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Mississauga Graffiti report: It’s not graffiti without the police! And the “Bomb It” documentary.

December 12th, 2011  

The MISSISSAUGAWATCH Christmas message?…

“The System is CORRUPT, there is no way to fix it.” Ho! Ho! Ho!

So. Today’s video, complete with transcript.

Mississauga Graffiti report: It’s not graffiti without the police! And the “Bomb It” documentary (14:34 min)

(Click here to go directly to the clip on YouTube)

[VIDEO TRANSCRIPT BEGINS]

MISSISSAUGAWATCH reporting from undisclosed graffiti location in Mississauga. December 2, 2011

It is Saturday, December the 2nd, 2011.

There was a really interesting, revealing documentary on graffiti just a couple of days ago. And I thought now would be a good time to summarize some of the graffiti sites in the City of Mississauga that I’ve been documenting since April 2009.

Most of the material I’ve never put up on the internet either in photographs or in video. And the main reason for that, to be clear, is I know that if any of these writers were to get caught, anything that I might post on the internet would be used against them. And so that’s why I try to keep as much of it as possible off the Net and just primarily for research.

But I thought also that now is the time to start properly reporting on graffiti. And also using parts of the documentary that I saw. I believe it was called, “BOMB IT”.

And I thought one of the best things to do first of all is to come to some agreement regarding terms.

What I’ve done is I’ve highlighted all the terms. I’ve gone through them and these are the graffiti terms that I want to read in, for the record —and see how many apply here at the City of Mississauga. I’ll start with “U” first of all because there’s really an important one.

And it’s “UP”. And Up,

“Describes a writer whose work appears regularly everywhere and who is currently writing.”

So this guy here, “HACR”, is “up”. Meaning his graffiti is “up”. His tags are “up”.

So I guess what happens is as soon as you tag, you’re “up”. That doesn’t mean that you’re an “up” artist as seen regularly. However, “HACR” here is truly “up” because —he’s pretty ubiquitous. You can find his work very small on trucks.

Like for example, right there is a “HACR” on a white cube truck. And also he does rather large pieces like this as well.

So now you know what UP is, let’s go here with the “A”s and “ALL CITY”.

“What a writer is considered to be when he/she is “up”, but this term implies more status than being just “up”. Many people can be “up”, but only a select few can be considered “all city”. Can also refer to a crew instead of just one writer. “

And in the case of “HACR” he’s truly “up”. He’s the prominent writer in Mississauga. And the other one, I would say is quite prominent is “MYOH”. The two are frequently seen together and they’re part of the “OGC” graffiti crew.

So. That’s “ALL CITY”. Let’s go with “BACK IN THE DAY”.

“BACK IN THE DAY”

Refers to the “old days”, old school, or when a writer first started writing. Also a hip-hop/rap term.

“OLD SCHOOL”. Let’s see what it says about “OLD SCHOOL”.

General term used to refer to the early days of writing, more specifically, the mid 70s to ’82 or ’83. Also may refer to hip-hop music of this period. Old-school writers are given respect for being there when it all started, and specific writers are remembered for creating specific styles.

[Video clip courtesy of graffiti documentary “BOMB IT” begins]

Graffiti artist “Cornbread”, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

I was the world’s first graffiti artist. It started here in Philadelphia and went to Europe, Japan, Africa —you name it it’s there. And all roads leads back to me.

Lorenzo McKray “Cornbread“s brother, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

—as he did, his name just seemed to grow and grow and grow. He just became a household name more or less.

Graffiti artist “Cornbread“, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

1971, a friend of mine named Cornelius Hosey got killed.

The newspapers thought the “Corn” was for “Cornbread” and they erroneously announced my death in the newspapers.

I went to the Philadelphia Zoo. I wrote on the concession stands. I wrote on the wall where the monkeys at. Where the lions is at. On the park benches.

I wrote, “CORNBREAD LIVES” on both sides of the elephant.

I got locked up for that.

[Video clip courtesy of graffiti documentary “BOMB IT” ends]

MISSISSAUGAWATCH reporting from undisclosed graffiti location in Mississauga. December 2, 2011

“THROWUP”

Over time, this term has been applied to many different types of graffiti.  It is a name painted quickly with one layer of spray paint and an outline.

Throwups are generally only one or two colors, no more.

[Video clip courtesy of graffiti documentary “BOMB IT” begins]

Graffiti writer “COPE 2”

This is how we do a throwup. I’m going to show all you new jack mother******s out there.

First you do your outline. Then you fill it in. Using a fat cap, which spreads real quick, as you can see. Now I’m outlining my throwup. Take me up to a minute or two.

BOOM. And that’s it, baby. It’s a wrap.

[Video clip courtesy of graffiti documentary “BOMB IT” ends]

MISSISSAUGAWATCH reporting from undisclosed graffiti location in Mississauga. December 2, 2011

“SCRUB”

A certain type of throwup (usually two colors) that is filled very quickly with back-and-forth lines, rather than filled in solid.

So I would think that this —I’ve already mentioned is a throwup. I also think that this likely qualifies as a scrub. Because it says it’s “a certain type of throwup (usually two colors)” in this case white and black.

You can argue that white and black aren’t colours, feel free. And “that it is filled very quickly back-and-forth lines, rather than filled in solid”.

See, it’s done very, very quickly. And likely because we are here in one of the busiest intersections in Mississauga. So when he’s doing this, there’s always a danger of being caught.

So I think that’s a scrub.

“BITE”

To copy another writer’s style. This is considered a no-no and is looked down upon, even though writers often borrow imagery from cartoons and comics.
“BLOCKBUSTER”. Now this I’ve seen.

Big, square letters, often tilted back and forth and in (usually) two colors. Mainly invented to cover over other people and to paint whole trains easily.

I’ve seen BLOCKBUSTERS. There’s a BLOCKBUSTER at . There’s definitely a BLOCKBUSTER that I won’t give the location to at all.

And they can be seen —they can be sometimes ten feet high.

Really, truly BLOCK BUSTER.

 Here’s one. “BOMB”.

[Video clip courtesy of graffiti documentary “BOMB IT” begins]

Graffiti bomber “Ramm-ell-Zee”

We didn’t call ourselves “graffiti writers”. Society called us that.

We called ourselves “bombers”. We were in the military. The military doesn’t do what you guys think. We don’t care about you.

We’re into Killing.

Burnin’.

[Video clip courtesy of graffiti documentary “BOMB IT” ends]

MISSISSAUGAWATCH reporting from undisclosed graffiti location in Mississauga. December 2, 2011

“BOMB”

Prolific painting or marking with ink. To cover an area with your tag, throwups, etc.

A tag is very quick. Four seconds. That’s it.

Very quick and then you’re on to a new area.

“BUFF”

Any means employed by the transit authority to remove graffiti from trains. The more modern usage is when any graffiti is gone over or removed from any surface, not necessarily just from trains.

But to be clear. Graffiti artists, including “HACR”, when he puts this up, he’s putting it up because he wants it to be visible. And when it’s visible like that he also knows, sooner or later it’s going to be removed.

This is really interesting.

“BURN”

To beat the competition with your style. Also refers to a really good piece, as in one that “burns”.

“BURNER”

A burner is any piece that has good bright colors, good style (often in wildstyle) and seems to “burn” off of the wall.

Now there’s the introduction of “Wildstyle”. So let me read “Wildstyle” to you right now.

“Wildstyle” and I’ve seen these. They’re just incredible.

“WILDSTYLE”

A complicated construction of interlocking letters. A hard style that consists of lots of arrows and connections. Wildstyle is considered one of the hardest styles to master and pieces done in wildstyle are often completely undecipherable to non-writers.

[Video clip courtesy of graffiti documentary “BOMB IT” begins]

Graffiti advocate 1

Pieces are just, you know, your name done in elaborate letters, whether they’re simple style pieces or wildstyle pieces. You have two-colour blends. You got either shadow or 3-D. You add some designs.  Maybe a cloud, a trim.

Graffiti artist “POSE 2”

There a whole art form is based upon lettering. You know how Jazz, you took Jazz and they broke it from its classical form and flipped it and started adding Bebop to it. And different forms.

We did the same thing with letters.

We took the basic alphabet and stretched it. We took a “P” as you see here and elongated it here. And added extensions here. And just added funk to it. Like we do to everything!

Tracy168, president of the Wildstyle crew

You don’t want to lose the basis of the letter. But you want to lose the letter.

Graffiti artist “POSE 2”

It’s taking your name, your identity and like exaggerating it.

“P” “O” “S” “E” “T” “W” “O”. “POSE TWO”.

Graffiti WILDSTYLE artist

Wildstyle isn’t really a style of letters. It’s a way of life. Okay, let’s get that straight right now, yo.

And I’ve got to give a shot out to Tracy168, the president of Wildstyle crew all the way back in the 70’s

Tracy168, president of the WILDSTYLE crew

So I was Wild. Don’t tell me how to live unless you were willing to die for me. But Style. Class. I respect you. You respect me.

So “WILDSTYLE” combined as one word. Became what I lived like. Became who I am.

It couldn’t be me doing it by myself. It took everybody to believe in a certain way of living.

Graffiti WILDSTYLE artist

And we reflected it in our graffiti. In our letters. That’s how we expressed it. That was WILDSTYLE.

We’d go, “Yo. Let’s go to the top of the Brooklyn Bridge. Let’s do a piece right there.” That’s WILDSTYLE.

Doesn’t matter that the letters are all nasty or you know, flowing with style. No, no, no. It’s my name that’s up on Brooklyn Bridge. You ain’t fuckin’ doin’ that my man.

That’s WILDSTYLE.

[Video clip courtesy of graffiti documentary “BOMB IT” ends]

MISSISSAUGAWATCH reporting from undisclosed graffiti location in Mississauga. December 2, 2011

Wildstyle is considered one of the hardest styles to master and pieces done in wildstyle are often completely undecipherable to non-writers.

And that is true. I look at them and I’m just —engrossed by the complexity of these murals. And you can see that interspersed with all of the geometry and arrows and interlocking pieces are letters.

And I mean, I look, and I can’t tell really what it says.

That’s how complicated and indecipherable they are.

So. That was “Wildstyle”.

So now we go back —and it’s clear that a “burner” then, is any really good piece that “burns” and just kind of shouts off from a wall.

“CREW”

A loosely organized group of writers who also tag the crew initials along with their name. Crew names are usually three letters, many times ending with “K”, which stands for “kings” or “kills” in most cases. Some crew names are just two letters, some are four, it all depends.

[Video clip of a 2011 Mississauga graffiti survey begins]

MISSISSAUGAWATCH reporting from undisclosed Mississauga graffiti research site. October 10, 2011

—and I just want to point out, there’s the first evidence of the “OGC” crew. And that’s the crew that “HACR” and “MYOH” belong to.

“MYOH”. “QUEZ”. “HACR”. Looks like “W” —”LJM”. Those are, I would think, part of the “OGC” crew.

You’ve got the “KTC” crew. “KTC” —huge letters at one time. I suspect they did that with rollers.

[Video clip of a 2011 Mississauga graffiti survey ends]

MISSISSAUGAWATCH reporting from undisclosed graffiti location in Mississauga. December 2, 2011

I think that’s one thing that both taggers and graffiti artists know. And that is that their stuff is temporary. The most visible it is, the more likely it’s going to attract the attention and be erased.

So why they do it?

Well, according to the video, “Bomb It”, it’s everything from hatred, hatred of The System. And I mean such pure hatred. Hating everything. Hating everybody —every thing.

[Video clip courtesy of graffiti documentary “BOMB IT” begins]

Graffiti bomber “Ramm-ell-Zee”

We called ourselves “bombers”. We were in the military. The military doesn’t do what you guys think. We don’t care about you.

We’re into Killing.

Burnin’.

[Video clip courtesy of graffiti documentary “BOMB IT” ends]

MISSISSAUGAWATCH reporting from undisclosed graffiti location in Mississauga. December 2, 2011

There’s hatred for authority. Hatred for Others.

[Video clip courtesy of graffiti documentary “BOMB IT” begins]

Graffiti advocate

Public Property! That’s what we should be writing on! The highways! The buses! The trains!

Public! Whatever is paid for by taxes. Bomb them shit! Hit ’em up!

[Video clip courtesy of graffiti documentary “BOMB IT” ends]

MISSISSAUGAWATCH reporting from undisclosed graffiti location in Mississauga. December 2, 2011

But I do want to say that I have had email conversations with taggers and graffiti artists —I don’t know which, maybe both, who actually respect the police.

They respect the police. They don’t call them “pigs” or “cops”, they call them “police officers”. And I found that really interesting. That they basically considered police to be just part of the process.

In fact an important part of the process, saying if we don’t have the potential for being caught by the police, then it isn’t graffiti that we’re doing.

And then the other thing that was really important is they said, the potential for being arrested —the potential for running into police is part of the adrenalin rush.

And the other thing is too, that a lot of these writers, have, just like this glossary said, have a respect for Old School graffiti artists. That they really do have a culture. Admittedly not the mainstream culture, but there is a culture. There’s a —a tradition.

So you know, it’s a fascinating, fascinating world. And it’s so different from, from —from me.

[VIDEO TRANSCRIPT ENDS]

Last. To the writers who left that message at the CathedralS, Hi Back!

Signed,

MISSISSAUGAWATCH

Mississauga graffiti "HACR" full moon rising. December 12, 2011

Graffiti Mississauga "FLOWN" and train

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