Cost is the tag name of a graffiti artist who, from the early 1980s to the mid-1990s, blanketed New York City and the surrounding metropolitan area with his wheatpaste stickers, spray paint tags and paint-roller pieces. Cost, whose real name is Adam Cole, is perhaps most widely known for his collaboration with another New York graffiti artist, Revs.
Cost and Revs became well known in the early 1990s, when, on any given block in Manhattan, a passerby could spot the duos wheat paste tags posted on the back of the Walk/Don't Walk street-crossing signal. On these wheat pasted papers, Cost and Revs printed in bold black ink intentionally obscure messages such as Cost fucked Madonna or Suicide Revs. Later they collaborated on large, bold roller pieces on highly visible walls, subway embankments, and advertising hoardings.
When asked in 1993 by a New York Times Style reporter what it all meant, Cost said, "If you could give us [Cost and Revs] the meaning of life, Id give you the meaning of us." At that time the posters included a phone number; those who called heard a woman's recorded voice repeat their questions back to them: "My intuition tells me that you're asking yourselves who are Revs and Cost and what are they doing? What is it? What does it mean? What does it mean? What does it mean?"
Cost and Revs continued to vandalize New York City with impunity, highly visible examples of the graffiti that Mayor Rudolph Giuliani was determined to eradicate. One letter writer called Cost "probably the worst graffiti vandal in the history of New York."