Disclaimer: ARC via Netgalley.
In all fairness, I should note that I live in Philadelphia, which does get a chapter in this book.
In all fairness to Toronto, which is a wonderful city that everyone should visit, the graffiti there has nothing on Philadelphia’s. I’m sorry, but that’s how I feel. Can we agree to disagree?
Maybe it’s because I live in a big city that has embraced a mural arts project, I tend to see graffiti as art. Who knows? This isn’t to say that some boring tags annoy me, but there are some beautiful, interesting, and thought provoking pieces by artists.
Verel’s book looks at graffiti in NYC as well as the changing attitudes, and suggesting that the city adopt a mural arts program. The book is part study, and includes a copy of the study questions that Verel asked the various groups (residents, owners, and artists).
It also has some beautiful photographs.
The most interesting parts of the book are the interactions between the artists and the building owners (as well as residents in the area). Verel not only looks at the transaction between artist and owner – why the artist suggested the art, what the owner wanted or didn’t want the reasons – but also the impact on the surrounding environment and a comparison to buildings where owners use the city method. It is that in depth look that make the book because why the view of the artist might be a given for most people, the view of the owner is different. What is also interesting is when some artists reveal or discuss why they made the shift.
Divided into sections based upon city areas, also includes chapters on two Jersey cities as well as chapter on Philadelphia. This allows not only for a comparison between areas, but also why some ideas work in some places and not in others. Additionally, he includes a chapter detailing why some people opt for buffing instead of embracing the graffiti art.
And he does so fairly, without insulting them or implying they need to move into a modern world.
If you are interested in Street Art or city murals, this book is well worth a read. Terms are defined for a newbie, but more importantly, it looks at the changes culture is making towards such art as well as a look at the debate surrounding the changes.
(And if you read the book Street Art Santiago from this publisher, you should enjoy this. It doesn’t look at the political aspects as much, but view of those who live near it. It is an interesting look and analysis of the subject).
The below is one of my favorite street art pieces ever. But it's not in NYC. Still I want to share.