Torrick Ablack Toxic - artist

Toxic /   Torrick Ablack

United States 1965

Street Art, Graffiti, Painting

Torrick Ablack
United States
September 11, 2013
Alias of Jasmina Sevic, a researcher and author for Widewalls. She graduated from the Faculty of Political Science (Department for Journalism) in Belgrade in 2013.

DIY ideas and rebellion culture of the 80’s largely shaped the opus of Toxic and practically made him one of the notable and prolific figures of graffiti art. His whole opus is a product of various cultural and urban influences and is inseparable from the context of the deranged city of New York back in the days. The way Toxic performed lettering, chose locations and exchanged information and advice within his community, made his approach progressive and revolutionary. With a lot of patience and courage, Toxic was focused on constant learning and therefore artistic upgrade.

The use of various materials pigments oil water are important for his style on walls and canvas
Toxic – Life, Liberty and the Pursuite of Happiness, 1985

The Artist From The Hood

Torrick Ablack aka Toxic was born in 1965 in the Bronx. His mother came from Puerto Rico, while his father’s family was from Trinidad. From the early age, he started hanging around with graffiti legends A-one and Koor. At 13 Toxic joined forces with A-one and Rammellzee so the trio pursued their graffiti passion on New York City subway trains and walls. During that time he chose the alias Toxic since some kids with whom he played basketball called him Toxic Battery.

Bright colors and specific lettering are main features of Toxic

Toxic paints with photo orange red and green pigment including metals in privacy of his home
Toxic – No toys allowed, 2010 – Wallpaper

Further Development

The main hotspot of burgeoning street art and graffiti art was Fashion Moda, alternative gallery space in the Bronx established by Stefan Eins and Joe Lewis. It is where Toxic had his first exhibition, as well as many other artists, among which Keith Haring. The times were tough in the 80’s in New York, but the creativity was flourishing and it was difficult to do something original. Nevertheless, as the times passed by Toxic became more engaged and the end of the 80’s he moved to Italy and few years later in France.

From illegal activity on city walls to gallery spaces

The artist was in search for his style together with jean Michel in their home town
Toxic – 40 Mt and everything in between, 2016, Installation view

Hollywood Africans and Basquiat

Toxic met Basquiat, at that time already established artist, shortly after his show at the Annina Nosei Gallery. The two were similar in the sense of family background and general interests. In 1982, before mentioned Rammellzee, Basquiat, and Toxic traveled to Los Angeles and dubbed themselves the Hollywood Africans as a social and political comment of African Americans stereotypes in the entertainment industry. That is how Basquiat captured the whole atmosphere of the times in his painting of the same title.

One of the pioneers of graffiti art

Any day you can just like his work and change the english to any world language
Toxic – Peace 2 the 3rd Power, 2016

The Significance of Toxic

All the way through the 90’s Toxic worked mostly in Europe, and as the whole graffiti genre became more and more acclaimed much of his retrospective solo the group exhibitions happened. It is worth mentioning that in 2006, with the Graffiti Basics exhibition, the Brooklyn Museum paid a tribute to the forerunners of the graffiti movement and establishes Toxic as a major artist alongside other legends, like NOC 167 and Bear 167. Toxic’s abstract pictorial space is particularly sophisticated, while particular colors, symbols and cabalist references, find their own place next to personal memories. Toxic is, together with a few others witnesses, one of the last survivors of a powerful and hugely influential group among the 80’s graffiti scene.

Toxic lives and works in Paris.

All images used are courtesy of the artist

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group 
2016TOXIC 40mt and everything in betweenFarsettiarte, Prato, ItalySolo
2016lamorous Graffiti: Basquiat, Crash, Haring & moreNassau County Museum, NY, USAGroup
2015Graffiti. New York meets the DamAmsterdam Museum, Amsterdam, NetherlandsGroup
2015Le Pressionnisme: 1970-1990. Les chefs-d’oeuvre du graffiti sur toile de Basquiat à BandoPinacothèque de Paris, Paris, FranceGroup
2014Visions of the Ludwig CollectionCCBB, Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil – Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Belo Orizonte, BrasilGroup
2014City as a canvas: Graffiti Art from the Martin Wong CollectionMuseum of the City of New York, NYC, USAGroup
2014UntitledGalerie Géraldine Zberro, Paris FranceGroup
2013Last of the Hollywood Africans Londonewcastle Project space, London UKSolo
2011Come againGZ Gallery, Paris FranceSolo
2011The Aerosol ExperienceZieglerwei, Zurich, SwitzerlandGroup
2011Barzagli – Toxic Four Hands: the Human FunctionsGalleria d’Arte Frediano Farsetti Firenze, ItalyGroup
2011Black States of Desire: Dispossession, Circulation, Transformation Centre de l’Université Chicago à Paris, Université Paris Diderot, Paris FranceGroup
2011Diasparis, Inspirations Africaines Au Coeur Du Grand Paris, Dialogues Avec Le MondeMusée du Montparnasse, Paris FranceGroup
2011Graffiti New York 80’s Galerie Jerome De Noirmont, Paris FranceGroup
2010Toxic SummerLa Fonderie d’Art Paris, FranceSolo
2010Style Masters Grand Tour, with the patronage of HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco and HRH the Princess Caroline of HanoverYacht Club de Monaco, MonacoGroup
2010A Starter Kit For CollectorsTribes Gallery, NYC, USAGroup
2009Round 2Nicy Gallery, Paris FranceSolo
2009Born in the streetsFondation Cartier, Paris FranceGroup
2009Graffiti artGalerie Bailly Contemporain, ParisGroup
2009Le Tag au Grand Palais” – Curated by Alain-Dominique GalliziaSponsorship of Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication, Paris FranceGroup
2009New Acquisitions : Rarely seen worksLudwig Museum – Museum of Contemporary Art – Budapest, HungaryGroup
2008Zone T secteur 138Galerie De Béjarry et Galerie Artcour, Paris, FranceSolo
2007Il futuro del futurismoGAMeC – Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Bergamo, ItalyGroup
2006spect or Die Sergio Tossi Arte Contemporanea, Firenze ItalySolo
2006Sound Zero: arte e musica dalla Pop alla Street ArtMerano Arte Kunst Meran, ItalyGroup
2006Graffiti BasicsBrooklyn Museum, NY, USAGroup
2004ToxicGalerie du Tableau, Marseille, FranceSolo
2004Gezeichnet GraffitiKunsthalle Darmstadt Darmstadt, GermanyGroup
2002World CupParis, SingapourGroup
1999Toxic Heart Gallery, Paris, FranceSolo
1997UntitledGeorge’s Fine Art, Los Angeles, USAGroup
1996UntitledMurales, New York Geneva ParisGroup
1996Symbols and SignsTribes Gallery, NYC, USAGroup
1994ToxicJoel Kessler Fine Arts, Miami, USASolo
1993Coming from the CanSpace Time Light Gallery, NYC,USAGroup
1992L’Art Actif - Art works: la Collection Fondation Peter StuyvesantStedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Ecole Nationale Superiére des Beaux Arts, Paris FranceGroup
1993ToxicSpace Time Light Gallery, New York, USASolo
1992Graffiti Art Centro Steccata Arte Contemporanea, Parma, ItalyGroup
1992Coming from the Subways, NY Graffiti ArtGroeningen Museum, HollandGroup
1992Toxic Galleria Graziella Mariottini, Arezzo, ItalySolo
1991Graffiti Art : Artistes Américains et Français 1981-1991 Musée National des Monuments Français, Paris, FranceGroup
1991Paris GraffitiEspace Chapon, Paris, FranceGroup
1991Post Graffiti-Fine Art Federal Reserve Board Building, Washington DC, USAGroup
1991American graffiti: a survey Liverpool Gallery, Bruxelles BelgiumGroup
1990Post Graffiti, Toxic & CrashFondation Veranneman, Kruishoutern, BelgiumGroup
1989Graffiti New York – Paris Neue Galerie Sammlung Ludwig Aachen, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Verviers, BelgiumGroup
1989An der wand Graffiti zwischen Nassauischen Kunstverein, Wiesbaden, GermanyGroup
1988Murales in PomaricoAmministrazione Comunale di Pomarico, Regione Basilicata, ItalyGroup
1987The South Bronx Art ShowFashion Moda, NYC, USAGroup
1987Pop Art America EuropaLudwig Museum, Aachen, GermanyGroup
1987MeleeFranklin Furnace, NYC, USAGroup
1986Graffiti Art for the CollectorGallery International 52, NYC, USAGroup
1986Illuminations: the art of the futureArt and Industrie, NYC, USAGroup
1986South Bronx Show Longwood Arts Gallery and Bronx River Gallery , NYC, USAGroup
1985ARCO 85, Feria Internacional de Arte Contempoaranea de Madrid Sidney Janis presents Graffiti Spain, Madrid SpainGroup
19853 Artist: A One, Noc, ToxicSidney Janis Gallery, NYC, USAGroup
1985A One, Toxic, KoorWith the support Sidney Janis and the art collector Delores Nuemann Fashion Moda, NYC USAGroup
1985Democracy at work22 Wooster Street, NYC, USAGroup
1985UntitledFrederick R. Wiesman Foundation of Art, Tel Aviv Museum, IsraelGroup
1985UntitledFashion Moda presents Ronald Feldman Gallery, NYC, USAGroup
1985The South Bronx ShowFashion Moda, NYC, USAGroup
1985AnniottantaGalleria Comunale d”Arte Moderna, Bologna, ItalyGroup
1985Zeitgenossische KunstRaimund Thomas Gallery, Munich, GermanyGroup
1984Arte di Frontiera: New York graffiti Galleria d”Arte Moderna, Bologna, ItalyGroup
1984Graffiti Makler Gallery, Philadelphia, USAGroup
1984Art 15”84 Basel Art Fair, Sidney Janis presents Graffiti, Basel, SwitzerlandGroup
1984Chill Out New Yorksummer 84, Kenkeleba House, NYC, USAGroup
19847 Generations of GrandmasterGallozzi la Placa Gallery, NYC, USAGroup
19845th The South Bronx ShowFashion Moda, NYC, USAGroup
1984Grafffiti Artists from the Early 70’sFashion Moda NYC, USAGroup
1984Classical American Graffiti Writers and High Graffiti Artists Raimund Thomas Gallery, Munich, GermanyGroup
1984Aspekte Amerikanisher Kunst der Gegenwart Neue Galerie, Ludwig Collection, Aachen, GermanyGroup
1984GraffitiMark Twain South County Bank, St Louis, USAGroup
1984Kunstzene New York Art Cologne 18th International Art Fair, GermanyGroup
1984UntitledChicago International Art Exposition 84Group
1984Rapid Enamel : The art of Graffiti The Renaissance Society, University of ChicagoGroup
1983Camouflaged Panzerism Part 1Fashion Moda, NYC, USAGroup
1983Post GraffitiSidney Janis Gallery, NYC, USAGroup
1983Food for the Soup Kitchen Show poster by Jean Michael Basquiat, Fashion Moda, NYC, USAGroup
1983Graffiti thanks a lotFun Gallery, NYC, USAGroup
1982Camouflaged Panzerism Part 1 Fashion Moda, NYC, USAGroup
1982An evening with Gothic Futurism - Ikonoklast PanzerismSquat Theatre, NYC, USAGroup
1982Documenta 7 Kassel , GermanyGroup
19822nd The South Bronx Show Fashion Moda, NYC, USAGroup
1982An evening with Gothic Futurism - Iconoklast Panzerism Squat Theater, NYC, USAGroup