Style as Superpower

September 29, 2007 on 5:06 pm | In related links | Comments Off on Style as Superpower


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)

Rediscovered by the online press

September 24, 2007 on 8:07 pm | In events and press | Comments Off on Rediscovered by the online press


laughing_squid_logo.jpg   drawn_logo.jpg

Wow! Graffiti Archaeology has been making the rounds of some very cool blogs and online magazines lately. A couple of weeks ago, we were featured on Infosthetics, a wonderful site dedicated to information design. (I’ve been a fan of their site for years!) And then this week, we got hit by the trifecta of Drawn!, Laughing Squid, and Juxtapoz. I particularly like that last one, because they really get what we’re all about, and they ask their readers to participate in the project by submitting their own photos (which they can easily do over at our Flickr group.)

Welcome, everybody! Hope the site’s not too slow from all the traffic!

new layers: cavern

September 9, 2007 on 10:38 pm | In site updates | Comments Off on new layers: cavern


Shown here: cavern/westB layer 34, August 26, 2007. Pieces by SILENCER, NOVAK, DRSK, WARF, SESTOR, BEATS, and STEEL.

Added ten new layers to various walls at the Cavern, bringing a few parts of it all the way up to date. Check out westB, north, and outside for the latest stuff. This spot has had some interesting action in the past year: it became a bit of a battleground for a few months, with lots of people dissing each other. That phase came to an abrupt end when the walls got buffed in April. Now, after a few months of tentative tags, it has started attracting full-on pieces of the highest quality. Will the trend continue? Only time will tell…

New layers: 22nd/west

September 3, 2007 on 11:12 pm | In site updates | Comments Off on New layers: 22nd/west

22nd:west layer 13. Pieces by DRAMA, STEEL and JAPAN; throwie by ESMA.

Despite the untimely destruction of the Tire Beach free wall, or perhaps because of it, other spots in SF have continued to get a lot of aerosol love. This latest update completes the death-rebirth cycle on one of the very first walls we’ve covered here, with four new layers progressing from tags and throwies up to some outstanding burners. Enjoy.

Help plan the future of Tire Beach!

August 7, 2007 on 9:13 pm | In local news | Comments Off on Help plan the future of Tire Beach!

The big paintout last weekend, and the security theater that followed, have shown that the City of San Francisco wants very much to be taken seriously in their effort to eradicate graffiti art from Warm Water Cove.

They claim to be doing this with community support.

I don’t believe that’s true.

They haven’t heard from the true community of Tire Beach: the writers, musicians, filmmakers, photographers, DJs, dancers, fringe artists, and fans who have collectively spent more time in that park than anyone else. These are the people whose watchful eyes made it a relatively safe place to be, despite unpleasant conditions and utter neglect from the city. And these are the people who, against all odds, turned this smelly armpit of a park into a place of thriving grass-roots culture. You, dear reader, may be one of these people. And the city hasn’t heard from you.

The good news is, the plan for the future of Warm Water Cove is not yet set in stone. The planners are asking for input from the community (remember, that’s you!) before they make a final proposal. Even better, we have a deadline: if we don’t speak our minds by September 25th, we’ll miss our chance.

Of course, we don’t want to just whine at them. It’s better if we can talk amongst ourselves first, and come up with some kind of coherent plan to bring back the art. Dav Yaginuma has created a discussion group so we can do that. If you have any opinion at all, please join the group. Got a great idea? Share it. Think it’s impossible? Tell us why! Even if you don’t have much to add, join anyway! Numbers can carry a lot of weight.

I’m not taking charge of this effort, or promising to see it through to any specific goal. Heck, I might wake up tomorrow and decide it was all a waste of time. But I feel that at the very least, those who care about the art need to be heard. If that’s you, go ahead and join the group, and let’s make some stuff happen!

Tire Beach redux

August 4, 2007 on 10:03 pm | In local news | Comments Off on Tire Beach redux

A volunteer works to protect the City from unauthorized Art. (Photo by Dav Yaginuma)

Well, the Tire Beach paintout has come and gone, and the walls are now a uniform dark green. I still have many thoughts I’d like to express about these events, but that’ll have to wait. In the meantime, here’s a roundup of the latest articles and postings:

The SF Chronicle 8/4/07
SFist 8/4/07
Dav Yaginuma’s blog 8/4/07
Dav Yaginuma’s photos on Flickr
interesting background on Mohammed Nuru, by Josh Wilson 8/4/07
New: Warm Water Cove Supporters (a Yahoo group. Join it and get involved!)
Laughing Squid 8/5/07
KTVU’s slideshow of pre-buff photos [carefully selected to omit all the most colorful pieces!]
SnarkyNinja writes a letter to the mayor, 8/6/07 8/7/07 (with photos of blank walls & signs)
SF Examiner 8/7/07 [note the biased language: “graffiti artists” versus “community members”.]
SFist 8/7/07 [shot of police cruiser and green wall]
Graffiti Archaeology News 8/7/07

Graffiti Archaeology’s timelapse of the eastern wall (click on “cove/eastZ”).
Photos in our Flickr group tagged with “Tire Beach” discussion 7/25/07
SFist 7/30/07
Chicken John 8/3/07
SF Chronicle 8/3/07
SF Examiner 8/3/07
Graffiti Archaeology News 8/3/07

I’ll update this list as I find new links.

The end of Tire Beach?

August 3, 2007 on 3:46 pm | In local news | Comments Off on The end of Tire Beach?

I don’t normally like to inject my personal opinion into the discussions around Graffiti Archaeology, because I like to think of the project as having a neutral attitude towards graffiti: not pro- or anti-, but merely documenting what occurs. I also don’t like to say too much about specific places, because I value the discretion that allows them to stay interesting (to me) as graffiti spots.

But it looks like in the case of Tire Beach, the cat is not only out of the bag, but is actively clawing up your sofa. So I’m going to break both of these rules in one post, in the hopes of doing some good.

In case you haven’t already heard the news: a well-meaning group of folks are getting ready to “reclaim” Warm Water Cove, aka Toxic Tire Beach, this Saturday, August 4th, at 9am. Their aims are twofold: clean up the park itself (pull weeds, remove trash, etc.) and paint over all of the graffiti. In their call for participation, they equate weeds, trash, and “graffiti vandalism”, as if these things were somehow one and the same. (The unstated assumption being that graffiti equals danger.) I beg to differ. The weeds and trash can go, but the constantly changing graffiti art on the walls is pretty much the only thing this park has to recommend it. In fact, I’ll go one step further and say that the graffiti is one of the few things that keeps the park safe.

Continue reading The end of Tire Beach?…

new layers: 19th and Mission wall

June 10, 2007 on 6:48 pm | In site updates | Comments Off on new layers: 19th and Mission wall

Shown here: 19th/north 10, June 10, 2007. Pieces by CUBA, KING157, JELOE, π, JASE, TWICK, YOUTH, NATE, BUTER, PEZ and VOGUE.

For a while there I thought the legal wall on 19th and Mission was gone for good. Someone, new owners maybe, had buffed the outstanding BA Crew production with the Chor Boogie characters from 2005, and the blank green wall became a target for tags and throwies. But now it’s recovered some of its former glory with a who’s who of local greats, and even a Dream dedication by King157. Check it out!

reconstructing a wall from video

June 9, 2007 on 5:10 pm | In local news | Comments Off on reconstructing a wall from video

reconstructed from video

Originally uploaded by otherthings.

Yesterday I met a filmmaker named Dean Mermell, who shot several pieces of footage at one of my favorite walls back in 2002. I was able to reconstruct part of the wall from this video. This is just a rough stitch for now, but hopefully I’ll get my hands on some more detailed footage later!

Best viewed at full size.

Graffiti Archaeology in Archaeology Magazine!

June 7, 2007 on 1:00 am | In events and press | Comments Off on Graffiti Archaeology in Archaeology Magazine!

Graffiti Archaeology in Archaeology Magazine!
Originally uploaded by otherthings.

The July/August 2007 issue of Archaeology Magazine features a four-page article about Graffiti Archaeology. It’s by far the most thorough, in-depth article anyone has ever written about the project, with tons of images, and interviews with real archaeologists to get their take on it. I could not possibly be more proud.

June 15 Update: The article is now online. Enjoy!

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