InstaFame Phantom Art
New York's groundbreaking urban art movement
“The trains are my gallery.” With these words, legendary graffiti Style Master Nic 707 returned to the New York transit system to embark upon an art campaign like no other: A series of innovative, guerrilla-style exhibitions known as InstaFame Phantom Art. What began as his personal project to transform trains and buses into random pop-up galleries evolved into an urban movement that involved dozens of classic graffiti and up-and-coming artists in a multitude of genres from all over the World. These works would appear in the same impromptu, unannounced fashion often turning entire train cars into dedicated exhibition spaces all across the New York Transit system. The concepts of "mobile graffiti" and "4th-dimensional art" became new additions to the graffiti lexicon, new evolutionary stages of the storied genre. InstaFame Phantom Art successfully brought back an outlawed art form to its most celebrated place of origin with unique legitimacy and flair, all the while innovating the exhibition of art in the public space.
The NYC Exhibitions
Starting in 2009, Nic 707 held dozens of events over eleven years, transforming the insides of train cars and buses into the ultimate pop-up galleries. Thousands of passengers were treated to these novel experiences, witnessing the return of classic graffiti to its place of origin and the works of artists in many genres from the United States and abroad. All for the price of a Metrocard. Over 200 separate exhibitions and events were held during this period. These events could range from focusing on the works of a single artist to those featuring multiple artists during the same exhibition. Themed exhibitions would also take place, featuring "Old School" graffiti writers or those displaying stunning works from avant-garde artists. Notable milestones include the works of graffiti legends TAKI 183 and Cornbread displayed together, for the first time, on an active New York City subway car. Such wonderful groundbreaking combinations became a regular feature of this already extraordinary exhibition series. Over a thousand works were ultimately displayed over this eleven-year period, with few repeated in rotation. InstaFame Phantom Art remains a singular achievement in the annals of public art exhibitions.
Fernando Miteff, also known as Nic 707, founded OTB (the “Out to Bomb” or “Only the Best”), a graffiti crew in the ‘70s whose members included such luminaries as NOC 167, Cope 2, and Tracy 168. InstaFame Phantom Art is the culmination of his early calling as a graffiti writer and his sincere desire to conscientiously bring graffiti back to its ancestral home. Nic 707's passion and devotion to the project became a rallying cry to many in the urban New York art community. His standing as an artist, his larger-than-life personality, his sincere love of art, and his keen eye for talent and public exhibition were able to bridge the social and communal gaps that existed between artists of various genres. As the founder and curator, he was the driving force that made InstaFame Phantom Art a reality. His success is clearly manifest in the sheer amount of works created and the talent, stature, and number of individual artists that became involved. In April of 2020, Nic 707 passed away due to complications from Covid-19. His passing is still deeply felt to this day by all who knew him. The success of the InstaFame Phantom Art project and the enduring love and appreciation of the people involved is a fitting testament to the impact Nic 707 has had on the New York art community.
This collection includes hundreds of one-of-a-kind works from dozens of artists, inspired by the wildly imaginative and renowned New York graffiti legend Fernando Miteff, aka Nic 707. The stunning and varied works that comprise the InstaFame Phantom Art Collection represent a unique moment in American urban art history. Beyond visually compelling, this collection is the culmination of a remarkable ten-year journey involving dozens of fascinating artists brought together by one man who refused to concede the public space that helped give birth to the world’s largest independent art movement to corporate interests and uncaring bureaucrats. With sheer wit, ingenuity, charm, and dogged determination, Nic 707 was able to elevate the urban exhibition paradigm. The current physical collection, known as The Collection, consists of over (656) art objects. It is an amazing assemblage that could easily populate a wing of any major modern art gallery. It includes: (260) Nic 707 paintings (letter art, subjects, and abstracts) (28) Nic 707/Taki 183 collaborations (117) Nic 707 collaborations (141) Attributed solo works and paintings (49) Ghost Tags (by various artists including Nic 707) (37) Unattributed works and paintings (16) Unattributed Nic 707 collaborations (8) Unattributed Ghost Tags The majority of these works are in a standard “Car Card” format (22” x 21”) on thermoplastic sheets painted with either acrylic, oil, or spray paint, some with combinations thereof along with mixed materials. Other works considered adjacent to the InstaFame Phantom Art project include Nic 707’s “Poster Art” works (pieces that were drawn with marker and ink on the backs of older subway ads in the Car Card format), unfinished Ghost Tags, and a number of thermoplastic sheets of various sizes signed at special events but not officially exhibited.
Exhibitions, Sales, and Licensing
The size and varied scope of the InstaFame Phantom Art Collection make it perfect for exhibitions and showcases celebrating modern urban art as well as various American art movements. Exhibitions for groups of works or individual pieces are available for loan to independent gallery events, exhibitions, and public and private art installations. Private inquiries for sales of original artwork and artifacts are welcome. High-quality prints and limited edition reproductions in various formats are usually sold as part of a campaign or special event, but licensing opportunities are welcome for art reproductions and the use of designs for advertising, media, and entertainment, as well as for branded apparel and merchandise. For questions regarding exhibition, sales, and licensing opportunities, please feel free to contact Karim Miteff at firstname.lastname@example.org.