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The Official Graffiti Verite' Website translated into Español, Alemán, Français, Italiano, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean




Graffiti Verite' is a documentary on spray can artists and their subculture. Never exploitative or ignorant in its coverage, filmmaker Bob Bryan presents here an uncut view from da underground. :"Graffiti is wild, it can't be tamed," one writer says, while Chaz, an old school vet who was writing back in the 50's and 60's explains the difference between tagging and piecing' for the benefit of the uninformed. . "To be called a tagger just limits who I am. I'm an artist," says Dimer. Freeway underpasses, handball courts and bus yards are transformed into canvases for street artists like Dimer, Tribe, Risk, Pjay, Nerv, Duke, Mear, Tempt, Miner, Designine, Toonz, Skept, Emuse, Excite, Prime, Cre8, Jipsie and many many others.

The video starts out with a hip hop song in the background, then writer PJay is the first to connect the two. "When I embraced hip hop and graffiti art, I was very, very,very conservative." (High school photo's of a GQ'd argyle-vest wearing man confirms this) "it just took over my mind, that's the only way I could put it," he adds. Pjay, who's now a dreadlocked ' sunglasses wearin', laid-back brother, at peace with himself, obviously made the right choice.

Dj-ing, MC-ing and Breakdancing, Graffiti's kindred elements are shown in footage from the I.C.U. "Top Illin" gallery show in '95. This is followed by a top hatted man named Snake Doctor breaking comparing Hip Hop to 60's culture. "Hip Hop culture encompass the same thing... the music, the clothes, and the art."

A historical note is touched upon by a discussion of old-school writing and how graffiti in LA. wasalways supported by gang culture, with writers representing their hoods artistically. According to Chaz, "We got the history of graffiti from the cholos, from the pachucos" in the 30's and the 40's, before spray cans were even used. Chaz points out that the notions of Gangs then "wasn't what we have today, it was more of a club, more of an identity." This gothic, block-style lettering influenced the East side writers heavily, while the West side writers "had more of a New York influence," according to Skept.

One of the best things about this film is that it presents the artist in their own words, talking about their art. "It's performance art, it's a physical thing," says Nerv, explaining why he got into spraycan art as the camera switches back and forth from an interview to still shots of various wildstyle pieces. Miner tells the audience about the formation of West Coast Artists (WCA), one of the most respected graffiti crews around. Skew,who's shown doing fill-ins on a dope mask-face character, explains his addition to graffiti. " I couldn't really stop piecin' or drawing. Once you start doing it...it gets to be like a ritual." Duke calls himself "the authentic graffiti writer," in a sit down interview in his studio. " I will write on any surface, from tattooing to this," he says, looking around at his artwork. "You gotta do your part to combat the conspiracy, and this is my part," he explains. Duke's rendering of characters like a Bodean nymph and Cerebus the aardvark is quite impressive, as is his socially conscious point of view. " You are a product of your environment, that's true to a point, it's part of you and you're part of it but as soon as you reach that point, then you know."

This awareness is echoed by several other artists, like Mear, who says "Everywhere you turn, something is being taken away from you, the restrictions are getting tighter." Mear's nightmarish style, featuring demons and scared people running from crazed killer cops, underlines his words in an effective manner. Tempt, from the 213 crew, likewise talks about the LA environment in which the majority of these writers live. "213 is like the story of LA, it's like what people go through. There's been a lot of gang warfare and a lot of police brutality, hipocracy in LA, allot of crime, that's been going on...and 213 speaks about that." Tempts wisdom at such a young age belies the media-driven image of graffiti writers as uncontrollable, ignorant juveniles who need to be punished. In reality, many of these artists are just reacting to what they see in their lives everyday. And while they may be painted as menaces to society by some (who seek to enforce penal code sec. 594), the brilliant visuals and nearly unlimited creativity of these artists speak otherwise.