From Publishers Weekly
The culmination of author and photographer Grody's 17-year obsession, this stunning examination of Los Angeles street art should prove to be a definitive work on the subject. Beginning in the 1930s, when stylized calligraphic writing (often called "Old English") was first used by Latino gangs to mark territories, Grody quickly moves on to the art form's explosion in the '80s, when four distinct forms were spreading throughout the city: tags, a name in stylized script; throw-ups, one-color designs quickly applied; pieces, more elaborate and colorful efforts; and productions, a collection of pieces. The book truly takes off among the hundreds of beautifully photographed pieces Grody offers, along with testimony from the artists and "crews" who created them. Grody describes the anatomy of a piece, crew dynamics and the politics of what is still an illegal art form, but knows when to step back and let the artists speak for themselves; he elicits comments on everything from overcoming early technical obstacles to close calls-both with cops and injury-to the history and meaning behind their art. The importance of Grody's work-as in any other street art roundup-is in capturing these short-lived pieces before they're inevitably defaced by rivals or painted over by the authorities; what makes this beautiful book stand out is the way Grody completes his vibrant picture with the voices of the street artists themselves. CD-ROM included.
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About the Author
Steve Grody saw spray can art begin to appear around Los Angeless streets and walls in the 1980s and immediately recognized its creativity and verve. Since 1990, he has been driving across Los Angeles searching its back alleys, washes, and abandoned lots for this vernacular art.