Behind the HYPE: How Futura’s 'Pointman' Became a Global Phenomenon

Exploring the character’s graffiti origins and its seismic success in art and beyond.

Art
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Futura’s Pointman is instantly recognizable by graffiti fans and art enthusiasts from across the globe.  The otherworldly figure has materialized in countless forms including large-scale sculptures, paintings, incense chambers, limited edition posters for the United States soccer team and even in NFTs.

The Pointman is undoubtedly Futura’s most recognizable character which the artist began conceptualizing in the 70s and 80s. Popularity surrounding the figure started in 1992 back when the former graffiti artist was commissioned by MOWAX to design for their project UNKLE. The Pointman first appeared in the band’s debut album Psyence Fiction, gracing the album’s sleeve with its glaring expression, elongated head, alien-like body and ominous presence.  Futura once mentioned in the interview that “Without the UNKLE experience, I don’t think anyone would have ever heard of the Pointman.”

The music album’s seismic success propelled the Pointman to even greater heights. Japanese toy manufacturer Medicom discovered the character and reached out to the artist to commission collectible toys. Shortly afterwards, a gamut of brands were magnetized by the character and decided to spearhead their own exclusive collaborations including the likes of Bathing Ape, Nike, Levi’s and more.

In the global art sector, Futura’s contemporary art pieces starring the Pointman have been exhibited in major international galleries, museums and sold for thousands of dollars. Most notably his towering FL-001 Pointman sculpture — which was on display as part of Futura’s “Generation Z” exhibition at The Mass in Tokyo — had sold at a Sotheby’s Hong Kong auction back in 2019 for over $150,000 USD. Over the past year, Futura’s studio practice has made investments in 3D printing equipment with the intention of creating the Pointman in-house. His recent exhibition “FUTURALAND” at BELOWGROUND in Hong Kong, showcases new creations and the world the character exists in.

Watch the video above to learn everything you need to know about Futura’s Pointman and be sure to check out the other videos in our Behind the HYPE series.

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