As NYC-natives, we understand that visual artistry is the voice of the youths across many generations and cultures. Visual art, namely graffiti, is an expression of individuality, pride, and fearlessness. The graffiti scene emerged from the Bronx in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s out of the hip-hop culture. Legends like Zulu Nation and the iconic documentaries Style Wars, Wild Style, and Beat Street, all played a part in showcasing the true essence of this art form and ultimately sparked a confidence in the young generation that was often misunderstood.
Photo: National Geographic
Bombin’ became a way of life for many involved in the scene and their artistry nearly covered every blank space in NYC; bodegas walls, subway stations and trains, basketball courts and high-rise apartment buildings. The city was flooded with balloon images of the graffiti artist street names, their taglines and characters that illustrated who they were, what they represented and what they felt about the world.
Graffiti is not a crime, it is art. Period.
Today, it is called Street Art or Urban Art and similar to many provocative forms of art, graffiti being viewed as an art form has transitioned because of the times. Yes, it is still illegal to defame private property but the associated stigma has elevated from the gritty, crime-ridden streets of the Bronx into museums and galleries. The preservation of train cars, documentaries and wall displays from that era have become increasing evident not only in NYC but around the world.
Programs like The Art City Project in California and Joga Bola in Brazil, helps this generation ignite the fearlessness that the world once knew. Taking a blank canvas and throwing every emotion you have and allowing the world to see it, is a brave act and it deserves to be honored.
One of the biggest art events in the US is Miami’s Art Basel. Artists from around the world come every December to Miami to share, discuss and learn about the arts. Diversity is very important in the arts in terms of a person’s individual heritage, life experiences, thoughts, abilities and exposure. The inclusion of graffiti at this world-renowned event is good for the culture and with the help of artists like Chris Brown (singer, artist) and Ron Bass (designer, artist), this event opens up to a generation of people that may not have been exposed to it otherwise.
Photo: Art of Miami
Wall murals like this will be a landmark to towns like Overtown, FL and a representation of the passion that still lives in our favorite artists of today. Graffiti is still very much about the process as it is the message; with so much emphasis on the detail it is hard not to appreciate it.
Art will be a constant theme here at The Culture Bazaar and it will be appreciated, explored and promoted. Graffiti and its artist have found a way to pivot their image from one of danger and violence to artistic brilliance in a spray can.