Recently the Villager announced that East Village graffiti legend Antonio Garcia (better known as Chico) would be retiring to Florida to possibly teach art, custom-paint cars, be with his kids and "start my life. I’m going to miss the community. But it’s time to spend time with my family. I’m already 45.” He has spent 30 years using a spray paint can to generate positive messages and memorial tributes throughout the neighborhood, where he has lived since the age of two (he got his start tagging old redbird subway cars). Think of him as the Keith Haring without the art-world accolades (he calls the artist a "faker").
As a farewell to his community, he put up a new mural on Houston and Avenue B (here it is as a work in progress). He told the paper that another recent one, on 6th Street and Avenue C of Barack Obama, exemplified how things are changing—explaining “Almost 20 years painting there—the building owner wanted to have me arrested." Luckily the cops knew who he was.
At his recent going away party the Housing Authority even presented him with an honorary plaque for his art. In return, he leaves behind Jairo, a young twenty-something graffiti artist that he has been mentoring, declaring: “I think he could be the perfect one to continue my legacy. You get rid of the big roach—you got to follow the small roaches!” Spoken like a true New Yorker.