We’ve always had a need to express ourselves visually. Go back to prehistoric times and you will find caves with hieroglyphs on the walls. Fast forward to Greek and Roman times and you’ll encounter political caricatures carved on the walls of Pompeii. As the twentieth century unfolded, graffiti was used as a means of expression as well as a propaganda delivery mechanism on the streets.

Considered more of a nuisance than art by some, the image that comes to mind when you think of graffiti today started forming in the streets of New York and Philadelphia in the early seventies, when artists like TAKI 183 began “tagging” their nickname on walls, subway trains and just about any surface available.

Some graffiti writers “bombed” the entire city or entire subway lines with their signature or tag, or what came to be called a “throw-up” (“an outline with one layer of fill-color”), due to how fast they could cover up available space. Others directed their efforts to the creation of “pieces”: time consuming, large scale images that typically include 3-D effects, arrows and other decorative elements, multiple colors and tags. Some pieces evolved into a complex and typically hard-to-read style dubbed Wildstyle.

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