A number of words and phrases have come to describe different styles and aspects of. Like otherjargonand colloquialisms, some phrases vary in different cities and countries. The following terminology comes primarily from the United States.
Famous or respected graffiti artists who have died. The people who admire them tag their names on a wall with halos above them or make tribute pieces with their faces or tag with the dates of their birth to death.
The state of being known for ones graffiti throughout a city. Originally, this term meant to be known throughout thefive boroughsofNew York Citythrough the medium of subway cars.
Graffiti that covers a wall from end to end, as seen on some parts of the West-Berlin side of theBerlin Wall. Similarly, trains sometimes receive
painting when a carriage has been painted along its entire length. This is often abbreviated as
but this is an older expression that is falling from popularity.
A quickly executed throw up or panel piece. Backjumps are usually painted on a temporarily parked train or a running bus.
A graffiti artistssketchbook. Also known as a piece book. It is often used to sketch out and plan potential graffiti, and to collect tags from other
. It is a writers most valuable property, containing all or a majority of the persons sketches and
. A writers sketchbook is carefully guarded from the police and other authorities, as it can be used as material evidence in a graffiti vandalism case and link a writer to previous illicit works.
To steal another artists ideas, name, lettering or color schemes. Seasoned artists will often complain about
is to paint many surfaces in an area. Bombers often choose to paint
, as they can be executed more quickly.
To remove painted graffiti with chemicals and other instruments, or to paint over it with a flat color.
To beat a competitor with a style. To rat out an accomplice or crime partner either intentionally or unintentionally.
. The piece could be said to be burning out of the wall, billboard, or train-side. Because they take so much time and effort, burners in downtown areas are more likely to be legal pieces, painted with the consent of the property owner. The early writers ofNew York Cityalso did burners illegally on trains, and adventurous modern writers sometimes still do large-scale illegal pieces in heavily trafficked areas.
Any work having not been removed. That piece is still burning on main street.
A slang term for spray paint cans. This term is thought to originate in Brooklyn, New York.
the nozzle for the aerosol paint can, also referred to as Tips. Different kinds are used for styles. New York Thins, Rustos, and New York Fats are the most commonly used caps.
To cross out or in any other way ruin a piece made by others. Derives from a writer named Cap who was infamous for making throw-ups over others pieces.
27 Club Graffiti in Tel Avivpainted by a Tel Aviv crew
or graffiti artists that often work together. Crews are differentiated from gangs in that their main objective is to paint graffiti, although gang-like activity can occur. Any group of friends can quickly and informally form a crew if they are interested in graffiti and want to start collaborating. Often crews will recruit new members over time in order to maintain their relevance. There is a smaller risk of being held responsible for crew works if a single member gets arrested. From a legal point of view, the name could have been painted by anyone in the group.
A colour-mixing technique done by spraying one colour over another while it is still wet, then rubbing the two together. Sometimes an abrasive like sand is used to create different effects. The term is derived from con
as it is commonly done with ones fingers.
To completely write all over a specific area like a door-way, wall or window that is untouched.
London/UK style of graffiti executed in silver or chrome paint. Usually on railway walls or street locations, it is done quickly by a crew or group of writers.
meaning a train-car covered with paint from one side of it to the other. Used as an adjective and non-commonly as a noun.
The use of acid solutions intended for creatingfrosted glass, such as Etch Bath, to write on windows. In Norway some trains have even been taken temporarily out of service because of the
, which is potentially dangerous for other peoples health.
A nozzle used for wide coverage, used for the fill of pieces.
Also referred to as bombs throw ups or throwies. Fills describe a piece of graffiti that is either filled in a rush or a solid fill. A fill is also the interior base color of the piece of graffiti.
A graffiti form that takes up the entire canvas, wall or area that can be vulgar yet has a very effective message.
Locations such as overpasses and walls facing train tracks that are secluded from the general public but are popular with writers. Since anything that is written is likely to stay for a while, an accumulation of styles and skills can be viewed.
Specialty paint brand company designed for graffiti. Due to a dispute in name branding, it is unrelated to Spanish Montana, a company selling the same products which capitalized on the idea first.
To develop your reputation or rep through writing graffiti. (see King)
the mark left after paint or ink has been unsuccessfully
To go over a piece of graffiti simply means to paint on top of it.
While most writers respect one anothers artwork, to intentionally and disrespectfully paint on top of anothers work is akin to a graffitideclaration of war. However (due partially to the limited amount of desirable wall-space) most graffiti writers maintain a hierarchy of sorts; a tag can legitimately be covered by a throw-up, and a throw-up by a piece, and this is commonly done without incident. If a piece has previously been slashed (or dissed), it is also acceptable for another writer to go over it. To violate these guidelines, or to simply paint lower-quality graffiti on top of a higher-quality artists work will quickly characterize a writer as an annoyance, or toy. This is dangerous as most crews and writers will react with physical violence and/or by repeatedly going over writers not respecting their self-claimed rank in the hierarchy.
Pieces that are painted in hard-to-reach places such as rooftops and freeway signs, thus making them hard to remove. Such pieces, by the nature of the spot, often pose dangerous challenges to execute, but may increase an artists notoriety. This term also encompasses a double-meaning as the locations are often very dangerous to paint there and it may lead to death, thus, going toheaven(also known as hitting up the heavens).
A person who is described as wearing a hat is an artist who is considered trustworthy in the graffiti community. A person who knows a lot of information about other artists but does not spread such knowledge to the authorities. Dont worry about him, he wears a dope hat
1 similar to a king or queen, a head is a writer who has much skill and a high reputation among other writers in his area.
2 also O.G. Head (for Original, or Original Gangsta).
also referred to as outlines and shells. A hollow is a piece of graffiti that contains no
Graffiti done inside trains, trams, or buses. In 1970s New York, there was as much graffiti inside the subway trains as outside, and the same is true of some cities today (like Rome, Italy and Melbourne, Australia). While still very common,
are often perceived as being less artistic.
(feminine) are writers especially respected among other writers. This is sometimes separated into inside and outside kings. To be a king of the inside means you have most tags inside trains (to own the inside), and to own the outside means having most pieces on the train surface. There are kings of
among a variety of other categories and the term is regionally subjective. For example, in Los Angeles a King would be someone who has achieved status by years in the graffiti longevity, style, ups, and originality. Self-declared kings will often incorporate crowns into their pieces; a commonly used element of style. However the people must be very self-confident when doing it, since other great writers tend to slash out self-proclaimed kings who have not gained that rank yet in their eyes. Typically a writer can only become a king if another king with that status already has expressed so.
A paint brand that was one of the most popular with writers, it is thought of virtually synonymous with graffiti, due to general quality and availability. Heavily used during the hey-day of theNew York City Subwaygraffiti era during the early 1970s to late 1980s, it has a nostalgic status. Starting in mid-2008, the brand introduced a generation of paint can design with an irremovable cap system that sprays a rectangular coverage instead of the circular coverage preferred by writers. The paint quality is runnier and translucent in comparison to graffiti specialty brands. Sherwin Williams, Krylons parent company, has dominated a significant portion of the paint market and many retail outlets stock only Krylon paints. For this reason, Krylon is categorized into three groups.
360 krylon from the Ez touch 360 dial control label
triple krylon from the No Runs, No Drips, No Errors label
original krylon The first line of cans, sought after as a collectors item
It is considered to be an indication of being a toy if one chooses 360 Krylon
When an individual or crew tags on a certain location that becomes very difficult for removal, or is obscure and hidden from the buff. This will usually be demarcated with a signature that documents the time that they were written. Graffiti that is considered a landmark has usually been in place for at least 5 years. These spots are highly respected by other writers, and to go over them can warrant disfavor.
A graffiti piece or production that is made with permission. Writers normatively have to have gained experience writing illegal graffiti in the streets for a considerable amount of time to be respected for legal graffiti.
Sculpture art in a public space, typically chained to public furniture with an old bike lock. TheLock Onstyle is a non destructive form of underground art.
Some artists make fun of the term by connecting the two paintings across the car-gap often in a humoristic or obvious way to signal the
. (Subway cars permanently coupled and sharing a single air-compressor and electrical generator between them are technically
When municipal authorities take down or cover up an accumulation of tags and pieces, leaving a blank space.
A type of homemade graffiti marker used for larger tags that often has a round nib and leaves a fat, drippy line. Mops may be filled with various inks or paints.
A tag, throwie, or bomb written in one constant motion. These may be done with any writing utensil. The tip or nozzle of the writing implement does not lift from the canvas until the tag is complete.
an unprimed surface such as raw wood or concrete that eats up standard spray paint. If a location has been given the reputation of being a paint eater than in such cases a thicker paint should be obtained and executed. Additionally, writers can use house paint to prime the surface before painting.
A brand byRust-Oleumthat is favored for quality and general availability.
A drawing, stencil etc. on paper fixed to a wall or other surface using wheatpaste or wallpaper paste
A tag that has been rubbed out by being painted over usually by gray paint or patched over.
Brazilian name for the unique form of tagging found in that country.
A large, complex, and labor-intensive graffiti painting.
often incorporate3-Deffects, arrows, and many colors and color-transitions, as well as various other effects. These will usually be done by writers with more experience. Originally shorthand formasterpiece, considered the full and most beautiful work of graffiti). A piece requires more time to paint than a throw-up. If placed in a difficult location and well executed it will earn the writer more respect. Piece can also be used as a verb that means: to write.
Form of graffiti that consists in repeating the same word endlessly covering a whole surface. It comes from the punition lines that kids do at school.
Graffiti shop is equipped withanti-theft systemTver CityRussia.
Shoplifting or robbing, not limited to but including paint, markers, inks, caps, and clothes. Although disputed whether racking is an essential part of graffiti, there are writers who do not consider using legitimately acquired paint or pens as proper graffiti.
An enormous piece done with a paint roller instead of aerosol. These are usually completed in very simplified letter forms that resemble font, but can occasionally be very intricate and complex.
The length of time graffiti remains up before being covered or removed. If a piece has been up for a year, it is said to have run for a year.
creates hard-to-remove graffiti by scratching orincisinga tag into an object, generally using akey, knife, stone,sand paper, ceramic drill bit, ordiamondtippedDremelbit. TheMohs scale of mineral hardnessdetermines which stones or other objects will scratch what surfaces.
To paint an extremely conspicuous or dangerous location.
To put a line through, or tag over, anothers graffiti. This is considered a deep insult. It is also known as marking,dissingand capping (because of an infamous writer called CAP going over almost every piece on every car of the New York transit system in the early 70s and has become sort of a criticized legend because of that). Also referred to as crossing out, dissing, hating, going over, or line, as in
To consider other pieces for inspiration.
Specialty paint brand company designed for graffiti. Due to a dispute in name branding, it is unrelated to German Montana, a company selling the same products capitalizing on the idea after Spanish Montana.
A marker used to tag with, generally with a 12mm or 20mm tip. In some countries such as Australia possession of these without a reason can result in an on the spot fine.
Also referred to as labels or slaps. A sticker (often obtained from shipping companies and name greeting labels) with the writers tag on it. A sticker can be deployed more quickly than other forms of graffiti, making it a favorite in any public place such as crosswalk signs, newspaper dispensers, stop signs, phone booths etc. A popular sticker that was used originally was the Hello my name is red stickers in which a writer would write their graffiti name in the blank space. Reflector stickers, found at hardware stores are sometimes assembled to form a crew meaning, or individual writers moniker.
Also referred to as straights, blockbusters and sometimes simples are a direct, blocky, more readable and simpler style of graffiti. Straight letters can be read by anyone and usually contain only two colors and are most commonly completed in arrangements of silver, black, and/or white.
A stylized signature, normally done in one color. The simplest and most prevalent type of graffiti, a tag is often done in a color that contrasts sharply with its background.
can also be used as a verb meaning to sign. Writers often tag on or beside their pieces, following the practice of traditional artists who sign their artwork. A less common type of tag is a dust tag, done by smudging the dirt of a wall with the fingers. Writers use this technique to get up without technically vandalizing. The verb tagging has even become a popular verb today in other types of occasions that are non-graffiti-related. Tagging first appeared in Philadelphia, with spraypainted messages of Bobby Beck In 59 on freeways surrounding the city. Since then, individual graffiti scenes have displayed very different forms of tagging that are unique to specific regions. For example, a Los Angeles tag will look very different from a Philadelphia tag, etc. The first king was also crowned in Philly:Cornbread (graffiti), a student who began marking his nickname around the city to attract the attentions of a girl. In New York City,TAKI 183inspired a newspaper article about his exploits, leading to an explosion of tagging in the early seventies.
in terms of complexity and time investment. It generally consists of a one color outline and one layer of fill-color. Easy-to-paint bubble shapes often form the letters. A throw-up is designed for quick execution, to avoid attracting attention to the writer. Throw-ups are often utilized by writers who wish to achieve a large number of tags while competing with rival artists. Most artists have both a tag and a throw-up that are essentially fixed compared to pieces. It is mostly so because they need to have a recognizable logo for others to identify them and their own individual styles.
Pieces on trains that cover the whole height of the car.
. A production with several writers might cover a
, which means the entire side of the train has been covered. In the U.S. this term can also be used as a single noun instead of only an adjective.
1. Used as an adjective to describe poor work, or as a noun meaning an inexperienced or unskilled writer.
Graffiti writers usually use this as a derogatory term for new writers in the scene, or writers who are old to the scene and still do not have any skill or reputation. The act of toying someone elses graffiti is to disrespect it by means of going over it (see slash/going over).
2. Toys often added above or directly on a toy work. An acronym meaning,
Tags or signatures painted on the under carriage of passenger trains. Undersides are normally marked in the yard after painting the train panel, most undersides will last somewhat longer than the original piece, as the railway workers primarily focus on the most visible things and sometimes do not have resources to clean everything.
when their work becomes widespread and well-known.
Although a writer can get up in a city by painting only tags (or throw-ups), a writer may earn more respect from skillfully executed pieces or a well-rounded repertoire of styles than from sheer number of tags. Usually the more spots a writer can hit, the more respect he or she gains. Usually, if the writer hits more spots with better style they will get more respect then someone who simply tags. A writers ups is determined by how much prolific graffiti he/she has accomplished. Writers are considered up both in terms of the number of spots they have hit, but also those that are still running.
A single or collaborative piece that covers the entire visible surface of a train car, usually excluding the front and rear of the train. A whole car is usually worked upon by either a single artist or several artists from the same crew and is completed in one sitting.
All train cars (usually between four and eight or more, regardless of the train length) completely covered with paint reaching the far end of the train on one or both sides. Such demanding actions are often done by multiple artists or crews and with a limited variation of colors commonly in black and silver because of the stressing time limitation they are facing when painting in the train yards (very often less than 30 minutes). However the more artists who participate, the better works can come out of it and the cars are done quicker too. This type of graffiti, if finished successful, is one of the most respected forms amongst other writers, but is also rarer due to the higher risk of getting caught. it has also been known that crews of graffiti artists would demonstrate their whole cart/train skills, usually carried out by waiting at a train/metro stop or station, waiting for the train to approach. then when stopped quickly cover the full area of the cart, this can be finished within 2 minutes of the train pulling into the station.
Graffiti with text so stylized as to be difficult to read, often with interlocking, three-dimensional type.
(other variations are possible too) where the content has been painted below the window borders, almost always covering the whole surface in its length (see
). Can be used as a more precise alternative to the mentioned term within the brackets, but though not in addition to
as that will exceed the definition of the term.
Artwork painted on a small portion ofplywoodor similar inexpensive material and attached tostreet signposts with bolts.
Often the bolts are bent at the back to prevent removal.
A practitioner of writing, a graffiti artist.
The participants, who didnt keep the traditional type of graffiti black book, still had a sketchbook and a photo album that documented and preserved the ephemeral nature of their graffiti paintings.
Rahn, Janice. Painting Without Permission: Hip-Hop Graffiti Subculture, Westport:Greenwood, 2002. (p. 205)
, Martha Cooper and Henry Chalfant, p27. Henry Holt and Company, 1984.ISBN978-0-8050-0678-0.
Graffitists slang … Bomb: To apply graffiti intensively to a location … Hit: To tag or bomb a surface
Whitford, M. J. Getting Rid of Graffiti: A Practical Guide to Graffiti Removal, London:Taylor & Francis, 1992. (p. 1)
End to end: A piece covering the entire length of a train carriage.
Mcdonald, Nancy. The Graffiti Subculture: Youth, Masculinity and Identity in London and New York, New York:Palgrave Macmillan, 2001.
Aftenposten.no, Norwegian newspaper article about acid tagging (foreign language)
King/Queen: Dominant graffitist on bus route or underground railway line
Piece: Coloured, complex pictorial graffito in spray paint (from masterpiece)
SEEN, an early graffiti writer, states, at 1:39, that they use to steal paint back in the day, referring to it as racking.
2007-09-28 at theWayback Machine., First graffiti-related article from
Hong Kong (Free Ai Weiwei campaign)
All articles with unsourced statements
Articles with unsourced statements from December 2008
Articles with unsourced statements from January 2012
This page was last edited on 21 April 2018, at 06:00