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Folk Art

Posted By Jessica Stempel On March 20, 2011 @ 6:20 am In general,Material | Comments Disabled

Tagging- Folk Art

“When I was in my crew back when I was in bad footsteps I used to hit up my name and the crew. I used those things that they use for rock climbing and two niggas would have to hold the rope and pull me up so I could hit up spots like on the bridges over the freeways and on high buildings and shit. I got caught a few times, I don’t do that shit no more though, its not worth it.”

Frank’s account of “hitting up” referrers to “tagging” or “graffiti” using spray cans. In gang and “crew” culture, getting ones identity out in public especially on hard to reach places is especially respected. Although illegal, it is easy to graffiti at night and not get caught by the police.

I would classify “tagging” or “hitting up” as folk art. While many members quickly spray their names down to avoid getting caught, other “taggers” take their time making “pieces” which are more elaborate and decorative forms of graffiti. Some “pieces” or “bombs” are very aesthetically appealing and actually can add a unique feature to communities. Some places, like one spot on Venice Beach, actually allow graffiti to be put on walls. Though it is still not recognized as a form of high art by the mainstream, graffiti art has become a serious and appreciated art form for some people. This is especially true in the hip hop culture.

While I am not at all justifying gang activity, this account of graffiti reminded me of the art which I actually do appreciate when done in ways which certain “taggers” take seriously.


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URL to article: http://folklore.usc.edu/?p=3781