The Graffiti Writer's Cookbook

Buford Youthward

The apprehension of graffiti demands keen instinct. Although timing is everything, temporal actions are often deceiving. What seems fleeting can be classic. The temporary can be timeless. Things are usually slightly underdone. In the night kitchen, the graffiti chef sifts, drifting and drafting eternity into unconscious. Comprehension follows apprehension. That's the trickiest part. It's easy to overlook what you don't quite understand, yet graffiti must also be tasted, smelled, felt, and ingested. Inspiration means to inhale. You are what you eat.

We become what we behold, but we remain what we hold. Property is a medium for ego and identity as tar pits are a medium for tigers. When driving down the street and struck by another vehicle, the conditioned response is, "I've been hit!" You haven't been hit, your property has been hit. We are one with our possessions. They are the signs of our experience and the road map of our souls. We haul them behind us to explain where we've been, to anchor our selves, to barricade in. Ego's budget knows no bounds.

Aesthetic taste is one part pattern detection and two parts symbols and text. Stir until understanding almost boils over. Add a dash of impulsive instinct. The developed character sees a situation, realizes a problem, and imagines a variety of potential solutions. The graffiti writers' folly and their joie de vie is in the irresponsibility of their behavior.

When you smell imagination mingled with desire, graffiti is usually baking in the oven. Instinct and reason are the warring flavors. Construction and deconstruction whet the appetite. The profound transformation brought forth by the proper graffiti -- executed at the proper time on the proper place and experienced by the proper public -- is much more nutritious and satisfying than a static presentation of defiant expressions of individuality. When graffiti and its apprehender collide, retail emotions can no longer fill the emptiness. Appetites change and a new hunger emerges. This, then, is the proper recipe for graffiti.

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