Compositions & Coffee Presents: "Creative Soul Digest"
Back 2 Life
Hey There Friends! It’s Thursday and you know that means it’s time to go back in time to bring BACK 2 LIFE! This week we dove heavy into East Africa and more specifically Ethiopian culture. Well now we a going Northeast to Egypt to talk about communication, art, and written forms of language. You guessed it hieroglyphics! Why we are making the link and comparison is simple both are highly stylized and symbolic. However, ancient graffiti can be seen everywhere so let me give you some background first.
The word graffiti is actually Italian and is the plural of the word graffito which means ‘scratch.’ The earliest known form of graffiti was discovered in “Cueva de las Manos” in Santa Cruz, Argentina dating back to 13,000 to 9,000 BCE. The more modern style of graffiti can be traced back to the ancient Greek city of Ephesus (now located in modern day Turkey. Those modern drawings included a foot, a hand, and a heart. Unfortunately, these particular drawings in the city of Ephesus main street were actually advertisement for a brothel (oops).
The ancient Romans also carved graffiti on walls and monuments near Rome, Italy around 200 A.D. and is said to be the earliest known image of Jesus. Lastly, a Viking mercenary created the first known writing in Hagia Sophia. His sentence, “Halvdan was here.” I know right? Out of all the things that you could have declared. Anyway that was then but let’s jump ahead to the birth of modern day ‘urban’ graffiti.
The 70’s brought urban graffiti through an artist by the name TAKI 183 (short for his Greek name Demetraki and the 183 was the street he lived on). He is a writer that covered most of New York City with is tag. Literally where ever he went he would write his name using a marker and soon he was known all throughout the city. Next thing you know graffiti on trains and subway stations blew up. Not long after spray can paint became popular. From there art galleries in New York began buying graffiti, however, in 1972 mayor John Lindsey also declared war on graffiti. By the 1980s many graffiti artist were driven into the streets and began to use roofs, buildings, and canvases. In the early 1980s a new stencil graffiti genre emerged. Blek le Rat created some of the first examples in 1981 in Paris and a few years later stencils had appeared in other cities including New York, Sydney, and Melbourne. Graffiti style is constantly evolving and street artists like Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring transformed their work into mainstream art gallery fare.Graffiti is considered one of the four elements of hip-hop (along with MC’s, DJ’s, and B-Boys). Graffiti is a central part of this subculture. The origins of all of it can be traced to the Bronx, in New York City.
The artist we will be discussing today in relation to fashion and hieroglyphics are Jean Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring.
Basquiat began spraying on the streets of lower east side Manhattan in the 1970’s and gained popularity in the 1980s. During the 1970s rap, punk, and street art melted together in the early days of hip-hop culture. Basquiat’s neo-expressionist paintings were soon exhibited in galleries and museums internationally. Now what makes his work so spectacular in my personal opinion is his focus on dichotomies like wealth vs poverty, integration vs segregation and inner vs outer experience. His work is said to identify with his experience in the black community at the time and the system of racism and class struggle. Unfortunately, Basquiat died at the tender age of 27 due to a drug overdose but his legacy and work carried on.
Today in partnership with Coach Basquiat’s graffiti key elements are part of their latest line. His trademark features and elements like such as The City, The Crown, The T-Rex dinosaur is decoratively designed on men and women’s clothing. Artist like JLO and Michael B Jordan have been one of many celebrities seen advertising this line. I already know I will eventually own one these amazing bags. I’ll leave pictures and the website link below for ya’ll to check out.
Coach X Jean Michel Basquiat- Click here
Now before we discuss Keith Haring I want to present you with some facts about Hieroglyphics.
Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics are their formal writing system that is composed of logographic (a written character that represents a word), syllabic elements, and alphabetic elements. Much of the knowledge of this form of writing was lost and in the early 1800s, with the help of the Rosetta stone, we are finally have the ability to decipher it’s symbols. This unique writing system became part of the artistic traditions of Egypt. Stories are, told, thoughts were conveyed, and rulings were made using this form of writing which utilized symbols.
Keith Haring is another graffiti artist that became well known around the same time as Basquiat. His pop art also grew out of the street culture of the 1980s and was used to address political and societal issues. His work turned into social activism where he used his images to advocate for safe sex and AIDS awareness. Haring’s friendship circle actually included notable celebrities like Madonna and artist like Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol whom contributed to his success. His images have been called ‘visual language’.
The reason why Keith Haring is mentioned here is because his artwork has regarded as a language through its use of symbols to convey powerful thoughts, tell stories, and convey important messages. See the connection here? Wait till you see his artwork which I’ll show you below.
My point friends is highlighting how this historical tool of illustrations and art has been used since the beginning of time and is now considered part of the hip-hop culture (OUR CULTURE). Our creative means of expression again modified from our ancestors and used as a symbol to unify us all. YES! WE SEE YOU! HA!
Well that wraps up everything on graffiti friends but I'M NOT DONE BECAUSE THIS WEEK IS
Since I love all things ART I wanted to hit ya'll with some interior home decor that you can use to get ready to either entertain friends, family, or trick or treaters.
I have a ton more fun ideas and tips on how to make this stuff easily from the comfort of your home. Check us out on Pinterest for more.
Okay ya'll that's all I have for you this Thursday so I hope you enjoyed this session of Back 2 Life Thursday. On the next session we will explore more home decor and getting ready for the HOLIDAYS so if that's your jam come check us out! Don't forget to hit up these recommendations below and check out these dope boutiques. Until tomorrow...
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