Andrew Zephyr Witten began creating graffiti in 1975 and first signed the name “Zephyr” on his work in 1977. In addition to his identity as an artist, he is also an author and lecturer.
Philosophy and Style
Zephyr’s work can mostly be seen on subway trains. Of this vehicle, he states of himself and his peers: “We felt we understood the trains more than the Transit Authority. Teenagers were running the system. We decided when, where, how much we wrote. Graffiti showed that the Transit Authority was not in control.”
Zephyr believes that “Art, and specifically the so-called ‘art world’ exist in an elite never-never land. Art in the west is presented as something for those who can afford the luxury of dallying in it…I am a purist, and I don’t believe this is how things should be. Art needs to be for everyone. It has to be public….So I’m doing my part to change it, one graffiti piece at a time.”
Zephyr’s contemporaries that were pioneering street art in the 1970s and 1980s include: Futura 2000 and Lady Pink.
In the 1970s, Zephyr formed the writing crew Rolling Thunder Writers that focused on train painting and street tagging. He briefly collaborated with Jean-Michel Basquiat on a backdrop for a music video in the early 1980s.
Zephyr has co-authored, along with Dondi White, a 2001 biography of the fellow artist, Dondi White Style Master General: The Life of Graffiti Artist Dondi White.
His work has been exhibited in the following New York City art spaces: FUN Gallery, 51X, and the New Museum.
Along with Lady Pink, Zephyr appears in the movie Wild Style.