SummaryWe've seen the folk art form of graffiti derided by police and civic leaders as pure vandalism. In the '90s some of it was upgraded to art museums, and today the political "street art" of Banksy and Shepard Fairey recontextualize graffiti art yet again. In Graffiti Underworld, J.R. Mathews bypasses the art galleries and travels across the United States to rediscover the original outlaw vandals for no-bullshit interviews about their risky and exciting outlaw creations.
Graffiti Underworld interviews nearly two hundred artists, all of them pseudonymous, and includes over three hundred images of their work through the barbed-wire fences, multi-story walls, railroad tracks, and other rough-and-tumble surroundings.
Graffiti artists and lawbreakers interviewed include: Ader, Anoy, Apes, Arek, Aser, Asic, Aware, Beer, Begr, Bone, Byas, Cern, Chek 1, Clown, Colt 45, Cope, Cornbread, Coupe, Crow, Dark, Dekay, Demer, Den, Denz, Desism, Dyer, Else, Ender, Ether, Evict, Fishe, Flash ABC, Flyos, Ghouls, Gime, Glue, Goner, Graves, GSouth, Hael, Harsh, Heat, Helz, Hert, Hour, Huge, Indecline, Isto, Jaber, Jase, Jee, Jel, Jive, Joey TPA, Kerse, King 157, KR, Kuhr, Lead, Lost, Lyes, Met, Mise, Nark, Neks, Nekst, Neo, Nerose, Omens, Ouija, People, Pepe, Phone, Phrite, Poet, Popmaster Fabel, Prae, Ree2, Resek, Ridl 1, RJay, RVee, Saber, Sachem, Saer, Sake, Sexer, Sicks, Sight, Sinek, Size 21, SMK, Snatch, Space, Spade, Syms, Taco, Takt, Teel, Temp, Then, Timber, Toomer, Tork, Trixter, Typoe, Untold, Urine, Vogue, Voice, Vos, Waste, Yukon, Zek 156, and Zem.
J.R. Mathews has spent the past decade ducking in and out of dangerous situations in railroad yards, tops of buildings, and ghetto walls, pursuing the most notable proponents of the folk art form of graffiti. This is his first book.