The Graffiti craze has started! "KILROY WAS HERE" was the spark and "TAKI 183" was the fire. Since that time, Graffiti has developed beyond a doubt into an art in itself. An offshot of graphic arts compounded with modern art of the "60's" known as psycodelic acid art.
At first, Graffiti was unpopular because of the crude masterpieces on the sides of subways which people flatly called "scribble." As months passed the public noticed a change in the type of work produced by these writers. It actually started to look beautiful! Multi-colored advertisements of names swept the gloomy subway stations and filled them with warmth. This was the beginning of the "Golden Age of Graffiti" as Graffiti artists called it. The artists also formed groups amoung themselves so that the competition would be organized.
An estimated 10,000 young people were doing graffiti. Laws were passed that branded Graffiti as "defacement of Public Property" and as "Juvenile Delinquency" due to the ignorance involved.
Graffiti developed and improved as fast as it appeared. At this point, the original Graffiti Artists were in their teens. Because they were older, contributed to the fact that better work was running on the trains. Cartoon characters started to appear on the sides of subways as well as ships, cars, people and anything else that would catch the passenger's eyes.
In 1973 Graffiti grew larger and larger and it started getting out of control. Large dazzling murals covered the full lengths of cars, windows, doors, and everything. Some covered the front of the trains, too. Some came in three to five cars covered in a row. Graffiti had reached its peak. Little kids ages 11 and up started to do Graffiti, taking after the older kids.
The New York City Transit Authority was furious. It set off a massive merciless crackdown on Graffiti. This crackdown was a mistake because they were catching the older artists and the little kids who did all the scribble were getting away with it.
It was from that time, the brand new art which our kids created as a final way to make themselves heard, started to go donwhill. Downhill just like the American dollar. There was less and less good art and more and more scribble.
In my opinion, "GOLDEN GRAFFITI" died in April of 1974. The city could be blamed for killing the sentiment, hope and whatever these kids wished for. Most of them had potential but since being from low class families they couldn't affort to send the kids to art classes. The heartless transit crackdown killed the last hopes and chances these kids had.
I know. I'm one of them.
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