Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Gangs and graffiti writers are not the same. The media likes to confuse them to build outrage in the public. Nevertheless, gang graffiti has a large influence in the writing styles of graffiti writers. This is especially true in Los Angeles where many inner city kids were first exposed to writings on the walls by local gangs.
The influence of gang writing is very apparent in both graffiti tags, as well as, pieces. For example, the letter "E" that is written like a backwards "3" in gang writing is used by many graffiti writers, of course, stylized to their own liking.
In November of 2009, Dokument Press put out a significant book titled: Cholo Writing: Latino Gang Graffiti in Los Angeles. The book begins with a forword by renowned artist, Chaz Bojorquez. He writes about the roots of Los Angeles gang graffiti and describes the origins of gangs in Los Angeles. Cholo graffiti is the style of graffiti used by Los Angeles gangs. However, as Mr. Bojorquez states it: "Cholo is much more than just graffiti. It's a lifestyle."
The book is full of pictures of gang graffiti taken in the streets of Los Angeles, as early as, 1962. Co-author/photographer, Howard Gribble describes his motivation and method for taking the pictures. He, as well, describes many of the pictures featured in the book. Co-author, Francois Chastanet describes the origins and growth of Cholo graffiti. We also get a detailed description of the meaning of each part of the graffiti blocks.
I leave you with a quote from Mr. Chastanet: "As the typeface Garamond is the image of French Renaissance, as the typeface Gill Sans is the spirit of England, Cholo writing in the same manner represents the very essence of Los Angeles, Southern California."
at 8:16 AM