Graffiti - Some Basics

In anticipation of this year’s Art All Night event, and our own live graffiti piece, we thought a short tutorial might be in order. Learn a little history about graffiti, our artists’ story, and come check it out for yourself on Saturday, September 23rd!

 who doesn't want extra mumbo sauce?

who doesn't want extra mumbo sauce?

by Robert Ciprian, D.C.

Graffiti is the writing on any surface that is available and has been around since ancient times. It has been a way for people to express themselves artistically, politically, and spiritually. Graffiti is usually the writing of words, a name, or a symbol so it is different from “street art” which are works of art, not necessarily a word or name, that are done on walls or other surfaces.

Around the early 1970s graffiti showed up on New York City subway trains with spray paint and ink. This became a cultural phenomenon in NYC and spread quickly. The letters and structure became more intricate as the artists used more creativity to make their names stand out.

Two types of graffiti emerged, “tagging and bombing” which is seen as more of a vandalism and graffiti art that is known as “piecing”.

In the 1980s books about NYC graffiti emerged as did a documentary called “Style Wars”. This propelled graffiti art and vandalism to a world wide epidemic. In my opinion no other art form has spread so fast around the world as graffiti.

As a child growing up in Queens, NY, I regularly saw graffiti on the streets and trains. I was in awe of the large colored trains that would go by. They were larger than life, big, fast, and eye catching. As an elementary student, I was inspired by my visual soundings. I began to draw my name on my notebooks with different styles and techniques that I picked up. Other kids in the class would do the same thing and it became competitive to see who can do a better job. When I was about thirteen years old I started writing my name on the streets of NYC and soon did my first graffiti art “piece” on a maintenance building in a park. I was hooked and I kept it up for years.