Mike 171 (Graffiti Artist) (aka "White Mike", "Mighty Whitey") is one of the earliest New York City graffiti artists of the late 1960s and 1970s. He is generally credited with originating the "Puff Clouds" and "Smoking Guns", a style of accenting graffiti. His graffiti dominated the A train line of the New York City Transit Authority. Later, he was one of the founding members of the United Graffiti Artists.
Mike 171 along with SJK 171 and Taki 183 the 2 earliest graffiti artists are both of Greek heritage and both from the very small Greek community in Washington Heights. He began writing in 1968 under the name Mike 171 with SJK 171. Mike 171 attended George Washington High School along with gang members from the "Latin Demons", "Galaxies" and the "Latino Army of Light", which a number of them where early graffiti artists like Phil 169, Henry 161, Bobby I, Leo 163 and Felix 163.
It was in early 1970s Mike 171 was the first to use the "Puff Clouds" and "Smoking Guns" that years later other Graffiti artists would use.
In 1972, Mike 171 as one of the founding members of United Graffiti Artists, a professional graffiti collective which began to attract media attention. He was featured in an important essay on graffiti art by Richard Goldstein which appeared in New York Magazine and inspired a new generation of graffiti artists.
Atantica ISSN 1132-8428 Page47