Graffiti art is known for its bright, colorful and bold writing that can be seen on subways and buildings. It also express's underlying social and political messages. It started in Philadelphia Pennsylvania during the late 1960’s by political activists, and street gangs to make statements and mark territory. It wasn't until the 1980’s when galleries began to showcase graffiti as artwork.
History of Graffiti
The modern graffiti movement began with a variety of influencers and contributors. It all started with two writers from Philadelphia that went by the names, "Cool Earl" and "Cornbread". They began expressing themselves through graffiti by painting on buildings and public property. Graffiti quickly spread through the streets of Brooklyn where it became a means of communication and competition among the subways. Friendly Freddy, an early pioneer of the graffiti movement helped establish this inter-borough competition.
Street Art Photographers and Writers
Street art photographers and writers also played a major role in the movement. In the 1980's American photo journalist Martha Cooper documented New York's graffiti in the subway system's and the birth of street art. She also collaborated with Henry Chalfant on the book, Subway Art. Subway Art documented the urban sub-culture movement of NYC. Keegan Gibbs also helped contribute to the importance of street art photography. Instead of mainly focusing on the art work itself he shifted the center of attention towards the actual artist's.
The Act of Vandalism
Graffiti may be known for its artistic style of expression but is also known for being an illegal act of vandalism. The war on vandalism began In 1984 when the New York City Transit Authority started its five year program to remove graffiti. The city has continued to tighten up security and surveillance in the movement to help eradicate graffiti throughout all five boroughs.
Graffiti still remains as a prominent form of art in urban sub culture. It is a special style of work that can take on a variety of different forms. This movement not only has made history but has changed many lives. Some may see it as vandalism as others see it as a way out.