Legendary Tats Cru: The Guys Who Brought Color to the Bronx


As the artists continued to hone their artistic skills on the streets, their style evolved from tagging "TAT" to intricate and complex, large scale murals for memorial walls or signage for local mom and pop stores. In 1996, Nicer, Bio, and BG 183, who were holding down regular jobs by day and painting murals during nights and weekends, decided to legitimize their business. They established Tats Cru Inc. to "show the world that graffiti is a viable art form". Nicer quit his day job painting mock-ups for a cosmetic line, to build up Tats Cru Inc., initially going store to store with pictures of their work and a business plan, seeking new clients.

Tats Cru have been invited to paint all over the world by various art organizations, collaborating with top graffiti artists from around the globe. They've created artwork for everyone from Coca-Cola to Bloomberg, Metropolitan Hospital to Columbia Pictures, Kiehls, Kodak, Nike and most recently, The W Hotel in Union Square. They've been invited twice to lecture at M.I.T., among other universities, and were part of the Smithsonian Institute's 35th Folklore Festival in Washington D.C. where Tats Cru was chosen to represent New York City. The gentlemen of Tats Cru are in the unique position of enjoying street credibility as artists, while running a successful commercial art business and still participating in their South Bronx community.

During the Folklore Festival in D.C. Nicer had a moment of revelation "I looked to the left and it was the Washington Monument. I looked to the right and it was the Capitol building and I said 'What is Carmen's little son, from Southern Blvd. in the South Bronx, who used to get chased in subway tunnels, what the hell is he doing painting a mural in Washington D.C.?'" It's been a journey of passion and love for what they do that's brought encouragement to many. As the fan at the Bronx Documentary Center confessed "Your art exposed me to something that wasn't otherwise available to me and I want to thank you for that."

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