Thursday, 17 November 2011

Graffiti 365

Graffiti 365 by Jay JSON Edlin published by Abrams

So this book was meant to arrive a few weeks ago but somehow had taken far longer to arrive than expected. Eventually it turned up, thrown through the door by the postman before he made a suspiciously fast getaway. The book arrived in one of those “sorry this package has been opened/damaged” type plastic bags that the post office have. No problem I thought as I ripped it open and had a quick scan through the pages, no obvious damage done. So I sit down to have a good look through the book and it becomes clear that this falls into the “opened” category on the plastic bag. Page after page is full of what looks like someone’s crumbs of toast. Clearly someone has had this delivered to them in error (made all the more clearer by the dodgy 4 and S on the address which makes it look like 45 instead of just 4) and they had opened the original package, had a good look through, possibly over breakfast, then thought they should do the right thing and return it. Not sure what they made of the book and what their review of the would have been but here’s mine…….

First impression is that this book is a monster both in volume and weight. With over 700 pages of photos and text, this is one hell of a book and should come with a health warning - ‘cos if you drop this then your feet are getting smashed!!

Graffiti 365 by Tarantula 235 aka Terror 161 aka JSON covers 365 artists and/or topics within the Graffiti world, ranging from the origins of New York subway graffiti writing through to the modern day Street Art. You get everything from Keith Haring to Cap, Miss Van to Seen, Shepard Fairey to Stay High 149 etc etc. From a Scottish viewpoint its good to see Elph included, even if there is a wee mistake in his hometown location.

The opening foreword and introductions by Zephyr and JSON tell us why there are a broad range of styles included and its interesting to read how JSON’s opinion of street art has been turned 360 degrees through him working on this book and immersing himself within that particular culture. However, if you’re a graffiti writer who is not already into street art then I’m not sure you are going to get that kind of experience yourself. This will probably be due to the sheer quality, and in some cases rarity, of the graffiti flicks included. Along with the numerous snippets of graffiti history if your not into street art now, then you aren’t going to give these works a second glance. For me, the images of dirty NY subway trains with early graff styles plastered over them destroy each and every street art example in this book.

Mayor Koch rockin a pilot!

The book really kicks into life when JSON takes a trip down memory lane and passes on his memories through his foreword and his brief bio of each of the early NY subway artists and/or their crews. His knowledge and enthusiasm for this jumps of the page and smacks you bang in the mouth, clearly showing where his heart lies. This gets into you and makes you jump from page to page so that you can take in the grainy old school flicks that seem to capture a certain something that for me, today’s lovely manufactured graff paint colours and crystal clear digital cameras cant compete with.

Some book are nice to look at but you may not go back to them that often. For me, I will be checking this out for a long time to come. Do yourself a favour, if you don’t already have this then grab yourself one asap. At the very least get it on your Christmas list.

Check out for an indepth interview with JSON and his work on the book.

All images grabbed from Terror 161's page over on 12oz Prophet

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

awesome!!!! love it!!!!!