Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Graffiti Writer Grows Up

An unusual perspective from the NY Times "Entry Level" column:

Teddy Ferrer, 28, is a graffiti writer and a tattoo artist who works at Tuff City, a Bronx shop that combines graffiti, tattooing and a music studio under one roof. Mr. Ferrer uses the nickname — or the a k a, as aliases are termed — PACK in his graffiti....

Getting into the business: As we got older, we needed to get paid. The first time I ever tattooed somebody, I realized I wanted to do it. This one arm is, like, 30 hours of work....

Ending his vandalism: We stopped. We got smarter. Now, a lot of businesses, they give you permission. They look at it as art. They pay these guys thousands of dollars. They fly them out to Germany, Italy, to do their walls. I’m not going to write over people’s property anymore who don’t want it. We realized we ended up paying for it. In the end, we’re still taxpayers.

Youth rebellion vs. money: money wins.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is really interesting! There has always been a tension between art and commerce - being paid to graffiti establishes it as an art form more truly than any shift in perception on the part of the art world. However, it makes me think that if there is no way to get paid for the art you do, it will not make it 'truer' art, but definitely be more subversive! What could be more boundary breaking in modern USA than spending your whole life devoted to something that has no ability to financially support you?