Whether adored or abhorred, graffiti plays a prominent role on the cultural landscape and consciousness of a city. The traditional letter-based writing that appeared on the streets of Philadelphia and New York over forty years ago has evolved into two distinct disciplines. While both thrive illegally and challenge the concept of public space, the new wave of street art puts greater emphasis on figures, abstraction, symbols and formal techniques.
In this incisive and accessible survey, Anna Waclawek traces the origins and evolution of graffiti and street art, and explores the motivations and practices of the leading exponents. The terms and language of both are examined in detail – from ‘tags’ and ‘throwies’ to ‘culture jamming’ and ‘subvertising’ – along with their multiple influences and sub-genres. Uniquely Anna Waclawek analyses the various Functions of graffiti and street art in the urban environment and their increasingly important role in visual culture. The picture that emerges is a rich celebration of graffiti and street art as the defining art movement of the twenty-first century.
Graffiti – Vandalism or Art?? This question was easy to answer when I first saw graffiti ‘tags’ appearing on bridges and walls as I was on my daily commute into London on the train way back in the 1970’s. At that time, it was clearly vandalism and my train fare was almost certainly going to be increased to cover the cost of the clean up.
But, over time, maybe because I have mellowed, or, more likely, because the quality of the work has improved, I have a different opinion. Ask me today, and I would say without hesitation that it is Art!
Be they for comedic or political reasons, today’s graffiti is typically well thought out and draft copies are made prior to execution.
In this book, Anna Waclawek takes us through the history of Graffiti and includes the work of many well known artists including: Ron English, Above, Nick Walker, Thundercut, Sasu, Swoon, Roadsworth, Psalm, Magda Sayegand, of course, Banksy.
1st edition, 2011, paperback, 208pp, full colour throughout with 211 illustrations, 15 x 21cm