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By Cinelle Ariola • May 12th, 2008 • Category: 'Sup Wit Dat Tat?

NYC Lase has sprayed his tag and murals on walls and trains across the five boroughs, but ultimately finding the street an insufficient stage for his art, he decided that his own body was the best canvas for his creations.

NYC Lase is more than your average b-boy. At 42, he juggles designing toys, shoes and shirts, producing music, and organizing fundraisers.

He sports images of DC and Marvel heroes such as Batman, Voodoo and Red Monica. His favorite tattoo, etched on his right forearm, is a crowned dragon with spray cans in hand. its purple and green hues are taken from from the Incredible Hulk, Lase says. The flame-breathing creature expresses his aggressive and imaginative personality.

Growing up next-door to a comic book shop fueled his creative career. “Comic books made me. It’s why I wanted to be an artist,” he says.

So now the Destroyer, a black hollow-eyed, narrow-faced, gas-masked skull, blankets the back of his right fore-arm. Like many of the icons under his art label MÖTUG (Monsters of the Underground or Messengers of the Undeniable God), it has appeared in his sneaker designs, murals and toys.

His arms carry all but one of his 10 tattoos, a skull with racing flags glaring out from his chest.


His inked arms, clad with comic book heroes and graffiti “icons,” contribute to his thousand-dollar image.


As former member of international graffiti group TatsCru, and as spokesperson for Gamut Ringtones and the clothing labe, l Brooklyn Industries, NYC Lase’s street-celebrity status requires high maintenance for his tattoos. (Shaving his arms is a definite must). His personalized caps, baggy jeans, and multi-colored screenprinted shirts aim to convey his label’s laid-back image. These needled-in etchings are part of the design-and-publicity package that he has licensed under companies like Osiris Skateshoes and ToyCube.

“I deal with corporate people that just want to cash in and want what’s hip and cool,” Lase said, hunched over his Macbook and synthesizer, nodding to the beat of a freshly-looped track, “I walk in and they’re happy to see somebody like me [with tattoos.] They’re like, ‘Yeah, [he’s] real. That’s what we want.’”


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Cinelle Ariola is a media studies major at Hunter College. She hopes to use writing to bridge her love for fashion and social justice.
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