Back in the day I was into graffiti. Not in the sense of running around, head wrapped in cloth, face mask on, stealing spray paint, nocturnal activities type of ‘into it’, but into drawing graffiti pieces on paper. It’s safer, legal, and requires jumping zero fences.
A couple of years ago Marty returned to me a folder containing many of the pieces I drew in my youth. I couldn’t remember the last time I saw in, in fact I’d’ve never remembered it had it not been handed back to me all dusty and puberty-ly-era-ed1. Flicking through the folder I can recognise or remember which were my original pieces and which I’d copied from magazines (this was circa early-90s; before the internet).
If I think about it now, drawing graffiti — specifically the stuff I drew — was all about solving problems. It involved careful planning and intuition: what lines could intersect and where, thick sections vs thin sections, balance, shape, style, and colour. And the more you could obscure the letters/word the better. This was especially true when you’re hiding the names of girls you had crushes on. The piece above post is perhaps my favourite, because it’s a single continuous line, creating the word ‘Jumble’.
It was design, plain and simple.
When a friend of mine drew my attention towards a new 3D graffiti style, I instantly fell in love because the graffiti I was drawing could now have a twist, sometimes literally. I not only had to use all the design disciplines mentioned above, but had to do it in 3D space. And for me, it had to work in 3D space, i.e., it had be true, so someone would be able to sculpt it. It was very Escher-esque.
It was challenging but I got the hang of it after a few attempts. In fact the first 3D piece I did may or may not have been handed over to a person I may or may not have known, who may or may not have put it up on a wall somewhere in Melbourne. And there’s also this…
Anyway, crank up the NWA and check out some of the original pieces I drew, split kinda reverse-chronologically, or perhaps reverse-dimensionally, into retro 2D and less-retro 3D:
Here’s some bonus non-graffiti stuff which I found in the folder: 1ne and 2wo.
- Puberty-ly-era-ed: covered in the era of puberty, and in the past tense. ↩