Famed Harlem graffiti artist Stan 153 dead at 60

Influential graffiti master Stan 153 has died at 60, according to multiple people close to the street artist.

Word of Stan Pratt’s death spread quickly after Living Color front man Vernon Reid posted the news on Instagram.

“Shocked. Stan was one of the Cool Rulers of the 70’s Bx Graff scene,” Reid wrote.

Stan "153" Pratt and his ex-wife Claudia.
Stan “153” Pratt and his ex-wife Claudia.


“It’s sad,” said Reid. He got the news last week from their mutual friend Richard Admiral.

Admiral grew up making art with Pratt, whom he said he met around 1970. First they were into music and comic books, then it was street art.

“We were young knuckleheads running around and painting in the 3 yard,” he said, referring to the subway line that terminates in Harlem.

According to Admiral, when they got into trouble in the neighborhood, they’d hide out in Pratt’s Harlem home.

“He was a special cat,” said Admiral. “I loved him to death. Very interesting guy and very, very talented.”

Pratt started practicing his craft on 153rd St. and Eighth Ave. with a group called the Yard Boys, according to the graffiti site At 149th Street. His work went on to be featured in numerous galleries as well as the Museum of the City of New York.

Admiral was told that Pratt will be flown back to New York to be buried next to his daughter, who died last month. He didn’t know the details of her passing. Admiral got word of Pratt’s death from mutual friend and fellow artist Aaron Garrett, who paints under the name TB1. Garrett, who lives in Astoria, Queens, said he heard of his pal’s passing through Pratt’s widow in California.

“Stan was an octopus who was into a lot of good things and a lot of other things,” Garrett laughed, citing Pratt’s love for cars, bicycles, women and playing bass. Not wanting to give specifics, Garrett said Pratt had a near-death experience in the ’80s that gave him a new lease on life.

“He said he met people on the other side and they told him he had to go back,” Garrett said.

Garrett said he talked to Pratt in the week’s before his death and knew his friend of 40-plus years, whom he said had beaten cancer, was ailing.

“He said things like when he died, he wanted to be buried in New York,” Garrett recalled. “You don’t say things like that unless you know something is wrong.”

Stan’s ex-wife, Claudia Pratt, said she married Pratt in 1994 and stayed in contact with him following their 2004 divorce after he moved to California and she opted to stay in New York. Claudia, 56, last spoke to her ex-husband by phone in the hospital in Aug. 15. She last saw the artist in July shortly before Stan’s daughter’s funeral.

“I’m still in shock. I still don’t believe it,” she said. “You always think you have more time.”

Claudia said there’s buzz about Sept. 28 “celebration of life” for Stan 153, but that it’s not set in stone.

“A lot of people knew and loved him,” she said. “I didn’t know who he was when I met him. Then I found out.”

Pratt’s widow Marcea declined to comment on specifics, other than saying the graf master’s family had been inundated with phone calls and would put out a statement once they’re ready.

Graffiti historian Eric Felisbret told the Daily News that he, too, had been made aware of Pratt’s death by friends on social media.