I haven’t yet read Christian Acker’s new book “Handselecta: Flip the Script”, but from what I’ve seen, it looks like a thorough, scholarly, and invaluable piece of work. He’s compiled hundreds of interviews, tags, and alphabet samples from writers across the US, in a grand taxonomy and analysis of regional handstyles, the roots of all graffiti culture. I can’t wait to read it, and I’ll be first in line when he comes to San Francisco to speak.
If you’re as into this stuff as I am, you might want to show your support.
Senseless Drawing Bot:
Berlin-based artist Sweza has started an interesting project: on walls that have been buffed, he pastes up a QR code that links back to a photo of whatever was there before. Sort of a virtual geocached spin on the Graffiti Archaeology meme, one layer at a time: GRAFFYARD.
(via Art Crimes)
This video, by Arnaud Jourdain, documents five years of the history of a graffiti wall in Paris dedicated to Serge Gainsbourg. What’s brilliant is the way he does it: instead of just playing back the photos in series, he isolates each individual tag, puts it on its own layer, and explodes the whole glorious mess out into space with 3D animation. It’s a beautiful, fresh take on the Graffiti Archaeology meme. The wall itself, with love notes and other hommages interspersed among the tags and wheatpastes, reminds me of the John Lennon wall in Prague.
Updates have been kinda slow on the site lately, mostly due to this new project I’ve been working on (see above). This is not a personal blog, but I had to post this shot here because of the sweet T-shirt Nate1 sent us from New Skool. Go check out his other wares, there are some excellent designs (I especially love the Krylon and headphones shirts!) Thanks Nate!
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”.
There’s always been a strange connection between the graf world and the world of superheroes. Maybe it’s the secret identities, or the way things tend to happen at night. Jonathan Lethem brought out a piece of it in his novel The Fortress of Solitude, which is really worth reading. Now there’s a group of animators approaching the same idea from another angle: a hiphop/anime hero who can absorb energy from graffiti walls, and use the style to fight his enemies. Check out the teaser video: Blokhedz. Arrow fight! Gotta love it.
(via Cartoon Brew)
Original photo by Jimski
I could be describing Graffiti Archaeology here, but I’m actually talking about something entirely different: an excellent post on the Pruned blog. You know those cryptic fluorescent markings you see on streets and sidewalks all over town? They’re surveyors’ marks, and if you know how to read them, they’re a map to all kinds of subterranean structures. Read on.
(Thanks to nix for this link.)
Regenerative Graffiti is an experimental project, is all about create new shapes of Graffiti from previous Graffiti artworks. This mutant process starts with the idea to keep alive the previous Artist’s soul, otherwise completely deleted and would likes experimenting new figures from recycling and reinterpreting Graffiti.
Regenerative Graffiti regenerates color schemes, new visual patterns and reinvent new composition, makes abstract shapes and reinvents the visual urban landscape over time.
He also credits Graffiti Archaeology as being an inspiration for the project. I can’t wait to see what he does next with it!
When I first designed this site, I spent a bit of time hunting around for fonts to use for the main logo. I considered using a “graffiti” font, but the few that were available were very disappointing. So I’m glad to hear that there’s now a type foundry that’s doing the job right: Handselecta. Their fonts are based on the handstyles of real writers like Giant, Mene One, and Espo, each one a collaboration between the writer and the font designer. Their aim is to bring the diversity of different cities’ characteristic handstyle traditions into the world of type.
PingMag has an excellent interview with Christian Acker, the foundry’s founder, full of choice quotes like this one on the relation between calligraphy and typography:
Type doesn’t replace calligraphy. But then it doesn’t intend to either. Type is a different practice. While calligraphy demands a rigor and practice of form it is also about the freedom of form and handwritten quality. Type design is about finding the ideal of each letterform, so that when letters are repeated they create a rhythm and color distinct and natural to each typeface.