WHAT IS GRAFFITI?
Graffiti is an Italian word that is the plural version of grafficar. Graffiti can also be connected to the Greek words grapheion and graphion. Both words derive from the word graphein, meaning, to write. Graffiti is a term used to refer to drawings, markings, scribbles, or meanings painted, written, or scratched on a flat surface. After years, the definition of the word graffiti changed. It now has a negative connotation to it. Now, graffiti is the name used for images consisting of lettering scratched, scrawled, or painted on property that does not belong to the artist. It can also be referred to as unwanted vandalism or unpleasant damage.
GRAFFITI - Historical
It has been said that the birthplace of graffiti in the United States began in Philadelphia. Two people by the name of “Cornbread and Cool Earl” are said to be the founders of graffiti during the 1960’s. Graffiti first gained popularity in New York and began as “tagging” (to write graffiti on objects, walls etc.) by simply writing a name on a street sign. As gangs (A group of people who associate regularly on a social basis) gained notoriety in the United States they began to use graffiti to mark their territory. However, eventually graffiti would grow and become a modern form of art. Graffiti would soon inspire young people to use it as a way of expression.
- · 1966-71- Tagging began in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania by Cornbread and Cool Earl.
· 1971-74- Graffiti began becoming popular. Tags became more unique and stylized
· 1972- It is said that the first piece of graffiti was created on this year.
· 1974- Designs began surrounding pieces.
· 1975-77- The “throw up” (style of graffiti in which you need two different paint layers) began to get popular.
· 1978-81- Creativity grew, and “style wars” began once again.
· 1980-Stricter enforcement caused U.S. graffiti to decrease.
· 1982-85- Laws and punishments against graffiti were stricter.
· 1985-89- Subway cars were headed for the scrap yards, so these years provided the last surge of graffiti in New York. Burners (large, multicolored graffito) and marker tags were used by writers to keep the art alive.
· 1989-Present- in the late 80’s Graffiti grew popularity in Europe.
In the late 1960’s, two men whose names were “Cornbread” and “Cool Earl” founded modern graffiti in Philadelphia. It was their way to get attention from girls. They did so by writing their names all over the city soon gaining attention from the community and the press. Graffiti then made it’s way to New York around the 1970’s where artists such as Taki 183, Julio 204, Frank 207, and Joe 136 popularized it. Taki 183 (whose real name was Demetrius) was employed as a foot messenger and took advantage of riding the subway. The subway was the place where Taki 183 practiced his “tagging” skills. Taki was the nickname Demetrius chose for himself and 183 was the name of the street he resided on. Taki 183 got this idea of tagging from Julio 204. Julio 204 was a Puerto Rican who was from a gang known as “Savage Skulls”. Taki 183 began tagging (meaning the action of one marking on a surface) his name in his neighborhood as early as 1968. Juilo never got as much fame as his successor because he did not tag his name out of his community. He also had to retire early after tagging for a few years because he was sentenced to jail for vandalism. The other taggers Frank 207 and Joe 167 followed Julio 204’s lead and their soon emerged competition. This intense competition led to the tagging on subways, walls, buildings, and other surfaces.