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Graffiti in the Bay Area

Graffiti Feast

San Fran's Haight-Ashbury glory returns in the form of graffiti

Give me a white sport coat and a can of pink spray paint ...

I was wondering when someone would produce a book on this topic, and I'm delighted someone finally has. In my many, many trips to the Bay area -- particularly the East Bay, I have always been fascinated by the array of graffiti -- and the dexterity with which some of it is created. San Francisco, once known for another art movement has gained the reputation of the graffiti capital of the world. I believe it!

The amazing thing about these artists is that they are for the most part is not only are they anonymous, but they go to great lengths to find just one more surface area not yet touched by graffiti. I've seen it painted along narrow ledges over train tracks, on the faces of bulkheads totally over water, and on towers you would think would be impossible to scale. Somehow these folks find a way to do it! Yet more amazing is finding styles that begin to denote locations, and areas -- then from time to time you recognize a style that doesn't belong! Visiting graffitist, I guess. (By the way, you'll want to click on any of these images for enlargements!)

graffiti goddess

Anyway, this is a stunning, eye-opening book that is so saturated with color, you'll think you're gaining weight just thumbing through it. But rest assured this is a visual feast of rare delight that will add a few thousand brain cells, but won't leave a single calorie behind!


"Bay Area Graffiti", is the topic of this absorbing new book that focuses on the graffiti scene in a region often regarded as being just as colorful: the San Francisco Bay Area. San Francisco photographer Steve Rotman brings us the first book to focus on how this explosive cultural phenomenon runs rampant throughout the region.

With more than 700 photographs and personal descriptive commentary from over 50 of the featured artists, "Bay Area Graffiti" is an unrelenting documentation of the graffiti culture that evolved between 2004 and 2008 in the region, and how it blended into the urban and natural landscapes.

graffiti found in unlikely places

Rotman, better known in the cyber world as Funkandjazz--he was a jazz disc jockey and public radio announcer for many years--has been photographing Bay Area graffiti for more than a decade, posting much of it online. His personal desire for a more permanent record of his work was met with similar requests from many of his online followers. The result is "Bay Area Graffiti."

Born and raised in Minneapolis, Rotman moved to San Francisco to work in radio and, while there, became fascinated with the graffiti scene, which to him seemed to match the city's energetic and continually shifting cultural revolutions.

graffiti covering an entire residential wall

"I love color, and graffiti is full of great, brilliant combinations of color, as well as fascinating shapes and an undeniable vibrancy. I wanted the book to convey and celebrate the considerable dedication and creativity within the Bay Area graffiti culture," Rotman explains. "It is very gratifying to preserve the art and perspectives of these extraordinary graffiti writers."

graffiti painted everywhere in San Francisco

Rotman sought out an incredible array of locations for the book, including "dingy tunnels, abandoned factories and warehouses, grimy back alleys and off-limits industrial wastelands."

cover In the book's introduction, graffiti artist JENKS describes San Francisco as a city that attracts people who have a special need to express themselves and explore a wide variety of ideas and lifestyles. "We share a passion for graffiti, an appreciation for the many styles that represent us, and a recognition that being different is being normal here."

This is really a lot more than just a color-crowded coffee table book -- it's a visual education in the obscure, the obscene and the compelling results of the true meaning of self expression. San Fran started it in the Haight-Ashbury days, now they are leading the parade of spray cans and dirty brushes. Get this book. You'll love it!

"Bay Area Graffiti" Steve Rotman Street Graphics & Urban Art 208 pages, 11.5 x 9.5 inches, Color throughout, Casebound

Thanks for reading...

Fred Showker, editor DTG Magazine, 60-Second Windows
      Editor / Publisher: DTG Magazine
      User Group News Network, and Photoshop Tips & Tricks

Other Graffiti stuff you might like

SEE See this interview with Steve Rotman with SFGRAF.COM
SEE Also check out the "known gallery" a multi platform creative firm staffed with overachievers from around the world. They curate -- but they'll also create graffiti for you! www.knowngallery.com, their spectacular film site, and the equally exciting gallery.
SEE You also may want to check out the Graffiti 2009 Wall Calendar by Roger Gastman
Calendar: 28 pages Dimensions: 14 x 11.9 x 0.2 inches Publisher: Abrams Calendars; Wall edition

Mark Batty Publisher is an independent publisher dedicated to making distinctive books on the visual art of communicating, showcasing the visual power and innovation of contemporary culture in all of its varied poses. Today, the visual comes at us from more places than ever, and its dissemination is faster and more advanced every year. Books from Mark Batty Publisher capture this acceleration on the pages of every book. Affordable, well designed, thoughtfully created, and produced to last, MBP books are artful products that readers want to hold onto forever. For more information, visit www.markbattypublisher.com.

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