Who is the Greek-American Taki 183 who became a legend on the streets of New York but no one knows his last name
The truth is that man has always felt the need to express his opinion, his beliefs and even his desires or wishes in public. And this tendency to be expressed through messages in public places, such as walls, is recorded for the first time in the Paleolithic era.
A human need that continued and evolved over the centuries. For example, today, in the age of technology, “walls” have taken the form of personal profiles in social media. Where everyone can and freely express their opinion. Of course, as reality proves in many cases, this does not mean that it is necessarily good as freedom becomes impunity and social media, a toxic environment.
Be that as it may, they are also a way of expressing oneself, especially in matters that concern society. Years ago, however, the world and especially the young discovered another way of public expression, the graffiti. And in this new movement that was born a few decades ago and still exists today with an artistic look most of the time, it has a Greek flavor, since the man behind them is the Greek-American Takis 183, who is also the father of the famous “tag”.
The history of graffiti and the Greek-American who became a legend
The birth of graffiti, messages or even paintings on public walls, mainly, is placed around the late 60s and early 70s in America. In the streets of New York, street painting is beginning to appear, which was initially prosecuted as vandalism of public buildings and spaces and has come to be considered today another form of art that has even entered museums.
And somewhere here, we meet a Greek. To be precise, a Greek-American immigrant. At one end of the graffiti of that time, there was the signature TAKI 183. It is the signature of what is considered to be the first person to give birth to street painting. His name or rather his signature took on legendary proportions and his story was hosted even in New York Times. And all this started one summer day in 1969, when Dimitris (his last name until today we have not learned) was bored.
Takis 183 who became a legend
Dimitris, the son of Greek immigrants to America, grows up north of Haarlem, in a neighborhood where many Greek immigrants live, but also Puerto Ricans, Dominicans and Cubans. He and his family lived at 183 Washington Heights.
One summer day in 1969, a child from the neighborhood warns the others that a few blocks down, on a wall, another neighbor signed on him as Julio 204. Dimitris liked this idea very much, who was very bored that day. .
He thinks, therefore, that it would be a good idea for him to write something similar, such as the derogatory Taki (from the name Dimitris) and the number of his house, that is, 183, on the city walls. As it happened.
A year later, TAKI 183 existed in schools, at train stations, in buses and wherever Dimitris (TAKI) considered it good to leave his signature. And when he started working as a distributor, he signed on the boxes, while during the deliveries he made in many areas of the city, wherever he went, he wrote his name.
This signature, the well-known tag, was now almost everywhere. Everyone saw her and TAKI 183 was the known – unknown, who had become almost a legend. A year later, in 1971, he was spotted by a New York Times reporter who followed him and wrote an article about him. This will be the beginning of the birth of graffiti and Takis the father of this new trend.
Over the next decade, hundreds of imitators would leave their coded signatures on walls, streets, buses and trains across New York. The graffiti movement grew and evolved, as in the following years one could find real works of art in public places.
Graffiti was, now, the way young people express themselves to express their views, to protest, to send their messages.
The “father” of the tag who became a car mechanic
After the article about him in the NYT, Dimitris / Taki saw his little name become a legend. And we say his first name because his last name was never revealed. For the next five years, we had the explosion of graffiti that now became a colorful, elegant mural art form.
And it is possible that more and more young people at that time were enthusiastically involved with the new movement, but the same did not happen with TAKI. His interest waned and over time, he disappeared. Although many agree that he was a street artist, he did not engage in any other artistic activity. Instead, he followed a different path.
He studied car mechanics, opened his own workshop, raised a family and lives a quiet life. He decided to follow the path of silence and not take advantage of the reputation he had already acquired.
But even so, graffiti artists know its history and how it paved the way for young people from all over the world to imitate it. TAKI 183 is the first graffiti artist who gave birth to the idea, the “father” as he is otherwise called.