Diving into The Life of Urban Graffiti Artist and Pioneer, John Matos
john matos art for sale
Picture Credit: Wide Walls

Even as a young child, John Matos was no stranger to self-expression. Fascinated by the pop art of the 1960s and heavily influenced by his Puerto Rican roots, Matos has always been attracted to color and started painting as a boy. Growing up in the Bronx in New York, John Matos divulged from painting into the world of graffiti art at the young age of thirteen. He found his medium in full-image works, creating graffiti murals on subway cars and abandoned buildings.

By the time of his high school graduation, Matos had cultivated a new nickname for himself, CRASH (after he crashed the computer at school), and knew his future was with graffiti art. Now, forty years later, CRASH has collaborated with numerous bands and artists and has auctioned off artwork for over $300,000. But how did CRASH come to be, and what does his art mean to him?

Check out some of John Matos’ art pieces currently for sale at Joshua Kodner

John Matos’ Big Break Thanks to Art Galleries

john matos art

Although CRASH has been creating art since adolescence, his big break came thanks to the art galleries of the 1980s. His first art gallery was a collaboration with filmmaker and artist Charlie Ahearn and his painter wife, Jane Dickson, at the late Fashion Moda building in South Bronx. The gallery was an anti-space space and was different from the minimalist style that had overrun the art world. The gallery also served as a catalyst for CRASH’s career. Over the next decade, CRASH and his graffiti works traveled across the United States in art exhibitions.

He helped design the Spectacolor Billboard in Times Square and was commissioned to paint murals in Paris in 1984. In the 1990s, CRASH custom-painted an Eric Clapton Signature Stratocaster and gifted it to Eric Clapton himself; Clapton loved it so much that he used it constantly throughout his tours in the early 2000s and called it the Crashocaster. CRASH ended up making Clapton four more guitars, one of which was auctioned off for an astonishing $321,000. The Crashocasters have so liked that CRASH commissioned an entire product line for Fender and created custom guitars for famous musicians John Mayer and Ed Sheeran.

Artistic Genius Goes Beyond Musical Instruments

john matos art for sale
John Matos Crash

Although electrifying, CRASH’s artistic genius goes beyond musical instruments. In 2011, CRASH created a colorful collaboration with Tumi, a high-end luggage company renowned around the globe, which included bold suitcases and iPhone cases. Apart from the luggage, CRASH has held many solo exhibitions and has created many fine works of art on canvas and print. His artwork, undoubtedly talented and creative, hangs in museums around the world and as well as auction houses like Joshua Kodner Galleries in Dania Beach, FL.

Where You Can Purchase a CRASH Art Piece

CRASH is one of the world’s most influential and expansive graffiti artists. His obsession with color as well as movement has broken barriers and has elevated graffiti art into museums. Rare pieces of his artwork are available at distinguished auction houses, such as Joshua Kodner. With years of experience as an appraiser, gemologist, and auctioneer, Joshua Kodner is committed to selling fine art and collectibles at the best possible value. For inquiries about CRASH’s art, or to browse our collections, please contact Joshua Kodner, today.