TAKI 183

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TAKI 183
Taki 183.jpg
TAKI 183 (right) at a 2010 gallery event with his tag visible on the wall behind
Known forPublic art
Street art
TAKI 183's tag

TAKI 183 is the "tag" of a Greek-American graffitist who was active during the late 1960s and early 1970s in New York City.[2] The graffitist, whose given name is Demetrios, has never revealed his full name.[2]


TAKI 183 was a graffiti tagger active during the late 1960s and early 1970s in New York City. His tag was short for "Dimitraki", an alternative for his Greek birth-name Dimitrios, and the number 183 came from his address on 183rd Street in Washington Heights.[2][3] He worked as a foot messenger in New York City and would write his nickname around the streets that he frequented.

On July 21, 1972, The New York Times published an article about him titled "Taki 183" Spawns Pen Pals.[1][4] TAKI 183 spurred hundreds of imitators including Joe 136, BARBARA 62, EEL 159, YANK 135 and LEO 136 as examples provided by the newspaper.[1] Those who got their names up the most and who developed signature tags became known in their communities. Graffiti became a way for many young people to try to get attention and the attention TAKI 183 received spurred this on.

TAKI 183 was last known to be the owner of a foreign car repair shop in Yonkers.[5] In an interview with the New York Daily News of April 9, 1989, he talked about his retirement as a graffiti writer: "As soon as I got into something more productive in my life, I stopped. Eventually I got into business, got married, bought a house, had a kid. Didn't buy a spray can wagon, but I grew up, you could say that."[6]

TAKI 183 was an early member of the artists collective United Graffiti Artists, founded in 1972 by Hugo Martinez. It is also rumored he was an inspiration for the 1985 film Turk 182.

His graffiti appeared in the 1985 movie Just One of the Guys. It appears on a ballroom stall wall after Joyce's character Terry uses the restroom for the first time as a man. TAKI 183 was also mentioned, and his art featured, in the 1983 documentary Style Wars.[7]

Publication with contribution by Dimitrios[edit]

  • The History of American Graffiti. New York City: Harper Design, 2011. By Roger Gastman and Caleb Neelon. ISBN 978-0061698781. Dimitrios contributed a foreword.

Film with contribution by Dimitrios[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "'Taki 183' Spawns Pen Pals" (PDF). The New York Times. July 21, 1971. p. 37.
  2. ^ a b c Schwartz, Carly (October 24, 2013). "Graffiti Artist Taki 183 Captivated New York Decades Before Banksy". HuffPost. Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  3. ^ Boland Jr., Ed. "F.Y.I. 'Taking TAKI's Tag'", The New York Times, June 15, 2003.
  4. ^ Rothe, E. Nina (July 18, 2011). "Inside The History of American Graffiti With Roger Gastman & Caleb Neelon". HuffPost. Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  5. ^ "TAKI 183 talks the History of Graffiti Culture, Classic Cars and the Future of Street Art". New York Said. April 4, 2017. Retrieved March 21, 2020.
  6. ^ Siegel, Joel (April 9, 1989). "When TAKI Ruled Magik Kingdom". Daily News.
  7. ^ "Graffiti History - 10 Important Moments". www.widewalls.ch. March 27, 2015. Retrieved March 21, 2020.

Further reading[edit]

  • The Faith of Graffiti. Mervyn Kurlansky, Jon Naar, Norman Mailer. Praeger Publishers, New York, 1974. ISBN 0-275-43660-8.
  • Style: Writing from the Underground. (R)evolutions of Aerosol Linguistics., Stampa Alternativa in Association with IGTimes. ISBN 88-7226-318-2.
  • Subway Art. Chalfant, Henry and Cooper, Martha. New York, New York: Henry Holt & Co, publisher. ISBN 0-8050-0678-8, 198 4, 1995.
  • Freight Train Graffiti. Roger Gastman, Ian Sattler, Darin Rowland. Harry N Abrams Inc, 2006. ISBN 978-0-8109-9249-8.
  • The Birth of Graffiti. Jon Naar. Prestel, 2007. ISBN 978-3-7913-3796-8.
  • TAKI 183 in Hip Hop Culture. Emmett G. Price, III. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, Inc., 2006, p. 187. ISBN 1-85109-867-4. Also see pp. 30–31, 48, 106.
  • Taking the Train: How Graffiti Art Became an Urban Crisis in New York City, Joe Austin, Columbia University Press 2001. ISBN 9780231111423

External links[edit]