Tuesday, March 1, 2011

GrafFuturIsm; A Look at Graffiti’s Evolution and Progression 2011 in the Artists own words.

GrafFuturIsm put together a
post and commentary about 2011,
and where graffiti is headed.

The Question that GrafFuturIsm asked.

Coming back from Art Basel Primary Flight 2010
GrafFuturIsm was surprised firstly about
the turnout of so many talented artists in one place,
Secondly the direction it seemed many artists where taking.
GrafFuturIsm noticed a very Conceptual and
Abstract direction in many writers gallery and wall work.
GrafFuturIsm was very impressed.
GrafFuturIsm question is in this
Post-graffiti age as some like to label it,
where do you see the art form progressing and Why?
Second part to that question is how has
your personal work evolved in this current state
of post-graffiti if it has effected it at all.


Graffiti is an art form built on fast progression. If you put it in the context that 35 years ago people were still doing bubble letters and now people are creating elaborate pieces – we are still expanding on that simple idea. Letters are ripe for reinvention. The possibilities are endless for abstracting and fragmenting letter-forms. There are probably a lot of reasons for this but the one that sticks out to me especially being a NY graffiti writer is that graff has become a world wide art form and every region and country brings some of there own style into the mix. Even though you can still see the influence of NY graff all over the world there is something that other places and other people’s experience bring to the table that makes a unique individual statement and in turn pushes styles forward.

For me, I am somewhat of a purist and still truly enjoy a traditional NY style. That said, I do feel that creating my own unique style is paramount. And I, like many others feel that I have yet to do my best piece so to that I am constantly challenging myself to create new letter forms and connections that are part of my individual style while still part of the lineage of NY style. I also work primarily in collage which is not graffiti by any means but I do employ many aesthetics from graffiti and incorporate them in my collage work. Movement, colors, layering and of course letters all inform my studio work. I really try to push these ideas into new places and evolve my experience into something completely new.

SP One


First, I’d like to say that I don’t like the term post-graffiti, or post-graffiti age. I think that it is important at a time when there are many influences from other art forms: painting, sculpture, photo, design, etc, as well as the influence of media on graffiti, and vice-versa, in a cyclical fashion so that media and advertising informs graffiti, graffiti informs these things, they are adopted into media outlets (television, print campaigns, etc) and in turn reshape graffiti as a response to them, and so on and so on…it’s important to call graffiti what it is: graffiti.

If it’s illegal and it’s main focus is the letterform(s), it’s graffiti. Calling it post-graffiti takes away from the potency that graffiti has as an illegal art form. We shouldn’t feel the need to re-describe what we do in light of aesthetic changes. What is important is the urgency and power that graffiti has, regardless of the image quality. I think that is the real power of graffiti and what distinguishes it from other art forms; this, and that it is letter-based.

I think the progression of graffiti is interesting to watch. The speed at which ideas are built upon is incredible. Style choices / style homages are the normal; regionalism is less prevalent. That’s exciting to see, and also begs the question: Where do style and references come from, and is it important to ‘cite’ primary sources? To what extent does the ‘citing’ of secondary, tertiary, quaternary sources actually lead to development of new styles? Are these in fact new styles, or a sort of bastard style hybrid in which the style lineage(s) are near impossible to sight directly? Perhaps this is what is referred to as ‘post-graffiti’. Perhaps this a question to be sorted out by the graffiti historians-to-be! Half kidding, I think the recognition of graffiti as a legitimate art form will in fact lead to it’s inclusion within modern art history rhetoric.

As to my own work: it’s an exciting time to be a graffiti artist…I think it always has been though! What we do is dope, it’s ours, it’s learned on the train tracks, in the train yards and on the streets of our cities. It’s ours for the keeping! There are so many dope and inspiring writers out there. In fact, I think with the speed and progression of graffiti in this day and age, there has been a marked interest and return to “simpler”, more traditional letter forms and styles. New techniques get applied to old formats: behold, the age of the visual remix! In my own eyes, I find myself drawn more and more toward “older”, more traditional styles as I continue to write. I think the current aesthetic of graffiti embodies both a “no-holds-barred” approach with respect to color/size/inclusion of non-graffiti references, as well as a push to keep things simple: a shape-based approach to letter-making. These two things can be opposing and complementary at times, and it’s interesting to see these concepts in others work, and to feel the push and pull of each in my own. In the end, I gravitate towards the “reserved/less-is-more/dont-lay-all-your-cards-out-on-the-table” side of things.


Head over to GrafFuturIsm to read
Mare 139 and Shok 1 opinions.

Saber MSK

Related posts;
Fat Cap magazine; Handstyles series
Graffiti Alphabets: Street Fonts from Around the World (book)
A Look at Graffiti’s Evolution and
Progression 2011 in the Artists own words.

Q&A with Shoe CTK by lettercult.com

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