I had to wait an extra 30 minutes for a metro ride that was in the opposite direction to get to my destination, which was a spot above the Central Park North station where the meetup was supposed take place. I finally caught up with one of the pit-stops by connecting via Airbnb’s messaging platform.
In the days before Instagram, messages were sent in graffiti art.
Graffiti artists often incorporate stars and other symbols in their unique tags or signatures.
- Graffiti is always present, or almost so at intersections
The golden hour of Instagram is the intersections and crossroads. They allow more people to see the work of graffiti artists.
Graffiti art can also be temporary, as competing artists might choose to place their work over an already completed piece. It is important to maximise exposure.
- Street art came after graffiti art
Top says that “Graffiti is about characters, but street art is anything else.” This is how you can tell them apart. Graffiti is a form of art where the artist creates his own style and focuses on conveying a particular message, whether it be social, political, or personal.
Graffiti artists, unlike street artists who use stencils and other materials to create a large wall mural piece, are proud of their abilities and work exclusively with spray cans. However, you can see street and graffiti artists working together on a wall mural.
- Bombings and tagging are two different things
Tags are similar to a graffiti artist’s signature. In the same way that you add numbers to your usernames online, some graffiti artists also include symbols and numbers into their tags.
In the late 1980s, graffiti was all about fame and recognition. This led to huge tags called “bombings”. The “bombings”, which are less complex, and usually done over night, feature characters that have a solid color fill with contrasting outline.
- Graffiti is used to make political and social statements
Anti-graffiti groups prefer to refer to graffiti as vandalism in order to eliminate anti-government activists, and to eliminate political opponents that may have used graffiti to spread ideas.
- Graffiti artists like to impress other graffiti artists
During our tour we came across a graffiti wall on the side of an elevated railway track. It looked like it was impossible to reach without climbing up five floors. Top explained that the purpose of this was to impress other graffiti artists. I would not risk my life by doing so.
It is meant to shock the other graffiti artists and make them wonder how anyone could have gotten to that particular spot on a public place without being arrested.