Design and the Elastic Mind

February 24, 2008 on 11:08 pm | In events and press | Comments Off on Design and the Elastic Mind


I’m very proud to announce that Graffiti Archaeology has been included in the online catalogue for the Museum of Modern Art’s new exhibit, Design and the Elastic Mind. From the catalogue:

Over the past twenty-five years, people have weathered dramatic changes in their experience of time, space, matter, and identity. Individuals cope daily with a multitude of changes in scale and pace—working across several time zones, traveling with relative ease between satellite maps and nanoscale images, and being inundated with information. Adaptability is an ancestral distinction of intelligence, but today’s instant variations in rhythm call for something stronger: elasticity, the product of adaptability plus acceleration. Design and the Elastic Mind explores the reciprocal relationship between science and design in the contemporary world by bringing together design objects and concepts that marry the most advanced scientific research with attentive consideration of human limitations, habits, and aspirations. The exhibition highlights designers’ ability to grasp momentous changes in technology, science, and history—changes that demand or reflect major adjustments in human behavior—and translate them into objects that people can actually understand and use. This Web site presents over three hundred of these works, including fifty projects that are not featured in the gallery exhibition.

The collection is packed with beautiful, thought-provoking work by some really notable artists and designers, and it’s quite an honor to be included. Major props to Eric, Mike, Tom and the gang at Stamen, who also have several other pieces in the exhibit, including the always mesmerizing Cabspotting. If you’re in New York, be sure to stop by the MoMA to see the live installation!

Bruce Tomb’s deappropriation project

January 30, 2008 on 8:13 am | In local news | Comments Off on Bruce Tomb’s deappropriation project


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 Needless to say, we love this project over here at Graffiti Archaeology!

Tomb is holding a public meeting about the project at Southern Exposure tonight at 6:30pm. It should be pretty interesting event! Many thanks to Mike K for the link.

Calligraphic Packing

January 8, 2008 on 10:36 pm | In related links | Comments Off on Calligraphic Packing


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”.

new layers: bluxome

January 5, 2008 on 9:06 pm | In site updates | Comments Off on new layers: bluxome

Top: bluxome/eastA layer 9, November 10, 2007, featuring TENFOLD, LANGO, SLOKE, and JIBS. Bottom: bluxome/eastB layer 20, December 9, 2007, featuring RIME, DRSEX, EWOK, LANGO, and STEEL.

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!

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…

new layers: harveys

November 17, 2007 on 4:12 pm | In site updates | Comments Off on new layers: harveys

harveys/north layer 8, November 10, 2007. Piece by Vulcan.

Just added two new layers to the wall at Harvey’s, featuring new work by Vulcan, both as a work in progress, and as a finished piece. This is one of the things I like about graffiti, murals and street art: their public placement often means you get to see them as they’re being created. Enjoy!

new city: Olympia, Washington!

October 21, 2007 on 8:36 pm | In site updates | Comments Off on new city: Olympia, Washington!

Shown here: olympia/capitol layer 29, August 11, 2007. Photos by Jason Taellious. Stencil artist unknown.

I’m happy to announce a brand new addition to the site: the Capitol Theater Free Wall in Olympia, Washington. This wall’s evolution is radically different from the walls I usually shoot in San Francisco. The most notable difference is the rate of change: because it is truly a free wall, there’s something new to be found almost every day. Just as remarkable is the tireless effort of photographer Jason Taellious, who has been visiting this spot every day for several months to document it.

What’s up at the moment is just 29 of nearly a hundred layers I’m in the process of cobbling together from the photos of Jason and other local photographers. But this should be enough to give a good idea of the wall’s unique character. There’s quite a lot of graffiti in the New York tradition, done at various levels of skill. There are some pretty sophisticated stencils, and the occasional wheatpaste poster. High on the wall there are roller tags, and even one made with a modified fire extinguisher. And then there are random messages scrawled, it seems, by passersby who aren’t part of any street art subculture at all. All in all, it’s quite a unique mix. And how it churns. Nothing, not even a masterpiece, seems to last more than a few days, which does prompt the occasional complaint.

If you’re looking for more information about the Capitol Theater Free Wall, the wall has its own Flickr group. Also worth seeing is this chronological slideshow.

new layers: cavern/westB

October 21, 2007 on 3:14 pm | In site updates | Comments Off on new layers: cavern/westB

Shown here: cavern/westB layer 39, October 14, 2007. Pieces by PHAZE, SAGER, AWOL, AVOID, PIERS, BREAK and KEEP.

Added five new layers to cavern/westB, bringing that wall up to date at 39 layers, and the entire site up to a total of 389 layers. This is still only a thin slice of all the photos we’ve gathered for the project. I’m in the process of building montages for several new locations in other cities. Stay tuned for lots of new stuff!

Wilkommen, Bemvindo, Welkom…

October 17, 2007 on 9:56 pm | In events and press | Comments Off on Wilkommen, Bemvindo, Welkom…

In addition to the popular blogs in English, lately I’ve been seeing a lot of links in to this site from foreign-language sites. It’s great to see how people from different cultures respond to the project. Here’s a quick roundup of recent international trackbacks:


French: pigtailbou fandart insiturb1

German: bluesbrothers sauglattismus

Italian: visionet-art

Japanese: parks12 bangchoo



Portuguese: followwe e-ventos-tecnologicos perdidonaweb


Spanish: webonauta cuartoderecha revistasebo


I’ll keep this updated as new links come up.

Graffiti Archaeology got Dugg…

October 11, 2007 on 5:38 pm | In events and press | Comments Off on Graffiti Archaeology got Dugg…


…and the Digg Effect slammed our server so hard, I couldn’t even log in to edit this blog. Whoops! Sorry folks! One of these days, we’ll get one of those shiny new cold-fusion-powered servers with infinite free bandwidth.

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