KAWS, Barry (Twist) McGee, Margaret Kilgallen, Shepard Fairey, Ruby Rose Neri, Jared (Geso) Costa, Mr. Element, Spie One, Grey, and various others Graffiti/Street Art Sketchbook

Created by San Francisco street artist, Jared (Geso) Costa (b. 1977) from 1995 through 1996, this mixed media, pen, pencil, colored pencil, felt-tip pen, tape, stickers, photo, and paper collage bound in an artist's sketchbook comprised of three artist sketchbooks bound and taped together, containing over 100 pages of approximately 236 tags and original works by various street artists from San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York. This tag book includes original works by, Barry (Twist) McGee (b. 1966), Margaret (Meta) Kilgallen (1967-2001), Shepard Fairey (b. 1970), Ruby Rose Neri (b. 1970), KAWS (b. 1974), Jared (Geso) Costa (b. 1977), Mr. (LMNT) Element (b. 20th century), Spie One (b. 20th century), Grey (b. 20th century), and other early street artists from NYC-based AOK crew to San Francisco's PVC, and THR crews

  • Provenance: Notes: The artist Jared (Geso) Costa (b. 1977) was out tagging a train today in the Oregon region where he now resides. The street artist compiled this amazing sketchbook featuring almost all of the most influential figures of the street art/graffiti movement of the 1980s' through the 1990s. He spent the day much like he did in the 90s in San Francisco with friends Grey, Barry "Twist" McGee, Margaret "Meta" Kilgallen, and Ruby Rose Neri aka "Reminisce," on their hometown turf.

    Later, these artists came to be known as the Mission School. The Mission School in San Francisco was not characterized by traditional graffiti crews as one might associate with street art. Instead, it was an informal collective of artists sharing a common aesthetic, often collaborating on various projects. They engaged in street art activities, incorporating a blend of graffiti, muralism, and other expressions, united by camaraderie and a desire to push artistic boundaries.

    Margaret (Meta) Kilgallen (1967 - 2001), a prominent figure in the Mission School, played a vital role in shaping the graffiti and street art movement of the 1980s and 1990s. Known for her distinctive artistic style characterized by bold, folk-inspired imagery and hand-painted lettering, Kilgallen left an indelible mark on the streets of San Francisco. Kilgallen's work can be found in numerous pages of the sketchbook being offered in this sale.

    Similar things were happening at this time in Southern California, where a different type of graffiti was rewriting how we looked at art on the streets. Relocating to San Diego in 1996, Shepard Fairey was a brand-new artist on the street needing to make his mark again. He had his first feature film premiere in 1995, documenting his early rebellious art sticker and poster campaigns containing the command "OBEY," and the ambiguous imagery of Andre the Giant.

    The film entitled, "Andre the Giant Has a Posse," premiered at the New York Underground Film Festival in 1995 and went on to be screened just two years later in '97 at Sundance. Fairey and the creator/compiler of this sketchbook, Jared (Geso) Costa (b. 1977) crossed paths many times in the mid-1990s and beyond.

    Geso was collecting tags, collages, and stickers from the best artists of the street at the time of Fairey's departure from the East Coast for the Sun, Surf, Skate, and Street Art culture of Southern California. The two artists quickly crossed paths and became friends on one of Fairey's trips to the Mecca of Tagging in California, San Francisco, and its renowned Mission School.

    While these young artists were becoming friends, taunting the law, and creating crews to capture their artistic evolution, Jared (Geso) Costa blanketed his tag name "Geso," (pronounced Guess-O) all over the San Francisco Police Department's headquarters. They were creating crews to capture their artistic evolution on the street, be it in warehouses, boxcars, bridges, boarded up businesses, or in this very special black sketchbook dubbed the Bible by Geso.

    The Bible was legendary. A tag in the Bible meant you were doing something meaningful in the streets, and your peers were acknowledging that. To have a tag in the Bible was one thing; to have multiple tags meant you were going places. And during this time of the Bible's creation, these young vandals were off to make art, have fun, skate, surf, and continue to develop their visual language.

    This group of dedicated taggers hailing from the streets and the halls of the San Francisco Art Institute made their names known in the City and together created one of the most influential artistic groups in the city of San Francisco – the Mission School. Meanwhile, a still very young man named Brian Donnely, the artist most people today recognize as the international superstar artist KAWS, was only 22 years old when he got his hands and his tag in Geso's Bible.

    Young KAWS, at the age of 22, was still living in Jersey City and developing his bubble lettering tag style that he developed to get his name over the subways, trains, buses, billboards, and advertisements in New York City. Just in 2021, the Brooklyn Museum exhibited a survey of Kaws' career spanning 25 years entitled "What Party." The exhibition started before Kaws' meteoric rise to fame with his early street art, tag books, and graffiti, including rarely seen graffiti drawings, sketchbooks, and notebooks that Kaws used as inspiration as a young graffiti/street artist growing up in Jersey City.

    Likewise in 2021, on the heels of the Brooklyn Museum's major Kaws exhibition, there was a successful sale of Street Art which included an early tag book from Kaws' personal collection, given to a friend and put up at auction in 2021 at an estimate of $30,000-50,000. The work flew by its estimate and finished at the grand total of $75,600—2 and a half times the low estimate on the work.

    Not since 2021 has a graffiti sketchbook from the mid-1990s come up for auction again until now. In Jared (Geso) Costa's Tag Book, or as he christened it, "The Bible," this piece of street art history is comprised of 118 pages and approximately 236 tags by various street artists from San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York, including works by some of the most influential street artists to date.

    This sketchbook of works by legendary artists has shaped street art's place in the canon of art history, taking their work from trains, tunnels, subways, rooftops, trucks, and billboards to Museum Exhibitions, Art Fairs, Mid-Career Surveys, Gallery Shows, and even the Venice Biennale. Artists represented in this book include KAWS (b. 1974), Shepard (Sheppard) Fairey (b. 1970), Ruby Rose Neri (b. 1970), Margaret (Meta) Kilgallen (1967 - 2001), Jared (Geso) Costa (b. 1977), Barry (Twist) McGee (b. 1966), and various other street artists who made a mark in the 1980s through 1990s street art and graffiti scene.

    While some may have seen Kaws' tag books behind exhibition glass at the Brooklyn Museum in 2021, this tag book comprising of approximately 236 tags is one of the most important artifacts from the early graffiti movement of the 1990s to ever hit the auction block. This sketchbook is a testament to a time where the American Graffiti and Street Art Movement was still in its infancy, and getting their art noticed meant running in a crew, running from the police, and putting their work in as many public spaces as possible. This incredibly rare Sketchbook from 1995-1996 will be offered at $30,000-50,000.
  • Notes: For additional information or photos, please contact [email protected].
  • Condition: Overall generally good condition. The cover with scattered areas of surface scratches, abrasion along the extreme edges and corners, and wear to the pigment applied to the silver tape, in addition, the inside of the book with areas of abrasion along some of the sheet edges, surface scratches, wear, and the third sketchbook's tape is detached from the two other sketchbooks, all commensurate with age, use, and handling.

    Condition reports are offered as a courtesy and are typically published in Moran's catalogue or can be made available upon request. The absence of a condition report does not imply that an item is free from defects or restoration, nor does a reference to particular defects imply the absence of others. Buyers are responsible for determining to their own satisfaction the true nature and condition of any lot prior to bidding. Though buyers are not legally required to inspect lots prior to purchase, failure to do so may constitute a waiver of complaint that an item was not delivered in a condition equal to the existent condition at the auction.

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February 27, 2024 12:00 PM PST
Monrovia, CA, US

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Bid Increments
From: To: Increments:
$0 $499 $25
$500 $999 $50
$1,000 $1,999 $100
$2,000 $4,999 $250
$5,000 $9,999 $500
$10,000 $19,999 $1,000
$20,000 $49,999 $2,500
$50,000 $99,999 $5,000
$100,000 $199,999 $10,000
$200,000 $499,999 $25,000
$500,000 $999,999 $50,000
$1,000,000 + $100,000