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Aliases: John Matos, Crash Matos


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Crash (b. John Matos, Bronx, New York, October 11, 1961) is a graffiti artist.

As early as 13, John Matos was spray painting New York City trains, the full image art as opposed to simpler tagging soon transferred to silk screened canvas.[1][2]

Crash was first noticed through his murals on subway cars and dilapidated buildings and is now regarded as a pioneer of the Graffiti art movement.[3]

His work is said to convey a "visual link between street life and established society".[4] and in 1980, Crash curated the now iconic exhibition:"Graffiti Art Success for America" at Fashion MODA, launching the graffiti movement that has remained very active through today.

During the 1980s, Crash had exhibits across the United States and abroad. Galerie Yaki Kornblit was the first instrumental gallery in Amsterdam that help launch his career in Europe. In 1981 Crash, along with 10 other artists were chosen by The Public Art Fund to design animated imagery for The Spectacolor Billboard in Times Square.

In 1983, Crash was given his first gallery showing by Sidney Janis at the Sidney Janis Gallery,[1][3] Chase Manhattan, N.A., as well as CITIBANK, N.A., and other collections came calling.

In 1988 he sprayed Notes in the Wind measuring 178 x 178 centimetres to be exhibited and eventually to be owned by the Peter Stuyvesant Foundation in Zevenaar, Netherlands.

In 1996, Crash painted an Eric Clapton Signature Stratocaster and gave it to the artist as a gift. Clapton went on to use the specially designed guitar through his 2001 tour and later appeared with another. In total Crash has created 5 guitars for Clapton, though only three of them have made public appearances. One of Clapton's "Crashocasters" (nicknamed by Eric's former guitar tech, Lee Dickson) auctioned for $321,100 (USD) by the name of "Crash-3" and was used extensively during the first Crossroads Guitar Festival in 2004. Soon after Fender Musical Instruments commissioned the creation of 50 such graffiti designed guitars from Crash and named the line "Crashocasters." Crash went on to also design a line of custom painted Telecasters with matching Fender amps.[5][6] Other artists such as John Mayer and Ed Sheeran have used the custom painted Crashocaster guitars.[7]
Crash x Teddy M Stratocaster for Ed Sheeran

in 2015, musician Ed Sheeran commissioned a collaboration between Crash and British artist Teddy M to create the 'Crash x Teddy M' Stratocaster. The guitar features Crash's famous eye design and the Teddy M Heart and was debuted by Sheeran during his sold out Wembley Stadium, London shows in July 2015.[8]

In 1984, Crash along with Keith Haring painted mural installations for the 5/5 Figuration Libre France/USA at the Musee d'art Moderne de la Villa de Paris and in 1995, Crash was commissioned by British American Tobacco to create a commission for Lucky Strike brand cigarette, joining fellow artist Keith Haring to create a special work for this company and their collection.
Notable Exhibitions

In July 2006, the pieces titled "Aeroplane 1" (1983) and "A-U-T-O-matic",(1985), along with other paintings from their permanent collection were displayed in the Brooklyn Museum of Art in a featured exhibit titled "Graffiti."[1][3][9] In 2009, Crash held his first exhibition of painted guitars and guitar related artwork in NYC.

In 2010, Crash held a 30-year retrospective at Fairfield University's Walsh Gallery. Crash was asked by Sanrio to create a series of paintings to be shown at Art Basel, Miami Beach, FL, featuring Hello Kitty and other characters from Sanrio's catalogue.
Notable Projects

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