Historic graffiti mural discovered in Manhattan building

December 12, 2007 on 10:41 pm | In global news | Comments Off on Historic graffiti mural discovered in Manhattan building



Here’s an interesting article about some real graffiti archaeology! Apparently the son of a loft owner in SoHo discovered some old-school tags by some of the greats of the 80’s scene on a hidden wall in his building. Now a team of conservators is treating the wall like an archaeological dig, carefully extracting the portion of wall with the tags on it, which will be exhibited Thursday night in a gallery alongside work by Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Kenny Scharf, Ero and Fab 5 Freddy.

Click here for video. (warning: opens new window, has ads.)

(Via Graffiti News. Entire article after the jump.)

Continue reading Historic graffiti mural discovered in Manhattan building…

Love those layers…

January 14, 2007 on 12:30 am | In global news | Comments Off on Love those layers…

NATE Milan Italy

Originally uploaded by jim and karla murray.

Check out these photos of the work of NATE from Milan, Italy. Apparently he does this by selectively cutting away each individual layer on a wall plastered with years’ worth of posters. It’s like a physical manifestation of what we do at Graffiti Archaeology, using an x-acto knife instead of Flash!

(via the photostream of Jim and Karla Murray, authors of two excellent books on New York graffiti: Burning New York and Broken Windows: Graffiti NYC.)

The Golden Age of Gang Graffiti

January 3, 2007 on 7:16 am | In global news | Comments Off on The Golden Age of Gang Graffiti

Florencia ’71. Photo by KID DEUCE.

The most frequent question I get asked by strangers, when I tell them I’m interested in graffiti, is “isn’t that stuff all gang-related?” It’s hard sometimes to explain the difference between gang graffiti and the graf culture that emerged from the hip hop movement, though the difference is obvious to anyone who pays attention. I’m usually forced to sum it up with a broad generalization like “you can tell gang graffiti by the lack of artistry.”

That quip may be largely true these days in San Francisco, but it was not always so. Flickr user KID DEUCE has just posted an amazing set of photos of classic gang tags from East LA in the 1970’s. The calligraphy in some of these is stunning. You can see the origins of Chaz’s Cholo style here, and at the same time, you can see where SF gang graf got some of its basic ideas, even though it has lost most of the style. Check it out.

Update: Two new links on this subject. There’s Rekoe’s photoset of Chicano tags, shot by Gusmano Cesaretti, and also a great set of murals on BrownPride.com.

(via Wooster Collective.)

Happy New Year!

January 1, 2007 on 7:54 pm | In global news | Comments Off on Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Originally uploaded by otherthings.

A little holiday sentiment, brought to you by Kode HTK of San Francisco. Look for lots of exciting new stuff to appear in this spot in the coming year!

Lessons from 11 Spring

December 27, 2006 on 10:18 am | In global news | Comments Off on Lessons from 11 Spring

Silver blockbuster by DYM. Photos in this layer by ireallylovecake.

The “grand closing” at 11 Spring has come and gone, and countless layers of art have been born and buried. The consensus from those who made it to the event is overwhelmingly positive, and you can feel those good vibes all the way out here on the west coast.

The exterior walls saw a lot of action, especially during the days of the event itself, and people took thousands of photos. This is great news for Graffiti Archaeology! You’ll be seeing the results up here on the site very soon.

One moment everyone is talking about is when two writers from the DYM Crew came by early one morning and painted a giant silver blockbuster across the whole western wall, obliterating years’ worth of work underneath. This was controversial to say the least, but it was without a doubt a bold move on their part. Rather than discuss it here, I’d like to point out a couple of excellent blog posts that go into the details of what happened when, and why.

First is A Blog Soup‘s post, which is an amazing piece of citizen journalism: packed with videos, photos, first-person accounts from passersby and neighbors, and detailed comments from both HOST18 and Wooster Collective’s Marc Schiller. It’s worth reading all the way to the bottom to get a really three-dimensional picture of what happened.

The second is Jake Dobkin’s thoughtful analysis of how these walls ended up a complete mess, and why. His reference to the “tragedy of the commons” is spot on. For further discussion, see the comments on this photo, or the 11 Spring group on Flickr.

A video tour of 11 Spring

November 27, 2006 on 4:06 pm | In global news | Comments Off on A video tour of 11 Spring

The Candle Building

The news about 11 Spring keeps rolling in! I was just in New York for a week, and happened to be staying within walking distance, so I was able to stop by a few times. Each trip was rewarded with something new, sometimes big (like Skewville’s amazing Grand Closing installation) and other times small (like Mark Jenkins’ almost invisible packing tape baby).

Meanwhile, Michael Natale over at GammaBlog has put together a really nice video about the building, using Flash to combine his own photos with others’ (including one of mine) for a sort of audiovisual guided tour, complete with narration and mood music. I’ve always wanted to build some kind of tool for telling stories, building linear narratives that weave through time and space, within the grafarc interface. Mike’s video proves that a guided tour can be quite compelling when done well! It’s also a great example of Creative Commons licensing and remix culture at its best.

Look for more updates and new walls in the coming months.

NYT article about 11 Spring, NYC

October 17, 2006 on 9:00 am | In global news | Comments Off on NYT article about 11 Spring, NYC

photo by James Estrin/The New York Times.

There’s an interesting article in the New York Times about the Candle Building, aka 11 Spring Street in NYC. Members of our Graffiti Archaeology group on Flickr have been documenting the changing street art on the outside of the building for a couple of years now (see the 11spring tag for examples.) It sounds like some big changes are coming. I’ll be heading back there again in November myself. Hope the art hasn’t been completely destroyed by then!

(via Wooster Collective).

Continue reading NYT article about 11 Spring, NYC…

Brooklyn Museum seeks bklyn graf flicks

July 2, 2006 on 6:39 pm | In global news | Comments Off on Brooklyn Museum seeks bklyn graf flicks

An interesting message was posted in our Flickr group, and I thought I’d repost it here:

The Brooklyn Museum has a great new Graffiti show running through Sept 30. We’ve created a new group and are asking for all Brooklyn Graffiti photos… so join our group and send your photos to the group stream!

Here’s the group:

More about the show:

More about our projects on Flickr:

I grew up in an apartment building across the street from the Brooklyn Museum. The subway train I took to school every day was covered with graffiti inside and out. Now the graffiti has moved into the museum itself. Funny how things come full circle!

Street Animation

June 11, 2006 on 11:58 pm | In global news | Comments Off on Street Animation


“Virus” by Baptiste Buonomo

Check this out: Baptiste Buonomo, an animation student from EMCA in Angoulême, France, has made an animated short about graffiti called Virus. The fun starts with a live action shot of a kid in a hoodie tagging “virus” on an old plaster wall. The kid exits, and the tag grows, multiplies, and morphs into a simple cartoon version of him, which then starts running around the town’s walls making mischief. This may not sound like anything special, until you realize how it must have been done: it looks like every frame of animation was actually painted directly on the wall itself, in the middle of the night. This meant erasing the old frames before painting each new one, a technique also known as “painting under the camera”. You can see the ghosts left behind from earlier frames in the image above. It must have taken hours of work!

If this is what it looks like, it may well be the first ever example of underground, unpermitted street animation. Whatever you call it, it took a lot of guts! Monsieur Buonomo, my hat is off to you. Click here to see the video (RealPlayer format).

For another example of animated graffiti, see: Barnstormers Spread the Know.

Timelapse Geology

January 7, 2006 on 12:22 pm | In global news | Comments Off on Timelapse Geology

Sorry for the lack of updates recently: our server got hacked over the holidays, and it’s taken us a while to get all the pieces back together again.

Here’s one very cool thing that came to my attention recently: it’s a map of the alluvial valley of the Mississippi River, showing how the course of the river has changed over hundreds (thousands?) of years.

Each color represents a different moment in the river’s long history, and the images are layered up so you can see it all at a glance. What a great idea! I wish I could say I came up with it first, but these maps were drawn up by Harold N. Fisk in 1944. If you’d like to see the whole thing in more detail, there’s a high-resolution version (4 MB, 1000×5871 pixels!) on Flickr.

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