Graffiti is an indelible part of not only the history of New York City, but the entire history of humankind. Graffiti can be found all across this nation, from NYC, to Philly, to LA and everywhere in between. Dedicated practitioners can be found in the most unlikely and obscure places, it has truly become a worldwide phenomenon. Humans have been writing on walls for thousands of years and the many years to come or until our very demise(however long that may be). The messages and intent have metamorphosed throughout the ages and eons but the urge to express whatever sentiment an individual has and place that idea in public view remains part of the collective subconscious. At one point we have all written on a wall whether we have permission to do so or not.
No matter how hard the powers that be may fight to try and eradicate it, graffiti seems to not die. The millions maybe even billions of dollars spent by cities to buff or paint over graffiti just doesn’t seem to be working, these temporally “clean” walls are almost certainly hit again in the very near future. This cyclical process only serves to make the most dedicated practitioners even more bold and daring to get their names and ideas up. The corporate world seems to now see the innovation of these freelance writers and are now beginning to appropriate their techniques of getting up. Realizing that kids have gained notoriety by painting the names on the outside of trains, multi-national corporations have moved in and taken those spots putting their own names and advertisements on the outside of MTA trains. Corporations have even begun to use these “vandals” themselves to design the typography used to communicate their messages. This is truly a paradox within our society, writers have been criminalized and pushed off to the fringes of society, locked up away with murders, rapists, and other violent criminals. Even the tools of the trade are increasingly becoming criminalized, spray paint is also now locked behind bars and in some cities, outright outlawed all together. Kids and adults alike have been arrested for merely having paint, markers or blackbooks containing tags and whatnot. It seems though the powers that be are fighting a losing war. People will always get up, for whatever reasons they have.
The nature of graffiti at its core is impermanence, just like everything within the realm of our existence. No matter how long any piece, throw-up, tag, wheatpaste, or stencil, or sticker runs, it will inevitably be buffed, deteriorate or be destroyed at one point or another. Countless forms of graffiti have been lost in the sandstorm of time, never to be seen again by the public. We will never be able to see it all or take it with us, but we can capture its essence at a particular temporal moment. That is the purpose of this blog, to capture the fleeting essence of an anonymous signature, an anonymous idea, an anonymous expression of existence and creativity in this concrete jungle continually in flux…let’s get up!