Thursday, May 1, 2008


What Writers do, is write. They write their names on many different surfaces and with different tools. Nowadays they mostly write on walls with spray-cans or markers, leaving their imprint behind, while they “bomb” the streets ahead.
When you start off writing you are considered as a “toy”, a novice, someone that does not have great skill and is not very knowledgeable about what he is doing. As a toy if you try to “get up” you get written over, crossed out and disrespected by other artists. Then after a while you should start to get a better understanding of the history, the concepts, the forms, the colors and what makes graffiti what it is. You keep exploring the field, getting your own ideas using your imagination and creating your own style. From here it’s up to you, if you want it enough to become a “king”. Artists give graffiti many forms like tags, blockbusters, throw-ups, burners and pieces. The tag, as best explained by Futura2000 is “The analogy of a dog pissing and marking his territory in a sense is kind of true. You mark you territory and you’re happy to go back and check the scent”. This tag is your name, your trademark what you leave behind everywhere. These days, a lot of writers fail to recognize the value of tags. They do not realize that your tag is you and what you should value the most. You can extrapolate everything from your tags. They are all are spread around the city while one piece with that tag is waiting on the store wall. Then you have your blockbusters mostly straight lettering, often done with two colours and covers up a big surface. There are also throw-ups, most of the time these are well elaborated bubble letters done with one to three colours. Your Characters could be completely original or a rip-off of your childhood star. Finally there are your burners and pieces they are often well though out and very original, uses at least three colors and does not always contain just lettering. A piece is an abstract form of your tag (a tag with outline and designs).

There are many areas where this art is practiced. In some countries you can still find some spray-can art on subway trains, just like in the “pioneering era”, for example in Paris writers take over a lot of the trains on the “RER”, just like Germany, Italy, Tokyo and other countries. Other then subway cars there are many other areas that can be written on like freight trains, cement walls, store windows, Trucks, billboards and everywhere your imagination will take you.

Though a lot of critics, politicians, law enforcement and even writers think they know every aspect about this art, there is no perfect explanation or definition to what all this really is.
The reason they write is different for every writer, they all have their own ambitions, goals and reason to write. Whether it is for: fame, to want to be popular by spreading your name around the city or insecurity, to create for yourself new a identity, for the pleasure of going out writing and enjoying what you like or to past the time, having something to spend your time on Tuesday nights, even relief, to free yourself from anything or revenge, society to retaliate against injustices, or what ever remorse you have, and many of the other thousand reasons out there, you have to know that expression is a big part of this art form. These expressions are all filtered through this art and no one will ever be able to tell why one chooses to write without knowing him.

But one thing that most writers look for is the perfect spots also called “heaven spots”. The spot where everyone will see the mark you left behind, where everyone will pause their busy lives and ask themselves different question about what they just saw, even if for five seconds. It takes a lot of experience to find these spots and they are most of the time hard to reach.

Even though most writers prefer to be considered graffiti artists they do not all fit that description, since graffiti is scribbling on a wall. The word graffiti was given by the mass media calling the artists “graffiti vandals”, at the time they saw themselves as “aerosol artists”, “spray can artists” and “writers”. Some writers even feel offended when associated with graffiti writing, for example, Phase2 a very reputed artist absolutely disassociates himself from being a graffiti writer and prefers to be singled out as an aerosol artist and Mare139 favors the term wild style writer.

What a lot of writers and the general population don’t understand is that to be respected and valued as a true writer you had or have to be going on the street and making a name for yourself with your tags, throw-ups, burners and pieces. You can’t just go out and say that “this is wack” and this should be like that when you don’t have any clue of what the streets are like. The pressure you have to make that mark stand out from all the others, the stress of the police, the weather you are experiencing whether it be rain, wind, snow or humidity , if the paint won’t stick on the wall or the colour changes when you apply it and if you were not able to get your hands on the good paint, these are all things that you do not experience writing in your black book for your girl friend, which makes the street context all the harder. Being a writer also consists of taking risks and always pushing your limits. Getting hit by a freight train stepping on the third rail, falling from higher ground like billboards building edges etc… is what gives you that rush telling yourself that you can do it, admiring later on what you did and arousing questions like “how did he get up there“.

We can not forget this can become very fast highly addictive. When you have papers lying around filled with your letters, tag or sketches, you walk around and look at every wall around you and don’t even notice the person talking to you, you have the urge of going out in minus temperatures in the middle of the night and many other _______ , that’s when you know that writing will always be in your blood.

1 comment:

mr said...

Great insight into the subjectivity of an "aerosol writer"!
Thank you. I look forward to reading more soon...