From petroglyphs carved in rocks by cavemen, to the drawing of a penis on a stop sign by the people of today, graffiti has a long and elaborate history.

Prolific artist

Now thats what I call improvement.

Blackbooks are what artists use to perfect their craft, and what police use for incriminating evidence.

Just The Facts

  1. Illegal in most areas.
  2. Graffiti removal and cover-ups in Australia costs the government nearly 500 million dollars a year.
  3. Dedicated artists and teen junkies can suffer lung and respiratory damages from inhaling too much paint fumes.

Graffiti is pretty old.

The history of graffiti can date back to the paleolythic era. Some believe the petroglyphs were meant to explain the surronding terrain (called geocontourglyph), by drawing a river or mountains. Other theories suggest it was meant to convey astronomical signs. While others believe it was a way for rebellious caveteens to get back at their parents. We may never know the exact meaning of behind petroglyphs (we're sticking with the caveteen theory), but none the less, it was a form of graffiti.

Why is there a drawing of a penis on my door?

Graffiti writers strive for recogniton or try to convey a message. Either by tagging their name, drawing a certain character, or spraying over a stencil, there are many types of graffiti. Something that grocery store owners or the police don't appreciate very much. While illegal, graffiti writers take the risk of getting a hefty fine, put in jail, or even killed. While that may deter most people, graffiti writers tend to not give a shit about that kind of stuff. Usually anonymous by nature, graffiti writers like to get recognition through their art and not necessarily themselves. While usually covered-up or "buffed", some well-known graffiti actually increases the property value it is on. Anonymous artist Banksy painted a very large portrait of his popular rat character on the side of a London pub. Immedieatly after the paint dried, the resale value of the abondoned pub doubled from £495,000 to £1,000,000 (nearly 1.5 million dollars). Proving that Londoners have a special place in their hearts for giant rodents.

How can I get involved and NOT be a prison bitch?

With every skill ever thought up and shown off, graffiti takes practice. Start off by thinking of a name, symbol, or character that best represents you. Most writers think of named based on their personality. For example, "SPYER" is a good name. It's short, to the point, and pretty badass sounding. You want to stay away from names that sound too harsh or boistrous. Such as "HAKKERZ" or "GIGLIFAN". Feel free to make up your own words. There are no set rules in graffiti.

After you thought of a name that suits you, start tagging it in your blackbook. Use a pencil in the beginning and outline with a pen or marker when you're happy with the end result. A preferred starting point is by using "bubble letters" particularly called "throw-ups" in the graffiti culture. Throw-ups should be quick and rather easy to do. Graffiti writers use throw-ups as a way to get their name exposed because of its quickness and efficiency. It's also used to go over rival writers work. Because of it's simplicity, it's put over more elaborate pieces as a sign of disrespect (and sheer dickness) Throw ups usually consist of letters are circular in pattern and have a similar structure of.. you guessed it, a bubble.

Mastering and getting used to the flow of your letters is the hardest part of the creation of your throw-up. Once you're finished with that, you can move on to more extravagent structures of your letters, referred to as "burners".

Burners are the sprinkles on a graffiti-split sundae. They look awesome and show off the dedication and skill of a writer. The variations of burners are as diverse as the writers itself. Letters can be so complex and intangible that only the artist knows what it means. This style of writing is called "wildstyle"

It's a great way to showcase your talents as a graffiti writer and some writers have made careers out of their creation of burners. While often complex in style, this is not always the case.

The supply of burners are as vast as the artists imagination. That doesn't mean it ends with burners. The most advanced type of graffiti you can see anywhere is known as simply as a "piece". A piece is beyond tagging. It's the brain child of your creations and sums up where you are at as a writer. Similar to a burner, a piece can take hours, if not days to complete. It's all about how much effort and dedication you put into your work.

Some examples of pieces by writers:



Katch 1:

Graffiti has come a long way from stick figures on cave walls. While considered vandalism to some, there is no denying the artistic ingenuity and sheer beauty of the craft.