Leonard McGurr began to write the name FUTURA in his Upper West Side neighborhood in late 1971, the year the graffiti movement exploded in New York. In 1980, he helped organize the Esses Studio project, which brought many notable subway writers indoors to paint on canvases for the first time. That same year, he painted a series of whole cars — including his most famous, Break — notable for their complete abstraction and lack of letterforms. FUTURA's studio artwork grew increasingly abstract as well and was included in "GAS: Graffiti Art Success" at Fashion Moda in 1980; "New York/New Wave" at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center in 1981; and shows at the Mudd Club, FUN Gallery, and Tony Shafrazi Gallery, among other spaces. In the early '80s, he partnered with punk group the Clash, recording a single and touring with them to paint backdrops live during concerts in the UK and France. After a decade in which he was one of the subway graffiti movement's most widely exhibited artists, FUTURA moved into product design. In the early '90s, he began working with independent music, toy, and clothing companies such as Mo' Wax records in the UK and developing the clothing and product lines GFS, NFC, Subware, and Futura Laboratories; since then, he has worked closely with companies including Nike and Japan's A Bathing Ape.