For most people, graffiti is a phase. Many young hungry artists come charging out hard at first, only to eventually burn out, get bored, or get busted. Getting up is a hard job with very little direct payoff, and even the most hardcore writers generally don't last longer than a few years on the streets. Even then, the few brave graffiti artists who get up over a long period of time seem to switch back and forth between periods of getting up, and then down time, and then getting back up again. But M&F has never met a graffiti artist who has a stronger passion to get up than 2012's Best Graffiti of the Year, Jaber. To Jaber, getting up is a lifestyle. Jaber gets up worldwide and smashes hard everywhere. And his game is complete. Jaber is perhaps most known for his graffiti pieces on trains. But he also holds it down on the streets, even inventing new crazy fat tags, and Jaber stickers are everywhere.
The first time M&F ever saw Jaber's graffiti was way back in 2005. We were living in Boulder, Colorado at the time and Jaber caught a hot spot right along the freeway with one of his signature White Ninja graffiti heads. M&F did not know this was Jaber's work at the time. In fact, as we saw this head repeatedly over time during the years preceding and following, for the longest time we thought it was a general kind of iconic graffiti character, kind of like how many different artists will paint variations of Bode's wizard animations. But that isn't the case. Sometimes biters will copy his characters, but Jaber is the only one painting his heads all over. He is just so prolific that it seemed like an army of artists painting the emblem that has now become iconic.
Jaber started painting graffiti in 1991 and he hasn't stopped since. With the current state of online graffiti videos and Youtube hustlers, sometimes young bucks appear to be seasoned graffiti veterans when really they are just better promoters. Jaber has been going at this hard for longer than some young writers have been alive. He has scored some incredible gigs like going on tour with Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, Pharcyde, LL Cool J and many more. Jaber is a legend within the graffiti community, but he has never gotten that pot of gold that some street artists hope for. Still, Jaber keeps getting up and keeps painting. Jaber has never left the streets. He has never taken a break off for down time. Why does he do it? He does it for all the right reasons. When M&F asked Jaber what drives his insatiable hunger to get up, Jaber replied that he does it because its fun, and if its ever not, then that's when he'll quit. Hope that time never comes. Jaber has more than earned the award for Graffiti Artist of the Year. Stay up!
Special shout outs to other graffiti artists and writers killing it this year including Agod, Fishe KOG, Hamok, Sand One, Glaboe, CBS Crew, MSK Crew, Grime Crew, Movie, Avery, KYC, SYB Crew, Love Krew, RTH Crew, Jew, LOK Crew, J4F Crew, Merch, Lukas, and Hanos.