Ok Gypsetters, Who is or what defines you as a Graffiti writer? Firstly this is such a large topic I’m going to condense my thoughts on the subject as best I can.
Graffiti Writing, not street art, nor graffiti art.
Yes the art is subjective and a large part of what we try to depict in our creations. So , I say “our” as I do feel myself that I am firmly one of these, a graffiti writer.
The term graffiti writer simply comes from the action of writing ones name. An art maybe but primarily the lettering of ones alias.
The term graffiti for those that want to know, comes from the Latin word graffito which means to mark or scratch a surface, which is still referred to today as a traditional form of sculpted layering of plaster. Which can be found on buildings of historic note across Europe. It is still practised in Italy more so than anywhere else.
Back to the reasoning for this blog piece. There is so much of an attitude on this subject between writers, street artists and graffiti artists alike. Almost that of such that, that the idea of being able to be both an artist and a writer is impossible, if you try something different artistically you no longer fit the bill of being a graffiti writer. The most absurd argument I’ve come across is that you aren’t a graffiti writer unless you’ve been arrested. All of which is crazy. Another common view is that your aren’t a writer ” if you haven’t painted trains”. Both insane.
Just to be clear how trivial this is, I do this artform as a paid profession to some, the idea that I do it full time, means I would not be considered a true writer by certain opinion..
It’s Mostly an ego drive by people that just go out bombing but it seems to be ingrained in every generation that’s comes up. Just be happy to create guys..
The strangest part of it is that this stance is taken from the early stages of graffiti’s development in New York, where its widespread was attributed to the desire to one up the next guy by being more prolific and if you weren’t on trains, subways and becoming an all-city painter i.e seen everywhere on all platforms you weren’t a “real” writer. This is now so outdated, the broken record attitude that sticks around, the dumbest thing is that the writers that became the most notorious names of that era, were the most artistic, guys like Seen and Dondi painted full scale murals, granted on trains and illegal walls, but also were celebrated in galleries and were artistically and technically advanced. So where is the cross over?
Point and case if you paint your name in any capacity, on a wall or train, legal or non legal you have the right to say you are a graffiti writer. You maybe an artist too but don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, if you got the bug, explore it, develop it, its great to see the different directions the culture branches out to.
Until next time, fellow writers…