“Graffiti, to me, is writing on the wall. I trace what writers do today back to the Roman Empire, where the name graffiti first got applied to writing on a wall.” – Schmoo
Everything has an origin – the form in which it was originally birthed. Creativity can be a derivative of innovation. By taking on different shapes, it evolves into several mediums that reflect its original form. Graffiti Art is an extension of this kind of innovative creation re-expressing itself.
Although it is often viewed as vandalism, “Graf” art is slowly being recognized by respectable art-lovers from all over the world. Due to its newfound recognition, the different styles of Graffiti art can now be characterized as different mediums.
In terms of their choice of expression, Graffiti Artists have many levels. Some Graffiti styles are easily recognized like Tagging. Another intricate form of writing is Wild Style.
Nonetheless, Graffiti Art is not all about scripting. The highest level of Graffiti Art is called Piecing. Piecing, shortly named for Masterpiece, is more decorative. A Graffiti Artist is required to use a minimum of three colors before their piece is considered a work of art.
Before Jean-Michel Basquiat was recognized for his Neo-Expressionism, he gained popularity as a graffiti artist starting his career on the streets of Brooklyn, New York.
At the early age of 19, Basquiat took part in the exhibition “Times Square Show”, which attracted the attention of both critics and specialized press. This exposure allowed him the opportunity to exhibit at MoMA’s P.S.1 Gallery the following year where he achieved a great success. He also, began his friendship and working relationship with one of the most Avant-garde artistic icons of that time, Andy Warhol.
Although they had individual styles, Warhol was said to have been Basquiat’s mentor, allowing them to merge their unique calling of Pop and Graffiti art; producing almost a hundred works together.
Today many Gallery’s and Museum pay homage to Graffiti artist by having exhibits showing their talents and educating the people with the history of its beginning.
Like political poetry in a spray can: to the Artists, Graffiti Art is more than vandalism, more than just a rite of passage – it’s an opportunity for the urban communities around the globe to be recognized for their talent and belief of how society is depicted. In essence, allowing their innovative creativity to remain pure and original.