My friend Cecile and I participated in a Soundwalk this past weekend. A Soundwalk is a downloadable audio tour of different neighborhoods in cities around the world. We participated in tours of the Grafitti and Hip-Hop culture in the Bronx borough of New York City, which is where I live.
It was part scavenger hunt and part educational talk, as we maneuvered our way around an unfamiliar part of town to learn about the founding fathers of two of today’s most vital sub-cultures. We learned about the Tats Cru, a Grafitti crew with tags and murals all over New York City subways and buildings, and visited their hang-out spots and some of their more notable bodies of work. It was fantastic.
Grafitti is such a fascinating art. It is one of the most semi-permanent ways to rebel, and it is often used as a way for young, disadvantaged youth to assert themselves in a society that often forgets about them. The colors are intentionally bright and jarring, and the designs bold and big, perhaps as a way to imitate the kids who draw them, who often stick out in mainstream society like a sore thumb. It was great to see some amazing examples of genuine artistry within this medium.