New York '72
50 YEARS AGO …
From the hands of time, Graffiti on the walls has been a constant, whether riling up the Romans, castigating the Carpathians or heckling the heretics… Graffiti has been around since the dawn of time.
In the New York City of the late 1960’s and early ’70s, Graffiti sprang up via a new outlet, a new code and a new sense of purpose… by kids as young as 9 or 10, to the teenagers just about legal enough to party & vote – to these young lords, getting their names up on walls and then onto trains, meant everything to them.
City-wide from The Bronx to Brooklyn, Queens to Manhattan and Staten Island, these warriors practiced their trade with ink & spray paint, hitting anywhere they could, as much as they could, just to show the world who they were… evolving the inherent vandalism into an artform that transcended their terrain, attracting and galvanising art collectors and community leaders alike, to form a bedrock of support, that ultimately took them out of the dark and dusty train yards and into the galleries of the more progressive minded curators.
But this staggering feat of urban creative evolution didn’t come easy … the early 1970s of New York, was a non-stop hustle & bustle of frightening intensity, replete with Police corruption, Welfare overload, Government bankruptcy, Tenement housing disrepair – all the while the daily disparate dangers pummelled it’s citizens, with the Afro-American & Afro-Latin communities bearing the brunt of them.
With Gang warfare rife and playing it’s part in the daily obstacles these wily pioneers faced, life was no joke for the kids living in the city, who’s mission to ‘get up’, now had to navigate both the cruel streets above and the dark and dangerous tunnels below.
But these incredible kids didn’t hide away, they didn’t shirk from the dangers outside – they attacked this heated society head on. They created for themselves a culture that they made their own, with it’s own rules, it’s own rituals, it’s own merits of glory… with literally nothing but the clothes on their back and the spraycans they managed to rack.
This then, with a soundtrack formed by the sounds of that time – Latin-Rock, Revolutionary Funk, Avant-Garde Jazz, the Hippies & the Folkies – this, is a dedication to the indomitable spirit of those kids – kids from all creeds and backgrounds, who kept going through the fiercest of flames – way back in that collective cauldron of a city, known as…New York ’72.More information