Torrick Ablack aka TOXIC (b. 1965) is an American contemporary artist. Born and raised in the South Bronx in a family of Caribbean and Indian origins, Toxic started tagging New York City subway trains and walls at the age of thirteen with his friends A-One and FOE.
A member of Rammellzee’s TMK (Tag Master Killers) letter “Army,” he was more a brother than a friend of Jean-Michel Basquiat. In 1982, the trio traveled to Los Angeles and dubbed themselves the Hollywood Africans as a social and political commentary of African American stereotypes in the entertainment industry. The Hollywood Africans are featured in two of Basquiat’s paintings: Hollywood Africans in Front of the Chinese Theater with Footprints of Movie Stars, 1983, and Hollywood Africans, 1983, now part of the Whitney Museum of American Art collection in New York. Torrick’s portrait or name is featured in Jean-Michel Basquiat paintings, including the full-length portrait, Toxic, 1984, and Luna Park, All Colored Cast I.
Between 1982 and 1985, Toxic had regular shows at New York City’s Fashion Moda and Sidney Janis galleries. At the end of the 80s, he moves to Italy and then several years later settles in France. In 2006, the Brooklyn Museum paid tribute to the forerunners of the graffiti movement with the Graffiti Basics exhibition, establishing Toxic as a major artist alongside fellow legends, including NOC 167 and Bear 167.
Today, Toxic, together with a few others witnesses, is one of the last survivors of the powerful and hugely influential group of the 80s graffiti scene. His abstract pictorial space is particularly sophisticated. Colors, symbols and cabalist references find their place next to personal memories. Toxic’s work can be seen in international museums and is part of private collections worldwide. He lives and works in Florence, Italy.