We're excited to announce our first artist collaboration with local NYC graffiti artist, CNONE. His tags and throw-ups can be seen all across the five boroughs, and we’re glad to be able to showcase his work. With the release of our graffiti themed drop we thought we’d take this opportunity to share a brief summary of the rich history of Graffiti.
The first writers from NYC and Philly, who were kids, used their name or nickname along with the street they lived on as their tag. They typically used markers and spray paint for their tags. Although the origin of graffiti isn’t widely documented, the first modern graffiti artist is considered to be a high school student from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania that went by “Cornbread”. In 1965, 12 year old Darryl “Cornbread” McCray lived at Philadelphia’s Youth Development Center. He was nicknamed Cornbread by the cooks due to his pestering for cornbread. While he was surrounded by violence and drug abuse in the Youth Development Center, Cornbread spent his time writing his “Cornbread” tag on the walls of the center. After he was released from the center, he continued tagging in the streets. His work inspired others in Philadelphia to try their hand at fame.
During the late 1960s in NYC, Taki 183, a teenager from Washington Heights, became the city’s first recognizable writer. Taki tagged his name all over the city while working as a messenger, soon becoming a staple in the graffiti scene. His street fame scored him an interview with the NY Times, which inspired other kids to strive towards fame by following in his footsteps by “getting up”.
Writers have developed the artform throughout the decades from tags to throw-ups to wild styles, and using buildings, vehicles, trains, and other elements as their canvas. The 1970s and early ‘80s are known as the golden age of graffiti because of the subway graffiti craze. Writers would sneak into the train yards and cover subway carts from the inside to the outside, and later watch their names as the trains passed by. This became a major part of their work, and has been documented by photographers such as Martha Cooper and Henry Chalfant; who later published their images in the book “Subway Art”. In 1989 due to a political movement, including the “Clean Car Movement”, to stop graffiti, the final train covered in graffiti was removed from the subway lines.
Today, graffiti is bigger than ever and has even inspired the rise of street art. It’s the longest lasting art movement, most of which only last about a decade during their heyday. It’s also the only art movement started by the youth. Despite its humble beginnings, graffiti has made its way into gallery spaces and commercial markets.
We wish to support the furtherance of this art form, and hope that writers will continue to step up to share their work and move neighborhoods around the world.
Below are links to some of our favorite Graffiti/Hip-Hop related content:
Wild Style (1983) Full Movie https://ok.ru/video/261856430845
Style Wars (1983) Full Movie https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yB3Js2tKA5Y
Watching My Name Go By (1976) Documentary https://youtu.be/A_4WzS_qSGQ
KRS-One Gives Detailed Breakdown of Hip Hop's Prehistoric Roots https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0PCsYktWGiI