Creative Synesthesia: What would Wild Style Graffiti taste like?

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:




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.


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. In mould of choice, pour in the melted chocolate.
  4. Mix in pop-rocks, coffee grinds, pop-corn, dried apple, doritos, fruit gushers, and sugar.
  5. Stir until ingredients are combined and mixed.
  6. Let set until hardened.
  7. 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.

Digregorio, Sarah and Sietsema, Robert. “Signature Foods of the 1980s”. The Village Voice, 2008.

Eskilson, Stephen J. Graphic design: a new history. 2nd ed., Laurence King Publishing, 2012. Print.

Lovata, Troy and Olton, Elizabeth. Understanding Graffiti: Multidisciplinary Studies from Prehistory to the Present. Left Coast Press, 2016. 


Creative Synesthesia–Vivien Zeng

Lucien Bernhard Poster for Priester Matches 1905

Plakatstil is an art style that emerged from Germany in the early twentieth century. Unlike traditional forms of art in the past, Plakatstil uses a very simplified and graphic approach. Designers of this genre often utilized vibrant colours and dynamic composition to create a striking yet memorable poster. The main goal of the Plakatstil style is to create designs that can be easily perceived at a glance and as a result, it is often referred to as the “poster style”.  It relies heavily on symbols and shapes to communicate an idea rather than fanciful illustrations. Through this process, mass-produced products are aestheticized making it easy to appeal to consumers. This can be seen through the poster for Priester Matches by one of the most prominent Plakatstil designers, Lucien Bernhard.

The bright vibrant colours would feel warm and energetic. The black background draws you in as the matches and playful typography invites you to dance. The matches play an upbeat rhythm as each letter twirls and twists along with the beat. It is full of energy and laughter. The dark background is an endless tunnel that draws in further and further away from reality, inviting you in with music and the intoxicating smell of vanilla and coconut. It feels like a dream you never want to wake up from, a paradise you never knew existed, the perfect childhood that you wished you had. It draws you in with everything you ever hoped for as it drags you deeper and deeper into the inescapable void of consumerism.

Work Cited

Spiteri, Dylan. Plakatstil: German Posters 1905-1915. 6 January 2015. 23 February 2018. <>.


Design Inspiration — Sidney Tran

Design Inspiration

Sidney Tran



Historical Graphic Design

Howard Miller’s We Can Do It! communicates the American ideology of patriotism, hard work and everyone’s necessary war effort, regardless of gender. Its target audience was not only women but men as well. The new ideology being created because of Rosie and other similar posters was that women are stronger and more capable of doing work that men did, which were necessary and crucial to the war effort.

Miller created posters and other artwork reflecting the lives of women behind the war effort. Women took over the factory jobs that men left behind when they deployed for war. Miller became famous for his works portraying the work these women did.

Miller’s work has become a cultural iconic symbol of women’s rights and is sometimes adapted for other causes and political campaigns as well.


Later Work Inspired by We Can Do It!

In 2010, Robert Valadez painted Rosita Adelita. According to Valadez, he used the Rosie The Riveter image and combined it with another fictional pre-feminist archetype, La Adelita, which is a character of song and story who represented all the women who participated in the Mexican Revolution of the 1900’s. La Adelita is painted here in hopes of inspiring a new Mexican Revolution. Valadez reflects the painted quality of the original We Can Do It! poster in his own work. He also uses bold, strong and flat colours just like the We Can Do It! poster. By combining Miller’s Rosie figure with La Adelita, Valadez brings up two powerful iconic feminine figures from two different cultures, which creates an influential and motivational piece of visual expression.


Howard Miller, We Can Do It!, 1942, Poster. Photolithograph, 22 x 17 in (55.9 x 43.2 cm). National Archives, Washington, DC.



Robert Valadez, Rosita Adelita, 2010. 



Doyle, Jack. “”Rosie The Riveter” 1941-1945.” The Pop History Dig, 28 Feb. 2009,

Reimagining Strength and Femininity: A Visual Analysis of the Iconic “We Can Do It!” Image

“J. Howard Miller, Art History & Styles of Art.” Art Wiki,

Kimble, James J., and Lester C. Olson. “Visual Rhetoric Representing Rosie the Riveter: Myth       and Misconception in J. Howard  Miller’s “We Can Do It!” Poster. (Undetermined).” Rhetoric & Public Affairs 9.4 (2006): 533-569. OmniFile Full Text Mega (H.W. Wilson).


Creative Synesthesia for Art Nouveau_Ricky Lai


Creative Synesthesia:

If I am going to describe Art Nouveou with senses except visual sense, it might be like this: It might smell like lily or jasmine, with the smell of grass, remember the smell when the grass are just been cut by the sideways? Art Nouveau uses natural forms and elements as its design characteristics, if it has a smell it must be the smell of nature. It does not have to be flower, I feel like it is every natural smell together, a smell with grass, flowers, wood, and soil all together. It might sounds like bird tweet in the morning, music played with harp or oboe, or even mothers’ morning call in weekends. It might tastes like jasmine tea, a little bit of sweet, or it may taste like a rain drop in a forest. At last, when you touches it, it may feel like the surface of a tree, I feel like I can only touch it gently, and not scratch it, it might damage me or itself. This is what I feel how I treat “Art”, it is alive, it is breathing, I can feel the roots are growing deep under ground.