Tuesday, November 04, 2008

DEFinition Chapter 1: Hip-Hop and Street Art

"Writers were the loudest quiet cats you'd ever meet. Quiet in the sense that they were working without microphones. Loud in the sense that they wanted their monikers to have the same brand-name recognition - or volume - that Coca-Cola did. Kids got into graf writing for different reasons. Some felt beat down by the system and sought release through writing. Others were bored vagabonds with itchy spray-trigger fingers. Regardless of how they came to the art, it was a conscious conceit for these kids to get their names up in as many places as possible. This was what really mattered. This was where their heads were really at" (16).
A few weeks ago I dropped a post on DEFinition: The Art and Design of Hip-Hop and promised that as I was making my way through the book I'd share. Well, I've been a little busy since then, but I've made it through chapter one, which is titled Getting Up and Getting Over: Hip-Hop and Street Art. It covers the graffiti movement from 1969 right up to the present day, and shares some info on some of the hottest taggers to throw-down in the style wars that raged across the walls and subways of New York City right into the upscale art galleries. Also briefly mentioned was the movie Wild Style, one of the first (and most authentic) film that captured the spirit of the movements (MCing, turntablism, graffiti and breakdancing). The chapter doesn't stop with the traditional wall art though. It continues on with art of other sorts: paintings on canvas, ink prints, steel statues, paper collages, proving that a spray can isn't the only tool of choice for expression by these artists. Here's a sample for you:

Order a copy of DEFinition: The Art and Design of Hip-Hop to check out the rest of the pics.

And here's a cut for you to listen to from Wild Style:

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