School Library Journal
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Adult/High School-This book is packed with full-color photographs representative of graffiti styles and artists from around the world. Though there is still a level of lawlessness involved in some who practice in the traditional way, many of the murals shown are commissioned works of "urban art." The frequent use of nicknames and disguised photos shows that often these artists are still "underground" even as their art form becomes more recognized. The encyclopedic arrangement, first by continent and then by artist's nom de plume, serves the book well. Each continent also gets a foldout that demonstrates the best local artwork. Most of the textual information about the artists and their work is contained in a back "information" section, keeping the focus of the book on the art. This beautifully designed volume is respectful and knowledgeable about its oft-misunderstood subject matter. Budding artists everywhere will be thrilled to see the level of expertise that can be achieved in the graffiti format.-Jamie Watson, Harford County Public Library, MD (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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Following the unrelated project Autograf: New York City's Graffiti Writers (powerHouse), which also took an auteur-based approach this past season, Granz (whose pen name is Keinom) widens the scope to present those he sees as the world's top graffiti writers, offering alphabetical sections of artists from the Americas, Europe and "The Rest of the World." Short prefatory histories put New York at the center of the modern graffiti world, with South American countries like Brazil later having "reached a high standard." The work is beautifully photographed throughout; multiple pieces by each artist are laid out appealingly over verso-recto spreads, along with a paragraph by Granz detailing the artist's origins and the main thrust of the work (and occasionally a photo of the artist him or herself). From gigantic murals to tiny stickers, Granz has seen and photographed it all and talks knowledgeably about everything from "wildstyle" fontage to the non-orthographically based "character culture," where artists create (and replicate) cartoonish figures in various figurative exploits. Striking a colloquial balance between insider's knowledge and thoughtful presentation, Granz's book should be durable for its cohesion of vision, if not for the scale of presentation of each artist. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
German graffiti artist Ganz set out to create the most comprehensive survey of graffiti art yet compiled, and he has succeeded gloriously. With upward of 2,000 full-color photographs (artistic achievements in themselves) from around the world, his exhibition-in-a-book reveals the phenomenal vitality and diversity of present-day graffiti art, sophisticated works that are, frankly, far more arresting and resonant than most of the contemporary art found in galleries. An ephemeral, often despised, yet irrefutably powerful mode of expression, graffiti has always been political, and although many of the street artists Ganz succinctly profiles have moved away from illegal spray painting, they have not compromised the inherent subversiveness of their work. Complex and inventive graphic designs of the sort that evolved on New York City trains are still immensely popular, as are character paintings ranging in style from fantasy to hip-hop, airbrush images of eye-fooling realism, and striking expressionist compositions. Ganz's global array captures the power and synergy of this vibrant alternative art world in which artists form crews and collectives to ensure that their art is seen. --Donna Seaman Copyright 2005 Booklist