Piece by Piece documents the history of San Francisco's controversial graffiti art movement, with a fast-paced journey into the world of San Francisco street art, as seen through the eye of the artists. Chronicling more than 20 years of creation and destruction -- honestly, accurately, and critically, the film takes you alongside those who lived in what is arguably one of the most influential youth cultures of our time.
San Francisco's graffiti style arose in the period from 1983 to 1993. Piece by Piece starts by documenting what laid the groundwork for today's Bay Area graffiti: "Cholo" writing and the impact of PBS's 1983 documentary, Style Wars. The film includes not only San Francisco's graffiti originals, but also commentary from noted New York "writers" such as Seen, Cope 2, and Case 2. It also covers the tragedy of Dream One, a San Francisco graffiti pioneer and a vocal figurehead in Bay Area urban welfare activism.
From 1993 to 2000, San Francisco became an international magnet for ground-breaking graffiti styles yet to be seen in other parts of the world. The film elaborates on what it takes to establish credibility among the graffiti community, featuring classic works from KR and the horses of Reminisce; and documenting the creative expression of these and other "writers." The film also features well-known graffiti artists such as Grey, Buter, Joro, Norm, and Barry McGee (Twist).
While graffiti is largely considered an underground movement, it's no secret that this art form has provoked a huge response from everyday citizens. The final segment of Piece by Piece explores the wide range of public opinion towards graffiti by giving a voice to the citizens of San Francisco and the law enforcement officers who claim to represent their interests. The film also captures the artists' heartfelt confessions of their love of and addiction to graffiti art and typographic lettering, as well as their social activism, and the short life span of their works.