Pioneer graffiti artist 'Stay High 149' dead at 61

Pioneer graffiti artist Wayne Roberts known as “Stay High 149” died Monday from complications of liver disease in the Bronx, N.Y.  He was known for the  tags he painted on subway cars throughout New York City in the 1970s. The New York Times reports.

Wayne Roberts was a pioneering 1970s graffiti writer known as “Stay High 149” who borrowed the haloed stick figure from the title sequence of the 1960s television series “The Saint,” put a joint in its mouth and turned it around. His “Smoker” tag, or signature, turned the heads of legions of imitators and admirers, including the anonymous teenagers who slipped into train yards at night to paint whole cars, as well as Norman Mailer, who featured him in his book “The Faith of Graffiti.” Mr. Roberts, who disappeared from the scene for some 25 years until he was rediscovered by a new generation of fans and artists in 2000, died on Monday at Calvary Hospital in the Bronx. He was 61.

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