COMMENT OF THE DAY: AND ALL CATS ARE GRAY IN THE DARK “Also, as an aesthetic aside, is it some sort of tradition, or just the mechanics of writing with a spray can, that all graffiti, no matter where, seems to have the same writing style (the font, as it were) ?” [Dave, commenting on Playing Townhouse Tag in the Near Northside]
Both. Early writers in New York City imitated the lettering in the comics of Vaughn Bode, who did those stylized, balloon-like, heavily-outlined letters in his comics from the late 60s and early 70s. (Older folks might remember his comics in National Lampoon magazine.) Many of Bode’s cartoon characters also were used in early graffiti pieces.
But I suspect that the reason they imitated Bode’s display lettering was that it was worked really well with spray paint. The bold broad areas of color, the rounded edges–these are tailor-made for spray-paint.
Just like hip hop has traditions and tropes that extend back decades (I heard on the radio that Kurtis Blow just turned 50), likewise graffiti writers in Houston are carrying on traditions that were started in the mid-1970s by young, artistically-talented juvenile delinquents in NYC.
Great post, RWB. This is when I want blogs to have a Facebook-style “like” function.