Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Get Up Arizona | Graffiti

Every Arizonan has differing opinions about writers, bombers, or taggers, and you may view them as criminals and vandals instead of artists. But, no matter what you think of them, just like most other states in America, Arizona has it's share of so-called, graffiti "artists".

Also, like everywhere else in the United States, the larger the size of the city, the larger the volume of graffiti. As such, if you live in Phoenix, Arizona's most-populated metropolitan area, you can't travel anywhere without something being covered in graffiti.

So, I thought I would link to the following documentary film about graffiti in Arizona in order to possibly get a better understanding of why writers, bombers, taggers, or "graffiti artists" do what they do. I'll leave it to you to decide whether it should be considered crime, or be considered art.

According to the filmakers -
In the Valley of the Sun, two hip-hop heads set out on a mission to document some of the illest graffiti and street art in their state. Along with photo and film contributions from other artists, they put together a kaleidoscope of graffiti art footage and photos, live legal and illegal painting, interviews, hilarious run-ins with street-folk, a graffiti animation featuring real graff art from local writers, Arizona issues and culture, old PSA's and local news reports on the AZ graffiti scene, live local B-Boys, Poppers n Lockers, MCs and DJs, scraps, and all other types of insanity! Scouring all over the valley, the two captured some of the best images of graffiti art from pieces, throw-ups, and characters, to stickers and tags and even some stencil and wheat-paste art.

All of the graffiti art featured in GET UP ARIZONA is strictly from the Valley, Tucson, Yuma, San Luis and Northern Arizona. All of the incredible music featured in the film is from local MCs, DJs and bands as well... Phadeone and Sage are tremendous proponents of graffiti culture. They felt the need to make a film to represent that culture, not just for Arizona, but for graffiti artists and graffheads everywhere!
Here's a trailer for the film. The full version can be found on GraffMonger's Youtube playlist channel.


  1. I see graffiti as being sub-classified between "tagging" and "street art".

    To me, a tagger is a criminal (or gang of criminals) whose sole focus is to place their own name or initials on everything that comes across their path. It doesn't matter to them how tagging may negatively affect their friend's and neighbor's property because they selfishly view everything to be their own personal property just because they happen to live in that neighborhood.

    Like most criminal behavior, tagging is a selfish testament to one's own delusion of self-importance. Tagging isn't visually appealing, doesn't make a social statement, or represent the feelings of a neighborhood or community as a whole. It's nothing but destructive, unsightly, and costly to everyone.

    Whether it be someone's home or wall, a street sign, a bus stop, a telephone pole, a vehicle, and yes - even palm trees and saguaro cacti, tags are everywhere. This type of criminal activity should be fully-prosecuted and more punitive laws need to be created and enforced to battle against it.

    But, on the other hand, I have mixed feelings about street art. The term "street art" has evolved to define the more visual and engaging aspects of urban expression, as opposed to simply text-based graffiti and tagging.

    Of course, violating someone else's property without their permission should be considered a crime, but street artists often improve blighted areas and help bring communities together. Their art work represents the culture of a neighborhood and often tells a stories of social, political, or economic injustices experienced by living there. Unlike tagging, it's not unsightly, destructive, or a testament to "only" one person, but to a community of people as a whole.

  2. From - Phoenix mural artists draw on local culture to impact community.

    Daniel Mills, who publishes the blog, describes why murals are essential: "Murals offer a dialogue, perspective and narrative which isn't commonly encountered." documents the artists, techniques and culture of local graffiti and mural artists.