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Graffiti PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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“Derived from the Italian sgraffito, meaning to scratch, graffiti has been around since the beginning of mankind. Pictures, such as those at the Lascaux Caves in France, were mostly carved into the cave walls with bones or stones, but early man also anticipated the stencil and spray technique, blowing coloured powder through hollow bones around his hands to make silhouettes.” --- Nicholas Ganz, Graffiti World

Lascaux caves

Lascaux Caves

The alexamenos graffito

The Alexamenos graffito

Carved into wall on the Palatine Hill in Rome, somewhere between the 1st and 3rd centuries C.E. --- This is one of the earliest depicitions of Jesus’ Crucifixion and quite possibly the oldest example of graffiti as it is currently understood.

Politics and paint

Politics and Paint

“[D]uringthe Second World War, the Nazi’s used writing on walls for their propaganda machines to stir up hatred towards Jews and dissidents. However, Graffiti was also important for resistance movements as a way of publicizing their protests to the general public.” --- Ganz, Graffiti World

The beginnings of modern graffiti

The Beginnings of Modern Graffiti

Kilroy became a graffiti phenomenon that followed American servicemen during WWII and followed them home after the conflict ended.


The tag “Frodo Lives” has political meaning and became popular during the 1960’s and 1970’s

The graffiti r evolution

The Graffiti (R)Evolution

The Culprits

Hip Hop

Aerosol Spray Paint

Graffiti on film

Graffiti On film


Basic terminology

Basic Terminology

  • Throw up: A quick piece sometimes plain and sometimes complicated but much less so than a burner.

  • Burner: A large mural like piece often incorporating both script, images as well as pop culture and political themes.

  • Tag: A relatively simple script or symbol, that can be executed with paint, markers, stickers or by engraving. Arguably, the least artistically skillful form of graffiti, often performed free hand.

Terminology continued

Terminology continued

  • Wild Style: The name given to the flamboyant yet cryptic script style that is characteristic to modern graffiti art.

  • Crew: A group of graffiti artists that often collaborate and/or compete against other crews.

  • Getting up: The actual act of gaining access to, and executing a piece, on a wall, train, or other surface. The performance piece of writing.

Throw up

Throw UP





Wild style

Wild Style



Getting up

“Getting UP”


Notes on the local scene

Notes on the Local SCene

Survival of the illest

Survival of the “Illest”

  • “[T]he anti-graffiti strategy — deploying crews called graffiti blasters to quickly erase or blot out painted surfaces — has imposed a kind of natural-selection process in the graffiti subculture. By discouraging all but the shrewdest and most determined practitioners, the city and county have inadvertently contributed to making Chicago a vibrant hub of graffiti activity, according to experts.

    ‘It made Chicago graffiti an aggressive and competitive sport,’ said Sebastian Napoli, 32, who began writing graffiti around the city in the 1990s when writers called Chicago ‘the chocolate city’ after the brown paint used to cover their work.  The enforcement efforts ‘weeded out guys that get up once or twice and tried to call themselves writers,’ Mr. Napoli said.” --- Meribah Knight , “Crackdown Feeds a Flourishing World of Graffiti”, New York Times March 19, 2011.



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