When we think of American graffiti (the artwork, not the 1973 movie), we tend to associate its origin with the 1970’s and 1980’s. But did you know that the first known modern graffiti writer was in 1967? Living in Philadelphia, a man who went by Cornbread started tagging city walls to get the attention from a girl.
Fast forward to the 1980’s and we started to see graffiti, both lettering and artwork to be considered worthy of being featured in galleries. We’ve seen artists like Banksy, Shepard Fairey and Keith Haring become household names for the graffiti movement, but now with the growth of commercial spaces and buildings being used as blank canvases, artists from all walks of life and styles are being given more of a voice to make artwork, not just a creation, but a public statement.
Ryan Adams, an artist from Portland, Maine was incredibly influenced by the subway artwork of NYC as you’ll soon hear, and he took his love of art and that movement, and brought it to buildings across Maine and New England. In the process he developed his own style of large scale work called his “Gems” collection, which we at Dirigo Collective are fortunate enough to have one of his creations in our office.