5 years ago on ilovegraffiti we told you about a documentary movie and book project in the making by Roger Gastman called Wall Writers. The movie and book about the 1st generation of moden graffiti writers in the late 60’s and early 70’s in America has now been released and screened all over the States. Its also available worldwide via iTunes. “This is the bible and encyclopedia combined with the true birth of graffiti as it is known today” Author Gastman says, and at over 350 pages, this isn’t hyperbole. It’s the place to start.
The synopsis for the project is as follows:
Before artists such as Banksy and Shepard Fairey became household names, there were graffiti pioneers who were responsible for adding such things as the first ever crown or arrow to their moniker beginning the evolution of style.
Wall Writers: Graffiti in its Innocence is a documentary film and 350+ page companion book. Both film and book were conceived and directed by Roger Gastman. Legendary filmmaker John Waters narrates the documentary and the book’s forward is written by acclaimed artist Barry McGee.
Graffiti and street art today are largely considered the rock n’ roll of visual art, and Wall Writers is the story of its birth from Philadelphia and New York City during 1967 to 1973. Wall Writers is an exclusive account of the beginnings of the largest art movement of the Twentieth Century. No one has been able to tell this story until now, because no one could get complete access to the full cast of the movement’s originators featured in this film. Most of these artists have given their first ever on-camera interviews for this project. Wall Writers offers a once-in-a-lifetime look at the origin of graffiti and street art that continues to capture the imaginations of young people the world over.
Wall Writers explores graffiti’s eruption into the mainstream society during a period of social turmoil in the late 1960s and early ‘70s, and takes a closer look not only at early graffiti’s place on the wall but its place in the culture of the time. Featuring unprecedented access to and exclusive interviews with graffiti’s originators CORNBREAD, TAKI 183, LSD OM, and more than a two-dozen others.Testimonies from journalists, historians and politicians who bore witness to the wall-writing revolution are also included in the film.
More comprehensive than anything on this subject, Wall Writers explores not only early graffiti writing itself but the writers creating it and the culture that drove them to write — be it a need to rebel against the government, to pass a message, or simply be recognized by society. The film’s exclusive interviews are coupled with rare photographs and archival footage, most of which have never been seen on screen before and serve as historical reference points as well as evidence of early graffiti that was buffed away decades ago.
From graffiti’s humble beginnings in 1967 to the first painting being sold in 1973, Wall Writers reveals the context of the start of a movement that would eventually grow to transform city life, public transit, public art, and ultimately visual art the world over.
You can watch the full movie Wall Writers here via iTunes
Check out the Q&A that took place after the screening of Wall Writers at the SVA Theater in New York with Roger Gastman, Taki 183, CornBread, Snake 1, Coco 144. Rocky 184, Henry 161 & others.
Website for the Wall Writers the movie here.
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