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Graffiti: The categories of graffiti.

The categories of graffiti.
There are five main types of graffiti. There are 5 classifications for different forms of graffiti:

1. Agnomical,

2. Amorous,

3. The obscene, erotic and scatological,

4. Intellectual, limericks, folk wisdom and homilies,

5. The Political, the religious or social.

But work often transgressing these definitions. New York style subway graffiti often contains aspects of the later four as well.

The category Agnomical refers to first names, initials, nicknames, coded identities.

The category Amorous describes work that ranges from names carved in a tree to codified notes of homosexual beats of inner city parks. The obscene, erotic and scatological is a categorical definition which is self-defining. So to is the political, religious and social category.

Agnomical graffiti is the most common of all forms of graffiti. This form is found on the school desks of the world, backs of bus seats and prison cells throughout the world. It is graffiti, which signifies a name, or identity of an individual or particular group. To write the name scratching, cutting, drawing, painting, and spraying can do so. Stewart makes an interesting distinction with forms of Agnomical graffiti. This is linear work from non-linear. Non linear work is the writing of a name, nickname or coded identity written randomly, in terms of planning and site. Non-linear sites are commonly toilets or parks. Linear works follows a line of some sort, commonly a train-line. Other lines though are commonly bus lines or paths to schools or train yards.

Many graffiti are sufficiently novel that independent invention is unlikely ("I would rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy"). Multiple appearances then imply the item has spread by copying, all from some initial innovation. In the documentation we estimate the following measures of this dispersion, using pound symbols as an abbreviation.

1 - LOCAL The graffito is seen more than once but only locally. For example, it may be the compulsive work of an individual ("I am the demon of love"), the work of a local group ("Endwahl"), or it may address only local circumstances ("Beaches rule valleys," "SCREWCLA"). 

2 - DISPERSED The graffito is observed in widely dispersed locations. By itself it motivates individuals to remember it and to write it elsewhere. But it is rare enough that writers presume many in the audience for graffiti will not have seen it before ("Today is the tomorrow you wished for yesterday," "The only real women are in the frats").


3 - INVASIVE The item has become trite within the graffiti medium - few still write it because they think graffiti readers have already seen it ("Reality is for people who can't handle drugs," "Disco sucks"). It is so familiar that it supports graffiti substitutions ("Love is for people who can't handle loneliness") or parodies ("Sisco Ducks"). But the item is gaining new audiences by invading other media, such as bumper stickers, the spoken word, print, radio talk shows or television broadcasts. It may be on the way to becoming . . .
 

4 - PERVASIVE The item has become pervasive in the culture and is frequent enough in speech and other media that people assume everyone is familiar with it. It has lost its identity as a graffito. To see it written does not imply the writer copied it - it can easily come to mind ("Make love, not war," "Sex, drugs and rock n roll," "Shit happens"). I often do NOT document this degree of dispersion since it would clutter comments with the obvious.


The multiple appearance of a graffito need not imply the item has been copied, or that it is culturally pervasive. Instead it may just "pop up" independently because it is a simple expression of a common feeling ("Sex now," "Abolish finals," "I want out"). Musicians' names and song lyrics are often written independently ("Springsteen," "Grateful Dead," "Hello, I love you"). Other graffiti may pop up as standard reactions to well known events or personalities ("Death to Iranians," "Springsteen is God," "Free Charles Manson," "Rush Rules").

CATEGORIES

ADVICE & COMMANDS,

ANNOUNCEMENTS & PROCLAMATIONS,

ART,

CRYPTOIDS,

DESPAIR,

DRUGS,

FEMINISM,

FRATERNITIES & SORORITIES,

GAY & LESBIAN,

GRAFFITI,

HUMOR,

JOKES,

LIFE,

LISTS,

LOVE,

MISCELLANEOUS DRAWINGS,

MISCELLANEOUS TEXTS,

MUSIC,

OBSERVATIONS,

POETRY,

POLITICS,

PREDICTIONS,

QUESTIONS,

RACISM & HATE,

RELIGION,

SCHOOL,

SEX,

SHOCK & INSULTS,

WHIMSY,

WISHES.

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