Artist Donald Joseph White better known as DONDI remains one of the contemporary art world’s most influential figures. He was most recently featured in the landmark Beyond The Streets exhibitions, and also served as the inspiration and focal point of Virgil Abloh‘s most recent collection Off White. A true legend of the early New York City subway scene his legacy has been established as one of one of the genre’s truest innovators. In partnership with The Dondi White Estate, 1xRUN is excited to present three new collaborative skate decks featuring some of DONDI’s most iconic works both in and out of the studio. Featuring never-before-seen images from DONDI’s personal photo archives, each of these decks represents DONDI’s diverse styles. Read on as we caught up with Mike White who helps manage The Dondi White Estate along with his sister Mick White who took some iconic shots of these latest DONDI decks throughout New York City…
Dondi White Estate: The images we used for the collage piece came directly from DONDI’s personal picture collection. This collage piece would have been his definitive collection of train art. We decided to use images that are not widely known, giving his fans the ability to own and present the artists work in a format never used before by the Estate.
The second deck “DONDI CIA” is a homage to not only the artist DONDI but also the crew members in CIA. This silver whole car blockbuster was produced in 1979. Legend has it that DONDI would do these whole car blockbuster car with the left over paint. DONDI was a stickler for not leaving the yard with extra paint. These pieces were also done to alert train benchers of a wild style piece on the other side of the train.
The third deck shows the artist using other mediums of his work. Toward the end of DONDI’s career he started finding other mediums of art outside of spray paint. When DONDI moved to the gallery setting and began exploring canvas art, his preferred method was still spray paint, however he also began dabbling in collage pieces on paper. Legend has it he would go through New York and find discarded blueprints and use them for detailed collage pieces. “Iron Man Lives” is a definitive collage piece that has all elements of the artists true passions. DONDI was not only an avid artist, but also a devout Christian, cyclist, and family man. This blueprint collage brings all of these elements together to help tell the story of one of the greatest artists of this generation.
1x: Were these images part of a specific theme, series or show that Dondi had? If so how did it fit into that given grouping?
DWE: The collage deck is a part of New York Graffiti train art history. These images are circa 77-79 “Iron Man Lives” is a blueprint collage that was produced in 1993.
1x: What materials were used to create these original pieces?
DWE: For the train pieces DONDI would use spray paint, for the blueprint collage he would use paper pencil and discarded blueprints.
1x: Tell us how the idea and execution came about for these images?
DWE: DONDI was not only a genius, but also a very private person in regards to his art. All train images and blueprint collages were done exclusively by the artist. DONDI was not only a Graffiti writer but also a gifted artist of other mediums. “Iron Man Lives” gives the fans a glimpse of the finer side of DONDI’s art.
1x: Why should people buy this one of these prints?
DWE: The estate is very particular about who and what we collaborate with. It is hard to find commercial projects for an artist who did not do his art for commercial purposes. This edition of skate decks is the only one produced and licensed by the DONDI White Estate.
1x: Describe these image in one gut reaction word.
1x: What are some of the core efforts that you are all making at the Dondi White Estate to further DONDI’s legacy and tell his story?
DWE: Currently we are working with galleries world wide to create one man shows to help progress DONDI art to a new generation of art lovers world wide.
1x: What has the Dondi White Estate been up to lately, any recent shows or exhibitions you’d like to highlight?
DWE: We just recently completed a fashion line with “off-white” and Virgil Abloh. DONDI was the inspiration behind his summer/spring 2019 clothing line. Each article of clothing displayed a distinct image of art from DONDI. This project enabled us to donate $60,000 to Gods We Deliver in New York.
1xRUN: Where else can people find you?
Dondi White Estate: Instagram – @bkmike6453
Photos by Mick White – follow her on Instagram @kittykitty_michellew