Adam Cost

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Cost is the tag name of a graffiti writer who, from the early 1980s to the mid-1990s, blanketed New York City and the surrounding metropolitan area with his wheatpaste stickers, spray paint tags and paint-roller pieces. Cost, whose real name is Adam Cole, is perhaps most widely known for his collaboration with another New York graffiti artist, Revs.

Graffiti career[edit]

Cost and Revs became well known in the early 1990s, when, on any given block in Manhattan, a passerby could spot the duo’s wheat paste tags posted on the back of the Walk/Don't Walk street-crossing signal. On these wheat pasted papers, Cost and Revs printed in bold black ink intentionally obscure messages such as Cost fucked Madonna or Suicide Revs. Later they collaborated on large, bold roller pieces on highly visible walls, subway embankments, and advertising hoardings.

When asked in 1993 by a New York Times Style reporter what it all meant, Cost said, "If you could give us [Cost and Revs] the meaning of life, I’d give you the meaning of us." At that time the posters included a phone number; those who called heard a woman's recorded voice repeat their questions back to them: "My intuition tells me that you're asking yourselves who are Revs and Cost and what are they doing? What is it? What does it mean? What does it mean? What does it mean?" [1]

Cost and Revs continued to write in New York City with impunity, highly visible examples of the graffiti that Mayor Rudolph Giuliani was determined to eradicate. One letter writer called Cost "probably the worst graffiti vandal in the history of New York."[2]

In October 2010, Cost released a collection of 4 limited edition tshirt styles with fashion retailer Supreme. The tshirts were sold in the United States and Japan. At a time when Street Art was gaining global notoriety, the collaboration catapulted Cost to the forefront of the Asian market.


In 1995, though, Cost’s luck finally ran out when police caught him tagging a mailbox. In court, the judge estimated that Cost had done over $100 million in damages but only fined him $2,126 and ordered him to do 200 days community service removing graffiti.[3] That run-in with the law eventually led to Cost’s temporary bowing out of the graffiti scene. Revs, however, has gone on to expand on his art and even operates in a legal arena, making headlines recently for creating public, steel sculptures. Cost was again nabbed October 4, 2014 by NYPD. He was charged with criminal mischief, making graffiti, and possession of a graffiti instrument. He was released on bail.[4]


Starting in 2010[5] Cost made a return to the streets,[6] once again covering the city with wheatpaste stickers.[7] In 2011 Cost began working with street artist ENX.


  1. ^ Cooper, Michael (January 3, 1993). "SEEN; The Straight-Faced Revs and Cost". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-01-15. 
  2. ^ Robert Davidson, "Graffiti Essay Was an Insult To the Advertising Industry," letter to the editor, New York Times New York and Region, October 15, 1995,
  3. ^ Belluck, Pam (June 29, 1995). "Graffiti Maker 'Cost,' a Prankster to Some but a Criminal in the Law's Eyes, Is Sentenced". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-01-15. [dead link]
  4. ^ "Police: Legendary Graffiti Artist Adam Cost Caught In The Act". October 8, 2014. Retrieved 2014-10-10. 
  5. ^ Turco, Bucky; Galperina, Marina (December 8, 2013). "Graffiti artist pioneer Cost returns to his roots". New York Metro. Retrieved 2014-03-09. 
  6. ^ Pablo, J (March 27, 2013). "The Return of Cost: The Tag Machine is Back". Village Voice. Retrieved 2014-03-09. 
  7. ^ Adam Cost Instagram account