Graffiti and Street Art - IRL memetic warriors riding a never-ending wave of drama, violence and ego

Senior Lexmechanic

See you in a couple months, maybe.
This is bullshit. Owner of an old property had to pay vandals for painting over their scribbles before selling and demolishing the building.

If they wanted money, then get a huge piece of canvas and spray it. Do it ugly enough and you'll get millions for each one.
"Fuck you for engaging in an artistic medium, you should actively contribute to the stagnation and degeneration of the culture instead!" is a very bold take.


it just goes on and on and on and on...
"Fuck you for engaging in an artistic medium, you should actively contribute to the stagnation and degeneration of the culture instead!" is a very bold take.
They didn't own the building. They hadn't even been hired to do a mural. It was a sketchy looking dump that had been tagged until probably the graffiti paint was all that kept it from falling to pieces. Demanding millions for "lost art" is stupid. Hell, by it's very nature outside murals are temporary, building are demolished, weather can wear them down, it's not like any of it is preserved. Which is why I'm saying build a huge fucking canvas, make it the size of a wall, do your graffiti there... you'll probably get more notice and actually have a chance at being studied or remembered throughout history that way. Buildings? It will be painted over, either by the owner or another tagger, or knocked down for something else to be built there, and nobody will give a shit. Your art is meaningless, it will be as forgotten as a child's chalk pavement picture.

People didn't even focus on keeping pieces of the Berlin wall because of the graffiti, it was because of the history involved with it's building and demolition. Did the artists of that demand money when it was torn down?


Tactical Autism Response Division
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This is bullshit. Owner of an old property had to pay vandals for painting over their scribbles before selling and demolishing the building.

If they wanted money, then get a huge piece of canvas and spray it. Do it ugly enough and you'll get millions for each one.
He destroyed many years of unique art in a city sanctioned space because he was greedy when that art made the neighborhood popular by driving up rents in surrounding buildings. Artists >>> rich hipsters >>> yuppies.

What this man did was a crime against culture and many people cried that day. Artists traveled from all over the world to visit that building. There are books about it. And overnight, he painted it ALL.
Why? Because the place was a landmark and was set to be protected. Can't turn it into condos and sell it off piece meal then, so he destroyed it before that was made official. He should be in jail.

People didn't even focus on keeping pieces of the Berlin wall because of the graffiti
I think you're wrong. Pieces of that wall were sold as gifts for years, I have two chunks. I chose them because they have brilliant fragments of graffiti on them.
The graffiti on the berlin wall was what made it special. It humanised an inhuman structure.

Updated the OP with new personalities, videos and links. Please feel free to suggest content.
To Do:
Nomenclature and terminology
The aesthetic hierarchy of tags
Hand style & can control
Unorthodox mediums (sculpture, wheat paste, fire extinguishers, glass etching, drones)
Elder statesmen & legendary writers
The role of graffiti in Hip-hop
The inherent duality of graffiti culture
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Tactical Autism Response Division
True & Honest Fan
Part Two: Graffiti as an expression of Hip-Hop culture.

In order to put graffiti culture in proper perspective, we have to first make sense of the culture that helped lift it to the heights it currently enjoys.
Hip-Hop was a culture centered around stylized works of poetry, dance, music and visual art. I am using the past tense because it is my belief (and should be plain for all to see) that Hip-hop was not what it is today. These days it's a massive marketing force and a major player in pop culture worldwide. Once upon a time, it was a way of life with proscribed rules for living.

It helps to look at the elements of Hip-Hop as highly stylized evolutions of roles that would have been afforded to scribes, monks, priests and musicians in traditional societies.

In an effort to simplify this massive field of discussion, I'm going to examine the etymology of the word "Hip-Hop." I think that breaking down the name of this culture into its root words and explaining the inherent meanings & connotations goes a long way towards making sense of why it is these people are doing what they are and sheds light on what the core allure of traditional Hip-Hop culture really is. Let's take it word by word.

"Hip" is what people used to call being redpilled. If you're hip, you're in the know. Shooting from the hip is something you do with confidence and items in your hip pocket are there to be used at a moment's notice.
"Hop" is a movement, a dance or a gathering (think about the old parties called 'sock hops').

Therefore, "Hip-Hop" is a gathering or movement of those in the know. Hip Hoppers can understand and process rap songs as plain english instantaneously, so what sounds like BixNood to the proles is a multilayered story to them. They understand what the graffiti says, so they can read those twisted letters. They know who was here & when they were. The impossible moves of breakdancers (consider the moonwalk) are actually all rooted in surreptitiously shifting one's weight and presenting optical illusions to the audience, who think you're some kind of magical dancing wizard because they aren't in the know. They don't know how to move, aren't hip as to how you hop.

Part Three: Basic Nomenclature and Aesthetic Hierarchy. (Optional 'Tism)

Graffiti culture has a lot of terminology that gets thrown around. I've added this third part just in case anyone would care to read up on more background info. It's not necessary, tho - skip ahead to the next part if this sort of thing doesn't interest you.

It helps to know the following:
Tags are just that. Handwritten names. How elegant and stylized that handwriting may be is a question of Handstyle. If you can consistently write in beautiful fonts, you have dope handstyle.
Throw ups (or throwies) are large, quickly drawn logos featuring all or part of the letters in the writer's Tag. Throw ups are designed to be 'thrown up' quickly and to cover large amounts of area in as little time as possible. Clever writers will design a logo that can be drawn in mere seconds using a single interconnected line. Take COLT45, for example.

In a single line, the artist draws all four letters. He starts inside the C, then loops into the top of the O, then the bottom of the L, the top of the T and finishes with a period. This is drawn in one fluid motion and the entire body must flow with the movement of the lines being drawn. It is a full body activity comparable to a dance step.
Throw ups can be outlines (referred to as 'hollows'), they can be Fill-Ins. The consistency with which the color is filled in is a testament to the writer's mettle (or an aesthetic choice - rough fill-ins are referred to as 'dusty' and are not always looked down upon). Because every second the writer spends at that wall is a risk, if he takes the time to fill in that hollow and fill it in well he is making a statement about his bravery under fire. It's hard to have a steady hand when you're full of fear and adrenaline so keeping your style consistent from tag to tag requires enough practice to have the image stored in muscle memory. Months, years of practice.

Something to remember is that every letter in your tag is a split second of risk. Taking the time to write in the three letters of your crew after you've tagged something is, on some level, a risk you are taking to honor the people in your crew.

Pieces are the next level of complexity, followed by larger pieces and murals.
It is considered an affront and a challenge to fail to remember (or choose to ignore) that Throwies go over tags and Pieces go over Throwies. Upsetting this aesthetic hierarchy is a call to war. The general rule is that if you go over someone else's work, you make sure that whatever you leave there is much better looking (this is called 'burning' the piece underneath it). Regardless, you may still find yourself the target of malice simply for the crime of going over someone (referred to as 'buffing').

"The Buff" is also used to describe what the government or property owner will do to nearly all graffiti, given enough time. The Buff is sometimes personified in conversation as a something that comes for everything, no matter how beautiful or daring.

To put it another way, if Tagging is an act that screams "I am", then buffing that tag is silencing that voice. It's a very ancient dialogue, in the sense that graffiti is short lived by nature and everyone knows how pointless it all is. Some writers will say - perhaps to remind themselves - "You're only as good as your last tag." California artist Buff Monster has been quoted as saying:
"Graffiti exists in two phases: There's the doing part, and then there's the [subsequent] painting over - the buff. So when you're doing graffiti, you're very aware that it's going to get painted over. That's why, when you're looking [for places] to put up street art, you look for a spot that's high and difficult to get to, or you look for a spot with other graffiti already there, because [these are reasons to] believe it's going to last longer."
It's all very Memento Mori. It's my belief that for those truly dedicated to it, graffiti ties into some very primal emotions, so it's no surprise things get out of hand fairly often.

This video sums up a lot of what I've just discussed.

That's the basics. I'll begin serving up characters next time around.
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Tactical Autism Response Division
True & Honest Fan
JA / Jonathan Avildsen

Jonathan Avildsen is the scion of a wealthy Hollywood family. His father directed "Rocky". Jonathan could have been anything, but he chose to become JA - The most infamous and hated graffiti bomber of all time. Armed with wealth and privilege, JA has wrought destruction mere mortals can only dream of. Arrest him all you like, his dadbux will always bail him out (and then pay his rent next week). Consequences don't really exist in JA's paradigm, so he can afford to be as prolific, wild and destructive as humanly possible. Think about that for a moment - Graffiti called to young Jonathan so loudly that not even a gilded life of pleasure in Hollywood could compare. Do you love anything that much?

From an early age, it was clear Jon was not your average bear. Here's one of his early screen tests for Karate Kid Part 3. He goes completely off script and begins to threaten Daniel-san, who is visibly intimidated:

My favorite part?
Ralph Macchio: "You don't bother me."
Jonathan: "Yeah? well you bother me, you little pussy."
Director: "...And that's a cut."
From the very start, it's safe to say that Johnathan was one to watch. In action, he's fearless and prolific. By his own admission, he prefers to load up his body with chemicals like PCP, crack and Benzos before going out on a big run. From an article on his antics in Rolling Stone:

We arrive at a spot where JA has tagged the dealer's name on a wall in his territory. The three writers buy a vial of crack and a vial of angel dust and combine them ("spacebase") in a hollowed-out Phillies blunt. JD tells me that "certain drugs will enhance your bombing," citing dust for courage and strength ("bionics"). They've also bombed on mescaline, Valium, marijuana, crack and malt liquor. SET tells a story of climbing highway poles with a spray can at 6 a.m., "all Xanaxed out."
He's also notorious for heading into train yards completely naked, wearing nothing but a mask. He's an intentional clown, but there is a philosphy and raison d'etre hidden behind all that raw insanity.

When asked about why he's such a devoted fan of the form by the noted pre-internet graff gurus at "VideoGraff", he likens it to summer camp, all while driving a mercedes with no plates and painting everything in sight whilst wearing a full suit.

Even JA's access to such things as a Mercedes are evidence of his privilege, so he goes far out of his way to prove himself anything but pampered. According to Rolling Stone:

Wherever he is, JA dominates his surroundings. With his crew, he picks the spots to hit, the stores to rack from; he controls the mission. He gives directions in the car, plans the activities, sets the mood. And he takes everything a step further than the people he's with. He climbs higher, stays awake longer, sucks deepest on the blunt, writes the most graffiti. And though he's respected by other writers for testing the limits -- he has been described to me by other writers as a king and, by way of compliment, as "the sickest guy I ever met" -- that same recklessness sometimes alienates him from the majority who don't have such a huge appetite for chaos, adrenaline, self-destruction.
Even more extreme is this clip of him speaking on the radio to DJ eclipse about getting high and painting:

It's hard to tell if he's only playing a character, because his output and reputation backs him up 110%.

To be continued.
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᚛ᚂᚐᚋᚆ ᚇᚆᚓᚐᚏᚌ ᚐᚁᚒ᚜
True & Honest Fan
A easier cheaper and quicker alternative to murals is to paint on wooden boards and attach them to Lampposts, telephone poles, trees and walls. Still see these types of things today in fact they're becoming more common as they can be painted somewhere safe then quickly erected.
cira continuity.jpg
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Tactical Autism Response Division
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A easier cheaper and quicker alternative to murals is to paint on wooden boards and attach them to Lampposts, telephone poles, trees and walls. Still see these types of things today in fact they're becoming more common as they can be painted somewhere safe then quickly erected.
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A common tactic with street artists. Some of these cats have access to ramset guns and can pound their wooden boards right into concrete.

Syaoran Li

All Punks Are Bastards
True & Honest Fan
The fact that there's an Irish gang that uses KKK iconography and call themselves Gaylords always cracks me up.
To be fair, the Gaylords stopped using KKK imagery around the same time they joined the People Nation in 1980. A lot of the white gangs and Latino gangs in Chicago were both big on Nazi and KKK iconography in the 70's, mainly for shock value.

The Maniac Latin Disciples, a mostly Puerto Rican gang, are still really big into Nazi imagery like swastikas and SS bolts. Their original founder was even nicknamed Hitler.


One of or the worlds largest graffiti piece by Saber MSK (see him sitting inside the letter B for sense of scale), then dissed by JA x Foe, then fixed by Saber.

"The full color piece took 97 gallons of paint and 35 nights spread out over the course of a year"
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Some nightmare fuel for the thread about one of the oldest and most prolific writers in NYC.



NY TIMES METRO DATELINES; Man Found Burned And a Youth Is Held

April 13, 1989

A 16-year-old youth was charged with second-degree murder last night in the death of a homeless man whose charred body was found yesterday in a burned-out lot in Coney Island, transit officials said.

The youth, Patrick McCormick, had been living on the streets, the officials said. The homeless man's identity was not known.

Transit Authority track workers discovered the body about 8:30 A.M. under the rubble from a Tuesday night fire in a lot under the elevated Brighton Beach subway station.

The suspect was also charged with first-degree arson, reckless endangerment and criminal mischief.

"Worst of the Worst" Graffiti Tagger Map Caught

By Jen Chung
Nov. 28, 2006 12:14 P.M.

Score one for the Mayor's Anti-Graffiti Task Force: The NYPD arrested 34 year old Patrick McCormick, tag Map, yesterday. McCormick was on the NYPD's 50 "Worst of the Worst" graffiti vandals list. The thing is, McCormick was arrested after smashing the window of an A train in front of a police officer, who was behind him. It was on Saturday afternoon, near the Beach 98th Street stop in Rockaway. The police suspect that McCormick was trying to destroy a rival's tag, but the head of the transit bureau James Hall said, "He broke the window so we weren't able to determine that for sure."


Hall also revealed, "He's going around scratching up windows by his own admission. During interviews with detectives he said he's done 10 windows on the N train." Hmm, maybe like the one pictured below? Anyway, according to am new York, McCormick was found with "nine cans of spray paint, six grinding rocks for scratchitti, three indelible markers, two pairs of gloves and a wax stick in McCormick's knapsack."


Now, the NY Sun reported McCormick's police history which included a manslaughter conviction in 1989 for burning a homeless man (Hall said, "This particular guy has a history of violence in addition to his artistic endeavors. It's a good arrest. It's a really good grab."). We asked a graffiti expert about the arrest:

Gothamist: Did you see that writer map got busted for breaking a window on a train, and it turns out that he had previous arrests for graf, and... homicide!
Graf Expert: Thats old news. Did it go into detail of his homicide arrest?
From what I gather, he was bombing subway tunnels many years ago, and was assaulted and raped (yes raped) by a bum in the tunnels. So map came back with a can of gasoline and set the bum on fire and burned him alive. True story.
Egads. Maybe City Councilman Vallone should use that in his anti-graffiti speeches.

Swastika drawings in Brooklyn connect to ex-con: Police
By Nicole Brown
May 8, 2017


A 44-year-old man with a lengthy rap sheet is being sought in connection to a series of swastika drawings found on garbage cans and a residential door in Brooklyn, police said.

The vandalism occurred about a year ago, but it’s only now that police have found a surveillance video of a man they believe is linked to the drawings, according to authorities.

Detectives identified the man in the video as Patrick McCormick, who has more than 50 prior arrests, dating to 1989, police said. They would not specify what the charges for those cases were.

Swastikas were drawn in white marker on the door of a residential building, a gate, two garbage can covers and a traffic control box on Avenue S, between East 35th and Ryder streets, in Marine Park, on April 25, 2016, about 4:20 a.m., police said.


Tactical Autism Response Division
True & Honest Fan
Some nightmare fuel for the thread about one of the oldest and most prolific writers in NYC.

Look at that crack-smoker's lazy eye. When I first heard about this dude I didn't believe it, people told me he carried a hammer everywhere so he could smash windows with rival tags on them. MAP is a perfect example of why you DON'T go out graf LARPing. People like this dude DO exist and can be a force of nature when encountered in the wild.

He doesn't even have style per se, just sheer audacity. His tag is just a huge ugly M, but I'll be damned if he didn't garner some real fear and respect during his heyday.