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John Crash Matos

Born in 1961 in New York. Lives and works in New York.

John Matos known as “CRASH” affixes his mark on the trains of New-York from the age of 13. Since 1978, this pioneer of Street Art proceeds, without any difficulty, from trains to cymas. This kind of “underground” art gains his recognition in the world of art when CRASH quits walls and trains to expose at Sidney Janis and at the Real Art Ways gallery alongside with Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring. This is Post-graffiti’s birth: the transposition of train’s graffiti to cymas.

Indeed, painting outside makes him realize that graffiti surpasses the mere production of letters or the pretext to put up his name. It is a source of raw emotion which was forged in the street and will inspire his work on canvas. As he explains: “My first studio was the subway. I will never get it out of my heart”.

Therefore, the studio gives him the time he missed in the streets and allows him to express himself freely. His artwork, more personal, is close to the abstract expressionism, characterized by a fast and powerful painting using bright colors, which reminds this sense of violence of his beginnings. He never ceases to innovate. He is one of the first to associate the 3D figuration with lettering: face fragments, eyes blending with the letters of his name.

His style is recognized by the most major museums and is at the origin of an important graphic expression that still inspires the young generation of artists but has never been equaled.

Maybe this influence is due to the loyalty of this precursor, to his primary inspirations?


Muteen, april 2010

Innova Presse, february 2010
Gazette Drouot, february 2010


Etapes, janvier 2010




Juxtapoz, september 2008