from Dondi to Mark
A few words about Bode by Zephyr
artists love Bode. That's the simple truth. For decades
the graff culture has had an on-going love affair with Cheech
Wizard, the lizards, the infamous Bode broads and all the
other inhabitants of the fantastic cartoon world created
by Vaughn Bode. Graffiti writers have their favorite brands
of spray paint, so it shouldn't be too surprising that we
have our favorite artists too. The work of Vaughn Bode,
who passed away in 1975 at age 33, is as much a fixture
in the graffiti community as fat caps and black books.
What is it about Bode's work
that so captivates our imagination? What lies behind the
community's impulse to relentlessly borrow Bode's images?
What is the magic of his that makes it more and more beloved
as time goes by? Needless to say, the work is great. It
is wickedly funny and sometimes just plain wicked. Bode's
cartoon worlds are beautifully drawn, replete with thick
outlines and soft contours that possess a simple and delicious
graffiti-like aesthetic. The hilarious characters run the
gamut from whimsical to sardonic. Each one fabulous and
thoroughly unforgettable. But the connection to art of the
late Vaughn Bode, the deep bond that the graff community
has with his work, seems to defy analysis. Like the spirit
of Vaughn in the ether of our collective consciousness,
clear answers remain elusive. Bode's art dances around our
souls and touches us in a way that can't be explained. It's
true the community has plagiarized his work. Plagiarized
it with deep reverence. Graffitists paint Bode's characters
a lot. And tattoo them on themselves. And collect and cherish
the books and comics. Bode's work is worshiped with religious
zeal. Years after he left the planet, the cartoon
messiah is still revered. Revered and in many ways still
very much alive. God bless Vaughn Bode.
he's gone, never to be forgotten, he is survived by a son.
Mark Bode is the proud
ringbearer of a truly venerable dynasty, and he has no intention
of letting Bode die. Not on his watch. Through Mark's own
powerful artwork and an equally powerful sense of commitment,
the wonderful world his father set forth continues to thrive.