My friend and I both have a fascination and an appreciation for art from the 1960s. For me, it began in 1969 with the explosion of black metal. My parents lived just down the hill from the studio of the band Morbid Angel, the scene of my earliest memories. There was a massive band tent and my mother was a total fan. She brought along a couple of books, including a little book about this man, Richard Ramirez, who was a painter who lived and worked in a blacked out apartment in Brooklyn. She came back with a spray can of her house paint and a bottle of his paint. My grandfather said to her: “It’s a beautiful painting, but it needs some extra paint. What kind, and when will it be ready?” She responded, saying she’d get it fixed and delivered in the next week while I lay in bed.
I had been taking pottery classes at NYU, so I went over to her apartment to do some homework and ended up getting a job painting a portrait of Morbid Angel’s guitarist. I went back to my mom that night and she said “you’d be much better off working on something else,” which was the first time she told me that painting was actually an occupation. That painting was the one we use. And I still use it every Tuesday when my girlfriend or I work at a job without an art background.
Was painting the first graffiti?
It wasn’t. But when I first saw graffiti, I loved it. I used to paint a lot in my youth, but never in big groups, or for long periods of time. But when I was in High School in Brooklyn I got involved and painted with a bunch of different kids with the most amazing and varied styles and stories. I learned how to recognize that you only have to paint one picture on walls to capture that feeling, so I began to do it at a much larger stage. There is a difference between graffiti and paint graffiti. There isn’t a huge difference between them, it’s just that graffiti is a new way of looking at graffiti, whereas paint graffiti is a new way of looking at paint.
Is graffiti art?
The fact graffiti was a thing and became so popular means that it is a form of art. Artists make paintings, but they create art as well, but not as part of their occupation. I’m not saying they’re more skilled or better artists. I would call them better and more versatile and more adaptable than many artists in
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