Lance De Los Reyes (1977-2021) was born in Houston, Texas, and moved to Southern California in his adolescence. By the late 1990s, he began tagging the urban landscape and writing graffiti on rooftops and trains. His path crossed with Shepard Fairey, with whom he lived and worked for two years before leaving the West Coast for New York City. During his time in California, De Los Reyes attended the San Francisco Art Institute, where he studied painting, sculpture, performance and video. Upon moving to New York in 2002, he worked as an assistant to artist Donald Baechler, who become a cherished mentor. Baechler’s guiding spirit and affecting presence in De Los Reyes work echoes the symbiotic relationship of Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat, a collaborative exchange he admired.
Across the years of his practice, Lance De Los Reyes evolved from a noted street artist recognized by the tagged presence of his alter ego, RAMBO, into a dedicated studio painter and sculptor, developing a striking visual language dominated by symbols and pictographs conceived to map his consciousness. Through his emphatic, large-scale works, De Los Reyes sought to share his memories of the past and the present, and to project the possibilities he imagined in our future ahead. His abstract images on canvas and paper express a vision of the spiritual and natural worlds entwined, sacred and profane in constant oscillation, exerting a palpable creative force field.
As a graffiti artist, De Los Reyes tagged as his alter ego RAMBO for nearly fifteen years. His text-based street art was ever-present in Brooklyn and downtown Manhattan, ubiquitous throughout New York’s five boroughs. Scrawled on billboards over the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, or found on trucks and walls of city buildings, his iconic upside-down crowns and cryptic poetry, written in all-caps lettering, reads as a type of shamanistic message or offering.