blog header image

Grafitti Artist Hector “Nicer” Nazario

Hector “Nicer” Nazario grew up in the South Bronx interested in art, but there were few outlets to quench his thirst. In the 1980s there weren’t many art school programs, so he was drawn to the art and color that surrounded him. The South Bronx landscape consisted of abandoned buildings and rubble, but it was the graffiti that decorated the walls and subway cars that caught Hector’s eye. “We didn’t know we were poor, for us it was just kids playing in our surroundings…it was just fun.” Hector chose the nickname Nicer for himself that remains his nom de plume. “It started as “Too Nice but then I found out there was a ‘Too Nice’ in Brooklyn. So I added an “er” [to Nice]. I liked the way it looked.”

Hector “Nicer” Nazario is considered one of the pioneers of the Hip Hop movement. Nicer and his crew would paint backdrops for Afrika Bambaataa’s shows and if you look closely you’ll see the work of Nicer and his friends in Bambaataa’s Planet Rock Video. That’s him scrawling on the glass near the end of the video in the ice blue cap and matching jacket.

“We didn’t realize we were doing work. The cash was alright but it was more about the paint. It was our lifestyle, our expression, [we were] identifying with the people from our community.” His mother didn’t think much of it at the time. “Eso no te va dejar nada” which translates to “That won’t leave you with anything.” Thirty years later, Nicer is still painting and his company Tats Cru are commissioned to do murals all over the world.


Previous post:

Leave a Reply


  • Major Funding Provided By

    CPB Logo
  • National Broadcast Sponsors

    CTCA Logo
  • National Partners

    NPR American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress
  • Charity Navigator Logo