crew’s mission.
After nearly 30 years of longevity in aerosol art, music production and media design, Crayone continues to innovate and elevate his craft. Both his professional and personal work are constantly evolving as he seeks new avenues to consistently push the boundaries, while always staying rooted in the culture and giving back to the community.
Crayone also has been involved in making and producing electronic dance/hip-hop music since 1989. He currently still is involved in making beats for different projects. Recently he has joined Urban Umpires, a label and recording studio in Downtown Oakland reppin’ some of the finest Underground MC’s and is now venturing into Internet radio and web-based magazine.
Meaning Behind the Moniker
At first his dancing name was SpaceGhost (known for wearing a white hoodie at his breaking practices which he co-founded the JapanTown Bowling 3rd Floor Practice area for All City Crew). Then later to Crayon (for a few days) then to Crayone. To Crayone, the name represented color, flashy characters and intricate backgrounds, which all make up the final end production, the wildstyle, the epitome of the individual flavor and style.