Born in East Harlem and raised in Astoria, Queens, Louie “KR.One” Gasparro has been sharing his vast creative talents — both as an artist and as musician — with us for decades.  “Louie was an original,” Sacha Jenkins writes in the introduction to the recently-released KOLORSTORM: The Art of Louie “KR.One” Gasparro. “KR was a master of paint at a time in graffiti when there were more court jesters than kings, more tags and throw ups than masterpieces.”  Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to catch up with the impassioned artist while visiting his studio.


It’s been almost three years now since your first book Don1: The King from Queens was launched with a panel discussion at the Museum of the City of New York. How has the response to that book been?

The response has been overwhelming. I put a light on a NYC graffiti master who had been forgotten.  He had influenced so many of us, but was living in obscurity. I was determined to uncover his story and share it with others. I spent nine years doing that. But my persistence paid off.  I had folks from Italy writing to me after the book was released.


And what about your current book? It’s quite impressive! How did that come about?

While working on Don1: The King from QueensI developed a relationship with its publisher, Schiffer Books. And when I proposed a book of my own works, I was encouraged to see it through.

I love the way your new book is organized into distinct chapters on different themes — such as The Early Days, Black Books, Model Trains, Abstracts, Walls and more. There is such an amazing variety of works and styles represented here, as well as a documentation of your journey as an artist — from subway graffiti pieces dating back to the early 80’s to contemporary urban art. How long did it take you to get it all together?

I spent two years working on it.  The greatest challenge was deciding which works to include. Originally, I had 600 images. I then had to cut that down to 400.



Kolorstorm is also an amazing foray into your inspirations and passions.  Can you tell us something about your influences?

There are many. Comic books, cartoons, graffiti art, rock & roll, heavy metal…

Who were some of your favorite musicians back then?

Among them are: Jimi Hendrix, Rush, Yes… For me — and for many of us — graffiti was never related to hip-hop. The connection was largely an illusion that was accepted by many as “fact.” Graffiti transcends all concepts of race, religion, culture and class. That’s what makes it so great.


In what ways has your work evolved through the past few years?

The entire process has become easier. My artwork is more detailed, and my line works are better.

Your Abstrakts are on a whole different level! What inspired them?

I was just experimenting with colors and shapes. The Abstrakts evolved from the experimentation. I’ve been told that they are “informed by graffiti.” And so they may be!


What’s ahead?

More art, of course! And opening Saturday (tomorrow) night is Art As An Answer, a one night only pop-up show with new works, presented by The Astoria Boyz and The Urban Foundation Gallery, at 208 East 73rd Street in Manhattan.

Congratulations!  It’s certain to be wonderful!


1. Cover of KOLORSTORM: The Art of Louie “KR.One” Gasparro, published by Schiffer Books

2. Louie “KR.One” Gasparro in his studio

3Louie “KR.One” Gasparro, The Lost Art of the Tag, True York

4. KR.One and Fome 1, IRT #2 Line, Bronx, 1982, Photo © Martha Cooper

5. Louie “KR.One” Gasparro, Abstract, Greyburst3

6Louie “KR.One” Gasparro, Band Member, Keyboardist

Interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky; images 1, 4, 5 & 7 courtesy of the artist; 2, 3 & 6 photographed by Lois Stavsky in Louie’s studio

Note: Hailed in a range of media from Wide Walls to the Huffington Post to the New York Times, our Street Art NYC App is now available for Android devices here.

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Following are a few more images from Ad Hoc Art’‘s wonderful Fifth Annual Welling Court Mural Project, along with a brief interview with its director, Garrison Buxton.


Can you tell us something about the birth of the Welling Court Mural Project? When and how did it all begin?

Jonathan Ellis, a Welling Court resident, came up with the idea for the project over five years ago. He had his wife, Georgiana, were looking to improve their block.  We were introduced through a mutual friend who suggested they contact me.


What was the first mural to go up? And when was the first festival held?

While visiting from Poland in 2009, M-City painted Welling Court’s first mural.  The first festival was held in June 2009.


What was the community’s response to it?

The response was wonderful. The entire community participated and loved it. Just about everyone prepared food to share and loved how the artists transformed their neighborhood.


And now five years later, it’s even more wonderful than ever.

Yes, when we first began, 44 artists participated. This year there are over twice as many, including members of the community. We’ve continued to keep it grassroots.


How far in advance do you begin organizing each year’s festival?

We usually start in February, but we want to begin planning earlier.


What would you say is your greatest challenge?

The mere organization and the delegation of the different responsibilities.

The vibe here is wonderful. What a great model you are for other communities! 

Yes! It’s about the power of art to create positive social change.

Photos by Dani Reyes Mozeson and Lois Stavsky

1. Cern  

2. R. Nicholas Kuszyk aka R. Robot 

3. Louie “KR.ONE” Gasparro 

4. Ryan Seslow and Jennifer Caviola aka Cake

5. Mr. Prvrt

6. See One

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While graffiti is largely identified with hip-hop, for Louie “KR.ONE” Gasparro graffiti has been synonymous with rock and roll. “Art transcends any fixed style stereotypes,” comments Louie, in reference to his two greatest passions: graffiti and rock music.


Tomorrow evening the Queens-based master hand-stylist – whose artworks have been featured this past spring in Christian P. Acker’s Flip the Script Book Release and Art Show at Reed Space and in a solo exhibit at 5Pointz — celebrates his love of art and music and his talents for creating them both.


Along with showcasing new works on paper and canvas, Louie will perform in a musical ensemble with several of his musician friends.

“Celebrating creativity,” Louie explains, “is a celebration of life.”

Photos courtesy of the artist


The rooftop of the former Seward Park High School on Manhattan’s Lower East Side has evolved into one of NYC’s most enticing graffiti canvases.  Following is a sampling of what we saw this past Sunday as Rooftop Legends, curated by New Design High School dean, Jesse Pais, celebrated its sixth anniversary.

Marka27 and Don Rimx

Mark27 and Rimx



Graffiti pioneer Part One




Toofly and Werds

Toofly and Werds

Style masters Shank aka Dmote, Wane and Aplus

Shane, wane and a-plus



Dr. Revolt








Queen Andrea

Queen Andrea



Photos by Lenny Collado and Tara Murray

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The first in a series of “Blackbook Pieces and Tags” features the work of veteran writer  Louie Gasparro aka KR.ONE. Over 30 years ago, KR.ONE was hitting the trains; these days he continues to make his mark on a range of legal surfaces from black books to canvasses to huge buses. His work will be featured in the upcoming Flip the Script Book Release and Art Show at Reed Space at 151 Orchard Street on April 4 and in a solo exhibit at 5Pointz on Saturday, May 11.

KR.ONE writes Kashmir 172


Forty Deuce


The Lost Art of the Tag


New York City Tag Style






All images courtesy of Louie “KR.ONE” Gasparro; the first image is KR.ONE for SAGE RTW


This is the sixth in a series of ongoing posts featuring the diverse range of stylish trucks and vans that strike NYC streets.

KA and UR New York


Queens-based KR-ONE


Cern’s signature characters


 West coast native Auks One


NYC style master Doves


Photos by Lenny Collado, Dani Mozeson and Lois Stavsky; KR ONE, courtesy of the artist


Speaking with KR.ONE

October 4, 2012

As passionate today as he was back in the 70’s when he was making his mark on a range of public surfaces, Louie Gasparro aka KR.ONE recently shared some of his experiences and impressions of the ever-evolving graffiti culture with us.

"KR.ONE graffiti"

When and where did you start getting up?

I started getting up in 1977 in Astoria, Queens. I was part of what is considered the third wave of original NYC graffiti writers.

Why did you begin writing?

We were trying to be somebodies in a world of nobodies. There was no money. It was our way of advertising ourselves…of getting our names out in a big way.  The pieces and tags we did were essentially ads that we didn’t have to pay for. And we loved that it was so underground. We had our own way of saying things that outsiders didn’t understand. It was cool.

"KR.ONE graffiti"

 Any formal training?

Nothing formal. I was inspired by comics, some how-to-books, hard rock album covers and television cartoons.  And I used to cut out of my school and hang out at the High School of Art and Design. Through Fome 1, I met writers such as Erni (Paze), Doze Green, Lady Pink, Daze and Seen TC5. But I’ve been drawing since I was a little kid – everything from hot rods to the members of the band Kiss. Once, the principal walked into my classroom when I was drawing a caricature of Gene Simmons with his tongue out spitting blood.  He looked at the piece, and I thought, “Oh my God!”  But he said he liked it and decided to hang it up in the hallway. I was amazed at his response.

"KR.ONE graffiti on canvas"

With whom did you write? Any influences?

TSS (The Super Squad), TKC (The Killer Crew), RTW (Rolling Thunder Writers),  IRT (Invading Rapid Transit) and  NWA (New Wave Artists) . I wrote with KB, Fome1, Erni,  Sick Nick, Mace, Robert 78 and RCA (Reckless Car Artist). I was influenced by Don1, Dean, KB, Son1, Roto1 and Zephyr.

Have you any particular memory from back in the days?  

I was almost killed in the M yard in 1980. There is a bus depot nearby, and there were always bus drivers hanging out. They would usually just chill, but one time as I was writing and piecing with Fome1, they began throwing bottles in our direction. The glass was shattering around us as they laughed. We took cover under the trains. Suddenly the train began to move, and I was almost hit by an oncoming motor.

"KR.ONE graffiti"

 Wow! What were your preferred surfaces back then?

I liked painting on everything. I started on paper, then walls, then trains. And when that era was over for me in 1983, it was back to walls and paper and then canvasses.

How do you feel about graffiti’s evolution? Do you follow the current scene? Any favorites?

It was all about New York City. And then it was the whole world. It went from dudes writing their names in simplistic plain letters through a metamorphosis of styles and a global expansion. It’s truly amazing.  Favorites?  Some of my favorites from today are actually European-based artists such as Swet from Denmark, Daim from Germany, Mode2 from Paris and Uor and Rife from Italy.  I still really dig what Daze, Part, Ces, Kaves and Whisper are still doing, as well.

 How do you feel about the so-called street-art and graffiti divide?

Those are just categories that do just that — they divide. It serves as a way to market both.  Street artists and graff writers have their distinct styles and mindsets. Sometimes their differences are subtle; sometimes they’re not. But both come from the streets.

What do you see as the future of graffiti? How do you feel about the movement of graffiti and street art into galleries and museums?

Graffiti and street art deserve to be in galleries and museums. There should be entire museums dedicated to urban arts.  Scholars realize what’s going on and can see that this movement  — that began largely by children — has become a true phenomena.  What essentially started in the streets has become the biggest movement in art history.

"KR.ONE graffiti"

What are you up to these days?

Since my last show, Bringer Of The Kolorstorm, this past March, I’ve been creating new works for my new solo show this coming Saturday, October 6th.  This latest offering, A Fistful of Stars, is a selection of illustrations, mixed media pieces and canvas work. I return to my old stomping ground in Long Island City at a place called C.A.W.S. (Cause Art Will Survive).

"KR.One exhibit"

How do you feel about the role of the Internet in all this?

The Internet is the cyber bench to the graffiti world…the window to the whole world.  You can be sitting in a place like Milwaukee and see a piece that was just painted in Scandinavia. It’s an instant get-up — a world-wide instant get-up. I remember when we would wait all day just to see a certain piece pass by on a train. I remember waiting on a train station for a Dondi and Lee piece to roll by, so that I could just look at it and absorb it. I don’t have to do that today.

"KR.ONE Close-up"

 What’s ahead?

I plan to stay as creative as possible and continue to share my work with others.

 Interview by Lenny Collado; Photos by Tara Murray, Lois Stavsky and courtesy of the artist


This is the third in a series of ongoing posts featuring the diverse range of stylish trucks and vans that strike NYC streets:

 Cycle parked in Bushwick

"Cycle graffiti"

Karate147 in Manhattan

"Karate147 graffiti"

KR.ONE  in Queens

"KR.ONE graffiti"

Meres at 5Pointz in Long Island City, Queens

Nutso of Smart Crew in Manhattan

"Nutso graffiti"

Optimo Primo in Manhattan

TMNK, Paul Richard & more on van parked in the Meatpacking District

"Manhattan van with street art images"

Wane whizzing through downtown Manhattan

"Wane graffiti"

Photos of Cycle and Meres by Lois Stavsky; photos of Karate147, Nutso, Paul Richard & TMNK and Wane by Lenny Collado; photo of KR.ONE courtesy of the artist


This is the second in a series of ongoing posts featuring the diverse range of stylish trucks and vans that strike NYC streets:

The masterful Curve in Manhattan

"Curve graffiti" More after the jump!