Graffiti Artists = Urban Exploration Pioneers?
Respect the essence.
Within the deep pockets of the the Internet, legions of haters and posers breed behind Macbook and iPhone screens, voicing snarky comments with little to no consequences. In the age of limitless information, we often forget about the pioneers that structure our everyday lives, and are quick to scrutinize without much historical knowledge. Like any popular trend, the origins of its birth place open up a debate that can be as mentally taxing as trying to figure out whether the egg came before the chicken. (Answer: The egg, if you’re still wondering)
When you hear the words “NYC” and “graffiti” the words “urban exploration” aren’t technically the first things that come to mind, but the origins of this controversial art form ultimately define just that. Mass Appeal has a deep history within graffiti culture, and following in that tradition with a series like WATCHxWITNESS, we support exploration and the idea of the “urban explorer”, and we aren’t the only ones riding the wave.
The folks over at LTV make some pretty amazing points in response to some stuck up “urban explorers” that attempted to G-check them when they published graffiti content on their website, dedicated to “exploring, arts, and adventure.” The author, named Control, wants them (and you) to know “NYC’s graffiti artists were in fact the original US “urban explorers,” breaking into tunnels, climbing bridges, and tagging up in the name of art.
If you still are feeling judgmental about referring to graff artists as pioneering urban explorers, LTV gives you another reason to think otherwise with video footage of legendary graffti artist Iz the Wiz, all the while dropping knowledge on highly influential spots, like the Lower East Side Amphitheater (seen in Wild Style), The Acid Factories (Phelps Dodge), and The Sports Crew warehouses (former BEDT terminal), which would all be “urban exploring” goldmines today. LTV doesn’t miss out on the chance to poke fun at the three types of typical “urban explorers”: people living in rural areas or suburbs, young and arrogant kids, and finally:
“Pot-Kettle-Black idiots who blame graffiti artists for destroying locations when everyone knows ‘urban explorers’ are the problem. After all – graffiti artists didn’t go around posting names of mental hospitals online and then bringing people they barely know into them.”
Watch old school footage of legendary graff artist Iz the Wiz below as he explores the NYC subways in 1980: