Taggers Played an Integral Role in Graffiti’s Rise. A New Film Tells Their Story (Video)

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Hip-Hop Fans, we need your help...We recently launched AFH TV, a streaming video service focused on Hip-Hop culture. We already have exclusive interviews, documentaries, and rare freestyles featuring some of Rap’s most iconic artists and personalities. But, there is so much more to come--movies, TV series, talk shows--and we need your support to make it a reality. Please subscribe to AFH TV. It is only $1.99/month or $12/year, and offers 30-day free trials. Thank you.

In some form or another, graffiti has been around for millennia. Inscriptions, carvings, frescas, and a host of other places where art meets the streets can be found in nearly every civilization, but something particularly influential happened right here, in the United States. The place which birthed Hip-Hop culture served as the breeding ground for an entire movement of graffiti-as-art, including the days before murals and brightly colored pieces adorned subway cars and buildings. Those were the days of taggers, countless men and women who began branding their cities with their nicknames (or “tags”) by scrawling them on any surface available to them. From this, the most commonly celebrated form of graffiti – the kind which would go on to become one of Hip-Hop’s founding cultural elements – was born, making these early artists indispensable to the culture’s subsequent explosion.

Related: Cape Town’s Oldest Township Gets Adorned in Graffiti for a Good Cause (Video)

These taggers are celebrated in a new documentary film entitled Wall Writers: Graffiti In Its Innocence. It’s all based on a book of the same name compiled by Roger Gastman, who also serves as the film’s director. Specifically, it focuses on the writers active between the years of 1967 and 1972. Featuring interviews with such artists as TAKI 183, Cornbread, Kool Klepto Kidd, Phil T Greek, and Greg 69,  the film is narrated by the legendary film director and screenwriter John Waters and will be shown at only a handful of screenings, at least for now.

Spotted at egotrip.

Related: Graffiti Writers’ Work Is Being Threatened, But Some Artists Are Fighting Back