Graffiti and street art are temporary forms, but photography has granted them longevity. Some artists and taggers put their own books out, while others are compiled by photographers, gallery owners, and other enthusiasts. Books may focus on a particular aspect, like stickers and posters instead of tagging or murals.
GRAFFITI/STREET ART IN THE U.S.
Street Knowledge by Adz King (2011). From the groundbreaking New York artists of the 1980s to the unique work of modern-day Iranians, this book shows how street culture has penetrated every aspect of modern life.
Street Sketchbook: Journeys by Tristan Manco (2010). Twenty-six of the hottest new artists working worldwide today have opened up their sketchbooks to share their impressions as they travel on road trips, trek halfway across the globe, and explore internal landscapes.
Trespass: A History Of Uncommissioned Urban Art by Carlo McCormick (2010). In recent years street art has grown bolder, more ornate, more sophisticated and—in many cases—more acceptable. Yet unsanctioned public art remains the problem child of cultural expression, the last outlaw of visual disciplines. It has also become a global phenomenon of the 21st century. Trespass examines the rise and global reach of graffiti and urban art, tracing key figures, events and movements of self-expression in the city’s social space, and the history of urban reclamation, protest, and illicit performance.
Art in the Streets by Jeffrey Deitch, Roger Gastman, Aaron Rose (2010). A companion to the groundbreaking exhibit of the same name hosted at the Modern of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, CA, Art in the Streets seeks to offer a comprehensive history of the graffiti and street art movements in the US. It features essays on graffiti, interviews with the artists, and vivid full color pages of the exhibit.
Classic Hits: New York’s Pioneering Subway Graffiti Writers by Alan Fleisher and Paul Iovino with an Introduction by Phase 2 (2012). “The most visual book on early 1970s graffiti ever published. The authors were themselves artists and maintain long friendships with other artists, as well as photo archives of the time, on display in this one-of-a-kind book. Early 70s New York saw the growth of a new phenomenon.”
Broken Windows: Graffiti NYC by James T. Murray and Karla L. Murray (2010). “Full of vibrant, energetic and explosive full-color images, this wide format -page book gives voice to an art movement that is largely undocumented and often misunderstood. It features extensive graffiti artist interviews, covering topics such as tags, styles, motivation, crews, authorities, and the future of graffiti art. Five oversized fold-out gatefolds present some of the largest productions painted in NYC since 1996.”
Newbrow: 50 Contemporary Artists by Shane Pomajambo (2012). “Newbrow art is an underground art movement featuring pop surrealism and strong social commentary. View the cross section of Newbrow art with 50 contemporary artists displaying the embodiment of humor and commentary of the underground comix movement.”
Stay Up! Los Angeles Street Art by G. James Daichendt “is an investigation of the global phenomenon of street art. Told from the perspective of artists working in Los Angeles, it offers a new vantage point for understanding an art form that is widely popular yet has been the subject of speculation and much uncertainty.”
Street art San Francisco: Mission Muralismo by Annice Jacoby showcases the vibrant art of the Mission District in San Francisco, “the largest concentration in the world of public painting that embodies activism, culture, passion, and desire for social change. Featuring over 500 full-color photographs and 30 essays, including artists R. Crumb, Shepard Fairey, Swoon, Barry McGee (TWIST), Rigo, and Spain Rodriguez, Street Art San Francisco comprehensively exposes more than three decades of this expansive and vibrant public art movement.”
Beautiful Losers by Aaron Rose (2005). The greatest cultural accomplishments in history have never been the result of the brainstorms of marketing men, corporate focus groups, or any homogenized methods; they have always happened organically. More often than not, these manifestations have been the result of a few like-minded people coming together to create something new and original for no other purpose than a common love of doing it. In the 1990s, a loose-knit group of American artists and creators, many just out of their teens, began their careers in just such a way. Influenced by the popular underground youth subcultures of the day, such as skateboarding, graffiti, street fashion, and independent music,
GRAFFITI/STREET ART AROUND THE WORLD
Street Art London by Frank Steam156 Malt (2013). Street Art London is focused on the latest and best of London’s many street artists. The ephemeral pieces that infuse the street scene with new meaning are preserved in this book, which also sets them in a broader context.
Arabic Graffiti by Don Stone Karl (2011). Without regional borders or constraints, ‘Arabic Graffiti’ references the use of Arabic script in urban context. It showcases artists, graffiti writers and typographers from the Middle East and around the world who merge Arabic script and calligraphy styles with the art of graffiti writing, street art and urban culture.
Graffiti Asia by Ryo Sanada and Suridh Hassan (2010) is the first book “to examine the spread of graffiti in Asia, concentrating mainly on Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, South Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan, as well as the Philippines, China, and Hong Kong. Interviews with local artists provide an insight into the life of the graffiti artist in countries far removed from graffiti’s origins in the US. They discuss the most popular graffiti locations, the attitudes of each country to the idea of graffiti art, and the network of established and emerging artists across the region.”
Graffiti Paris by Fabienne Grévy (2009). Graffiti artists in Paris, much like in New York and Los Angeles, have transformed urban spaces—sidewalks, metro stations, staircases, abandoned buildings—into showrooms that exhibit their work in all of its many mediums, from a proliferation of stickers to cleverly applied stencils to giant murals.
Urban Iran by Salar Abdoh (2008). Writers, photographers and artists reveal everyday life in contemporary Iran
the World Atlas of Street Art and Graffiti by Rafael Schacter (2008) is the definitive survey of international street art, focusing on the world’s most influential urban artist and artworks. Since the lives and works of urban artists are inextricably linked to specific streets and places, this beautifully illustrated volume features specially commissioned “city artworks” by key artist that provide an insider’s look at these metropolitan landscapes.
Graffiti Women: Street Art from Five Continents by Nicholas Ganz (2006) places women writers, who are often shunted to the sidelines by their male counterparts, front and center. The book features 1,000 full-color illustrations from some of the world’s most prominent artists, including Brazil’s Nina, Japan’s Sasu, Mexico’s Peste, and the Americans Lady Pink, Swoon, and Miss 17. Two eight-page fold-out collages, a fold-out poster jacket, and an authoritative text round out the impressive package.
Nuevo Mundo: Latin American Street Art by Maximiliano Ruiz (2011) provides a comprehensive documentation of current street art in Latin America, introducing work from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Central America, Chile, Columbia, Cuba, Ecuador, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay. In addition to inspiring images, the books insightful texts describe the history and context of each scene as well as the region as a whole. The explosive mixture of indigenous cultures, local folklore, and the history of European colonization has created a unique visual style.
RackGaki: Japanese Graffiti by Ryo Sanada (2007) is dedicated to Japan’s explosive graffiti scene. It illustrates the work of the major graffiti writers working in Japan today and showcases the creativity that lies within this new and relatively unexplored form of contemporary Japanese art. Interviews with the writers and the authors’ own experiences in documenting the different aspects of this subculture, fill out a picture of an art form at the cutting edge and often at odds with police and civic authorities.
Wall and Piece by Banksy (2007). Banksy, Britain’s now-legendary “guerilla” street artist, has painted the walls, streets, and bridges of towns and cities throughout the world. Not only did he smuggle his pieces into four of New York City’s major art museums, he’s also “hung” his work at London’s Tate Gallery and adorned Israel’s West Bank barrier with satirical images. Banksy’s identity remains unknown, but his work is unmistakable
Against the Wall: The Art of Resistance in Palestine by William Parry (2010) “captures the graffiti and art that has transformed Israel’s wall into a canvas of resistance and solidarity. Featuring the work of artists including Banksy, Ron English, Blu and others, as well as Palestinian artists and activists, these photos express outrage, compassion, and touching humour. They illustrate the wall’s toll on lives and livelihoods, showing the hardship it has brought to tens of thousands of people, preventing their access to work, education and vital medical care.”
Street Art Chile by Rod Palmer (2008). The Americas are rich with muralist traditions that stem from political muralist movements in the early 20th century. So embedded are these traditions that they comprise an important part of a child’s education. Street Art Chile explains works in the greater historical context, shedding light on the missions of individual artists and flavors of particular cities in this South American country.
Urban Vodou: Politics and Popular Street Art in Haiti by Pablo Butcher (2010) explores the street murals of Haiti. “The world’s media has chronicled Haiti’s long history of political instability and social unrest. But perhaps more importantly, Haitians themselves reacted to the cycle of hope and despair in the form of hundreds of spontaneous street murals. Mostly in the capial, Port-au-Prince, these colorful and expressive paintings both recorded key events and articulated the hopes and fears of their creators.”
Label 228: A Street Art Project by Camden Noir (2009) is “a gathering of street art executed on priority mail labels and displayed in public spaces. These labels are free, portable, and quick and easy to exhibit, offering artists the chance to spend more time creating their work than if they were to paint and write directly on walls, vehicles, and public objects.”
Sticker Bomb by Studio Rarekwai (2008). “As more and more stickers are placed around major cities in the world, interest in the subject keeps growing. Many street art books to date have featured photographs of stickers spotted in urban environments. Packed with examples of the real thing, Sticker Bomb offers the fun of peeling and sticking, and of owning and collecting cool stickers.”
PEEL: The Art of the Sticker by Dave and Holly Combs (2008) traveled to New York City from Indianapolis, Indiana, to assist with September 11 recovery efforts. While exploring Manhattan during their off hours, they were inspired by the wealth of stickers they saw all over the city. These stickers made such an impact that the Combses started PEEL, the first street-art magazine with a focus on stickers. Documenting the evolution of PEEL from a black and white zine stuffed into plastic bags to a full-size, glossy, internationally distributed magazine, this book examines the development of sticker culture and how the magazine is linked with it.