2016 saw a number of excellent book releases related to street art and graffiti in an ever expanding universe of specialized publications. Berlin-based gallery and bookshop Urban Spree chose 5 outstanding books published in 2016.
Wall Writers – Graffiti in Its Innocence
Edited by Roger Gastman
Published by Gingko Press
Wall Writers fills an important gap in the segment of the historical approach to graffiti as it seeks to document the very origins of modern graffiti and wall writing at the source – New York City and Philadelphia in the late 1960s – and features in-depth research and interviews with major pioneer writers such as Taki183 and Cornbread with a lot of previously unpublished photographic archive.
Wall Writers explores graffiti’s foray into mainstream society in a period of social turmoil and tries to replace it in the culture of the time and up to its current status of a greater acceptance by the society as a popular art form. Alongside the 2012-published “bible” curated by Andrea Caputto “All City Writers“, Wall Writers is a reference book and research on the topic of the origins of the movement.
Wall Writers is also a documentary film written by Chris Pape and directed by Roger Gastman, released in 2016.
by Boris Tellegen / Delta
Published by A Paper Book
8697 by the dutch writer & artist Boris Tellegen a.k.a. Delta is a comprehensive time-travel journey encompassing 11 years of black book production. The black books are sketchbooks where a writer sketches, pastes photographs of his pieces, polishes his style and makes research for future pieces. Those notebooks, oscillating between training and memorabilia, are rarely seen by the public and are however an essential part of the writer’s style evolution.
Boris Tellegen started graffiti in 1984 at 14 in Amsterdam and caught the virus while visiting the USA with his father and discovered Seen, Quik, Blade… and later Bando in Paris.
“Between 1986 and 1997, I kept a black book. It was an A4-sized book with a hard cover in which I made sketches and pasted photos of my own grati work. Particularly in the early years, I had the book with me wherever I went. The black book allowed me to show other writers what I’d done. Not everything made it into the book, only the work I was proud of. Gradually, the function of the book changed from portfolio to personal logbook. The black book stayed at home more and more often and I began pasting all kinds of stu in it. However, instead of using suitable glues to paste the photos and sketches, I used poor quality glue such as rubber cement, blue 3M photo mount and adhesive tape. My first book, a Daler, had paper of reasonable quality. When this was full in 1992 I bought another sketchbook. The paper of this one was of very poor quality and yellowed very quickly. Gradually the books began to fall apart. With this publication I intend to give my black books a longer life. For that reason, I have not made a selection of my work, but instead every page from both black books is photographed and accompanied by annotations in the back.”
The book is a luxury object with a thick leather cover and biographical notes where the artist traces the origins of his graffiti style as well as moments and cities which were critical to his formative years.
Conor Harrington: Watch Your Palace Fall
Published by Heni Publishing
Released by a british art publisher usually specialized in Francis Bacon or Gerhard Richter’s monographs and catalogues raisonnés, Watch Your Palace Fall is a well-deserved achievement for the London-based Irish street artist and painter, whose original graffiti practice evolved to street art and wall painting to a work more focused on studio paintings, influenced by the movement and gesture of graffiti, classical painting from the Siècle d’Or and modern english painting.
The monograph is organized between outdoor works and indoor pieces and is a comprehensive and high-quality book retracing Conor Harrington’s career to date, and is a good example of a successful trajectory from street art to contemporary art circles.
Saeio 2009 – 2014
Published by Editions Peinture
Spanning 5 years of street works from the member of the Parisian PAL Crew, the books distinguishes itself by an elegant and sober layout (rightfully inspired by the seminal CAP Crew book of 2007), and the originality of the paintings. Saeio’s graffiti style and paintings are redefining the practice of wall painting, tagging, and the way public spaces are utilized.
Saeio is blurring the lines of graffiti, deconstructing patterns, and fostering a modern and innovative approach of the genre.
Ericailcane 2000-2015: “Come Quando Fuori Non Piove”
Published by Z000 Press
Ericailcane is an Italian street artist and painter versed in anthropomorphic, poetic and fairytale wall painting style. Often associated with Blu, Ericailcane brings a sense of wonderment to street painting and the book is an artistic tour de force that follows 15 years of activity with over 250 murals in more than 20 countries.