Rise Up Radio: Graffiti Politics and Liberation Schools

By Anonymous (not verified), 15 July, 2005
Free Radio Youth Collective

A dialogue about graffiti’s past and present. TIME Magazine just announced that its graffiti billboard at Houston and Wooster is complete. We’ll speak to artist Cope 2 and Fallon, the firm behind the ad campaign. And we’ll be joined by Josh McPhee, author of Stencil Pirates. Also, an update on New York City Summer and Detroit Summer.

Grafitti Art, Politics and... Advertising?

Graffiti art has a long history in New York City…it’s one of the five elements of hip hop and came out of the same moment in New York’s history. According to the excellent web site www.at149st.com.
Graffiti was used primarily by political activists to make statements and street gangs to mark territory. Though graffiti movements such as the Cholos of Los Angeles in the 1930s and the hobo signatures on freight trains predate the New York School, it wasn't till the late 1960s that writing's current identity started to form.
Writing started moving from the streets to the subways and quickly became competitive. In the early ‘70s writing consisted of mostly tags and the goal was to have as many as possible. Writers would ride the trains hitting as many subway cars as possible. It wasn't long before writers discovered that in a train yard or lay up they could hit many more subway cars in much less time and with less chance of getting caught. The concept and method of bombing had been established.
After years of evolution, On May 12, 1989 the MTA declared a victory over graffiti. The MTA set in effect a policy of removing all marked subway cars from service. The objective being no graffiti will run. This was the birth of what is known as the Clean Train movement. There are many writers who believe subway painting is the defining act in being a writer. Walls, freights, scraps, and canvas are for fake writers. These writers refuse to give up the battle against the MTA. Even though works do not run or only run for one trip many people still write.
We’re joined in-studio COPE2, who was at the center of the Clean Train Movement and painted the TIME billboard on Houston and Wooster.
We’re also joined by the folks behind the billboard, Elaine Marino, account executive with Fallon and Marty Senn, copy writer at Fallon. And to talk about the non-corporate side of street art, we have KSEE with Visual Resistance Josh MacPhee, author of Stencil Pirates

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