Bronx graffiti artist selected for public art commission

Photo courtesy of Lucky Liz
Photo courtesy of Wane One

A one-time Bronx graffiti artist was recently awarded a commission to produce a street piece for a Westchester town.

Chances are, whether you live in the Bronx or not, you may have seen a vibrantly colored Wane One tag painted on the side of a building, box truck, or train over the years and now in White Plains as part of a mural project.

Wane One is now a sought after artist and designer with 37 years in the craft under his belt. Wane has worked on collaborations with companies like Nike, New Balance, Reebok and Sean John.

Wane was born Wayne (who does not disclose his last name), to West Indie immigrants in London, England, where he and his brother were born and lived briefly as well as Granada, before immigrating to the North Bronx.

As a young kid, Wane remembered seeing graffiti all around him growing up on Allerton Avenue.

Wane was like a lot of kids his age, hanging out, sketching in their composition notepads, and playing with spray paint.

“My friends and I learned the culture, the tools you needed, places to go, and the time you had to get in and out,” Wane said.

Wane reminisced about a local guy, Michelob, who took him to paint his first train.

“I felt this huge sense of accomplishment and I definitely gained some notoriety,” Wane said.

Wane said he never truly saw graffiti or art as a whole becoming a career for him, just something he did for fun.

He said he spent the following two years painting train cars regularly and honing his craft more and more.

Wane decided at a certain juncture in his life, that he was going to pursue a career in the art world in a more socially acceptable manner.

He said he was working at clothing store called ‘Unique Boutique’ where he was airbrushing jackets for stars like LL Cool J, Vanilla Ice and New Kids on the Block.

Wane One continued painting and traveling while collaborating with artists from across the states and Europe.

Fast forward to 2017, Wane One applied and won a grant for the first time to create a large-scale mural in White Plains, N.Y. in collaboration with ArtsWestchester. Wane wanted to thank ArtsWestchester and Janet T. Langsam for the opportunity.

The catch was the mural had to be painted on a black topped walkway.

“Some of the process was new to me,” Wane said. “I had to put sealer on the surface so you can paint on it and once it that was done, laying grit over the painted area so people don’t slip.”

Prior to the grant, Wane had only done commission based works and nothing in a community-like setting such as this.

He named the piece, ‘Brighter colors Better Life.’

Wane’s plans for the future include guided graffiti tours on the famed Boone Avenue while covering the history of graffiti in the borough. He has also been collaborating with more name brand companies.

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