By: Liz Gogerly
Publisher: Lerner Publications
Publication Date: March 2012
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: March 2012
Graffiti art is a hot topic in more ways than one. The art community, both street and gallery, has been wowed by this art form. On the other hand, there are "opponents of graffiti [who] think it is a form of vandalism that ruins the urban environment." Chances are you've already formed your own opinion, especially if you're anxious to create your own tag. The word "graffiti" actually means "scratched." Graffiti is nothing new and in fact examples can be found on numerous ancient ruins around the world. Its modern resurgence began on the streets and has given "ordinary people the power to deliver a message or share their thoughts in a visual way." Hot or not…what do you think?
Graffiti artists have their own lingo. You probably know what a stencil is, but the term "throw-up" might just make you think of something else. Ugh! The history of graffiti in the United States goes back decades, but perhaps the most memorable originated in the 1970s and was associated with the hip-hop culture. If you're a die-hard fan of graffiti you'll be pleased when you read an interview with Stuart Styles, a "commercial graffiti artist who runs his own urban art business." How cool can that be? You'll also learn about the elusive artist, Banksy, the big debate over graffiti, you'll meet Mathangi "Maya" Arulpragasam, you'll learn about the different styles, (etching, tagging, stenciling, and spray painting), you can check out a way to make your own tag, and you'll learn many other interesting things about graffiti culture.
The bright, vibrant layout of the book has great eye appeal with photographs, graffiti reproductions, and colorful background. The slightly "forbidden" aspect of graffiti will appeal to the young reader, but once they get into the history and take a look at the cultural aspects of the art, they'll want to create their own. They may have seen some examples of it while they surfed the net and never realized its origins began with graffiti. For example, pictures of "yarn bombing" are all over the Internet. There is an interesting section on Spray-Can Speak and a glossary that will help with the lingo. In the back of the book is an index and additional recommended book and website resources to explore.
Quill says: This is a fascinating look at one of the hottest topics in the urban environment, graffiti art.
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