If you live in San Francisco, you may have seen a certain wall on Valencia Street in the Mission district that’s been covered with posters, street art and graffiti for the past several years. The wall belongs to designer Bruce Tomb, and he’s been documenting its changes since 2001. His archives are now online at deappropriationproject.net. Needless to say, we love this project over here at Graffiti Archaeology!
What do you call a pocket full of chisel-tip markers? Calligraphic Packing! It’s also the name of a computer graphics research project from the University of Waterloo. My friend Craig Kaplan, a professor there, is a pioneer of “computational calligraphy”, a brand new research area that’s about to grow in some very interesting directions. Craig’s been interested in graffiti for a long time, for a lot of the same reasons I am. We each have our own ways of studying it, and his way is to take it apart, learn what makes it work, and write software that embodies that understanding. This project, led by Craig’s student Jie Xu, is the first step in what I hope will be a long and fruitful quest, as Craig puts it, “to probe the nature of letterforms and legibility”.
Happy 2008! One of my favorite alleys just got a fresh coat of paint. I’ve added two new layers on the first two segments of the eastern wall of Bluxome, bringing that wall completely up to date. Enjoy!