A lot of people think graffiti started with artists drawing on walls, but it really started as the process of painting and then graffiti art.
This was the early art style and the first big graffiti wave. I believe that was around the time the street artist style really began.
Who really started graffiti?
It could be the same people that made graffiti art in the 60s and 70s: kids who grew up with graffiti in their own town or the same kids who drew graffiti on the walls of their parents’ high school. People can say who is the originator, but the people who were responsible in the early days are almost all around us today.
I would argue that this graffiti revolution happened in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Around the same time we had the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, two bands that were popular and were big influences on us.
It was an environment where kids were playing and painting graffiti on walls. But what did those people draw and what was their inspiration?
What do they see, as opposed to what they paint on the walls and in schoolroom walls?
And I think that’s part of the reason graffiti started to get popular in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
So they look to the Beatles and Stones and see them and think “Wow, that’s dope, that’s crazy, this could be my style.”
You could be painting a painting and looking at two or three words scribbled on a wall. I mean those were things that people could really admire to some degree.
So people were thinking to themselves and looking at themselves in the mirror “I need to do this.”
That’s when it really got popular and everybody began to make a lot of money with graffiti art.
They were thinking, “I should be the next big person to do this.”
Gotta love it when people try to pass themselves off as having been from the 1960s or 1970s. It always works.
There’s a great piece by Frank Sinatra about the era when they started doing graffiti in San Francisco.
Here’s an excerpt from Sinatra’s book “The Golden Age of Soul”:
“I remember when that graffiti started, it was a big deal, the kids who were drawing were not only good artist but also good people. They were very interested in the art world and it had a positive influence on these kids.” (pg. 28)
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