Al Díaz is best known for his friendship with Jean-Michel Basquiat and collaboration on SAMO(c)..., a well-known graffiti project appearing in lower Manhattan from 1978 to 1980. The tag and text slogans became known quickly on the streets and in the local newspaper media because of their wit and sardonic humor. Since Basquiat's rise to fame, the SAMO(c)... legend has become a globally recognized graffito and has been celebrated as cutting social commentary throughout contemporary art history. Al Díaz's career spans five decades. Born and raised Puerto Rican in New York City, he was known by age 15 as a prolific and influential, first-generation subway graffiti artist. During the early 70s, his popular and recognized name was BOMB-1. After high school and the SAMO(c)... period, Díaz began to practice musical percussion, and created recordings, including a performance on Basquiat's collectible 1983 early hip-hop album, Beat Bop which also featured Rammellzee and K-Rob. After being on the scene during the 80s Avant-garde art boom, for many years Díaz honed his craft as a foreman/lead carpenter in the New York building industry. Currently, Díaz works with WET PAINT and other signage used throughout the NYC MTA subway system. After cutting out individual letters to create clever-sounding, surreal and poignant anagrams, he hangs the finished messages in City subway stations. In 2016, he resurrected the SAMO(c)... writings and contemporary fans appreciate his frequent use of Instagram (albert_diaz1), where the satirical images are shared widely. Recently, Díaz released to the public his private collection of photographs of Basquiat as a teenager, with several more currently unrevealed. Díaz resides in Brooklyn. His work has been shown and privately collected internationally, including in Beyond the Streets (Los Angeles, 2018), Zeitgeist: The Teenage Art Scene of Basquiat (Howl Arts, Inc., New York City, 2018) the World Trade Center (69th Floor Art4WTC, 2017), Urban Arts Fair (Manhattan, 2017) WestchesterArts (From the Streets White Plains, 2017), Art Miami, Scope, The Bishop Gallery (Brooklyn, 2017) and the 21st Precinct Street Exhibit (NYC, 2014). Díaz is featured in film productions (Boom For Real: The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat, BBC's American Masters-Basquiat: Rage to Riches, Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child), and magazine and book publications, such as Jon Narr and Normal Mailer's The Faith of Graffiti, 2Create: Art of Collaboration by Yoav Litvin, Street Messages by Nicholas Ganz and most recently, Aljazeera America, art.net, GQ Korea and Vogue UK among many others. Díaz has been a highlighted speaker and artist for a variety of panel discussions, including at the Brooklyn Museum, The New School, Christie's Education, The Museum of the City of New York, the Museum of Modern Art, the New York Public Library, the London Barbican, Art Basel (Switzerland) and NOLA Arts Festival. A notebook that he made with Jean-Michel Basquiat and friends during his teens is currently held in the private collection of the Yale University Beinecke Library.
Mariah Fox Hausman comes from a family of artists and teachers and grew up outside Santa Fe, New Mexico and Port Maria, Jamaica. She attended the Kansas City Art Institute before graduating from the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida in 1994 with a BFA in Illustration & Graphic Design. After undergraduate school, she worked as an art director, illustrator and freelancer for several Miami firms, and in 2001 founded her own company, Ital Art. In 2007, Mariah earned an MFA in Studio Art (Multimedia) from University of Miami. Mariah has used art and writing to express dream, fantasy and reality imagery since she began to draw at the age of four. Her work is exhibited regularly, and she has contributed art to more than 30 books and eleven publishers, including several major New York houses. She is an Addy Award winner and her company, Ital Art provides creative direction, graphic and illustrative artwork for a variety of clients. She began deep research and writing about Jean-Michel Basquiat in 2003, and met Al Díaz in 2014. Mariah enjoys teaching, writing and speaking on art movements and art, and designing workshops for all ages. Formerly, she lectured at the University of Miami for eight years. Currently she is an Associate Professor of Media Arts at New Mexico Highlands University.