"Everyone Has A Name"-- Graffiti Writers


“When you see your name on the train, you say, yeah that’s me”

Watching My Name Go By- 1976 New York City Graffiti Documentary

Simply stated, simply put, that is the rationality of the graffiti artists of the day.  The 1976 documentary Watching My Name Go By explores the exact boom of graffiti art in New York City. 

There was no proper way of approaching this new art movement in the same manner as earlier institutionalized movements. 

Abstract Expressionism, a movement of disfigured ideals, when words no longer served sufficient, the only expression to speak on became the art making process itself.  A movement when both the individual versus the collective stood against WWII.

Pop Art movement can be socially linked back to the socio-economic and postwar instability of its time, able to relate their anti-consumerist narratives of Pop artists to academic examination and scrutiny. 

Performance Art of the 1970’s, using the body as a medium, tests the human display as a form of spectacle to combat the physical and psychological barriers people implicit on themselves.


The words of academia are too careful in measuring the velocity of graffiti art.  Its approach is more hypothetical than tried.  The documentary pieces together observations of graffiti writing stating graffiti it usually consists of names and numbers as if trying to exalt some revelation or secret coding within their markings. 

“I think it’s youngsters trying to find expression, through hard times... could be a form of art also” (1:41)


Must there always be a reason?

Trying to find rationalize their actions, there was no definite one.  The plaguing claims of graffiti art was that its vandalism.  A vandal because it robs the observer from viewing, its creation occurs only through the spur of the moment, at times where no one is watching. 



The statement “Everyone has a name”  is undeniably true.  We know this as obvious fact, but in all testimonials of disturbance to neighborhood ambiance due to graffiti, it is true.  We all have a name, and a name is all these artists go by.  Nothing can be taken away from them.  These kids were never asking for validation, for their name to be apparent within the arts.  They didn’t ask for permission.  They choose to mark it themselves.

And as juvenile as it seems, it is the most powerful form of expression.  Plausibly, graffiti art was the ONLY art movement in history created by the youth.

Individualistic Minds.

Written by Jasmine Boothe

I aM?

Jasmine BootheComment