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Bay Area Graffiti: The Early Days


Rarely seen images of Bay Area graffiti in the 1980s and an interview with graffiti writer Neon.

Graffiti is a polarizing art form. Many appreciate its boldness and the vibrant color it adds to the urban landscape while others admonish it as vandalism. As graffiti spread from New York City throughout the United States in the 1980s, regional styles and techniques were adapted and remixed. As graffiti artist Neon explains, most graffiti in New York was on trains, while Bay Area artists focused on outdoor walls.

In this episode of Art School, Neon discusses the pioneers of Bay Area graffiti, the most popular places to paint, and the styles that originated locally. He also talks about the PBS film Style Wars, which had a big impact on artists around the country.

Since the '80s, graffiti has gained more respect and value from the global art community, and many graffiti artists went on to show their work in galleries internationally.

Discover more local graffiti and street artists featured on KQED, including Scape, Barry McGee (Twist), Margaret Kilgallen (Meta/Matokie Slaughter), Crude, Adam 5100 and Mike Shine.

Also on KQED.org this week ...

The New Environmentalists: From Chicago to Karoo
KQED Celebrates the Earth

April 22 is Earth Day, but KQED is celebrating our planet all month long. Tune in for special programs, attend special events, and find more resources online.

View of a dry Mt. Diablo from Briones Regional Park in the East Bay. (Lauren Sommer/KQED)
Where's the Rain?

KQED covers news about California's drought, offers water-saving tips, and more.

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