The Graffiti reference article from the English Wikipedia on 24-Jul-2004
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Graffiti

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Note: This page is about "graffiti", the wall-markings. See Graffiti (PalmOS) for the PalmOS handwriting system.


Note: Graffiti is the plural of graffito, but the singular form is rarely heard. The origin of both words is the Greek γραφειν (graphein), meaning "to write", which is also the root of graphic.

A shot of graffiti on a wall left specifically for graffiti artists and passersby in Gainesville, Florida

Table of contents
1 Historical Forms
2 Legal Situation
3 Aerosol or "Spray Can" Art
4 Graffiti Art Battle
5 Street Art
6 Famous graffiti artists
7 External links
8 Related Links
9 Street Art/ Post-Graffiti Links
10 Literature

Historical Forms

Graffiti originally was the term used for inscriptions, figure drawings, etc., found on the walls of ancient sepulchers or ruins, as in the Catacombs, or at Pompeii. But has evolved to include any decorations inscribed on any surface that are considered to be vandalism or pictures or writing placed on surfaces, usually outside walls and sidewalks, without the permission of the owner.

The Romans carved graffiti into both their own walls and monuments and there are also, for instance, Egyptian ones. The graffiti carved on the walls of Pompeii was preserved by the eruption of Vesuvius and offers us a direct insight into street life: everyday Latin, insults, magic, love declarations, political consigns. One example has even been found that stated "Cave Canem", which translates as "Beware of Dog".

On the other hand, Viking graffiti can be found in Rome, and Varangians carved their runes in Hagia Sophia. Many times in history graffiti was used as form of fight with opponents (see Orange Alternative, for example). The Irish had their own inscriptive language called Ogham.

Frescos and murals are art forms that involve leaving images and writing on wall surfaces. Like the ancient cave wall paintings in France, they are not graffiti, as they are created with the explicit permission (and usually support) of the owner of the walls.

In the 20th century, 'Kilroy was Here' became famous graffiti, as did Mr. Chad, which was a face with only the eyes and a nose hanging over the wall saying "What No...?" (thing that lacked at the time) during the time of rationing. right


Some graffiti may be local or regional in nature, such as the wall tagging of gangs in Southern California such as the Bloods and the Crips.  Commonly, in the Washington, DC area, the name Cool "Disco" Dan (including the quotation marks) tends to be seen.

A record number of words have been invented or joined to express different styles of graffiti. One such word is back to back, which means a piece of graffiti that is done all the way across a wall from one end to the next. This could be seen in some parts of the Berlin Wall on the West side.

Theories and use of graffiti by Avant-garde artists has a history dating at least to the Scandinavian Institute of Comparative Vandalism in 1961.

Legal Situation

Graffiti is subject to different societal pressures from popularly-recognized art forms, since graffiti appears on walls, freeways, buildings, trains or any accessible surfaces that are not owned by the person who applies the graffiti. This means that graffiti forms incorporate elements rarely seen elsewhere. Spray paint and broad permanent markers are commonly used, and the organizational structure of the art is sometimes influenced by the need to apply the art quickly before it is noticed by authorities. In an effort to reduce vandalism, many cities have designated walls or areas exclusively for use by graffiti artists. This discourages petty vandalism yet encourages artists to take their time and produce great art, without worry of being caught or arrested.

Illegal graffiti can be elaborateEnlarge

Illegal graffiti can be elaborate

Some of those who practice graffiti art are keen to distance themselves from gang graffiti. There are differences in both form and intent. The purpose of graffiti art is self-expression and creativity, and may involve highly stylized letter forms drawn with markers, or cryptic and colorful spray paint murals on walls, buildings, and even freight trains. Graffiti artists strive to improve their art, which is constantly changing and progressing. The purpose of gang graffiti, on the other hand, is to mark territorial boundaries, and is therefore limited to a gang's neighborhood; it does not presuppose artistic intent.

Others regard graffiti as an unwanted nuisance, and many more consider it be expensive vandalism that must be repaired. To remove graffiti, high pressure cleaning can be used; it can also be painted over or, as a prevention, a specially formulated antigraffiti coating can be applied to the surface of high-risk areas.

The Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 is the latest anti graffiti legislation to be passed in Britain.

Aerosol or "Spray Can" Art

The strand of graffiti art which is considered one of the four elements of Hip Hop is usually denoted as urban Aerosol Art. Sometimes synonymous with "Hip-Hop heads," so-called graffiti artists have gone beyond that stereotype and are abundant even among middle-class white children. There are different genres, from Philly's wicked style to California and New York's wild style graffiti. Graffiti artists are classified based on their style or even on what surface they use.

Graffiti tagging existed in Philadelphia in the 1960's, pioneered by Cornbread and Cool Earl. Another Philadelphia product, Top Cat, later exported the characteristic Philly style of script (tall, slender lettering with platforms at the bottom) to NYC where it gained populariy as "Broadway Elegant". It wasn't until it reached popularity in the New York City subway system that it took on an extravagant artistic role, expanding from tags to full-blown "pieces". One of the originators of New York graffiti was TAKI 183; a foot messenger who would tag his nickname around New York streets that he daily frequented en route. A Greek-American, Taki was his nickname, diminutive for Demetrius, he took the 183 from his address. After being showcased in the NY Times, the "tag" (stylized signature) was being mimicked by hundreds of urban youth within months. It should be noted that there were other writers active in NYC before Taki, such as JULIO 204, but he brought the most attention to the movement. With the innovation of art, and the craving to gain the widest audience, attempts by taggers were made. What developed was a strict adherence to spraypaint, sampling foreign calligraphy, and the much anticipated mural (that usually covered an entire subway car). The artist was called a "writer," and so were groups of associated artists, called "crews". The movement spread on the streets, returned to the railroads where tagging was popularized by Hobos, spread nationwide with the aid of media and Rap music; thus, being yet mimicked again worldwide.


In the early 1980s, the combination of a booming art market and a renewed interest in painting resulted in the rise of a few graffiti artists to art-star status. Jean-Michel Basquiat, a former street-artist known by his "Samo" tag, and Keith Haring, a professionally-trained artist who adopted a graffiti style, were two of the most widely recognized graffiti artists.

Graffiti Art Battle

In the early 1980s one of the largest community Graffiti Art Battles took place next to the Bull Ring shopping centre in Birmingham, England. The City invited a selection of the UK's most renown Graffiti Artists such as local artist Goldie, Bristol's 3D (who went on to form Massive Attack), London's Mode from the Chrome Angels and Bronx Man Brim and his New York alter ego Bio attending for good measure.

Clips from the Battle can be seen in Channel 4 documentary called bombing.

It was a rare occasion of the age for so many prestigious artists to come together on one wall - many battles would lead to gang rivalry especially if one artist would "bite," or copy, another's style.

The massive boards were errected with scaffolding in place to enable free movement of the artists.

Street Art

Stencil art by Banksy. Brick Lane, LondonEnlarge

Stencil art by Banksy. Brick Lane, London

In the '80s and early '90s the writers Cost and Revs were the first to get up with their name with the new techniques that would be a new form of graffiti, ie Post-Graffiti or also known as Street Art. The participants use stencils, posters, stickers and installations to spread their art illegally in the streets. Since the '90s Shepard Fairey influenced many of today's street artists with his 'Obey Giant' campaign. Other important Street Artists are C6.org who incorporate new technologies into street graffiti art, Banksy probably the most famous of the stencil artists, D*Face (UK), Stak, HNT, Alexone, André (France), Swoon famous for the Cut-out Poster technique, Faile, (USA), Os Gemeos, Herbert (Brazil), Gomes, Graffitilovesyou, Flying Fortress (Germany), Influenza, Erosie (Holland) and many more.

These developments of graffiti art which took place in art galleries, colleges as well as "on the street" or "underground", contributed to the resurfacing in the 1990's of a far more overtly politicized form in the subvertising, culture jamming or 'tactical media' movements. These movements or styles tend to classify the artists by their relationship to their social and economic contexts, since graffiti art is still illegal in many forms, in most countries.

Contemporary practitioners are therefore varied and often conflicting in their practices. There are those individuals such as Alexander Brener who have used the medium to politicise other art forms, and have taken the prison sentences forced onto them, as a means of further protest. Anonymous groups and individuals, however, are very varied also, with anonymous anti-capitalist art groups like the Space Hijackers who, in 2004, did an action about the capitalistic elments of Banksy and his use of political imagery. There are also those artists who are funded by a combination of government funding as well as commercial or private means, like irational.org who recently coined the term Advert Expressionism, replacing the word Abstract for Advert, in Clement Greenberg's essay on Abstract Expressionism.

Graffiti is sometimes seen as part of a subculture that rebels against extant societal authorities, or against authority as such. However these considerations are often divergent and relating to a wide range of practices. For some, graffiti is not only an art but also a lifestyle. For others it is a matter of political practice and forms just one tool in an array of methodologies and technologies or so-called anti-technologies of resistance.

see also writing, visual art, protest

Famous graffiti artists

Hip-Hop

Other famous writers :

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Gallery

Street Art/Post Graffiti

Avant-Garde

External links

If you want to know the results from 250 years of graffiti-research spanning 50,000 years of human visual-sign development) from last 26 years use the URLs listed below.

Related Links

Street Art/ Post-Graffiti Links

Literature

van Treeck, Bernhard: Das große Graffiti-Lexikon, Lexikon-Imprint-Verlag, Berlin, 2001, ISBN 3-89601-292-X


van Treeck, Bernhard und Metze-Prou, Sibylle: 
Pochoir - die Kunst des Schablonengraffiti,
Schwarzkopf & Schwarzkopf, Berlin, 2000
ISBN 3-89602-327-6


van Treeck, Bernhard:
Street Art Berlin,
Schwarzkopf und Schwarzkopf, Berlin, 1999
ISBN 3-89602-191-5


van Treeck, Bernhard:
Wandzeichnungen,
Edition aragon, Moers, 1995
ISBN 3-89535-424-4


Urban Discipline 2000 ? Graffiti-Art
Peters/Reisser/Zahlmann. 2000
Ausstellungskatalog
getting-up (Deutschland)
ISBN 3-00-006154-1

Urban Discipline 2001 ? Graffiti-Art Peters/Reisser/Zahlmann. 2001 Ausstellungskatalog getting-up (Deutschland) ISBN 3-00-007960-2

Urban Discipline 2002 ? Graffiti-Art Peters/Reisser/Zahlmann. 2002 Ausstellungskatalog getting-up (Deutschland) ISBN 3-00-009421-0

Exhibizion, Z 2000 Ute Baumgärtel. 2000 Ausstellungskatalog/Exhibition catalogue Akademie der Künste Berlin Die Gestalten Verlag (Deutschland) ISBN 3-931126-34-x

Graffiti Art #1 Deutschland - Germany Schwarzkopf & Schwarzkopf (Deutschland) ISBN 3-89602-028-5


Graffiti Art #3 Writing in München
1995
Schwarzkopf & Schwarzkopf (Deutschland)
ISBN 3-89602-045-5

Graffiti Art #4 Ruhrgebiet-Rheinland Hrsg: O. Schwarzkopf. 1995 Schwarzkopf & Schwarzkopf (Deutschland) ISBN 3-89602-051-x

Graffiti Art #7 Norddeutschland 1997 Schwarzkopf & Schwarzkopf (Deutschland) ISBN 3-89602-136-2

Graffiti Art #9 Wände Hrsg: B. van Treeck. 1998 Schwarzkopf & Schwarzkopf (Deutschland) ISBN 3-89602-161-3

Graffiti Art #8 Charakters B. van Treeck. 1998 Schwarzkopf & Schwarzkopf (Deutschland) ISBN 3-89602-144-3

Broken Windows Graffiti NYC James Murray, Karla Murray. 2002 Ginko Press (USA) ISBN 1-58423-078-9

NYC Graffiti Michiko Rico Nosé. 2000 Graphic-Sha Publishing (Japan) ISBN 4-7661-1177-x

Graffiti Oggi Karin Dietz. 2001 Ausstellungskatalog/Exhibition catalogue Arte Contemporanea Hirmer/M. Wiedemann (Italien)

Aspects of Graffiti Wortbüro Stefan Michel/Zürich. 2001 Ausstellungskatalog Rote Fabrik (Schweiz)

Backjumps Sketch Book Adrian Nabi. 1996 Backjumps (Deutschland) ISBN 3-9806846-0-1

HamburgCity Graffiti 2003 Publikat Verlag (Deutschland) ISBN 3-980-74786-7

Cope 2, True Legend Donatien B. Orns. 2003 Righters.com (Frankreich) ISBN 2-9520-0608-6

Le graffiti dans tous ses états 2002 Ausstellungskatalog Taxie Gallery (Frankreich)

AT Down 2000 Octopus (Frankreich) ISBN 2-9516384-0-x

Stylefile, Blackbook Sessions.01 Markus Christl. 2002 Publikat Verlag (Deutschland) ISBN 3-9807478-2-4

Hip-Hop Lexikon S. Krekow, J. Steiner, M. Taupitz. 1999 Lexikon Imprint Verlag (Deutschland) ISBN 3-89602-205-9

Swiss Graffiti S. von Koeding, B. Suter. 1998 Edition Aragon (Deutschland) ISBN 3-89535-461-9

Graffiti Lexikon B. van Treeck. 1998 Schwarzkopf & Schwarzkopf (Deustchland) ISBN 3-89602-160-5

Writer Lexikon Bernhard van Treeck, 1995


Edition Aragon (Deutschland)
ISBN 3-89535-428-7

Street Art Köln B. van Treeck. 1996 Edition Aragon (Deutschland) ISBN 3-89535-434-1

Hall of Fame M. Todt, B. van Treeck . 1995 Edition Aragon (Deutschland) ISBN 3-89535-430-9

Best of german graffiti. Band 1 Timeless-X. 2001 Verlag H. M. Hauschild (Deutschland) ISBN 3-89757-121-8

Langages de Rue #2 Graff-It!. 2004 Verlag Graf-It! (Frankreich) ISBN 2-914714-02-5

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