SEEN /   Richard Mirando

United States 1961


Richard Mirando
United States
May 6, 2016

A living legend of graffiti art scene whose work is known throughout the world, Richard Mirando, better known as SEEN, became active on the streets of New York City at the time when graffiti was not as fashionable as today. He started by creating subway graffiti in the early seventies and came to prominence thanks to his vibrant lettering and masterful depictions of mass-media cartoon characters like Wonder Woman, Hulk and the Smurfs.

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SEEN – Spiderman & The Mighty Thor, 2014, photo credits – Opera Gallery

SEEN Brings Comic Book Heroes to Life

Richard “Richie” Mirando was born in 1961 in the Bronx. Growing up in New York City, he picked graffiti as his game of choice and began spray-painting subway trains in 1973 when he was only twelve years old. As he became more and more active in the city, he was also becoming more and more skilled. Along with his crew – United Artists (UA) – SEEN pioneered painting of top-to-bottom whole cars becoming one of the most famous graffiti artists on the scene at a time when graffiti was in its infancy. Additionally, he has started to make pieces with more than just his name: Fascinated with comic heroes and television cartoons, the artist added illustrations, full of scenery and cartoon subjects to his tags.

SEEN became one of the most famous street artists at a time when graffiti was in its infancy

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Seen – graffiti in Los Angeles, CA, photo credits Ordinary Madness 86

Transition from Graffiti to Gallery

SEEN created his first painting in 1979, and in the early 1980s, he began exhibiting his work in galleries throughout the United States and overseas together with great names such as Keith Haring, Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Dondi, Quik, and Blade. During those years, SEEN opened his tattooing studio – Tattoo Seen – which quickly became one of the most successful studios in NYC. Additionally, SEEN’s work has been published in many acclaimed books including Subway Art by Martha Cooper and Henry Chalfant, and American Graffiti by Margo Thompson. Also, his oeuvre has been featured in Style Wars (1983), a documentary that chronicled the rise of subway graffiti in New York in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

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SEEN – Captain America (Left) / Green Lantern (Right), photo credits – Opera Gallery

The Godfather of Graffiti

In a career that encompasses over forty years, SEEN has found himself among the most famous graffiti writers in the American scene and beyond, often called the Godfather of graffiti. SEEN’s work has had a huge impact on today’s generation of creatives. In recent years, he began producing three-dimensional sculpture, mixed media work with reclaimed or discarded materials (often found in the street), and a series of hand-painted, limited-edition MTA New York subway maps. SEEN continues to create and exhibit his oeuvre worldwide.

The artist is represented by Vroom & Varossieau in Amsterdam.

SEEN is currently based in Paris.

Featured image: SEEN – portrait, photo credits Wikipedia

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2016StreeteaseOpera Gallery, Hong KongSolo
2014Poppy Graffiti - City as Ca...Opera Gallery, Seoul, KoreaSolo
2014SEENOpera Gallery, London, UKSolo
2014Grand Opening: Miami Design DistrictOpera Gallery, Miami, FLGroup
2013Contemporary Istanbul 2013, with Opera GalleryIstanbul, TurkeyGroup
2013[un]seenFabien Castanier Gallery, Studio City, CASolo
2013Urban Art Biennale 2013VolklingenGroup
2012RancinanOpera Gallery, ParisGroup
2011Paris Forever 100th exhibition of the galleryGalerie Magda Danysz, ParisGroup
2011SEENOpera Gallery, ParisSolo
2011GraffCityOpera Gallery, ParisGroup
2010SEENGalerie Magda Danysz, ParisSolo
2010Playboy Redux: Contemporary Artists Interpret the Iconic Playboy BunnyThe Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburg, PAGroup
2010PleaSE EnjoyMagda Danysz Gallery, Paris, FranceSolo
2010T.A.G.Palais de Tokyo, ParisGroup
2009From Style Writing to Art (Part 2 - Shanghai)18 Gallery Shanghai, Bund18, ShanghaiGroup
2009Né dans la rue - graffitiFondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain, ParisGroup
2009The 1st SEEN Pop-Up ShowLyon, FranceSolo
2009Mad Transit ArtistKleerup Gallery, Stockholm, SwedenSolo
2009TAGGrand Palais, Paris, FranceGroup
2009Urbain IerGalerie Leadouze, Paris FranceGroup
2009TAGPalais de Tokyo, Paris, FranceGroup
2009Playboy ReduxAndy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, PAGroup
2009Live DemonstrationEspace Culturel VUITTON, ParisSolo
2009Born in the StreetsFoundation CARTIER, ParisGroup
2009Public ProvocationCarhartt Gallery, Weil Am Rhein, GermanyGroup
2009Bombs AwayStrychnin Gallery, Berlin, GermanyGroup
2008Christmas Group Show 08Stolenspace Gallery, London, UKGroup
2007Sign of the TimesStolenspace Gallery, London, UKSolo
2007Seen CityParis, FranceSolo
2007That 70s ShowPower House Arena, New York, NYGroup
2006End of an eraStolenspace Gallery, London, UKSolo
2005SEENRocket World Gallery, San Francisco, CASolo
2005SEENOutside Institute Space, London, EnglandSolo
2005Stencil ThisProsper Gallery, Tokyo, JapanSolo
2005SEENMcCaigwelles Gallery, New York, NYSolo
2004Conversions @ 149th St.Longwood Arts Project, New York City, NYGroup
2003SEENToy Tokyo Gallery, New York, NYSolo
2003What Makes a Subway Car Run?STIP Gallery, Amsterdam, The NetherlandsSolo
2003SEENStussy SF Gallery, San Francisco, CASolo
2003SEENConcrete Vibes Gallery, New York, NYSolo
2003SEENMarco Art Gallery, New York, NYSolo
2003Graffiti ArtFred Siegel Gallery, Los AngelesGroup
2001Breaking GroundTwenty-four Gallery, Vancouver, CanadaSolo
2001SEENBob's Gallery, New York, NYSolo
2001SEEN & CES: The Bronx BrothersPacifico Fine Art Gallery, New YorkGroup
1999Urban Mythologies: The Bronx Represented Since the 1960sThe Bronx Museum of the Arts, New YorkGroup
1999Groninger Museum ExhibitionGroninger Museum, Groninger, NetherlandsGroup
1998American GraffitiCAM - Casa Andrade Muricy, CuritibaGroup
1998New York GraffitiMuseum Der Stadt Ratingen, GermanyGroup
1996UnknownThe Stedelijk Museum, RoeRmond, NetherlandsGroup
1996On Subway Trains and Gallery WallsMuseum of the City of New YorkGroup
1996Art of the 80s and 90sGroninger Museum, Groninger, NetherlandsGroup
1995SEENClayton Gallery, New York, NYSolo
1995UnknownBeeldende Van De Kunst Groninger Musem, Groninger, NetherlandsGroup
1993Coming from the Subways, History and Development of a Contraversial Movement, New York Graffiti ArtGroninger Museum, Groninger, NetherlandsGroup
1992UnknownGemeenter Museum, Helmond, NetherlandsGroup
1992SEEN, QUIK & BLADEThe Stedelljk Museum, Helmond, NetherlandsGroup
1991Grafitti ArtMusee national des monuments francais, Paris, FranceGroup
1991Paris Graffiti Exposition de 24 peintres14, rue Chapon, ParisGroup
1989At the WallKunstverein Weisbaden, West Germany and Gemeente Museum, Helmond, NetherlandsGroup
1989UnknownThe Stedelijk Museum Helmond, Helmond, NetherlandsGroup
1988American Graffiti Artists: SEEN & QUIKDeboterhal, Hoorn, NetherlandsGroup
1988SEEN & QUIKGallery Christ Delaet, Antwerp, BelgiumGroup
1988UnknownStedelijk Kunstcollectie, Helmond, NetherlandsGroup
1988UnknownDe Horizon Voorbu Gemeente Museum, Helmond, NetherlandsGroup
1986UnknownThe Stedelijk Musem, Helmond, NetherlandsGroup
1986UnknownLeopold-Hoesch Museum, Duren, West GermanyGroup
1985SEENThe Yaki Kornblitt Gallery, Amsterdam, The NetherlandsSolo
1985SEENSuntory Company, Tokyo, JapanSolo
1985New York GraffitiSigmund Wenger Gallery, San Diego, USAGroup
1985New York GraffitiGemeente Museum Helmond, Helmond, NetherlandsGroup
1985UnknownThe Stedelijk Museum, Helmond, NetherlandsGroup
1984GraffitiLouisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebaek, Denmark‎Group
1984Graffiti, High Artists & Classical ArtistsGalerie Thomas, Munich, GermanyGroup
1984UnknownThe Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, NetherlandsGroup
1983SEENThe Yaki Kornblitt Gallery, Amsterdam, The NetherlandsSolo
1983SEEN: New WorksStellweg-Seguy Gallery, New York, NYSolo
1983Post-GraffitiSidney Janis Gallery, New YorkGroup
1983GraffitiGronginer Museum, Groningen, NetherlandsGroup
1983GraffitiBoymans-Van Beuningen Museum, Rotterdam, NetherlandsGroup
1982SEENThe Yaki Kornblitt Gallery, Amsterdam, The NetherlandsSolo
1981New York, New WaveThe Institute for the Arts and Urban Resources, P.S.1, New YorkGroup
1980SEENNew Wave, P.S.1, New York, NYGroup