Very few people have had as much on an influence on the world of graffiti as the father and son team of Vaughn and Mark Bode.
Vaughn Bode was born, July 22, 1941 in Utica, New York. Upon finishing school Vaughn joined the army, soon went AWOL, was discharged and then went to art school. In 1963 at age 22, Bode self-published Das Kampf, considered one of the first underground comic books.
During the 1970’s, Vaughn Bode became one of the New Yorks most unique comic book artists. He was a young, cross dressing, messiah with a clear artistic vision, sharp sense of humour and captivating presence. As a contemporary to fellow cartoonists, Trina Robbins, Spain Rodriguez, Robert Crumb and Ralph Bakshi, Vaughn went on to become one of underground comic’s founding fathers.
It was within this creative community that Vaughn’s son, Mark Bode grew up. Since he could hold a pencil, Mark had been part of Vaughn’s artistic practice. The young Mark helped Vaughn develop stories while learning his father’s technique and immersing himself in the Bode universe of characters.
In the mid 70’s the rebellious humour and proto-punk message of Vaughn Bode’s comic books resonated with New York’s youth and became part of the visual identity of the emerging culture of hip-hop. The unique typography that Vaughn developed for his comics became the prototype for the “bubble writing” graffiti style and graffiti artists such as DONDI replicated characters from Bode’s comics in some of the first pieces of graffiti, a tradition that persists to this day.
When Vaughn passed away, in 1975, Mark seamlessly continued his father’s work, carrying the Bode name into the present day. In 2006, in recognition of his contribution to comic books, Vaughn Bode was inducted into the Will Eisner Hall Of Fame.
Today, Mark Bode’s accomplishments epitomises the diverse influence that he and his father have had on contemporary culture. Mark is a comic book artist, a graffiti artist, a tattooist and an exhibiting artist. Mark’s comic books continue to developed the Bode universe and he has also contributed to publications like Heavy Metal Magazine and titles such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
As part of the international graffiti scene which owes so much to his fathers vision, Mark has also become one of the world’s leading street artists. Mark continues paints the original Bode characters in cities across the globe, contributes to festivals and collaborates on murals with artists such as Os Gemeos.
Wizards, Lizards & Broads is the latest exhibition by Mark Bode and an overview of the Bode legacy, through original artwork as well as a rare collection of comic book work and sketches by Vaughn Bode. We hope that the exhibition is an opportunity for fans of comic books and graffiti to converge over the legacy of one of the art worlds most unique families.
Wizards, Lizards & Broads opens on Friday the 24th of June with a special graffiti jam on Saturday the 25th in Backwoods Lane.