Monday, June 2, 2008

ALEC: Graffiti-Vandalism with a hint of propaganda and a dash of social commentary

"Graffiti; an education for the public by the public.”

Quote – Alec Brown


Graffiti started in the early 70s inside the subways of New York. Writers would tag as many subway cars as possible using their names and street number in a quest to become king of their neighborhood/borough/ghetto. Graffiti was quickly becoming a pseudo competitive sport. Writers soon discovered the lay ups/train yards - a graffiti gold mine - where they could tag as many cars as possible with minimum chance of getting caught. This proved to be a very economical way of getting your name out there and led to more and more tags, which evolved, into 'throw ups' and then 'pieces' and whole cars.

         Writers began to see their art form as more than just a name. It was a medium to vent social and personal emotion on a scale large enough for others to notice.

         As their skills and ideas developed so to did their techniques. While many of the die-hard writers stuck to painting steel some moved away to mediums like stenciling and paste ups. This introduced to the graffiti world a quicker and more efficient way of getting their message ‘up’.

         Many writers who use the mediums of stenciling and paste-ups seem to have a social or propaganda push to them. One such artist is Melbourne’s Psalm. His stencil works are extremely prolific and focus on religious, government and military themes, which are prevalent at the time of completion. To me this form of social commentary and propaganda is so relevant as it is fresh and generates such a wide audience base whether the audience likes it or not. Of course it is vandalism but it is vandalism that exposes the public to the many views of artistically talented and opinionated youth.



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