Graffiti legend Stay High 149 (Wayne Roberts) died on Monday at the age of 63.
Stay High was a pioneer in the world of graffiti, starting in the early 70s and returning in 2000 after a 25 year hiatus. His trademark was a pot smoking version of the stick figure icon from the British TV show The Saint. High’s name reflected his habit of smoking an ounce of marijuana a week and his brief gig as a messenger on Wall Street where he made extra scratch selling loose joints on his lunch break.
I was the first to take a logo and adapt it into something of my own. I remember doing it at the time, just because I thought it was cool. I made my stick figure with a joint in his hand because I stayed high, and I made mine crouching because he is getting ready to jump up and take off! After me I remember LSD3 added the “OM” symbol to his tag (example), and from there on I think other writers would try to add various symbols to their tags. But yeah as far as I can remember I don’t think anyone was doing any kind of symbol with their tags before me, at least not anyone that influenced me.” Stay High 149.
According to Stay High’s biographers Sky Farrell & Chris Pape...
[...]Stay High 149 was the first to adopt an icon rather than a typographic tag as a nom de guerre; his “Smoker” was a subversive spin-off of the logo developed for the 1960s classic spy thriller television show “The Saint.” His “Voice of the Ghetto” tag began as an anonymous declaration of existence on behalf the city’s dispossessed and downtrodden.
Stay High, Mr. Roberts. You’ll be missed.