Wayne Roberts a.k.a. STAY HIGH 149 (1950-2012) was an influential New York-based street artist. Roberts began to take an interest in the New York City graffiti movement around 1969. The nickname STAY HIGH was conferred on him by friends because of his marijuana habit; in 1971, he added the number 149 to it to become STAY HIGH 149. In 1972 he completed this signature with the addition of a stick figure adapted from the 1960s TV show “The Saint,” as well as a joint for the stick figure to smoke. Roberts tagged with this “Smoker” signature for two years, becoming famous enough that his face appeared in New York Magazine in 1973 and featured in Norman Mailer’s Esquire story “The Faith of Graffiti” in 1974. Eventually Roberts was arrested while writing in Brooklyn, and had to give up the name. For some time afterward, he went by the tag VOICE OF THE GHETTO, which he threw up on IRT train lines in two-inch-thick magic marker. By the end of 1975, he had retired from graffiti. He disappeared from the scene until the summer of 2000, when he appeared at a small graffiti show in Brooklyn that attracted hundreds of writers and was covered by the New York Times. Thereafter, STAY HIGH 149 began to adapt his talents to canvas works and to commercial work for brands such as Reebok and Ecko Unlimited. Roberts died in 2012.
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