Author(s): Roger Gastman
In the scope of human history, graffiti is the only visual art form started by children to have become a globally entrenched medium. With forty years of history as an organized artistic lifestyle sport, graffiti has sprung from the neglected neighborhoods of New York and Philadelphia to cover cities on every habitable continent. It was an amazing formula: fame for your name via effort and style. In the middle of the 1980s, there was a rush of media attention focused on the movement of graffiti, as a part of the hip-hop culture that included rapping, DJing, and breakdancing. The movement immediately spread throughout the world and took immovable root across the United States. Yet despite the early rush and all of its success around the world, the written history of its expansion has remained scant, and to this day, the general public, even the educated general public, has only a faint sense of what graffiti is about, and one often clouded by misconceptions. "The History of American Graffiti" provides a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the roots of a subculture that, in the last twenty-five years, has managed to move mainstream without losing its edge. Authors Roger Gastman and Caleb Neelon have spent the better part of the last five years interviewing key figures in the graffiti world throughout American-from the bedrock cities of New York City, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles to the lesser-known, but equally important hotspots of Cleveland, Baltimore, and Phoenix. Approximately 90 percent of the art in this book has never been published, and was sourced directly from the artists who lived the scene, giving the book a raw street vibe as authentic as the history it documents.
"When the American graffiti movement emerged, it was 'outsider' art, youth art, and public art all at once. It shattered racial and economic segregation and provoked political and generational reprobation. Roger Gastman and Caleb Neelon's The History of American Graffiti is as sweeping, provocative, and monumental as the movement itself." - Jeff Chang, author, Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation