to you and anyone else who may check in on this thread, I would like to make two recommendations. They’re the standard, entry-level recs, but if you haven’t seen them, they’re IMO the ones that present graf the best to a general audience:
the Chalfont/Cooper book Subway Art is a fantastic visual record of what the writers could really do in at the apex of style conventions coupled with the city still not having their shit totally together to thwart them. Chalfont was a sculptor who took pictures of the whole-cars as a fan of the art, the writers introduced themselves due to his sincerity. Cooper was a professional anthropologist working as a photojournalist. Her photos were of the kids in action and her writing is neutral and unbiased. There’s a newer, oversized edition that takes out all her writing and because of that I cannot recommend it except as a companion to the original. the photos in the new edition are better, and the the new interviews are nice, but it doesn’t explain the phenomenon like the original:
Chalfont also had input on the film documentary Style Wars, which–content aside–was very ahead of its time as a piece of filmmaking, so it is enjoyable to a lay-person as well as a hip hop or graf person. the DVD release has an excellent menu with extra content and “where are they now” bits that are all triggered by buttons that are the actual writer’s tags. very dope, very well packaged. But there’s full versions of it on youtube right now, I’m sure.
I love this WMNGB doc–which I had never even heard of before–to see the infancy of the phenomenon, but also it shows a majority of white writers. As anonymous names on walls, a racist can assume it’s all done by “the other,” but it’s always been a lot of 'round the way honkies getting up.
All-out king SEEN as photographed by Cooper. An early throwie of his is briefly featured in WMNGB
The idea of tagging is really just the memification and gamification of the phenomenon of “Bobby loves Billie” found on the most prominent road overpasses throughout the midwest and etc.
“it’s like a virus…”