Burn All Lines
January 21, 2006 7:20 AM   Subscribe

@149st is a comprehensive study of classic NYC subway graffiti. It features profiles of many legendary artists, including an interview with Rammellzee who has some strange theories. The site for the definitive '82 PBS documentary Style Wars has some great galleries and video clips as well.
posted by hyperizer (13 comments total)
I actually like the style wars flash interface. Loading the trains was fun. Here in Birmingham, UK it is all about tagging. I miss the graffiti art I used to see in Ottawa and Toronto.
posted by srboisvert at 9:27 AM on January 21, 2006

for further reading on this snap up a copy of Fuzz One by Vincent Fedorchak. I just finished it and it's a fun ride.
posted by jonmc at 9:33 AM on January 21, 2006

is there a study of philadelphia graffiti? cuz honestly, all the stuff i've seen around here is seriously uninspired and sucks.
posted by Doorstop at 9:36 AM on January 21, 2006

Probably a minority opinion here in Meta world, land of artists, intellectuals and free thinkers, but.....

The amount of graffiti that I would consider interesting/art/an improvement on no graffiti at all is minimal. The amount that is just vandalism, gang crap is 95% of what I see, it defaces the community, inspires hate and violence, and is just plain destructive.

With that ratio, I would make the argument that encouraging that which is "good" just encourages that which is "bad"..

I know, I know...a subjective opinion, but given the choice I would prefer folks didn't tag/paint/destroy property that isn't theirs.
posted by HuronBob at 9:50 AM on January 21, 2006

I'm with Huronbob.

Yes, there's the occasional artist, but I'd say 99% is little more than the visual equivalent of dogs marking their territory with piss.
posted by MaxVonCretin at 10:00 AM on January 21, 2006

Personally, I don't see much aesthetic value in "taggin" though the larger pieces and Wild Style grafitti often have a greater artistic value. I personally love grafitti-style artwork, but wish the signature was peripheral to the aerosol work. Of course, the entire practice is built around getting your name out, so in a sense, grafitti without a tag is inauthentic or "sold out."
posted by Eideteker at 10:01 AM on January 21, 2006

Sony asked to clean up NYC graffiti ads:
Sony was careful to put their graffiti ads in places where advertising was already permitted. However, the intended effect is having unintended consequences. The intended effect was disingenuous, but then again, that's easy to say in the advertising world. While using legitimate advertising spaces, Sony had hoped that the graffiti ads would give a grassroots feel to their product, making it seem as though it was so underground and so cool that it inspired its own graffiti, when it had not.

But according to Peter Vallone Jr., a City Council member in New York, this sends a mixed message to children: it's OK to graffiti! Vallone wants Sony to cease the advertisements immediately, and pay the US$20,000 it will cost to remove them.
Which basically amounts to a $20,000 fine. Although Sony obtained permission, most don't. IIRC, not too many artistic endeavors are considered a crime as soon as the paint hits the canvas. From NYC's Combatting Graffiti:
The New York State Penal Law sections 145.00, 145.05, 145.10, and Criminal Mischief, may also be charged against someone making graffiti.
• Criminal Mischief depends on the dollar value of the property damaged.
• Fourth Degree is Class A misdemeanor.
• Third Degree is Class E felony. Damaging property valued at more than two hundred fifty dollars ($250).
• Second Degree is Class D felony. Damaging property valued at more than fifteen hundred dollars ($1,500).
If you want to create art, start on your own walls.
posted by cenoxo at 11:56 AM on January 21, 2006

is there a study of philadelphia graffiti? cuz honestly, all the stuff i've seen around here is seriously uninspired and sucks.

Graffiti in Philadelphia.
posted by May Kasahara at 12:24 PM on January 21, 2006

fuck that. next time you're in rome, make sure to take the subway.

posted by phaedon at 1:10 PM on January 21, 2006

Graffiti needs a good deal more now than tagging, balloon letters and poorly aped stencils.
I'm surprised, really, that the scene stays strong (if not exactly vibrant) simply because of the enormous dead weight of people just demonstrating that they can do exactly what everyone else can. In most other artistic fields this means a moribund stagnation and new waves start in other directions, in street art it just inspires more of the inventive underclass to wipe a can on the wall.

I can't claim to have tagged or painted any more than my school notebooks, but I'd guess that perhaps the thrill of the illicit is the only thing holding this tiresome noise together rather than it bursting into new forms. Although the Sony example shows how ubiquitous graffiti is becoming, at least their take had some style to it; a solid derivative but distinctive, which is better than a baseline tagger doing as little as possible as many times as possible.

srboisvert - some nice examples, thanks
posted by NinjaPirate at 2:01 PM on January 21, 2006

Just like with anything, there are gradations.

The large format works, resplendent with color and compelling subjects, are often wonderful and a net gain for society.

But, the vast majority are simple vandalism/defacement. And done for that reason.
posted by Ynoxas at 8:12 PM on January 21, 2006

From the 3rd link:

Alphabet = Alpha + Beta without the (A) who did that? Who titled us off as the human ‘race’, who put us in a race and for what purpose are we racing?

What a tosser.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 11:09 PM on January 21, 2006

« Older "Why would Marvel agree to this?"   |   Drugs War takes another meaning Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments