Born in 1956 in Harlem, Robert Gualtieri grew up in New York at a time of great turmoil. Already working under his pseudonym COCO144 in his adolescent years, he covered the walls and urban fixtures with remarkable frenzy. Aware of the political nature of his act, he went out of his way to be as visible as possible, in particular with the stencil technique; his favourite playground was the subway network. Subsequently, he did studio work when he joined the group United Graffiti Artists. Honoured as a graffiti pioneer, COCO144 symbolises the thirst for life of a whole generation who were affected by the intense socio-cultural developments around them.