Graffiti Art

Graffiti art in its simplest terms  was anything scribbled, sprayed, or painted ‘illegally’ on a wall or other surface, often on public property, which then gave it a certain reputation.

Art to highlight both political and social struggles. That in turn linked into certain movements and cultures at the time. Poor an disadvantaged youths where the ones spraying there message on walls trains etc, it was a means to get across the social struggles at the time. The social motives and implications of graffiti legitimised some forms of graffiti as art, arose to vandalism.

Have been researching into the 1980’s and the movement of graffiti in those years. TwA couple names came up multiple times Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring, along with Lee Quinones & Fabulous five.


Keith Haring is most recognised for his ‘Crack is back’ mural. The mural was a piece dedicated to his assistant Benny who suffered from a crack problem, at the time is was also quite a social problem in New York. He created drawings in white chalk upon these blank paper panels throughout the subway systems. He had quite a staying power of his imagery, which has become a universally recognized visual language.


Jean-Michel Basquiat brought the African-American and Latino experience to the elite art world. He was strongly graffiti based and counter cultural practice could become a fully recognized, critically embraced and celebrated artist.


Lee Quinones is a very celebrated figure both within the graffiti world and as a painter. Producing work that has social & political meanings. He joined the Fab Five graffiti group, spraying subway carts from top to bottom. He brought his art-deco style to work above the ground also, painting a handball court, with a large image of Howard the Duck. Interview with Lee about his rise through graffiti an making his staple as a painter. Lee Quinones

For Blondie’s 1981 inspired hit, Lee and Basquiat decided to take on a mainstream challenge and created the video set around her. Working together to create a video to show of the art movement at the time.

There are varying ways to graffiti.

Tagging which is to ‘Tag’ or apply your signature to any surface. Range of lettering styles from block/italic/callagraphic.

Throw Up a larger ‘Tag’. Typically painted using a variety of two to three colours.

Piece being more complex than a tag. Having a wider range of colours & greater detail in the art, racing from lettering to visual.

Blockbuster also known as a roller. Large block-shaped work, intended to cover up as much space so the other rival artists couldn’t paint over there piece easily, as well as creating statement pieces, both political & social.

Top to bottoms where works that covered an entire subway train. very popular within the 70’s in New York.

Stencil. Using a cut out. Ranging from simple cut outs to intricate pieces. Banksy uses this style today.


Images –




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