Modern Graffiti and the Wild Style movement began in the 1970s upon the arrival of spray paint mediums and the growth of hip-hop, and flourished in the 1980s. In New York City, subway cars were covered like canvases with vivid graffiti applications by untrained and youthful male artists as an attempt to express themselves and counter social issues. Being viewed as artists and vandals, their bold designs and typography urged to be heard with loud, confrontational, and all-over designs that were impossible to ignore, plastered about the city’s streets.
Wild Style graffiti grew to a design movement when artists began devising more complex compositions. With chaotic and expressive pieces, the bright design style often featured typography that was illegible, appearing to be a pattern or image rather than text or words at a first glance. This faced the viewer with an overwhelming challenge of reading and breaking down the images of wild style graffiti. Lively, three dimensional, overlapping forms freed letters from constraints and logic, challenging the norm.
An example of wild style graffiti can be seen in this image of a graffiti’d subway car in 1980 by Bil Rock. (Image source: http://bedfordandbowery.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/12_seen_pj_kel_final.jpg)
Wild Style graffiti has already been translated to dance (movement) , and hip-hop music (sound), but has yet to be translated into taste and touch. The following is my original recipe for Wild Style Graffiti.
Easy Explosive Flavour Chocolate (No bake raw recipe)
*Note: Ingredients may vary and be altered depending on available and accessible ingredients. Rich and bold flavours and strong textures are preferred.
- 50 grams of chocolate melts (whatever flavour is available and preferable to your individual taste)
- 1 bag of pop-rock candy
- 1 tsp coffee grinds
- Handful of New york city popped pop corn
- Handful of dried apple, chopped
- Handful of crushed zesty doritos
- 5-10 fruit gushers
- Pinch of sugar, to taste
- Suitable setting environment: public surface with ridge or hole and sunlight, preferably a brick with indentation.
- Locate a suitable spot to pour the chocolate for setting. Try to find a brick with a carved hole, or any indent or ridge you may find in the urban environment of the city. Do not worry id your location is in a property that is not your own or may be considered illegal.
- Melt chocolate. This can be done before hand to increase speed of chocolate production, but could also be done using the warmth of the sun.
- In mould of choice, pour in the melted chocolate.
- Mix in pop-rocks, coffee grinds, pop-corn, dried apple, doritos, fruit gushers, and sugar.
- Stir until ingredients are combined and mixed.
- Let set until hardened.
- Enjoy yourself, or leave for others to enjoy upon discovery.
How does this recipe reflect wild style graffiti?
This recipe has many conceptual connections to ideas and characteristics of the wild style graffiti movement.
Firstly, chocolate was chosen as a medium due to its caffeine levels and appeal to youth. Because the style was so energetic and created by young “artists”, chocolates energy-inducing youth appeal felt perfectly suitable for the style. Also, because Wild Style graffiti was produced by artists which had recieved no formal training or education and were self-taught and had limited access to education, an easy recipe like chocolate (only needing to melt and mix ingredients) was also appropriate. Finally, chocolate was chosen because of its capability to be made without any cooking, a raw recipe emulating the raw and authentic aesthetic of graffiti mediums. It also had potential for many flavours, an important part of the concept of bold taste, and individual expressive styles signature of the movement.
The intentions of the chocolate recipe was to create such a shocking, unique, and clashing juxtaposition of strong flavours that could mimic the vivid shapes of wild style graffiti. Flavours that may not traditionally be found together in recipes were sought, because the strong sense of clashing forms of illegible letters that graffiti presented could be represented. Wild style graffiti was difficult for the eye to break down and digest, so flavours that are difficult for the tounge to process are favoured in this recipe. Notes of fruit, salt, coffee and even popping rock candy overwhelm and surprise the consumer, confusing them to a point where they need to taste and analyse each flavour slowly before coming to a conclusion of what is in the chocolate. Even the varying strange textures that encounter the mouth in this recipe (crunchy chips, soft dried fruit, squishy fruit gushers) allude to a sense of depth and complexity that is visually found in the three dimensional compositions of wild style graffiti. Both the varying flavours and textures tie in wild style’s overall movement created by dancing and intertwining colours and letters, illegible at first, but readable when analysed carefully.
The chosen ingredients were selected due to their easy to access nature, things that could be found easily in the 1980s city streets, and things that are inexpensive. This is reflective of the movement’s artwork being found in untraditional, non-elite canvases and locations like that of a subway car or a brick wall, and the materials being easy to aquire (only a simple aerosol spray paint can). After researching popular snacks of the 1980s, popcorn, doritos and coffee flavours were noted to be significant in the decade. To imply the graffiti movements location being New York City, apple was chosen as a dried fruit due to its connotations to “the big Apple”.
Because Graffiti as a medium was labelled vandalism due to its illegal choices of application, the recipe shows this in its untraditional mould- any indentation found in the city environment. A sense of urban, innovative ideas is given, being created anywhere without concern of ownership of property as a form of social protest. The recipe being made in urban spaces allow for any citizen to enjoy it, just like how anyone on the streets could visually devour and appreciate the works of wild style graffiti of the 1970s.
Dunne, Carey. “The Most Infamous Graffiti Artists Of 1970s New York City”. FastcoDesign, 2014. https://www.fastcodesign.com/3039567/the-most-infamous-graffiti-artists-of-1970s-new-york-city
Digregorio, Sarah and Sietsema, Robert. “Signature Foods of the 1980s”. The Village Voice, 2008. https://www.villagevoice.com/2008/10/15/signature-foods-of-the-1980s/
Eskilson, Stephen J. Graphic design: a new history. 2nd ed., Laurence King Publishing, 2012. Print.