A wonderful essay and chapter title almost 200 pages into the dense and historic Wall Writers book, penned by Shelley Leopold on artist Gordon Matta-Clark, sums up graffiti’s rise to cultural prominence: “The Evolution of Awareness.” This particular insight about a “people’s revolution” on the streets, the new movement in its infancy and poignant independence within the art world, is what makes this book, as a whole, such a profound and important read.
Gastman, along with Caleb Neelon, Trina Calderon and Chris “Freedom” Pape, along with other contributors, put graffiti in a perspective that honors its roots as well as the key movers of the era. It also tells the story of how graffiti grew from a youthful expression and pastime to a worldwide phenomenon that resonates today, but seems to evolve in new directions every few years. It’s about style and substance, but also regional flavors and heroes. It’s most powerful moments turn graffiti into folk art, a language for and by the people. “This is the bible and encyclopedia combined with the true birth of graffiti as it is known today,” Gastman told me, and at over 350 pages, this isn’t hyperbole. It’s the place to start.
Juxtapoz is extremely excited to present, along with Ace Hotel and International Documentary Association, a special screening of Wall Writers: Graffiti in its Innocence the documentary film and 350+ page companion book. The screening will take place at the Ace Hotel's theater in downtown Los Angeles on Thursday, June 23, 2016, at 8pm. And for anyone interested in the origins of graffiti, there is going to be a great panel discussion led by our good friend Cheech Marin featuring director Roger Gastman, and graffiti legends, TAKI183 and KOOL KLEPTO KIDD.
Get tickets for the screening here! More information at acehotel.com/wallwriters
Book Edited by Roger Gastman
Available now through gingkopress.com