"If you've ever walked down the street, seen a name, and wondered what that marking meant, I'll tell you what that marking meant" (Powers 6). Graffiti writers put their names up on walls using markers, spray paint, or what ever can mark the surface. Often called a tag, the marking signifies that "somebody is telling you a story about who they are and what they are prepared to do to make your aware of it" (Powers 6). Graffiti is about your name and "fame". The more your name is up the more "respect" and "fame" you get. When getting involved in the graffiti game, obstacles you encounter are cops, fights, and risking your individual reputation with society. Graffiti started in New York City in the subways in the 1960s. Graffiti was at a climax throughout the 70's up until the 80's when New York City went through a revitalization period and the trains we buffed. From the early 90's to present graffiti has died out, but many [graffiti] writers are determined to keep the culture alive.
People of all ages, cultures and backgrounds have been influenced to write graffiti from the beginning of its popularity. Many of them start in their early teens looking at other graffiti writers work on the streets, trucks or rooftops. Often, writers are exposed to graffiti at childhood. Noticing the street influenced art and recall being amazed by it; the same way children are hypnotized by a new toy. Usually graffiti writers have mentors and kids start off becoming sort of an apprentice. Most time the mentor is and older brother, cousin or someone in their life that does graffiti and shows them the inner workings to an urban art culture. Typically they start out writing "marker tags" in their neighborhood streets, lamp poles; phone booths or whatever is in their line of sight and within arms reach; sometimes out of reach as well. Writers such as KORN, NATO, SAME, MADE and SEMZ, one of New York City's most notorious graffiti writers from the 1990s, recall how they got started. "I had a cousin who wrote META, KORN recalls. He has some game in the graff game and I really looked up to him. In 1995, I heard of a band named KORN and a friend and I became huge fans. We though it would be funny to write the band's name wherever we went and by the end of the year KORN was up all over Queens. We though it was hilarious. People actually noticed it and we got our taste of street fame'. I was hooked." (Sutherland: Titles). NATO recalls how he rode the 7 train and saw all the graffiti at a different aspect towards graffiti than KORN. "I got into graffiti as a wee lad riding the 7 train high above the streets of Queens County, knees of the seats, face pressed against the glass, I would ask my mother, how do they get on the roofs and do that? And so it began my life as a graffiti writer
but eventually rooftops would become my specialty" (Sutherland: Titles). Many writers started out like KORN and NATO did, their impact to graffiti was very enormous, NATO and KORN must be one of the most influential graffiti writers out their today.
Graffiti all started in the New York City subways in the 60's; teenagers from New York City would write their names on walls. Instead of their real names they would choose a mark that they would put up anywhere other teenagers could see throughout the New York City transit system, in which these acts became known as graffiti. "TAKI 183 began to tag his name on trains and public buildings all over town" (Cooper 14). TAKI 183 was one of the first graffiti writers of New York City in the 70's. He worked as a messenger and rode every subway the city had while putting his name all over. This act of writing became an explosion for graffiti. It was "modern graffiti art that originated in New York City and it was known first as New York Style" graffiti (Stowers 1). The style that TAKI 183 developed was called "Broadway Style", which was long skinny lettering. In the 70's graffiti had reached its boom when writers started doing...
Cited: Cooper, Martha. Subway Art. New York, New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1999.
Marc Ecko Enterprises. "Designer Marc Ecko Wins Lawsuit Against New York City; Graffiti Art Exhibition to Take Place as Planned". LexisNexis. 22, August 2005. 9, November 2005.
Powers, Stephen. The Art of Getting Over: Graffiti at the Millennium. New York, New York: St. Martins Press, 1999.
Sclafani, Tony. "Can –Do War vs. Graffiti" Daily News 16, November 2005: Page 19
Sixcentz Crew. Sixcentz.com. 13 December 2004. 11 November 2005.
Stowers, George. "Graffiti Art: An Essay Concerning the Recognition of Some Forms of Graffiti as Art". Art Crimes. 1994. 26, October 2005.
Sutherland, Peter. Autograf. 2004. 11, November 2005
Spar One. At149st. 1999. 14, November 2005
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