The first public graffiti was painted on a wall in a nightclub in the mid-90’s for £2 an hour and in 1996 a graffiti artist named Paul, who went by the pen name of Pimp C, began painting across New York’s Lower East Side.
“The reason behind the first graffiti was to call out the city and tell them who was living in the favela and how they were living off the city,” said Matt Hirsch of the group New York Graffiti, one of the oldest graffiti graffiti groups in the US.
“In the 2000s, graffiti became a big trend and became more like a form of expression that spoke about the world, the way it was and that people don’t like what’s going on.”
“Today, some graffiti artists are drawing on the past to say, ‘Hey, I didn’t do this so this is my way, you don’t have to do that, but I will still show my face’.
“So it’s not so much the artwork that these artists bring into the moment, but in the context of their history they bring a much larger voice.”
Image caption Graffiti has become a big global trend
How will graffiti changes?
While graffiti has become a big global movement, its origins lie in its very early history, a reflection of how society and everyday life are changing around us.
“Some of the earliest graffiti is from the days of the street – and that’s why it still has such an impact,” said Mr Hirsch.
“Graffiti shows our struggles to cope with the way we live now and to connect with something larger that is beyond what we understand.
“It’s an opportunity for us to think beyond our walls and have a meaningful engagement with the way we live.”
Graffiti is now so much a part of modern life it’s almost as if it’s part of our DNA. But who made it? And is it ever done?
From the 1970s it was the work of graffiti writers – the art form was a reflection of youth movements. The term “graffiti” was first used on the US underground scene in the late 1970s.
But by the mid-80’s the style had gone mainstream, as an art form, and a trend emerged around the world.
Image copyright AFP Image caption Graffiti has spread around the world
Graffiti artists now include many from America, who, like many, still work
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