A few days ago, an artist who was an inspiration to me, and an inspiration to countless others, tragically passed away. This is not a press release. This is a tribute to the life of a man, a talented artist who dedicated his work to spreading a message the world desperately needed to hear. His name was Scott Patterson, but to many he was Nobody. Originally from New York City, Nobody rose to prominence painting murals in local Miami hotspots such as Wynwood and South Beach. His street art is a juxtaposition of images of gritty urban life with statements of love, tenderness, and hope.
Also known as TMNK or THE ME NOBODY KNOWS, Nobody received the inspiration for his artist name after the death of a friend. While out tagging a mural in remembrance, he drew a character with a crown, one eye, and a teardrop. Later someone came and wrote over it “Nobody cares.” This became an ironic, yet poignant memorial to his slain friend. This tag and character began popping up all over New York city, and characters like it are seen all over the world.
"I am the defiant thread, in this great tapestry called life, who has decided to weave instead of being woven. My rebellious, markers, paints and aerosol cans, neither need nor seek your permission, as I converse with generations yet unborn. To you I may be nobody. Okay, then undeterred and unaffected I say to you, “Nobody did it!”, as I leave my mark on the world for all eternity." - TMNK
Miamians might not have known Nobody's face, as he typically kept it hidden behind a black bandanna due to the nature of his work. But it is almost impossible to walk through Wynwood without seeing his signature spray-painted crown or a stencil of the phrase "Art is my weapon" on walls. I remember attending my first Art Walk here in Miami, and seeing his signature art that stopped you in your tracks.
Nobody was known for taking risks to create his art, and he was sometimes reckless to a fault. One example of this is when he notoriously climbed thousands of feet to spray paint over a billboard of then Miami Heat player, Lebron James. As soon as TMNK stepped down from the billboard, Miami Police arrested him on 13 counts of criminal mischief -- one for each of the cars his paint had dripped on. He was released on $65,000 bond.
Nobody's work explored various socio-political issues such as racism, classism, sexism, third-world plight, first-world arrogance, war, and peace. He chose to share his vision of how things could be, if only. Recently, the artist was consumed with a broader message, as he began using his art as a weapon to attack human injustice and to spread seeds of humanity.
“Much of my art prior to this point in my career had been directed at the system and it’s racism and it’s prejudice. These sort of things in the past had been the focus of my creative efforts.”
Black Lives Matter, an uncomfortable conversation for many... Even more uncomfortable for those who have for far too long experienced a nightmare instead of the American Dream. "We shall overcome would have never been sung, if not for slavery, Jim Crow and the countless beaten and hung. And still a heART full of #HOPE not hate, as I add my two cents to the current debate. Love is the answer, LOVE over hate. #loveistheanswer #loveoverhate #art #streetart #blacklivesmatter and that's #mytwocentstmnk
“I’m nobody, I’m not famous, the only thing I got is relentless determination, and if a nobody like me could do it, I’m unfocused at times, I’m undisciplined at times but, if a nobody like me could accomplish the things that I’ve accomplished then imagine what a somebody like you could do.”
His goal was simple, to spread his message. If a nobody like TMNK can do it, a somebody like you can too.
REST IN PARADISE
Update: 212 Gallery in Wynwood will be hosting an event to honor Nobody on October 8th during the next Wynwood Art Walk. Family, friends, and fans are all invited to attend.