Early beginners and late arrivals are found in every arts community across the globe. The Detroit graffiti legend FEL3000FT, however, is that intriguing rarity – a gifted individual whose past works and ongoing projects put him comfortably in both categories.The early beginner part is obvious. A Detroit native who fell in with several talented taggers from NYC before entering his teens, he quickly became an apprentice without a master – a young wunderkind enthralled by the colorful and powerful possibilities of urban murals. His education followed the usual pattern: a great deal of trial and error, learning the techniques of those who came before, immersing himself in comic books and graphic novels, and (of course) surviving the inevitable and intrusive concern of adult authority figures who didn’t always share in his youthful enthusiasm.

As for being a late arrival … permit us a moment to clarify that observation. FEL is, in truth, an honored and acknowledged member of Detroit’s tight-knit tribe of urban street artists. Indeed, he’s already been accorded mentor status by an appreciative number of young peers following his example. He has also channeled his abilities into quite a few successful and notable commercial avenues. Sirius Satellite has benefited from his gifts and he contributed a noteworthy piece to the city during Detroit’s Tricentennial Celebration back in 2001.

In the early 90′s, several graffiti writers found refuge in what is now a bike path and green space – a location that we in Detroit have come to know as the Dequindre Cut. Back when this was a desolate and abandoned rail yard, Dibs and others started an open gallery where those chased away by society could be safe and would have a chance to hone their skills. FEL (along with AJ Fosik and others) spent weeks working on production murals charged with new characters and new forms of calligraphy; a very positive step forward for all concerned – and one that was happily copied in other cities.

What we therefore consider “belated” in this instance is not his arrival on the scene, but the formal recognition of his talent – and that particular observation, of course, could be applied to scores of other artists. Like many members of his generation (he is close to 40 now), FEL was reconciled to the ephemeral nature of his works. Hard as it is to imagine today, there really was a pre-Juxtapoz period when no one predicted or dared hope that the bold lines found on factory walls, abandoned buildings, and railroad cars would glow in the critical respect and attention they enjoy now. But like many another creative spirits before and after him, FEL kept on working and did not hesitate to explore other creative avenues that complemented the visions that possessed him.

All images copyright 2011 Fel3000ft - Please contact me if you would like to use one of my images I dont bite.