In October 2018, Dutch Graffiti Library published the book ‘Disz. The first Dutch writer bombing the New York City subway.’ Finally after more than 30 years an answer to the question “What is a young man from The Hague, doing bombing the one line in the 145th Street Tunnel with Bodé nudes?” asked in the book ‘Spraycan Art’ has arisen.
After we have published the book we received messages from all over the World. Disz was known and did have a bigger influence than we already thought. In Australia, San Francisco, New York, Berlin and of course the Netherlands he was remembered and respected by old school writers.
When you publish a graffiti book it’s almost impossible to be complete or to track every one mentioned and get all the pictures you want. Also with the book about Disz. But for us the intensive research did not stop in October 2018. There were a few loose ends… One of these loose ends was hardcore evidence, to be more specific what we were looking for; clear pictures of a Disz whole car René Westhoff a.k.a. Disz did exactly 34 years ago on Sunday, 16 February 1986 in New York City at 2.30 PM in the One Tunnel.
In the book we have published the only ‘picture’ that was preserved of that whole car. A blurry blown up scaled picture taken of a door in Disz his room late 80s. In our research during the making of the book considered as a diamond, because we couldn’t find any other picture.
In our drive to be complete we were convinced that there must be someone with better pictures. Nothing so good documented as the graffiti culture. Our research didn’t stop in 2018 by publishing the book. We continued and were fishing and diggin’ in the digital crates around the world. No results until a few weeks ago a DM was sent to us from Queens, New York “Were you looking for this one” signed SMITH…
“Sane took the photo and it’s a part of my collection. It was a great time to start writing and catching photos of whole car after whole car on such a dynamic subway line as the 1 line. To see the Disz whole car in 1986 done by a foreigner that nobody had heard of was just a great added experience” SMITH, New York, February 2020
[… When the fill in was done I started the lizard that I wanted to do on the side of my top to bottom whole car DISZ and I think the lizard turned out OK and I even did some rocks with it. Once I was bombin’ again it felt so good to be in the tunnel again, really it was. After I’d started the final outlining, which was a little disappointing, I found that I needed a ladder cause I felt it is so hard to stand on that small edge of the train, hang back against the wall, hold on to one hand and still spray and then make a straight line. So I went to the other side of the tunnel to get myself a ladder whom are in the tunnel, surprisingly enough to me. That was another thing that surprised me.]
[… Cause my final outline didn’t come out too well I hurried it some in the end and also cause I was very tired by now. So my outline on my Disz wasn’t too fresh but I think the lizard and rocks did come out pretty good. ]
[…By the time I left the tunnel, at about five o’clock it was crowded with writers so I went to the other side and got on the platform there and took the downtown train. In the train I felt so fuckin’ ‘happy’ knowing I’d done it, I’d done a whole car Disz and mainly on my own and the other writers like it!]
“Times like that were all the time if you knew the right people and Disz was very lucky to bump into Sae and then the rest of the gang. Sane had tried himself to bench at 125th and was chased away from there so he had to bench uptown closer to where we lived. It was rough in those days! SMITH, New York, February 2020
Another missing piece of the Disz puzzle is laid… thanks to SANE SMITH*
* SANE SMITH are two brothers that grew up in Uptown Manhattan, started tagging in the mid-1980s, and really hit their stride at the tail end of the train era by 1989. They accomplished this by moving on to large scale productions on city landmarks, most famously on the Brooklyn Bridge in 1990. Their non-stop tagging campaign brought them to widespread scrutiny by the authorities, leading to SANE becoming the first graffiti writer to be arrested and charged with third-degree criminal mischief. All charges were subsequently dismissed following SANE’s untimely passing in October of 1990. (Source: the secret history of new york’s punk graffiti artists by Matthew Whitehouse, 2017)