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Graf Orlok

Art School Graffiti

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I just wanted to try to get a discussion going about non-traditional graffiti - aka art school graffiti. Is it legit? What do you all think about artists who are using aerisol but have no intentions of learning or even attempting letter styles. I have seen a growth of graffiti that involves characters and images without a 'tag'. Are these people graffiti writers or just public painters? Is text a requirement for graffiti?

Some great writers seem better known (at least to the greater public) for characters more than letter styles... Twist, Bigfoot, Dalek....

I know these people all are also taggers as well, but what about someone who doesn't even try 'traditional' graffiti, like Banksy? Which brings us to the topics of wheatpasting and propaganda. Is it graffiti? What about somebody who uses graf letters but doesn't subscribe to a handle, or particular tag? If these people aren't 'writers', what do we call them?

I enjoy all types, and I guess it is just a matter of labelling.

 

Oh yeah, I'm fully aware that a post of this type will brand me both an 'art fag' and a 'toy', so there is no need to post a reply saying so. I'm also aware that the lack of ghetto slang may make some members suspect that I am a cop. So please, there are hundreds of other threads that you can post your disses on, let us keep this one thoughtful and intelligent, if at all possible.

Thanks,

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graffiti is graffiti

 

first of all you worry too much about what people have to say. 12 oz has ALOT of picky writers so get on with it. any way the main message is.....

i figure if you write on an object that dosent belong to you, i can appretiate it as graffiti and so should you. end comunication.

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wait a sec crack,

just because you thing you have all the fucking answers gives you no right to try to 'end discussion'. I think the point is to hear differing points of views - not just yours.

 

To me, that arty graffiti is all good and wonderful, but those gallery graffiti artists have changed alot in this scene. They're wonderful and talented artists and may very well have bombed alot, but now they ristrict themselves to galleries - so it's really not graff, however in gallery and museum write-ups it's always described as 'street art' or graffiti culture or whatever. Now so many graffiti writers want to be famous gallery artists too - I feel it detracts from the true meaning of graffiti because all you see is one gimmick after another. We all want success and fame, it just depends on how one sells oneself...

 

Too many thoughts...can't get them out.

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I like the topic, here's my thoughts:

 

I think there is, and has been, emerging a certain "feel" to what most of us do as writers, and a certain level of doing it before it can be considered "Graf;" the best general word I can think of to describe the art/sport/activity/whatever of writing on property with either words or pictures regularly and illegally.

 

Examples:

 

Obviously, if a person decides to start painting a given name on property illegally, works to develop a signature style, progresses/advances artistically with time, pushes the limits, etc., then yes, it is "Graf."

 

If a person grabs a can of hot pink spray paint and paints his/her initials and/or random shit all over a wall, or where ever, then no, I don't consider that "Graf," as it's basically come to be known among serious writers. I would consider that wasting 2-3 minutes of life which could be spent doing something better, like ironing or poking ones' self in the eye with a safety pin.

 

If a person decides to start illegally painting property without the use of a given name or letters/words by, say, painting different images, pictures, figures, symbols, etc., then yes, I would consider it "Graf," as it is simply the illegal painting/marking of property, only without the "traditional" trademarks of tags, throw ups or pieces.

 

One thing I'm sick of is people trying to pidgeon-hole Graf into such strict limitations. Why shouldn't it continue to evolve into different incarnations as time goes on? Letters and tagging are fundamental elements of Graf but so what, closed mindedness is stupid.

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Guest Pilau Hands

Well, while I don't go to art school, I've had an appreciation for art since I was little. Basically I don't have the money or the confidence to give it a go. I think I might learn a lot in art school, but I like being somewhat "self-taught." That does being up the point though, what is good art and what is bad...can art be taught and developed by saying This is wrong, This is right. Anyway...

 

I picked up graffiti in high school. I just started because I had always seen it, and kids around me were now doing it. Eventually though, I lost a lot of interest in it. The thing I enjoy about "art school graffiti," goes along with what Unregistered said. I like the fact that tomorrow somebody might come up with something that completely changes the way we see a letter...and a lot of writers have mentioned that's precisely what graffiti's about. I started trying to develop my own style, I've tried wild styles, old school styles...and all just so I could say I did it. Lately though, I've been working on canvasses more, and that has lent itself to how I form my letters. Honestly, yeah I would like to sell some, so I can buy more supplies.

 

I've said it once and I'll say it again:

 

At times I hate graffiti. Sometimes it just seems like one more thing that people have constructed so they can feel special in a society that's told them they aren't special. This is positive up to the point when someone wants to set definitions and tell you that "You're not real." Then you're back to square one: This is my pile of shit, go get your own! One of the reasons I like graffiti now is it's public art context. The fact that it's not supposed to be there, yet it is, and if you can appreciate it then go right on and do that, free of charge no less.

 

When someone starts out writing (a toy) and they immediately try to be innovative, I feel the graffiti asshole come out within me. That guy wants to say "Hey kid, stick to straight letters for a while, then try to change them." But I hate that guy. This kid, with his silly loops and swirls, could one day be doing really great stuff that's outside the norm, all BECAUSE he didn't even go to straight letters. I can name one guy right now for whom (in my eyes) that's worked, and of course a lot of writers hate his stuff.

 

Nowadays, I'd much rather be called a public painter, than a writer.

 

If you don't name it, and just enjoy it...it's much more fun. Everyone spends so much time trying to keep kids out of the special clubhouse, just so they can belong. It's all hierarchy bullshit. "I've been doing dope letters for years, so in the graffiti world, I'm better than you." I don't buy that stuff. It's all opinion to me, and I don't care how long you've been painting, if I think it's crap, then I think it's crap. This is why I won't be a writer any time soon.

 

If everyone gave a little less of a fuck what the next one is doing, there might be more fun, more bombing, and more art...

 

Or maybe it would all go to shit. What do I know?

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Guest BROWNer

this may come off pretentious, but

i got to a point when i stopped

giving a shit about other writers

and what i was supposed to do

to be a 'graffiti writer'. everyone

has their tag, their throwie, their

simple, their semi-wild, their

wildstyle, their 3D, their 'abstract',

and their bboy character.

shit is mad played.

do whatever you want.

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Graffiti shouldn't be about whether it fits in or not. As long as someone goes out to write for a purpose other than just "wrecking shit", let them do whatever the hell they want.

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Guest INDEPENDENZA

Trying to keep graffiti in the boundaries of "letters with 3d and uni" is like fascism.

graff would be better and more creative if more people tried to step away from letterings.

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sorry roo lover

 

sorry. 'end comunication' does not mean end of dicusion. im sorry you thought that.

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um.... ill coment on ur post another time but for right now i just wanna say that twist has fuckin tight letters

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Guest Are2

..first off...

 

graffiti is beautiful because it can be whatever the person wants it to be..

i think, at its heart, graf is just illegal expressions (of visual art)

 

but, its basis is on the street, and that is where one gains legitimacy as a writer...

 

art school may help technique, but i don't think it helps one be a better writer..learning graffiti in art school is learning punk rock at julliard..

 

i wish i had stuck with more of my abstractions of graf

i got started in graf doing crazy stuff, whatever, not always letters (but usually involving letters or characters)....i didn't gain any respect..a lot of people told me that the whole letter thing is neccesary...which, in a way, it is...but mainly for establishing oneself as a graf writer...

 

i am trying to get back into the weirder shit i did years ago..and away from

"the formula"...letters, 3D

 

i don't have very much respect for art schools, but of course they can be an extremely useful tool...just not for me..

 

a lot of the best graf is more artistic than letter/3D based...

(daim, joker, twist, miss van)

 

but some of the incredible stuff is letters as well..like revs and cost

 

and some is just so balls out it can't be ignored..like jaone

 

there is no definition of graf that will please everyone...but that is the best part,,it is illegal, and ultimately, will become what all writers worldwide make it, simply by perpetuating its existance..on walls, in books, on canvas, in the mind..

 

ok..i'm done talkin shit.

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That quote about learning graffiti at art school being like learning punk rock at Julliard is fucking classy genius... Ima remember that and use it a lot.

 

Whatever you do with art or graffiti has to make you happy. If it doesnt, you suck and need to try something else.

 

I empathize a great deal with Pilau Hands sentiments. Art school wasnt - and still isnt - for me. The thing I miss is some of the technique, the hours youd spend drawing naked people, mostly. For some people whose talents do lie in representational work, and whose career desires are artistic, art school is the place to be.

 

But then again thats just technique, and good art is about style and content. And you dont need to be good at art to be really fucking good at graffiti. Thats cool, and please dont forget it.

 

To me the technical definition of graffiti is illegally placed letters. I do a lot of stuff both in and out of this definition. I like being pretty well rounded and diverse, but theres some stuff that I could honestly care less about - like throwups and clean trains, for some reason.

 

But my artwork makes me really happy and I wake up every morning excited to get busy.

 

And that makes me real dope.

 

sonik3000

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Guest imported_b0b

I see un-traditional, non letter based graffiti (be it with characters, stenciles, posters) as a separate genre of graf. They aren;t trying to compete as such with writers, but do the same things as them. Using the same methods to achieve different ends.

 

What are your thoughts on this? I know a couple of writers that paint an awful lot and mainly illegally, but everytime they paint they use a different word. So as such they don;t have a regular tag, but do graffiti within the normal confines of graffiti. Personally I find that harder to understand than another writer I know who doesn;t actually tag, but uses a character to get up

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Guest Pilau Hands
And that makes me real dope.

haha it's stuff like that, that makes the country dimmer in your absence.

 

without jocking too hard, i have to say that sonik and the twins are a big inspiration. the mix of letters with imagery is able to remain graffiti, without the idea stopping at the end of your forcefield. but the most influential aspect has to be the pure joy of it. if you're not happy with what you're doing, (not frustration...frustration is part of everything) if it just doesn't make you happy...then why are you doing it? i'll paint letters, numbers, portraits, animals, silverware, ottomans...just walk away with a smile.

 

crazeeb0b, that's a good way of putting it...you put words to my thoughts. using a different name to get up every time is interesting. it implies that they rely more on their technique for recognition...or they just enjoy painting letters, so they gotta switch it up...or perhaps the most puzzling of all to people...some just don't want recognition at all. i mean one of the principles of graffiti has been to have people recognize your stuff, and have the respect come back to you, until you're king...but what if you walk around as fifteen different guys every month? it's really refreshing to me.

 

i've tried to stop painting letters a few times...and the fact is i just can't quit cold turkey. i'll probably be scribbling handstyles on my kids' doctors bills. i've been doing it for only a short while, but it just gets engrained in your memory. sit down to sketch something and damnit...is that a letter in the corner?!

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Guest imported_b0b
Originally posted by Pilau Hands

so they gotta switch it up...or perhaps the most puzzling of all to people...some just don't want recognition at all. i mean one of the principles of graffiti has been to have people recognize your stuff, and have the respect come back to you, until you're king...but what if you walk around as fifteen different guys every month? it's really refreshing to me.

 

Indeed it is refreshing, but though they do "normal graffiti" asethetically (sp?), their thinking is a lot stranger than than the stencil/flyposter/arty brigade who are after recognition.

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So is a stencil considered graffiti? yes...is it to be considered Writing? No.

A distinction must be made between the two..and why even use the word graffiti to describe what it is we do? The term is considered negative as a whole and to me, implies petty scrawls by little kids in elementary school.

 

I think there is a process one should go thru in writing.Start off toy, doing crappy tags, get dissed, learn that their is somewhat of a structure to the people who write.A heiarchy of sorts...and that you need to know your place within it. And then practice, learn to do straight letters, learn different handstyles, leanr throw ups...ON PAPER...First,...I think this is a part missing from alot of writers today..they go out and paint a bit too soon...and then master all of these forms of writing..do them all...and at the end of that process..after quite a FEW YEARS you will have a better understanding of writing. A respect for the history, a knowledge of the game, and a finely toned hand adapt at being a master. I think alot of people forget that there is a method to writing.You need to understand structure and form in letters before doing a nice, complex wildstyle piece.

All the while looking at other art to expand your horizons and incorporate some of the aesthetics of art inot your writing.And at a certain point you will get to where I am at...I give a flying fuck about none of it.I do what makes me happy..If I want to do a canvas with oils and brush and do letters and show it...I will do it, and if it is liked, cool,,if not, even cooler..I am pissing someone off in a safe environment, just like my tags do on the street. And when I paint a wall or a train or a rock, I will do what makes me feel good..not what will make me cool, not what will get my name on ther favorite writer list on 12oz...not what will come out in the mags..I will paint what I feel, completely unaware of a graffiti scene, and uncaring of it's judgement.

And if I wanted to go to art school and write...kool.

Do your own thing.Alot of people in writing have issues about some old bullshit.Alot wish they would have went to art school, instead they have kids, are mechanics and look back on their graff days as their glory years and still try and live off that fame they never had...and are jealous that those who do go to skool wind up with a tad more fame and recognition because they went to art school. But I still have a bit more respect for the raw, ill, dirty graff...I didn't go for a few reasons..my art is mine..and I don't need joe critic telling me a damn thing about it....and that is why I write..because there are no rules...it is against the

rule. And it is against the grain...at all costs.

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I agree with Cleansheets..."writing" is a better term for street bombers and whatnot, whereas graffiti could be any asshole scribbling on a wall...I'm not a big fan of realy abstract artsy styles, but some great writers have branched out into artsy stuff, like Twist for example...but unless they do the street bombing, illegal pieces, shit like that, i dont respect them as a writer. As far as I'm concerned, if you're not into the street graff culture, you should keep your stuff in a museum, cuz I don't feel real graff is art. Saying writing is art makes it conformist and acceptable to society, which in my eyes takes away the aspect of throwin your name up and sayin fuck you to anyone who doesnt get it.

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Guest INDEPENDENZA

i think graffiti as we know it (tags, throws, pieces) is still young and has to evolve, crossing boundaries... i dont think it has fully matured yet.

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Originally posted by INDEPENDENZA

i think graffiti as we know it (tags, throws, pieces) is still young and has to evolve, crossing boundaries... i dont think it has fully matured yet.

 

I don't think it's going to mature anymore than it has. Except for individual innovators, graffiti as an art form and movement is pretty static. The individual innovators don't seem to have a major affect on changing anything except for style.

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Guest imported_b0b

Kast,

 

out of interest, would you consider yourself a "writer"?

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If everyone did the same style, it would of just got played out or would of stuck to all those fuckers that think there so underground but they end up using styles and techniques that have already done. Iam glad that there has been artsy fartsy individuals experimenting with graffiti, this way it gives graf writiers something else to look at and evaluate their own skills. Ive been doing this for a while, off and on and I still sit there and evaluate my own work and feel that I have taken current techniques or styles from this person and so forth.

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Excellent posts by everyone! I'm stoked to see an intelligent thread.

 

I guess it is all a question of labelling and catagorizing art and graf. I have to agree (as I imagine everyone would) that to not do something you enjoy just because it doesn't fall into the label you hoped it would is sad. I also can see how many writers and artists aren't interested in such a debate as we are having. They just do what they want, and it is often true the over-analysis can just wreck raw inspiration. Sometimes I wish I could just do what I'm doing without thought and scrutiny.

 

But this isn't to say that I "stress" such conversations and analysis. I'm not gonna start (or perhaps stop) making and using stencils because it isn't considered graffiti.

 

Certainly is seems that "non-traditional" vandals have I bigger chance of making into the galleries than straight-up text-masters. Or do they?

 

Oh, and I just used the terminology of "Art School" cuz I heard it used for such things before. I don't think that Art School really has anything to do with non-text graffiti. Art school might give you some good ideas and techniques (and a lot of encouragement), but it won't give you creativity, and I don't know of any schools that have "Spray Paint 101".

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i think there are a lot of kids out there having nothing to do with art schools that are a lot ors than art school types.

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Originality is feared

 

Saying that someone should keep their arty work in a museum is straight up stupid.

The whole idea of Graff in my head is not about conforming to one set of rules but about going out there and pushing them to the limits.

If we as writers adopt a mentality that anything that is different is either wak and is taking our space then we are automatically boxing ourselves into a nice little corner where over time we will be smashed.

In Melbourne we have a few writers who have branched out into abstract work, one guy who does not even have a tag just does these wicked looking blobs on big walls roof tops and every little other place… And to tell you the truth people I fucking love looking at them… Often he will hook up with other writers and match paint and do collaborative works. Another guy does big ass Anarchist A’s with weird mutating shapes from them.. {my only problem is that he tends to do them over a few weeks so I’m always waiting eagerly to see the finished product} But these new styles are something we should be embracing.. Hooking up with these people and doing shit..

Not getting into turf wars or discouraging them to go out and paint…

Originality is feared:idea:

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