We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
If there’s one signature image of D.C. in the 80s and 90s, it’s not a monument or a picture or a symbol. It’s a name: Cool “Disco” Dan.
The name, seemingly tagged everywhere in the District, was the calling card of the prolific graffiti artist Danny Hogg. According to Roger Gastman, the artist and filmmaker who co-directed the documentary The Legend of Cool “Disco” Dan, Hogg died on Wednesday due to complications from diabetes. He was 47.
Just like the title of Gastman and co-director Joseph Pattisall‘s documentary suggests, Hogg was nothing short of a legend in D.C., not to mention a bit of a mysterious figure. Throughout his career of tagging, there wasn’t anywhere in the D.C. one could go without seeing his signature tag. Tourists on the Metro, federal workers downtown, kids in the neighborhood streets—no one had to look hard to find one of Hoggs’ tags. They were about as ubiquitous as those “GARE VOYER” stickers are today.
But few actually knew who Cool “Disco” Dan was. The Legend of Cool “Disco” Dan traces Hogg’s origins as a young child, immersing himself in art and drawing, particularly when the stresses of life got to be too much, and his struggles with mental health issues and homelessness. But the film isn’t just a look at Hogg’s life and art—it’s a love letter to D.C. Cool “Disco” Dan was very much a part of the city’s fabric.