Mike Martin, better know by his legendary ‘IZ The Wiz’ persona was a pioneer of the 1970’s and 1980’s graffiti movement in New York City. He possessed a work ethic unlike most others. He spent countless nights painting subway panels, whole cars, end to ends as well as thoroughly bombing train cars and insides. His unparalleled work ethic was evident through his dedication and repetition, sometimes covering entire 8 car trains with his iconic “IZ” throw up painted from the 1st car to the last, sometimes with over a hundred throw ups per train. Sadly, for the past decade, Michael Martin had suffered from various problems believed to be derived from his years inhaling toxic paint fumes and dust from the subway tunnels.
This portrait was taken before IZ the Wiz’s final art show on June 12th 2009 at Tuff City Styles in the Bronx, NY. Unfortunately, Mike “IZ The Wiz” Martin passed away several days later on June 17th 2009 in his brother’s home in Florida.