Location: Venice Beach, Los Angeles
Date: January 28, 2018
My sister, Jennifer, attends Scripps College and is graduating this year (2018). She is an English major and an Economics minor at the school and is greatly interested in literature, culture, and classic novels. Because Scripps College is a small, private, liberal arts college in the middle of the 5 Claremont Colleges Consortium, she has found that it has been a fantastic school for her to expand and learn about her interests and passion for literature. Due to her immense love for the school, she has been an active member in the college’s social life and learned about countless traditions that Scripps College engages in.
Walking around Scripps, my sister Jennifer, notes that one of her favorite locations is the Graffiti Wall located right in between the Toll Residence Hall and the Browning Residence Hall. She told me that this wall was something that she remembered all the way from her first tour of Scripps College as a prospective student. She remembers it so vividly because it is completely filled with past students’ names and she could not wait to be able to write her name on the wall upon graduation. Jennifer told me that seeing other students’ names and the year that they graduated was a huge inspiration to her because she often passed by it on her way to classes at Harvey Mudd College and saw how many women that had been in her place in the past. She said that the Graffiti Wall gave her a wholesome sense of history because she saw names from people that had graduated back in 1931, when the Graffiti Wall was started due to Scripps College’s first graduating class. Therefore, this wall gave her a very warm feeling and made her feel at home at Scripps and also felt like she was contributing to the traditions and history at Scripps College.
When my sister told me about the impact that this Graffiti Wall made on her, I was very pleasantly surprised. I attended Scripps College for my freshman year of college and did not have the same connection to the wall, so it was nice to hear that she felt so connected to the school. I believe that since she enjoyed the curriculum at Scripps more than I did, this shaped her pride and desire to be featured on the Graffiti Wall upon her graduation. Now, she will make her mark and get a chance to sign the Graffiti Wall in May of 2018 when she graduates from this beautiful liberal arts college and will forever be a part of the history at Scripps College.
The informant is from Palos Verdes, apeninsula area on the coast of Southern California.
The informant claims there is a large storm drain that leads into the ocean which has gained popularity among the youth of the area. The storm drain, nicknamed “Hitler’s Tunnel”, has been responsible for inspiring many myths in the area.
AB: A bunch of kids would go into–literally go into the tunnel, and… allegedly, there was a group of middle schoolers from Dana High–from Dana middle school, whatever– that went into the tunnel and was never seen again. It was a group of like three kids. There’s like a bunch of creepy graffiti outside of that tunnel because, like, everyone goes there to get scared…or whatever.
Why is it called “Hitler’s Tunnel”?
AB: The Hitler part actually had no significance at all. I was wondering, like, “Is it a tunnel that was used during World War II or something like that?” and turns out there’s actually nothing with that tunnel that has to do with World War II or anything like that. Just has to do with three kids that disappeared there once.
Do people still go there?
AB: Yeah, people go there to tag it and write obscenities on it. And that’s pretty much what it’s known for.
A Google search of “Hitler’s Tunnel, Palos Verdes” yields thousands of results, including many videos taken by youths exploring the tunnel and maps indicating the locations of the tunnel.
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 dont do that shit no more though, its not worth it.
Franks 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.