I nstantly recognizable by graffiti fans across the globe, FL-001 Pointman is a silver rendition of Futura’s signature Pointman sculpture, which was debuted by the New York native more than three decades ago. In 1988, Futura was asked to design the cover art for British musical group UNKLE, culminating in the birth of the distinctive robotic figure. The elongated head, oversized ears and crustacean-inspired appendages form a striking silhouette, its glaring expression exuding an unmistakably sinister aura.
Born as Lenny McGurr, the American graffiti artist had humble beginnings to his illustrious career, bursting onto the New York art scene as a teenager by painting in the subway. He decided to adopt his famous pseudonym after reading Alvin Toffler’s book “Future Shock,” a dystopian and prescient work that foretold the destabilizing impact of rapid social and technological change. The artist with the moniker Futura would always remain fascinated by these shocks and revolutions the world hurtles through time.
“When I came back to New York in 1979 after being in the navy for four years, I’d been around the world, to Mombasa Kenya, Pakistan, Australia, all over Asia, the Philippines and Japan, and most of my friends hadn’t left the block. So I got a slow education in graffiti and went away, and came back believing I was mature and grown up only to re-connect with the graffiti community which had now progressed an evolved into something. It wasn’t just scribbling on the walls anymore; it was full productions, people doing amazing works of art.”
Now widely regarded as a graffiti legend, Futura is best known for his abstract approach to street art, blurring virtual reality and hyperrealism with a retro-futuristic twist. Long considered one of the founding fathers of the graffiti scene, Futura’s influence was felt far beyond, as he also collaborated with punk band The Clash, creating live woks during their concerts, as well as designing their album art. While his works have exhibited alongside the likes of Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring, Futura pioneered a distinct abstract approach and was instrumental in defining the New York street art scene, and his seismic impact on the graffiti art genre has resonated worldwide. His work is exhibited at Museo de Arte Moderna Bologna, the Musée de Vire in France and the Museum of the City of New York.
From the early days of his youth “bombing” subway trains with graffiti, Futura’s style has evolved through the decades, and he has since collaborated with clothing brands such as Nike, Supreme and Levi’s, and has worked on diversifying his creative output to include designs for toys, and sneakers. The irrepressible instinct to reinvent extends to his work in many different forms of media, translating his technical skills as a graffiti artist to canvas, digital formats and sculpture.
In a towering sculpture of Futura’s iconic Pointman, standing 1.76 meters tall, the extraterrestrial figure scowls menacingly at the eye-level of most viewers. The FL-001Pointman first appeared in Generation Z, Futura's 2019 solo exhibition in Tokyo at The Mass gallery. The sculpture’s shimmering finish is partially stained by water marks, an effect intended to depict FL-001 Pointman standing amidst a torrential downpour – a melancholic image which momentarily dampens the figure’s threatening demeanor and instead evokes sympathy for the misunderstood automaton.