Amazon, “Name Tagging” and “today’s street art culture”

From time to time, Amazon sends me email advertisements for books and whatnot based on other stuff I’ve purchased from them. From my view, this is an occasionally helpful—if often useless and slightly annoying—and sometimes amusing ‘service,’ and I’ve actually purchased maybe .001% of the books that have been advertised to me in this way. […]

Guerilla Marketing

In a previous post, I briefly mentioned an advertising phenomenon known as ‘Guerilla Marketing.’ It occurs to me that this concept might prove useful as this examination of graffiti continues. In 2005, Sony hired TATS Cru to design and carry out an advertising campaign in major cities throughout the United States. Stencil graffiti and wheat-pastes […]

Ephemerality and Persistence, pt. 1

Despite the persistence of paint on the walls of the caves at Altamira and Lascaux—which are over 20,000 years old—and the writing on the walls of Pompeii, graffiti is a largely ephemeral affair. The easiest surfaces to mark (sandstone, for example) are the naturally the quickest to decay. Spraypaint fades due to sunlight, automobile exhaust, […]

Toward a Graffiti Lexicon, part 1

“Can this have been quasi-intentional, a concerted effort to obliterate meaning by scrawling graffiti on one of the theater’s most profound texts?”[1] The above quote comes from a review of Young Jean Park’s play Lear! — a sort of reworking or reimagining of the Shakespeare play — and gives a window into the common usage […]

On the need for an expanded lexicon

I’ve been writing and thinking about graffiti for over five years and I’ve repeatedly run up against the failure of language to capture the nuances of the concept. Graffiti, if we believe the dictionary, refers to “writing or drawings scribbled, scratched, or sprayed illicitly on a wall or other surface in a public place.”[1] This […]

Black-Magic Stealth Funk

From the NYT, one of the best descriptions I’ve come across in a long time: Spacious, Black-Magic Stealth Funk. As, “… in Bitches Brew Revisited, a septet led by the coronetist Graham Haynes, powered by the drummer Cindy Blackman and colored by the guitarist James Blood Ulmer, jazz became whatever it was Miles Davis intended in 1969: […]