Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
- For the handwriting system, see Graffiti (Palm OS).
Graffiti is a type of deliberate marking made by humans on surfaces, both private and public. It can take the form of art, drawings, or words. When done without a property owner's consent it constitutes illegal vandalism. Graffiti has existed at least since the days of ancient civilizations such as classical Greece and the Roman Empire.
The word "graffiti" expresses the plural of "graffito", although the singular form has become obscure and largely disused. Both of these English words come from the Italian language, most likely descending from "graffiato", the past participle of "graffiare" (to scratch); ancient graffitists scratched their work into walls before the advent of spray-paint. These words derive in their turn from the Greek γραφειν (graphein), meaning "to write". Historians continue to speculate over the vexed question as to where the term "graffiti" first referred to this form of marking.
History of graffiti
Historically, the term graffiti originally referred to the inscriptions, figure drawings, etc., found on the walls of ancient sepulchers or ruins, as in the Catacombs of Rome or at Pompeii. Usage of the word has evolved to include any decorations (inscribed on any surface) that one can regard as vandalism; or to cover pictures or writing placed on surfaces, usually external walls and sidewalks, without the permission of an owner. Thus, inscriptions made by the authors of a monument do not class as graffiti.
The first known example of "modern style" graffiti survives in the ancient Greek city of Ephesus (in modern-day Turkey) and appears to advertise prostitution, according to the tour guides of the city. It stands near the long mosaic and stone walkway and consists of a handprint, a vaguely heart-like shape, a footprint and a number. This purportedly indicates how many steps one would have to take to find a lover, with the handprint indicating payment.
The Romans carved graffiti into their own walls and monuments, and examples of their work also exist in Egypt. The eruption of Vesuvius preserved graffiti carved on the walls of Pompeii, and they offer us a direct insight into street life: everyday Latin, insults, magic, love declarations, political consigns. Hadrian's Villa at Tivoli also has several examples. One example has even survived that warns: "Cave Canem", which translates as "Beware of the dog," next to a picture of the dog in question.
However not only Greeks and Romans produced graffiti: the Mayan site of Tikal in Guatemala, also contains ancient examples. Viking graffiti survive in Rome and at Newgrange Mound in Ireland, and Varangians carved their runes in Hagia Sophia in Constantinople. The Ancient Irish inscribed stones with an alphabet called Ogham -- this standard mode of writing may not classify as graffiti.
Later, French soldiers carved their names on monuments during the Napoleonic campaign of Egypt in the 1790s.
Art forms like frescoes and murals involve leaving images and writing on wall surfaces. Like the prehistoric wall paintings created by cave dwellers, they do not comprise graffiti, as the artists generally produce them with the explicit permission (and usually support) of the owner or occupier of the walls.
In the 20th century, especially during World War II, 'Kilroy was here' became a famous graffito, along with Mr. Chad, a face with only the eyes and a nose hanging over the wall, saying "What No [scarce commodity]…?" during the time of rationing. Twentieth century warfare saw the advent of many new aviation technologies, closely followed by the advent of airplane graffiti, including the nose art made famous during World War II.
Starting with the large-scale urbanization of many areas in the post-war half of the 20th century, urban gangs would mark walls and other pieces of public property with the name of their gang (a "tag") in order to mark the gang's territory. Near the end of the 20th century, non-gang-related tagging became more common, practised for its own sake. Graffiti artists would sign their "tags" for the sake of doing so and sometimes to increase their reputation and prestige as a "writer" or a graffiti artist.
Taggers sometimes select tags, like screennames, to reflect some personal qualities. Some tags also contain subtle and often cryptic messages. The year in which the piece was created, and in some cases the writer's initials or other letters, sometimes become a part of the tag. In some cases, "writers" dedicate or create tags or graffiti in memory of a deceased friend, for example: "DIVA Peekrevs R.I.P. JTL '99".
In some cases, taggers achieve such elaborate graffiti (especially those done in memory of a deceased person) on storefront gates that shopkeepers have hesitated to clean them off. In the Bronx after the death of rapper Big Pun, several murals dedicated to his life appeared virtually overnight; similar outpourings occurred after the deaths of The Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur.
Other works covering otherwise unadorned fences or walls may likewise become so highly elaborate that property-owners or the government may choose to keep them rather than cleaning them off. The wall in front of Abbey Road Studios in London became a favorite spot for Beatles-related graffiti once the band had recorded there in the 1960s: visitors from all over the world have left inscriptions in various languages. The studio makes no attempt to stop this graffiti; it has the wall repainted regularly, but only to provide a fresh surface for inscriptions.
Some graffiti has local or regional resonance, such as wall and street sign tagging in Southern California by gangs such as the Bloods and the Crips. The name Cool "Disco" Dan (including the quotation marks) occurs commonly in the Washington, D.C. area. One famous graffito in the DC Metro area appeared on the outer loop of the beltway on a railroad bridge near the Mormon temple as seen here. Its simple scrawl "Surrender Dorothy" summoned visions of the Emerald City of Oz and has remained on the bridge for nearly 30 years off and on beginning in late 1973. Pressure from the Temple saw it removed, only to reappear. This "giraffiti" became so well known among the Mormon community that their newsletters often mentioned it as a specific example demonstrating misunderstanding. (See "In View of Temple, Graffiti Again Seeks Dorothy's Surrender" and "Landmark to most, temple is sanctuary for area's Mormons" in Mormons Today.)
Some of those who practise graffiti art wish to distance themselves from gang graffiti. Differences in both form and intent exist: graffiti art (its practioners claim) aims at self-expression and creativity, and may involve highly stylized letter-forms drawn with markers, or cryptic and colorful spray paint murals on walls, buildings, and even freight trains. Graffiti artists strive to improve their art, which constantly changes and progresses. Gang graffiti, on the other hand, functions to mark territorial boundaries, and therefore does not transcend a gang's neighborhood; it does not (in the eyes of graffit art-lovers) presuppose artistic intent.
The designs, while chosen to appear distinctive and recognizable, are more likely to be influenced by the speed with which a tagger can execute them (thus minimizing the chance of that tagger getting caught). Thos who distinguish between tagging and graffiti generally accept tagging as gang-motivated or meant as vandalism (illegal) or viewed as too vulgar or controversial to have public value, while they can view graffiti as creative expression, whether charged with political meaning or not.
A number of words and phrases have come to describe different styles and aspects of graffiti:
- The term tag refers to a stylized signature, while a tagger or a writer is a person who "tags"
- A more ornate piece may class as a bomb, with the act of painting a wall known as bombing
- Crew has become the standard collective noun for a group of writers or graffiti-artists
- Writers become up when their work becomes widespread and well-known
- To slash somebody's tag (to put a line through, or tag over it) counts as a deep insult.
- The phrase back to back refers to a graffiti that covers a wall from end to end, as seen in some parts of the West side of the Berlin Wall. Similarly, trains sometimes receive end to end painting.
Informal competition sometimes exists between taggers as to who can put up the most, or the most visible or artistic tags (see the section below titled Graffiti art battle). Writers with the most tags up tend to gain respect among other graffiti artists, although they will also incur a greater risk if caught by authorities.
To gain notoriety, and make pieces difficult to remove, graffiti artists will sometimes paint hard-to-reach spots such as rooftops. Such heavens pieces (also commonly known as giraffiti), and by the nature of the spot often pose dangerous challenges to execute.
Another technique sometimes referred to as "scratchitti" involves making purposely hard-to-remove graffiti by scratching or etching a tag into an object, generally using a key or another sharp object such as a knife or a stone.
Graffiti is subject to different societal pressures from popularly-recognized art forms, since graffiti appears on walls, freeways, buildings, trains or any accessible surfaces that are not owned by the person who applies the graffiti. This means that graffiti forms incorporate elements rarely seen elsewhere. Spray paint and broad permanent markers are commonly used, and the organizational structure of the art is sometimes influenced by the need to apply the art quickly before it is noticed by authorities.
In an effort to reduce vandalism, many cities have designated walls or areas exclusively for use by graffiti artists. Some have suggested that this discourages petty vandalism yet encourages artists to take their time and produce great art, without worry of being caught or arrested for vandalism or trespassing. Others disagree with this approach, arguing that the presence of legal graffiti walls does not demonstrably reduce illegal graffiti elsewhere.
Many people regard graffiti as an unwanted nuisance, or as expensive vandalism requiring repair of the vandalised property. One can view graffiti as a 'quality of life' issue, and many people suggest that the presence of graffiti contributes to a general sense of squalor and a heightened fear of crime. Advocates of the "broken window theory" believe that this sense of decay encourages further vandalism and promotes an environment leading to the committing of more serious offences. Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani's subscription to the broken window theory promoted an aggressive anti-graffiti campaign in New York. But throughout the world, authorities often - but not always - treat graffiti as a minor nuisance crime, though with widely varying penalties.
Community cleaning squads have responded to graffiti. In France, the Protestant youth group Éclaireurs de France took their graffiti-scrubbing into the Meyrieres Cave near the French village of Bruniquel in Tarn-et-Garonne, where they carefully erased the ancient paintings from the walls, earning them the 1992 Ig Nobel Prize in archaeology.
Graffiti made the news in 1993, over an incident in Singapore involving several expensive cars found spray-painted. The police arrested a student from Singapore American School , Michael P. Fay, questioned him and subsequently charged him with vandalism. Fay pleaded guilty for vandalizing the car in addition to stealing road signs. Under the 1966 Singapore Vandalism Act , originally passed to curb the spread of communist graffiti in Singapore, the court sentenced him to four months in jail, a US $2,233 fine, and a caning. The New York Times ran several editorials and op-eds that condemned the punishment and called the American public to flood the Singaporean embassy with protests. Although the Singapore government received many calls for clemency, Fay's caning took place in Singapore on May 5, 1994.
In 1995 Mayor Rudolph Giuliani of New York set up the Anti-Graffiti Task Force , a multi-agency initiative to combat the perceived problem of graffiti vandals in New York City. This began a crackdown in "quality of life crimes" throughout the city, and also one of the largest anti-graffiti campaigns in US history. That same year Title 10-117 of the New York Administrative Code banned the sale of aerosol spray-paint cans to children under 18. The law also requires that merchants who sell spray-paint must lock it in a case or display cans behind a counter, out of reach of potential shoplifters. Violations of the city’s anti-graffiti law carry fines of $350 per count. Both the full text of the law and an opposing viewpoint written by famous NYC graffiti artist Zephyr appear online.
The Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 became Britain's latest anti-graffiti legislation.
In August 2004, the Keep Britain Tidy campaign issued a press release calling for zero tolerance of graffiti, with support for proposals such as issuing "on the spot" fines to graffiti offenders and banning the sale of aerosol paint to teenagers. The press release also condemned the use of graffiti images in advertising and in music videos, arguing that real world experience of graffiti was far from the 'cool' or 'edgy' image that was often portrayed. To back the campaign, 123 British MPs (including Prime Minister Tony Blair) signed a charter which stated: "Graffiti is not art, it's crime. On behalf of my constituents, I will do all I can to rid our community of this problem."
The city of Albuquerque, New Mexico has had an aggressive anti-graffiti program since the mid-1990s. The city's regarded its heavily-tagged arroyos, bridges and sound barrier walls as an eyesore. Reports emerged of taggers suffering injury and death attempting to tag their gang's area or while spray painting graffiti on the bridges. Each park and arroyo now has a sign posted giving the number to the Albuquerque Tagger's Hotline, and a website exists where citizens can report taggers or graffiti online. Most stores in the metro area won't even sell spray paint without seeing an ID, and some have gone so far as to lock the spray paint away. Punishments include fines, community service and jail.
Types of graffiti
Aerosol or "spray can" art
The strand of graffiti art which is considered one of the four elements of hip hop is usually denoted urban 'Aerosol Art'. Sometimes synonymous with "hip-hop heads," so-called graffiti artists have gone beyond that stereotype and are abundant even among middle-class white children. Different genres exist, from Philadelphia's wicked style to California and New York's wild style graffiti. Graffiti artists are classified based on their style and sometimes even on what surface they use.
Graffiti tagging existed in Philadelphia during the 1960s, pioneered by Cornbread and Cool Earl. Another Philadelphia product, Top Cat, later exported the characteristic Philly style of script (tall, slender lettering with platforms at the bottom) to New York, where it gained popularity as "Broadway Elegant". It wasn't until it reached popularity in the New York City subway system that it took on an extravagant artistic role, expanding from tags to full-blown "pieces".
One of the originators of New York graffiti, TAKI 183, a Greek-American foot messenger, would tag his nickname around New York streets that he daily frequented en route. His tag expressed a diminutive for Demetrius, while 183 came from his address. After The New York Times showcased him, hundreds of urban youth rapidly started mimicking his tag.
Other active writers existed in New York City before Taki, such as JULIO 204, but Taki brought the most attention to the movement. With the innovation of art, and the craving to gain the widest audience, taggers made attempts. There developed a strict adherence to spraypaint, sampling foreign calligraphy, and the much-anticipated mural (that usually covered an entire subway car). The artist became a "writer," and groups of associated artists became "crews". The movement spread on the streets, returned to the railroads where hobos had popularized tagging, and spread nationwide with the aid of media and rap music; thus spurring imitation worldwide.
New York City's "Lady Pink" became one of the earliest active women on the graffiti scene. Also known as Sandra Fabara, Lady Pink starred at the age of 18 in the classic 1982 hip-hop film Wildstyle. The 1984 film Beat Street documented all the elements and many of the personalities of the early hip-hop movement. Graffiti features strongly in the film, with one of the main characters a writer who works on walls and on subway cars.
In the early 1980s, the combination of a booming art market and a renewed interest in painting resulted in the rise of a few graffiti artists to art-star status. Jean-Michel Basquiat, a former street-artist known by his "Samo" tag, and Keith Haring, a professionally-trained artist who adopted a graffiti style, became two of the most widely recognized graffiti artists. In some cases, the line between "simple" graffiti and unsanctioned works of public art can become blurred.
Aerosol safety and removal
Spray paint usually contains volatile organic compounds (VOCs)—often highly toxic. Some graffiti artists who regularly work with spray paint develop neurological problems due to overexposure to VOCs. An article from graffiti.org contains more information on the subject and recommends that spray painters wear a filter mask when painting. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) also have protective guidelines for working with spray paint   .
Some heavy duty permanent markers also contain harmful VOCs such as xylene, although the quantity of VOC released will probably be less than with spray paint. Paint markers are another concern, while on the surface they may seem to be less toxic due to lack of particulization, they also contain chemicals like xylene which can be absorbed through the skin (not just through inhalation). Those who use permanent or paint markers should check the label and follow the recommended safety instructions. Care should also be made to reduce skin contact; latex or vinyl gloves are useful for this purpose.
It is not just graffiti artists who must deal with these volatile chemical compounds; the compounds designed to remove graffiti can also be highly toxic. The maintenance workers who work with these substances, however, are usually trained to use them safely. To remove graffiti they generally use techniques such as high pressure cleaning or paint thinning solvents such as Acetone or Toluene; they may also paint over or, as a prevention, apply a specially formulated anti-graffiti coating to the surface of high-risk areas.
"Bombing" the trains
A primary target for graffiti in urban environments are subway trains. This is especially true for New York City, where "going all city" is considered the holy grail. This phrase means to have your tag inside and outside on a train running each of the many lines of the NYC subway system. Would-be taggers will be hard pressed to paint the modern NYC subway, however: Mayor Giuliani's aggressive "Broken Window" approach to policing the city has all but eliminated subway graffiti. The Mayor's Anti-Graffiti Task Force has more details.
The phrase "bombing" means to cover an entire car with a large graphic. There are two types of paint jobs:
- below the windows
- coverall (entire side, windows included).
Freight train graffiti
Freight cars and other railroad cars make another popular target for writers. The origins of train writing can likely be traced back to the hobos of the early 20th century. Generally hobos while freighthopping would write their name or initials on the inside (or less frequently the outside) of a boxcar to show they had been there, occasionally other hobo symbols would be written in chalk to indicate where the train was headed and other routes. Although hobos were likely the originators of train tagging, it is unknown when or who introduced spray paint to train tagging.
Freight train tagging often occurs in a rural setting, perhaps because of the relative unavailability of other objects, although it also happens commonly in Southern California, which has few subways. Freight and subway taggers share the urge to make their name widely known, as trains run their long and often circuitous routes other artists see and occasionally write over the graffiti already there, creating the occasional nation-wide challenges. Freight graffiti can appear wherever cargo rail travels, however it seems more common in the United States, Central Europe, and South America.
Railroad companies in modern times, in the United States at least, dislike taking a locomotive or car out of service merely to remove graffiti, so they will generally wait until the next scheduled repaint to do so. This means that tags and art on trains may last for quite some time. Graffiti artists have learned to modify their behavior to discourage the railroad from quick repainting. Railroad cars must show certain markings to meet laws or railroad regulations. If these become covered over, the railroad must re-mark them, requiring a total or partial repaint. Such markings include car or locomotive numbers, data stickers, warning labels, etc. Graffiti artists now commonly leave such areas of the car or locomotive alone, meaning that their work may remain for longer.
Railfans split into different camps in their opinion of graffiti on cars and locomotives. Some loath it, and will not photograph tagged units or have graffiti on their model railroads. Others find it an interesting phenomenon that makes for more variation in a railroad world of increasing corporate blandness.
Graffiti on freights counts as a federal offense in some jurisdictions.
Graffiti art battle
In the early 1980s one of the largest community "graffiti art battles" took place next to the Bull Ring shopping centre in Birmingham, England. The city invited a selection of the UK's most renowned graffiti artists, including Wolverhampton local artist Goldie, Bristol's 3D (who went on to form Massive Attack), London's Mode from the Chrome Angelz , with Bronx Man Brim and his New York alter ego Bio attending for good measure.
The city erected massive boards with scaffolding in place to enable free movement of the artists. It provided a rare occasion of the age for so many prestigious artists to come together on one wall -- many battles would lead to gang rivalry especially if one artist would "bite", or copy, another's style. A Channel 4 documentary titled Bombing preserves clips from the Battle.
Street art and post-graffiti
- See also Sticker art.
In the 1980s and early 1990s the writers Cost and Revs became the first to get up with their name with the new techniques that would be a new form of graffiti, i.e. post-graffiti (a term which comes from the French artist stak), also known as street art.
Street artists use media such as sticker, stencil, wheatpaste and poster, but also paint and put up installations in urban space. They all have put up all such work illegally, but have various aims. Some follow the aim of a graffiti writer to get up with a name or -- more likely in street art -- with an image, others have a political aim. Many just want the pub lic to see their art. The streetart movement operates worldwide.
Since the 1990s Shepard Fairey has influenced many of today's street artists with his 'Obey Giant' campaign. Other important street artists include C6.org, who incorporate new technologies into street graffiti art, Banksy, probably the most famous of the stencil artists, D*Face (UK), Stak , HNT , Alexone, André (France), Swoon, famous for the cut-out poster technique, Faile, (USA), Thacker (OPHOTN), Os Gemeos , Herbert (Brazil), 6-_-©IIIII>@rtist.info, Flying Fortress , Gomes , Graffitilovesyou (Germany), Influenza, Erosie (Holland) and others.
6-_-©|||||>@rtist.info originated a new form of tagging around 1995 in Berlin. He painted his 500 000 "6" tags with lime on wildly pasted posters, on garbage, and on the street. 30% of his tags he painted while cycling.
Radical and political graffiti
Graffiti often has a reputation as part of a subculture that rebels against authority, although the considerations of the practitioners often diverge and can relate to a wide range of attitudes. Some see graffiti not only as an art but also as a lifestyle. It can express a political practice and can form just one tool in an array of resistance techniques. One early example includes the political punk band Crass, who conducted a campaign of stencilling anti-war, anarchist, feminist and anti-consumerist messages around the London Underground system during the late 1970s and early 1980s .
The developments of graffiti art which took place in art galleries and colleges as well as "on the street" or "underground", contributed to the resurfacing in the 1990s of a far more overtly politicized art form in the subvertising, culture jamming or tactical media movements. These movements or styles tend to classify the artists by their relationship to their social and economic contexts, since graffiti art remains illegal in many forms, in most countries.
Contemporary practitioners, accordingly, have varied and often conflicting practices. Some individuals, such as Alexander Brener, have used the medium to politicise other art forms, and have used the prison sentences forced onto them as a means of further protest.
The practices of anonymous groups and individuals also vary widely, and practitioners by no means always agree with each others' practices. Anti-capitalist art group the Space Hijackers, for example, in 2004 did a piece about the contradiction between the capitalistic elements of Banksy and his use of political imagery. As an added complication to this picture, some artists receive a combination of government funding as well as commercial or private means, like irational.org who recently coined the term Advert Expressionism, replacing the word Abstract for Advert, in Clement Greenberg's essay on Abstract Expressionism.
On top of the political aspect of graffiti as a movement, political groups and individuals may also use graffiti as a tool to spread their point of view. One can label this as "propaganda graffiti". This practice, due to its illegality, has generally become favored by groups excluded from the political mainstream (e.g. far-left or far-right groups) who justify their activity by pointing out that they do not have the money -- or sometimes the desire -- to buy advertising to get their message across, and that a 'ruling class' or 'establishment' control the mainstream press, systematically excluding the radical/alternative point of view. This type of graffiti can seem crude, for example fascist supporters often scrawl swastikas and other Nazi images. Because of the strong associations between Nazi images and racial violence, many see this type of graffiti as tantamount to a threat of violence, and thus some would classify it as a form of terrorism.
Both sides of the conflict in Northern Ireland produce political graffiti. As well as slogans, Northern Irish political graffitti include large naïve wall paintings, referred to as murals. Along with the flying of flags and the painting of kerb stones, the murals serve a territorial purpose. Artists paint them mostly on house gables or on the Peace Lines, high walls that separate different communities. The murals often develop over an extended period and tend to stylization, with a strong symbolic or iconographic content. Loyalist murals often refer to historical events dating from the war between James II and William III in the late 17th century, whereas Republican murals usually refer to the more recent troubles.
Illegal fly-posting provides another popular visual method by which political groups seek to spread their message and advertise their events. In the UK, posters advertising the February 15, protests against the 2003 invasion of Iraq stayed visible months after the event and may remain for years.
Since many people consider graffiti artists as vandals, many such artists have moved to creating computer generated graffiti instead, using computer graphics to mimic and expand on the styles of aerosol art. When they create such art on a computer, it does not technically count as graffiti, in the sense of something unauthorized, but it retains the name because of stylistic influences. Such art also does not count as computer-generated, in the sense of a computer program actually determining the design; rather it classes as computer-assisted, and generated by human artists. Most of these types of artists have associations with ASCII art, ANSI art, and the computer underground.
Computer-generated graffiti also appears commercially in the creation of realistic computer simulations of city environments, for example in video games such as Grand Theft Auto, or tagging can become part of the object of the game itself, as in Jet Set Radio.
Other graffiti forms
- Bathroom graffiti:
- Drunk shaming:
- Tree graffiti:
- Tree graffiti gets painted or carved on trees, most frequently scratched into the tree's bark as expressions of people in love. During the 19th and 20th centuries, Basque shepherds in Nevada, Arizona, Colorado and California expressed their loneliness by carving Basque and Spanish texts or drawing women on aspens they found in their way.   Compare Chatham Islands dendroglyphs as tree-art. The United States Forest Service has lately recognized some carvings as valuable historic artifacts and studies how to conserve them against nature, logging and vandalism. A single scratch on a trunk might not harm a tree. Over time, the bark generates scar tissue that makes the scratch more visible. The wound might become critical if it totally cuts the sap flow. (The sap layer lurks just under the bark.) Ring barking , a scratch or gouge removing bark that forms a ring around the trunk, can kill the upper parts of the tree. Artists can also make tree graffiti, like other graffiti, by painting on a tree. However, in contradistinction to the case of carvings, botanists have not studied the effects of paint graffiti on tree health.
- Man-made Crop circles:
- Man-made Crop circles or "field graffiti" constitute another form of vandalism, although not exactly within the modern definition of graffiti. However, some similarities exist: makers of crop circles generally operate at night and/or in remote areas to avoid detection/detention. The practice classifies as illegal if its practitioners trespass on private land.
Subway graffiti artists
References and additional resources
- Style Wars, 1983: Directed by Tony Silver , Produced by Henry Chalfant. Represents a history of the 1980s NYC graffiti scene as seen through the eyes of its participants. See .
- Wild Style, 1982: Directed by Charlie Ahearn , the first hip-hop movie. See Wild Style at the Internet Movie Database.
- Beat Street, 1984: Directed by Stan Lathan, produced by Harry Belafonte and David V. Picker . A drama that takes place in the emergent hip-hop scene of early 1980s New York City. Among the first popular mainstream movies to feature MCing, DJing, graffiti art, and breakdancing, Beat Street features appearances by many pioneers in these arts. See Beat Street at the Internet Movie Database for more details.
- Turk 182 (1985) is a fictional account of graffiti used for political purposes in New York City. The name may reference TAKI 183. See Turk 182 at the Internet Movie Database.
- Bombing British Channel 4 documentary featuring many UK and U.S. graffiti artists in the early to mid eighties.
In the press
- Beaty, Jonathan. "Zap! You've Been Tagged", Time Magazine, September 10, 1990. p. 43.
- Bennet, James. "A New Arsenal of Weapons to Tag Graffiti Artists", New York Times, September 27, 1992. p. E-2.
- "Fade to Gray in Gotham", U.S. News, May 22, 1989. p. 12.
- Reichenbach, Jean. "Graffiti", Columns, March 1991. pp. 24-27.
- "Scorecard", Newsweek Magazine, August 10, 1992. p. 6.
- "Disrupt Magazine" from New Zealand
In literature (by country)
- van Treeck, Bernhard: Das große Graffiti-Lexikon, Lexikon-Imprint-Verlag, Berlin, 2001, ISBN 3-89601-292-X
- van Treeck, Bernhard: Street Art Berlin, Schwarzkopf und Schwarzkopf, Berlin, 1999 ISBN 3-89602-191-5
- Urban Discipline 2000 - Graffiti-Art Peters/Reisser/Zahlmann. 2000 Ausstellungskatalog getting-up (Germany) ISBN 3-00-006154-1
- Graffiti Art #1 Deutschland - Germany Schwarzkopf & Schwarzkopf (Germany), ISBN 3-89602-028-5
- HamburgCity Graffiti, 2003, Publikat Verlag (Deutschland), ISBN 3-980-74786-7
- Swiss Graffiti, S. von Koeding, B. Suter. 1998, Edition Aragon (Germany), ISBN 3-89535-461-9
- Street Art Köln, B. van Treeck. 1996, Edition Aragon (Germany), ISBN 3-89535-434-1
- Hall of Fame, M. Todt, B. van Treeck . 1995, Edition Aragon (Germany), ISBN 3-89535-430-9
- Best of German graffiti. Band 1, Timeless-X. 2001, Verlag H. M. Hauschild (Germany), ISBN 3-89757-121-8
- Cope 2, True Legend, Donatien B. Orns. 2003, Righters.com (France), ISBN 2-9520-0608-6
- Le graffiti dans tous ses états, 2002, Ausstellungskatalog, Taxie Gallery (France)
- Langages de Rue #2, Graff-It!. 2004, Verlag Graf-It! (France), ISBN 2-914714-02-5
United Kingdom and Ireland
- Street Art, Tristan Manco. Thames & Hudson. 2004 (UK), ISBN 0-500-28469-5
- Graffiti World: Street Art from Five Continents, Nicholas Ganz. Thames & Hudson. 2004 (UK) ISBN 0-500-51170-5
- Subway Art Martha Cooper, Henry Chalfant. 1984, Thames and Hudson (USA), ISBN 0-80506-788-8
- Spraycan Art, Henry Chalfant & James Prigoff. 1987 Thames and Hudson (USA) ISBN 0-500-27469-X
- Broken Windows Graffiti NYC James Murray, Karla Murray. 2002, Ginko Press (USA), ISBN 1-58423-078-9
- Aerosol Kingdom: Subway Painters of New York City, Ivor Miller. 2002, University Press of Mississippi (USA), ISBN 1-57806-465-1
- Graffiti Oggi Karin Dietz. 2001 Ausstellungskatalog/Exhibition catalogue, Arte Contemporanea Hirmer/M. Wiedemann (Italy)
- NYC Graffiti, Michiko Rico Nosé. 2000 Graphic-Sha Publishing (Japan) ISBN 4-7661-1177-X
- Aspects of Graffiti, Wortbüro Stefan Michel/Zürich. 2001 Ausstellungskatalog, Rote Fabrik (Switzerland)
- A Brief History of Graffiti Research by Staffan Jacobson (a chronologically-arranged scholarly bibliography)
- Graffiti as an advertising medium
- Graffiticreator.net Create your own graffiti
- Graffiti Books Books on graffiti
- JDoodle.com A graffiti Wiki
- How to read Graffiti Evolutionary timeline of graffiti styles
- A Graffiti glossary at Artcrimes.org
Street art and post-graffiti
- C6.org "The Original Art Wankers"
- Stickernation A collection of sticker graffiti from aroung the world
- Ekosystem A Street-art portal
- Scrawl Collection of street art from around the world
- Stencil Revolution Biggest Stencil community on the web
- State Of Flux Melbourne-based street-art site featuring stencils, stickers, pasteups and anything else on the street
- Rail7.com International Graffiti Documentation
- Graffiti.org Art Crimes: The Writing on the Wall
- Making Your Mural Last: Graffiti, Varnish and Wall Chemistry
- God Bless Graffiti Coalition A pro-graffiti organization
- Wooster Collective: A Celebration of Street Art
- Pictures Of Walls
- Visual Resistance Political street art
- Removing Graffiti from Historic Masonry by the National Park Service
- Keep Britain Tidy UK organisation, campaigns against graffiti
- Keele Station, a website profiling graffiti in general, using examples from around the Toronto subway station.
- Farbsucht.de Wall, Trains, Streetart, Germany
- 6-_-©||||||||>@rtist.info Post-graffiti art from Germany
- Daim´s Homepage Street artist from Germany
- Sal One Oldskool Dutch Graffiti artist
- Disruptiv, Professional Graffiti crew from Auckland, New Zealand.
- Graffiti, straight from the streets of New Zealand
- H49, graffiti crew from Bilbao, Spain.
United Kingdom and Ireland
- Bomblondon British political graffiti
- UK Graffiti Artists Today
- Banksy Stencil-artists from England
- asbestos Street-artist from Dublin
- DuncanCumming Graffiti photos from the UK and Europe
- Murals in Northern Ireland on the CAIN (Conflict Archive on the INternet) Web Service
- @149st New York graffiti
- 50mm Los Angeles Los Angeles Graffiti Archive
- Los Angeles Graffiti Art
- Pacific Northwest Graffiti Seattle Graffiti Communiti
- Zephyr Graffiti photo gallery and writings from a prolific NYC graf artist
- Above Street artist from California
- Jean-Michael Basquiat at the Canal Zone with Stan Peskett
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