Graffiti tags. Are they considered as social tools or just vandalism?

graffiti tags

By the time this article is being published, there might be hundreds of people around the world painting graffiti tags in the streets. Moreover, teenagers and adults alike belong to a close community that increases its numbers every day.

According to Algirdas M. Leskys from the United States Environmental Protection Agency, “the national government spends an estimated amount as high as $15 to $18 billion every year in monitoring, detecting, removing, and repairing graffiti damage.”

This information proves that this global cultural movement has a local force in each county. Similarly to what happens in the US, other European countries feature the same form of expression.

While some people see it as vandalism, others observe it as art. What’s the difference between them? Please continue reading to understand the tagging industry:

How would you describe ‘graffiti tags’ to someone who is not interested at all in urban art?

Cooltourspain team members would describe graffiti tags as social expressions developed by the repeated use of letters and symbols. Writers’ main goal is to mark territory, the wider the better. In order to attract the most attention possible, this type of communication usually appears in strategically or centrally located buildings, doors, or other urban elements.

In the same vein, somebody who is not familiar with this artistic movement should know that the artists belong to crews. They spend whole nights painting with friends, although it’s now common to observe them creating during the daylight.

No description would be complete without mentioning where does it come from and who were the pioneers of such cultural approach. Keep reading!

Old school American graffiti tags

graffiti tags in the streets
Graffiti tags photographed in Williamsburg (Brooklyn) by Timothy Krause

Firstly, it is important to introduce you to some of the godfathers and pioneers of graffiti tags in the United States. While some of them already passed away, others should be now around 60 years old.

They started painting on streets to mark their area, sometimes including the streets’ number. For instance Taki183, a Greek emigrant who painted his short name (Demetakrius), followed by the 183rd street.

Later, New York metro commuters were visually shocked because of the graffiti characters and letters that writers painted on the wagon’s windows and doors. What’s more, they became famous because of the visibility that New York metro granted them. How long did it take the metro to move from one area of the city to another?

Bombing with throw up graffiti

Madrid graffiti
Rhox is a Spanish photographer focused on Spain’s graffiti & street art scene

When graffiti tags turn into an obsession, that’s when we call it bombing. We refer to this term when you do it day & night. It doesn’t matter where you do it: walls, doors, windows, chairs….

Tagging usually refers to simple lines created either with spray paint or markers. If the illustration doubles the size, includes bubble or block letters and features the interior colored, that’s when you call it throw up.

How long should it take to create a throw up graffiti? We would say that no longer than 5-8 minutes. The more time spend painting in the streets, the higher possibilities for being caught.

The evolution of graffiti tags in Spain

Writers vary in age and sex, but they all belong to the same community. For instance, you will find graffiti tags in major capital cities but tagging extends over that: Cataluña, Andalucía, Castilla La Mancha…

Likewise, it is common to find artworks located in abandoned buildings and warehouses. There exists closed groups who develop whole cars and throw ups on train wagons.

1-. Sens from NXL & FCS crew

sens elche alicante
Wall mural painted by Sens with a wild style

Wild style would best define the artworks of this artist from Elche (Alicante). He is currently participating at La Liga Nacional del graffiti, a unique competition of its kind around the world.

Furthermore, he combines an old school idea with modern letters. You should check his Facebook or Instagram pages in order to observe his latest artworks created in abandoned spots.

2-. Graffiti tags by Bisho (Sevilla)

artist from Sevilla
Artwork created for the NBQ Squad

Manuel Bravo Guerrero is an Andalusian graffiti writer who was born in 1986. He has been painting since 1999, but it was in 2008 when Bisho started offering professional services. That is to say, muralism.

Bisho loves using letters and 3D shapes in his artworks. Moreover, he belongs to the NBQ crew, a spray paint company based in Llorens del Penedés (Tarragona).

We have recently observed his artworks in the newspapers as he spent 3 months painting around Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Germany with Ro Chihiro. Does there exist any better advertising than that?

3-. Kies, Wildcans & Real moves crews

Kies Alcoy Alicante
Image with the hashtag #notbanksyforum

Kies is a graffiti writer from Alcoy (Alicante), who develops semi wild styles. He puts emphasis on the letters, but also in their connection with arrows and sticks. For him, it is important to highlight the artworks with bright colors.

He currently belongs to two crews of graffiti tags. Kies has travelled around Europe, and painted with the porn stars crew.

Cooltourspain’s opinion about the graffiti tags

Part of our team members actively collaborate with the graffiti movement. You’ll be able to see their tags both in the streets and as part of urban art events, such as street art festivals and contemporary art fairs.

We love to see the streets painted. It’s a common element in all societies, and it should not be prosecuted. Will the city councils allow graffiti walls in each neighborhood?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Información básica sobre protección de datos Ver más

  • Responsable: Javier Garcia Colomo.
  • Finalidad:  Moderar los comentarios.
  • Legitimación:  Por consentimiento del interesado.
  • Destinatarios y encargados de tratamiento:  No se ceden o comunican datos a terceros para prestar este servicio.
  • Derechos: Acceder, rectificar y suprimir los datos. uses cookies. You can see the Cookies Policy here.    See Cookies Policy