* Graffiti pl. (from Italian graffiare, “to scratch”)
1. A scribbling on an ancient wall, as in Pompeii
2. A drawing or writing scratched on a wall or other surface
The Break Down: Let us focus on the word “graffiti,” a term commonly used in reference to “Aerosol Culture” the multifaceted movement which evolves around the use of the aerosol paint can.. and to “writing’ (one of its many aspects as well as the source from which Aerosol Culture originated).
Undoubtedly, from the very beginning and quite officially, writers referred to themselves as “writers” and what they did as “writing,” for the simple fact that this is what they did. In their own unique way, they continually reinterpreted the English language to their liking as they saw fit. This terminology was complimentary to their lingo to accentuate it, and was sufficient and in tune with their acknowledgement of it as “an everyday activity.” Thus all was null and void of any urgency of “further appropriation.”
Writers have always defined themselves by and through that which they expressed, henceforth, the notion to appropriate and create a “verbal atmosphere” to describe the activities in and around it (bombing, racking, biting, piecing, hitting, etc.) as well as letter styles (softie, hump, mechanical, bar, soft bar, etc.), has been a common “practice” throughout its 25 plus years.
It was afterwards that newspaper articles surfaced referring to their writing as “graffiti,” that the terminology latched itself onto the culture as the appropriation for it, as well as stigmatizing it into an abominable controversy.
This has always been a case of the powers that be, more concerned with denouncing and attempting to obliterate something before they even attempt to understand or relate to it in any way shape or form. Their initial recourse was to take a negative approach towards it. How could they appropriate it having never cared about it to begin with? I find it ironic that people today, especially those involved in the culture refuse to recognize the magnitude of what’s taken place and what has been created by the existence of writing and this subculture.
This wasn’t like an invention or something that you painstakingly take an initiative to label or assimilate. In any event it happened naturally and instinctively. The real problem from the start is that, every time the media introduces rhetoric to the public at large, we eat it up like free chicken and buttered biscuits. It seems as if it’s not “popular” to dismiss it, they’ll just continue to abide by it.
What we need to respect and wholly understand is that this is our creation, our child, our responsibility, and not someone else’s. Whatever good it’s got coming to it, or however it should be represented or appropriated, it isn’t going to happen, if technically it’s left up to the same people who have a legacy in the practice of lying in general and relating to circumstances less associated with them and their interests, with a lot less concern or compassion for it. You’ve got to be totally out of your mind if you think even for a second that it will.
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ARTICLE: P.H.A.S.E. 2
EDITOR: La Mont Reed
IMAGE: P.H.A.S.E. 2 Art