In late 1983, downtown artist and photographer David Schmidlapp published the first issue of the IGTimes under the nom du geurre “Yanqui Junkie.” What began as a satirical look at the art market’s profit-driven embrace of “graffiti” rapidly morphed into an important venue for the inner-city aerosol art community. With art direction and co-editorial perspective by legendary, first generational subway spray can artist and hip hop pioneer Phase2 from 1986 onward, the IGTimes established the bar for visual documentation of hip-hop culture and aerosol street art, inspiring dozens of copycat ‘zines and a generation of writers around the world.
The magazine’s 15 issues—from vol. 1 (Dec. 1983) through vol. 15 (1994)—included profiles, editorials, dialogs, interviews, provocations, social commentary and works of poetry by and about an international and multicultural (though New York-centric) cast of ‘writers’ including Dome, Vulcan, CoCo 144, Spon and Dez, as well as hip hop figures Public Enemy, KRS-1, Schooly-D, and others, featuring cartoons, collages, politically motivated caricatures, stylized portraits, and above all else, stunning photo-documentation, much of it in color, of the vibrant but ephemeral street murals and subway car paintings that represent the movement’s heyday. The serial devoted early coverage to the developing HIV/AIDS crisis, apartheid in South Africa, police brutality in American cities, and the impact of the 2nd amendment on inner city crime. It is remembered by many as the most important and most influential of the underground magazines to cover aerosol art during the decade in which New York City street culture went global.