New on my bookshelf this week is the recently released The History of American Graffiti, a comprehensive survey compiled by Roger Gastman and Caleb Neelon. It's a hefty, 400 page hardcover that represents years of extensive research, rare photos, ephemera and interviews. Gastman and Neelon were interviewed about the book on the PBS NewsHour, and you can watch that segment here.
Gastman writes: "On April 5, HarperCollins released our book The History of American Graffiti, which traces graffiti's evolution from its early freight-train days to it's big-city boom on the streets of New York and Philadelphia and to its modern-day influences. The book features behind-the-scenes stories and profiles gleaned from more than four years' worth of interviews with more than 1,000 photographs. If that's not enough reason to purchase the book, here's what a few more people had to say:
Roger Gastman and Caleb Neelon have written the definitive history of the origins of the graffiti styles that emerged in Philadelphia, New York, and Los Angeles in the early 1970s and inspired young artists around the world. - Jeffrey Deitch, director, Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary ArtThe History of American Graffiti is the first truly comprehensive history of graffiti's secretive, illegal culture. - Shepard Fairey, artist
On a side note, I designed the above endpapers for the book using Gastman's vast personal collection of anti-graffiti pamphlets, propaganda and ephemera as source material.