Letters First is an all millennial graffiti crew--originally formed by RIME (MSK) as a booster crew to The Seventh Letter. As a crew; the Letters First members devote themselves to the study of form and symmetry. Their goals are lofty; having set out to master each letter they put up. The group consists of 7 writers the majority of whom currently reside in New York City.
More than just driven by a uniform desire to master the alphabet--this group is unique because (as far that I know of) Letters First is the only reputable crew with a female president. However; this is not what they hang their hat on. Reason being; crew president, Chare (@Chare_L1st), has put in all the requirements to be respected as a leader of men and has nothing handed to her on behalf of her gender. Chare, as a writer, has put in more grunt work to earn her recognition within the last four years than most dudes can fantasize about in their lifetime. From starting out as a studio assistant lugging paint across the globe for RIME--to bombing the gritty streets of Brooklyn and bandos across the states. Chare has worked by the sweat of her brow to be herself in a culture that is heavily influenced by misogyny. The rest of the crew (all men) not only support Chare's leadership but derive a sense of inspiration from the fun energy with which she approaches writing.
I had the opportunity to watch a few of them paint over a generous chunk of wall at Terracycle; provided by RAS(@basedrasta). Members from Letters First such as Klaus, Knor, Modus and of course Chare put their best letters forward on a professionally executed team collaboration.
Personally speaking; I was excited that I would be meeting one of my favorite current writers; MODUS (@M0du5_L1st). There are very few pure letter technicians in the newest generation of graffiti writers due to many younger writers being easily persuaded into aiming for fame instead of glory. As a writer, Modus has been laying down clean letter forms that he has been known to manipulate from time to time. No matter where you live; be it in the Bronx, Brooklyn or Queens: if strictly good writing captures your attention; chances are the penmanship of Modus has caught your eye.
From end to end approximately 30 feet long; every brick had a story to tell. From right to left, Klaus, Modus, Chare and Knor laid down blockbuster forms with silver fills. Interwoven throughout the wall; each piece had it’s own moniker-like character from Arthur the Marc Brown inspired 90’s television series which still runs today. I stood back as they worked the characters in waiting for my chance to inquire about the significance of characters; only to find out to my dismay prior to final shots that it was all for shits and giggles--having been brought to their attention by recent memes that have gone viral.
There is no moral to the story on this wall--only ethical takeaways which is just as good. There is a growing trend of fear amongst writers that are debuting today. Fears of being found out for imperfection and scrutiny from their peers. And it is certainly true that many old-school writers weigh down unprompted “constructive criticisms” to the new breed of writers on the execution of experimental styles. Letters First is an amazing band of cool writers that paint for the love; with love. This is evident is the unique expressionism each of their forms take on.
Klaus has an aggressive, undaunted approach with which he lays down larger forms accompanied by minimal manipulation. More emphasis is given to the little things like stands and serifs than kicks or connects.
Modus brings a clean flow to his letters. In my opinion; he is definitely one of the most talented writers on the NYC circuit with the ability to burn with the best of them.
Chare shoots straight with her wide variety of font selections. Bringing to life a fun vibe on every piece she executes with her designs and color schemes. Observing her work calls to mind her attention to detail for the fact that I have never seen her do the same thing twice. Her affinity for shades of pink raises her work to another standard as she always seems to find a new way to apply it within her schemes. It is also worth noting that she carries herself as writer who does not expect anything handed to her. In the moments where services like carrying heavy crates of paint have been extended; she politely declines--dedicated to show her commitment and strength to the artform on the merit of skill and hard work-- not having anything handed to her.
Knor (@knorcrap) is a quiet dude with loud characters. It is surprising that he does not get more recognition for the consistency of work he puts out. His unique skillset pushes the group to incorporate characters within their own pieces. In fact, if not for his presence; the final look of the wall could have been completely different.
Be sure to follow them on instagram and keep an eye out for their future projects. They have amazing projects in the works that will be sure to shake up the art world.