Synopses & Reviews
Long before graffiti was adopted as the visual expression of hip-hop culture in the 1980s, Chicano gang members in East Los Angeles had been developing stylized calligraphy and writing on walls. Cholo
(gangster) scripts became the first distinctive letter forms to evolve in the modern vernacular tradition of graffiti writing. Today Los Angeles writers of diverse backgrounds draw from a unique confluence of cultures that has led to regionally distinctive styles.
Graffiti L.A. provides a comprehensive and visual history of graffiti in Los Angeles, as well as an in-depth examination of the myriad styles and techniques used by writers today. Complementing the main text, interviews with L.A.'s most prolific and infamous writers provide insight into the lives of these fugitive artists. Essential to the understanding of the development of the graffiti movement, this book will be an invaluable source to graffiti fans around the world.
"The culmination of author and photographer Grody's 17-year obsession, this stunning examination of Los Angeles street art should prove to be a definitive work on the subject. Beginning in the 1930s, when stylized calligraphic writing (often called 'Old English') was first used by Latino gangs to mark territories, Grody quickly moves on to the art form's explosion in the '80s, when four distinct forms were spreading throughout the city: tags, a name in stylized script; throw-ups, one-color designs quickly applied; pieces, more elaborate and colorful efforts; and productions, a collection of pieces. The book truly takes off among the hundreds of beautifully photographed pieces Grody offers, along with testimony from the artists and 'crews' who created them. Grody describes the anatomy of a piece, crew dynamics and the politics of what is still an illegal art form, but knows when to step back and let the artists speak for themselves; he elicits comments on everything from overcoming early technical obstacles to close calls-both with cops and injury-to the history and meaning behind their art. The importance of Grody's work-as in any other street art roundup-is in capturing these short-lived pieces before they're inevitably defaced by rivals or painted over by the authorities; what makes this beautiful book stand out is the way Grody completes his vibrant picture with the voices of the street artists themselves. CD-ROM included." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
Steve Grody saw spray can art begin to appear around Los Angeless streets and walls in the 1980s and immediately recognized its creativity and verve. Since 1990, he has been driving across Los Angeles searching its back alleys, washes, and abandoned lots for this vernacular art. James Prigoff coauthored the bestselling Spraycan Art in 1987. He lectures and writes extensively on graffiti art.