The last note from Dondi to Mark - 1993

The last note
from Dondi to Mark

A few words about Bode by Zephyr

Graffiti 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.


Though 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.

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