To this day, graffiti culture is one of the most complex and often misunderstood in the world. Our own city of Melbourne enjoys a rich graff scene which has made its way into the mainstream mindset, for better or worse, but the reality is that unless you’re already entrenched in its elusive communities, you’re never really going to ‘get’ why writers write. And we don’t mean commissioned “street art” murals, we’re talking about the ever-polarising tags you see surreptitiously pop up (and just as quickly disappear) on many a wall, sidewalk, rooftop in any given postcode. Wall Writers: Graffiti in its Innocence, is a forthcoming documentary and book which will surely shed a lot of light on the origins of this ubiquitous, yet mysterious, culture.
Directed by the legendary Roger Gastman, with film narration by John Waters and book foreword by Barry McGee, Wall Writers takes us back to New York in the late ’60s when the first names started popping up on walls all over the city. Speaking with many of the original writers, some for the first time ever on film, you can hear the real stories behind why people choose to spray their monikers in public spaces and how the art’s monetisation has effected the culture.
You can check out the trailer for Wall Writers: Graffiti in its Innocence above and pre-order both the film and book here.