Last night I watched an awesome film called Piece By Piece, a documentary by Nic Hill with a soundtrack by local DJ Qbert. It tells the story of the San Francisco graffiti movement from the 1980's to 2004. I enjoyed it because I recognize a lot of the pieces and locations. Even if you aren't familiar with either San Francisco or graffiti as an art form, I recommend this film as an educational work. So many people see graffiti as ugly vandalism, instead of as an expressive medium of public artwork. While I disagree with the scrawled tags on people's houses, I see nothing wrong with the colorful and often inspirational throw-ups on the dull walls of vacant lots.
Piece By Piece follows early Bay Area graffiti from its roots in Cholo writing to its evolution of unique typographies, to its shift from words to images, and its modern role in social activism. The movie features many street-art pioneers, as well as current artists (many of whom refuse to show their faces). It also explores the (usually negative) public opinion toward graffiti and the artists' passion for what they do.
A female graffiti artist who calls herself "Reminisce" decorates SF with images of horses.
"Tax Dollars Kill", a piece by Mike "Dream" Francisco. The spray-can legend used art to bring up issues like police brutality and racism. Dream is the perfect example of someone who uses his talents to improve urban society. He was murdered February 2000.
This here is some ugly-ass graffiti. This is the stuff that ought to be banned. It's an eyesore and is not at all inspirational or artistic.
What do you guys think? Should graffiti be illegal? Or should it be respected as an urban art form? I would love to hear your opinions.
Slowly working to rebuild this thing....
3 months ago