12oz Twelve: Graffiti Videos You Should Know About
Before social media and YouTube, one of the ways that writers got their graff high (besides actually painting and sharing physical photographs) was by creating and sharing graffiti videos. Writers would watch these videos on VHS or DVD to gain knowledge of the history of the movement, as well as to learn about the writers they should be keeping their eyes open for. Over the years there have been many films made about graffiti, but there are only a select few that are essential to know and watch if you want to get to the core of true, authentic graffiti. In no particular order here are a list of the 12 graffiti videos that you should know as a writer, or as a member of the graffiti community. Click each title for a direct link to their video.
1. STYLE WARS
Style Wars is quite possibly the most well known documentary about street culture in New York City during the ’80s. Focusing heavily on graffiti artists, their perceptions of the game, and NYC as a whole, the film also makes sure to include Hip-Hop and B-Boy culture which was prominent in the graffiti scene at the time. This film is essential because of how important it has been to graffiti culture. Released in 1983, Style Wars digs deep into the heart and soul of NYC in the ’70s and ’80s and gives the world its first real look at the pioneers of graff.
Made in the ’90s, this graffiti documentary focuses on the infamous Cope2 and the rise of his graff fame. Even though the film’s main star is Cope2, it also shines limelight on many other famous writers and innovators of graffiti and hip hop. With cameos and interviews from KRS One, Flavor Flav, JSon, Fat Joe, PJay, Chico 80, Trap, Seen, T Kid, Kase 2, Rakim, Comet and Daze, this documentary is a great way to grab the attention of the new generation of writers, or anyone interested in graffiti.
Videograf is an underground video magazine that documents graffiti culture in the U.S.. The original Videograf issue 1 was released in 1989 and was the first video series to ultimately start a movement of graffiti, documentary style, mixed with in action footage of writers bombing the streets. This series showcased writers who were important to the scene at the time and each episode contains some dope footage. Videograf is one of the first pro graff tape series to be released, thus setting significant precedence in graffiti culture.
Created by Videograf productions, Grafcore is very similar to the the videograf series. It shows close-up footage of writers bombing the streets of NYC, including legendary graffiti artists ESPO and Dash “Sace” Snow. Grafcore 1.0 and Grafcore 2000 are the videos that you need on DVD to get your blood pumping to go out and paint.
This video might just be one of the rawest around for NYC graffheads. Get your fix here for some dope footage of street bombing.
This film features six well known graffiti artists (Earsnot, Claw, Saber, Toomer, Jase, Enem) as well as a graffiti buffer (Joe Connelly) who all recount their experiences being active members of the graffiti world. Great movie to watch for a full picture and both sides of the graffiti story.
If you love graffiti culture and you have not seen Wildstyle, you need to stop whatever you are doing and WATCH IT NOW. Wildstyle was made in 1983 and is considered THE first hip-hop film. It doesn’t matter which generation you belong to, this film will envelope you in the hip hop movement of the ’80s.
8. BEAT STREET
Beat Street is another famous hip-hop film from the early ’80s. It’s important to know all the elements of such a game changing movement, and Beat Street does this with great storytelling and by taking us into the time period when it all started.
9. GETTING UP
Marc Ecko and Atari released this short film about Graffiti featuring JA, KET, NOXER, CHINO, SKUF and many others. This film was made to partner with Marc Ecko’s video game of the same name.
10. STATE YOUR NAME
State Your Name is the most well known graffiti video for today’s writers. Following a similar formula as the Videograf series, writers bombing the streets is the film’s main focus, accompanied by short interviews. Only real street bombers are featured in this video and it’s filled with gritty, authentic footage, so it’s sure to give you the fuel to go out and bomb.
11. WALL WRITERS
If you can find this documentary, buy it. It is one of the very few that actually digs deep into the beginnings of graffiti. Focusing on the first people who ever got fame from writing on walls, it’s pretty cool to hear from the originators themselves.
12. BOMB IT
If you’re looking for something on a global scale, this documentary is for you. Filmed in and featuring graffiti artists from over 5 continents, Bomb It explores the evolution of graffiti and its movement from prehistoric times to present day.