Posted by Billyjam, June 9, 2007 01:19pm | Post a Comment

I have loved graffiti for as long as I can remember. I guess from when I first saw it way back in the day emblazoned on the sides of New York City subway cars. That was 1978 and I was real young and had arrived in New York City -- fresh off the plane from Ireland -- my first time in America. Arriving in New York City in the late seventies was scary and being faced with the vision of graffiti (something I had never seen before) was at first a shock, but soon it provided a sense of comfort. And within a short time I grew to love this subway and street art that seemed to be everywhere in those days. This was back in hip-hop's early days -- before the so-called "four elements" had been drummed into impressionable minds by "hip-hop academics" -- I.E: people who came to the music/culture after the fact and from outside, but who nonetheless wrote the books (literally) on this culture that they learned of secondhand.

Back then, as now, many talked shit about graffiti -- especially civic leaders who saw it as a "blight" upon a once proud city. Anyway, I really didn't care then and don't care now what anyone says about graffiti -- pro or con. I just know that in my heart I have always loved it and been attracted to it for whatever reason. In fact, the very first radio story I did for KALX radio in Berkeley back in 1984 when I officially started at the radio station in its public affairs department was on New York City graffiti. I brought a tape deck back with me on a visit to the Big Apple and tracked down a graf artist named Chico who had pieces all over the Lower East Side (LES)-- Alphabet City primarily. Graffiti in New York City and New York City itself, especially the LES, sure have changed a hell of a lot in the years since. 

But I digress. What that first real introduction into the mind of a graffiti artist did for me was it just got me hooked on the street art. And ever since I have been addicted to taking pics and/or video graffiti wherever I go-- from the train tracks in East Oakland or the back streets of Madrid. Recently some of the best pics of graffiti I've taken have been in Queens NY, the beach in Bolinas, CA (of all places!), and the walls outside Amoeba Music, San Francisco -- of which I have included several here. I will post more later. Please comment (below) on how you feel, if you hate graffiti or love it. Or if you have a pic of some cool graffiti you would like to link others to, type in the URL. Note these pics were taken this year and last.

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Graffiti (52), Amoeba Music Sf (5), Art (93)