Graffiti: Tim Conlon & Dave Hupp
Using the tags “CON” and “AREK,” local graffiti artists Tim Conlon and Dave Hupp began writing together in 2000. Conlon brought a flair for figures to their collaborations, and Hupp excelled at quick, complex lettering. Since graffiti is performed without a public audience, a writer’s pseudonym, or “tag,” is the face he presents to the world—his self-portrait. The sophisticated lettering style, color combinations, and patterning of these pieces reveal the expertise of Conlon and Hupp, who are members of the national “crews,” Burning America (BA) and Never Show Faces (NSF). Graffiti became a recognizable form of urban expression in Philadelphia in the late 1960s before quickly spreading to the streets and subways of New York City. Now considered one of the four elements of hip hop expression—along with MC-ing, DJ-ing, and break-dancing—graffiti has moved beyond its original negative perception to become a legitimate and vibrant form of visual art around the world.
Arists' Statement: Tim Conlon and Dave Hupp
While graffiti is many things to many people, for us it comes down to the infusion of color and design to an otherwise blighted and often lifeless setting or surface. We’ve been writing graffiti for over fifteen years: it’s a lifestyle, an addiction, a dysfunctional marriage of secrecy and fame, for better and for worse. Some see it as an insatiable appetite for destruction, but through this abstracted topography we find our creative
vision and achieve our self-expression.
In the quest for shameless self-promotion and bravado, graffiti also serves as a therapeutic release from everyday life and personal struggle using a different, obscured identity. This is self-portraiture through a chosen word—your “tag”— and ultimately this tag becomes who you are. In this art of war, where the lines are literally drawn, we
compete with rivals, friends, and ourselves in an endless battle to outshine and overcome with the best style, best placement, and most audacity. Every culture glorifies its royalty.
In “RECOGNIZE!” we pay homage to the styles and kings who came before us and to the beats and rhymes that have inspired us, with a nod to the place where it all started.