What’s keeping me busy

May 26, 2009 on 6:36 am | In related links | 1 Comment

My Mom is Fly

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!

Bay Area Graffiti, the book

January 28, 2009 on 12:09 am | In local news | Comments Off on Bay Area Graffiti, the book


Photographer Steve Rotman (better known online as funkandjazz) has just released his much anticipated book, Bay Area Graffiti. It’s the first book ever to document the San Francisco Bay Area’s vibrant graffiti scene. Steve’s been a good friend and contributor to Graffiti Archaeology for years now, and his work is consistently the best of the best. Get the book! You won’t be disappointed.

If you’re local, there will be a book release party on February 6th, from 4 to 9pm, at 111 Minna, and on the walls will be artwork from a number of writers featured in the book. Don’t miss it!

more new layers: bluxome

October 16, 2008 on 10:49 pm | In site updates | Comments Off on more new layers: bluxome

Shown here: bluxome/eastA layer 14, October 5, 2008; piece by CHEZ.

Right next to Apex’s new piece is another huge, intensely detailed burner by CHEZ. Once again I was lucky enough to capture several stages of the work in progress to share with you here. Chez’s way of working with color here is something I haven’t seen before: overlaying a white-on-black backlayer with transparent colors for the fill. Check it out!

new layers: Bluxome

October 11, 2008 on 9:57 pm | In site updates | Comments Off on new layers: Bluxome


Apex has just finished an incredibly ambitious piece in the center of the Bluxome wall back here in San Francisco. It’s a third of a block long, and he used over five hundred different colors of paint to create it. It took him almost three months to finish, so I was able to catch several stages of the work in progress. I particularly enjoyed seeing the layering of color on color for the fill, and how he used the blank parts of the wall as a sketchbook for trying out different ideas. Check it out.

Pixação vs. Graffiti in São Paulo

September 12, 2008 on 8:28 am | In global news | 2 Comments


Just weeks after the legalization of graffiti (and re-criminalization of pixação) in Brazil, there’s more news on the split between these two subcultures. Some pixadores were not too happy with the commodification of street art, so they got together to tag up an entire gallery, walls, paintings, prints and all. Read on to see the flyer they distributed to organize the event. (Via Wooster Collective.)

Update: Wooster Collective got the photos from the Gallery’s Flickr stream, and if you follow that link you can see a long list of comments from Brazilians who are fans of either pixação or graffiti/street art. There may be some interesting discussions brewing in there, so if I find any choice bits I’ll try to post translations here later.

Continue reading Pixação vs. Graffiti in São Paulo…

Undercroft saved by the Prime Minister’s office?

September 10, 2008 on 1:43 am | In global news | Comments Off on Undercroft saved by the Prime Minister’s office?

A recent edit to the Wikipedia entry for “Queen Elizabeth Hall” added mention of the Undercroft, and Graffiti Archaeology’s coverage of it. Also linked is an article in Time Out London that credits the Prime Minister’s office with saving the Undercroft from development into shops:

Are some government ministers secret skateboarders? We think they must be. Back in January, we reported on rumours that the underpass of the Queen Elizabeth Hall on the South Bank was set to be developed into retail outlets.

Last month Downing Street responded to the campaign with a statement that read: ‘The Southbank Centre (SBC) is an independent arts organisation and decisions about the undercroft are a matter for them. [But] any activity that engages young people can have a positive impact on society, and the skateboarding community that has grown up around the undercroft has brought together people from various backgrounds, created a vibrant public space and added real value to the lives of many young people.’

London’s skaters are delighted. ‘It’s rad, obviously,’ says skateboarder Ninian Doff. ‘If skaters left the South Bank now, it’d be like the Tower losing its ravens – the place would crumble.’

The next battle for the skaters is to get the area returned to the size it was before the SBC boarded up two thirds of it to use as storage during the redevelopment of the Royal Festival Hall.

Also be sure to set aside 23 minutes of your day to check out this excellent documentary about the space. It succeeds wonderfully at explaining why a shared public space like this, with its own organically-grown street culture, is so important to the life of any city.

(found via this photo on Flickr.)

Graffiti Archaeology on Systm

September 1, 2008 on 10:02 pm | In events and press | Comments Off on Graffiti Archaeology on Systm

Last week I had the pleasure of stopping by the studio of a local web-TV station to do an interview for Systm, the “Do It Yourself show for the common geek”. It was great fun, and the long format (30 minutes or so) made it easy to get into a bit more detail about the project. (Maybe too much detail… you tell me.) I also did a little demo of our photo-stitching process. So if you’ve been wondering about the nuts and bolts of how all this gets done, now’s your chance to find out! (You can watch the embedded video above, or visit Systm’s site to download it in high-def goodness.)

“Graffiti” to be legalized in Brazil?

August 27, 2008 on 11:17 pm | In global news | 2 Comments

Last week a law was passed in Brazil legalizing graffiti. But this doesn’t mean exactly what you may think. In Brazil, “graffiti” (grafite in Portuguese) refers not so much to the entire hip hop tradition of writing, but more specifically to colorful pieces, characters, abstractions, and other painted street art. In everyday speech, it’s often contrasted against pichação, which is Brazil’s home-grown style of tagging, so named because its first practicioners used tar (piche) stolen from construction sites. The semantic distinction echoes a sentiment I often hear here in the US: “I like the artistic stuff, but not, you know, those ugly scribbles.”

This distinction is part of what’s being put into law. What’s interesting about this law is that it appears to recognize the artistic and cultural value of the graffiti itself, not just the monetary value of the property it’s painted on. How will this play out in practice, I wonder?

Meanwhile, elsewhere in Brazil, graffiti is being taught in schools, recognized in an International Biennial, and receiving special protection from the buff. Sounds like a pretty civilized country to me.

Props and muito obrigado to Raquel Rabbit for the link, and for helping me out with the subtleties of Brazilian Portuguese. Read on for my poor (but better than Google’s) English translation of the first article above:
Continue reading “Graffiti” to be legalized in Brazil?…

new layers: Undercroft

May 31, 2008 on 4:25 pm | In site updates | Comments Off on new layers: Undercroft

The permissions continue to roll in for photos of London’s Undercroft. This week three more people have filled in some gaps in the timeline by contributing their photos: Dancing Fish, Patrick John Quinn, and Hatters! This brings the total depth up to 32 layers for panel2, and 25 layers for panel3, spanning a period of almost two years. Thank you all!

More layers and more walls to come. Stay tuned.

new wall: undercroft/panel2

May 20, 2008 on 8:55 pm | In site updates | Comments Off on new wall: undercroft/panel2

Shown here: undercroft/panel2 layer 27 of 28, May 3 2008. Photo by meophamman.

The great jigsaw puzzle of London’s amazing Undercroft skatepark continues to occupy many of my hours these days, thanks to the incredible wealth of photos available on Flickr, and the generosity of all the photographers who have allowed us to reuse them here. This week’s offering: 28 layers on the new wall “panel2”, plus an additional four on “panel3”. (Don’t ask about the numbering scheme—it makes sense to me, but it’s completely arbitrary.) The list of contributing photographers here is almost as long as the wall itself: Pierre Andrews, bryans_d80, Paul Carstairs, Jason Delport, Matthew Gidley, Michael Godek, Samuel Judge, Amit Kanekal, Will King, Leeks, meophamman, RedLeeroy, Roberta (retrotravelbug), Romanywg, and thirtyfootscrew. And that’s just the people who responded within the first 48 hours of my request for permission! There are many others out there, and I’ll continue to post their contributions as the permissions come in.

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