I published an article in early June about “King Baby” graffiti on a truck in Gowanus. While the truck represented the most ambitious King Baby graffiti that I have come across, King Baby’s tag is not an uncommon site in Gowanus, Boerum Hill, Carroll Gardens, and Columbia Street Waterfront District. On June 19, 2021, I encountered a “King Baby BKF” sticker tag on 9th Street in Gowanus. You can see for yourself below.
Here we have the same distinctive “King Baby” handwriting that is common throughout some parts of Brooklyn. Below “King Baby,” we have an eye and the letters “BKF.” What does this mean? Is the eye some kind of Egyptian iconography? What is BKF? I have no idea.
Remembering my “Blob Dylan” graffiti research project, I conducted a light investigation into the King Baby graffiti. “Blob Dylan” is another graffiti tagger who posts his work in Brooklyn – although I have never seen it in areas where King Baby reigns. In my Blob Dylan research article, I discovered that Blob originated in Florida before moving northeast. Some quick searches on DuckDuckGo revealed that King Baby may be a recent Brooklyn arrival just like Blob Dylan.
The Endless Canvas blog, which appears to be dedicated to graffiti in and around Oakland, California, documented what appears to be a nearly identical King Baby BKF sticker with an eye. The only obvious difference between the sticker on Endless Canvas and the sticker that I found is that the one on Endless Canvas has a blue border that evokes a crown at the top of the sticker. What caught my attention, however, was that the sticker on the Endless Canvas blog was photographed in Oakland, California, on November 5, 2019. Endless Canvas documented two additional King Baby stickers in Oakland that appear to have the same letter-styling, one in 2015 and another in 2019.
While I am not a handwriting expert, much less a tagging expert, the “King Baby” graffiti that I have seen in Brooklyn appears to be identical in style to at least three examples of King Baby graffiti in Oakland that were documented in 2015 and 2019. I recall first noticing King Baby graffiti in 2020. Assuming that I was not oblivious to its widespread presence before, it seems possible, if not likely, that King Baby relocated from Oakland to New York City at some time in the last couple of years, much like Blob Dylan apparently left Florida for Brooklyn.
I will end the present King Baby BKF inquiry here – and reserve a more in-depth examination of the King Baby tags popping up around Brooklyn (and, previously, Oakland) for a later date. But from one photo and some preliminary research, we may have learned a bit about the mysterious figure behind the ubiquitous King Baby tags in a select-few Brooklyn neighborhoods.
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