Graffiti Lives: Beyond the Tag in New York's Urban Underground by Gregory J. Snyder | 9780814740460 | Paperback | Barnes & Noble
Graffiti Lives: Beyond the Tag in New York's Urban Underground

Graffiti Lives: Beyond the Tag in New York's Urban Underground

by Gregory J. Snyder
     
 

ISBN-10: 0814740464

ISBN-13: 9780814740460

Pub. Date: 04/15/2011

Publisher: New York University Press

On the sides of buildings, on bridges, billboards, mailboxes, and street signs, and especially in the subway and train tunnels, graffiti covers much of New York City. Love it or hate it, graffiti, from the humble tag to the intricate piece (short for masterpiece), is an undeniable part of the cityscape.

In Graffiti Lives, Gregory J. Snyder offers a

Overview

On the sides of buildings, on bridges, billboards, mailboxes, and street signs, and especially in the subway and train tunnels, graffiti covers much of New York City. Love it or hate it, graffiti, from the humble tag to the intricate piece (short for masterpiece), is an undeniable part of the cityscape.

In Graffiti Lives, Gregory J. Snyder offers a fascinating and rare look into this world of contemporary graffiti culture. A world in which kids, often, shoplift for spray paint, scale impossibly high places to find a great spot to “get up,” run from the police, journey into underground train tunnels, fight over turf, and spend countless hours perfecting their style. Over the ten years Snyder studied this culture he even created a few works himself (under the moniker “GWIZ”), found himself serving as a lookout for other artists engaged in this illegal activity, spent time in the train tunnels in search of new work, created a blackbook for writers to tag, and took countless photographs to document this world—over sixty included in the book.

A combination of amazing “flicks” and exhilarating prose, Graffiti Lives is ultimately an exploration into how graffiti writers define themselves. Snyder details that writers are not bound together by appearance or language or birthplace or class but by what they do. And what they do is reach for fame, painting their names as prominently as they can. What’s more, he discovers that, though many public officials think graffiti writing will only lead to other criminal activity, many graffiti writers have turned their youthful exploits into adult careers—from professional aerosol muralists and fine artists to designers of all kinds, employed in such fields as tattooing, studio art, magazine production, fashion, and guerilla marketing. In fact, some of the artists featured have gone on to international acclaim and to their own gallery shows. Snyder’s illuminating work shows that getting up tags, throw-ups, and pieces on New York City’s walls and subway tunnels can lead to getting out into the city’s competitive professional world. Graffiti Lives details the exciting, risky, and surprisingly rewarding pursuits of contemporary graffiti writers.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780814740460
Publisher:
New York University Press
Publication date:
04/15/2011
Series:
Alternative Criminology Series
Pages:
252
Sales rank:
1,165,578
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.60(h) x 0.60(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Prologue xi

Introduction 1

1 Getting In

Starting the Blackbook 13

A Brief History of Graffiti Writing 23

Crime Space vs. Cool Space: Breaking Down Broken Windows 47

2 Getting up

VERT: First Contact 59

Writers Block: Blackbook in the Streets 65

Welcome to ESPO Land 73

ESPO: Illustrating Struggle 81

Into the Tunnel: Under Manhattan 85

A Pilgrimage to MEK: A Bronx Graffiti Tour 89

Legal Graffiti: Contemporary Permission Spots 97

Style Points: ESPO s Brooklyn Mural 105

Illustrating Criminal: Split PSOUP 115

AME: Bombing Styles, Inventing Self 119

AMAZE: Out-of-Towner Gets Up in the Tunnel 129

The Grate Graffiti Solution: ESPO s Public Surface Announcement 137

3 Getting Out

Over the Wall: Graffiti Media and Creating a Career 147

Writing Style: It's Not What You Wear 159

Career Opportunities: Rewriting Subculture Resistance 167

Timmy Tattoo: Timmy's Long Island Tattoo Shop 173

Gabe Banner: Market Wise 177

ESPO/Steve Powers: Dreamland Artist Club 181

CODA: Graffiti for Life 189

Appendix: The New Ethnography 191

Glossary 199

Notes 203

Bibliography 219

Index 227

About the Author 241

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