Tats Cru: The Original Graffiti Crew
Prominent graffiti crew in the South Bronx
“Graffiti is something that the media caused”--Tats Cru
Speaking on their beginnings as graffiti artists, the entire act of doing, the movement itself has become one of acceptance and even glorification.
When they started, “we didn’t call ourselves graffiti artist, we were writers”
What you see today with graffiti and street style is largely encouraged by social media, which makes it easier than ever for people to find these works and artists quicker. In a way, Tats Cru added that is forces these artists to produce more work even more frequently.
“The good thing about artists is everyone has their own style” BG13 speaks on in a discussion of the influence Typography has on their style. Graffiti not being what is considered a formal art form, still has its strong roots in design elements.
“Graffiti borrows from each other, Typography, graphic design, it all helps me” BG13
Hearing of their beginnings and the start of the movement itself, being more of self-driven, to the changing dynamics as artists now working in commercialized commissions. Before this visit, I thought of only a limited spectrum of graffiti artists today, ones doing their work for fame or money. Tats Cru made some great points on the nature of graffiti art has changed significantly over the years and it isn’t “selling out”, but more so now having the respect and recognition to continue doing what they are doing, with monetary benefits. The question isn’t on authenticity, as graffiti artists they are constantly creating; now they were streaming with more projects and clients.
Thinking of graffiti art movement as solely exclusive, this visit definitely broadened my view on the dynamics of graffiti writers. Influenced by typography, even referring to graffiti as “modern calligraphy”, I have never seen it from that perspective. Also in viewing the two spectrums of commercialism as good or bad, the point made by Tats Cru on older Coach advertisements that used graffiti styles, is that it’s impossible to stop the exploitation of graffiti art for commercial attraction. What has significantly changed in present day is the due credit now given to artists in whom they can operate in the commercial art scene like galleries and companies and gain vast recognition for what they have been working on for decades. What I found most valuable in this insight was that Tats Cru didn’t mark anyone as the “enemy” of graffiti art, in the terms of gentrification and commercialism, but rather there is actually opportunity and ways to work in which their individual endeavors are still genuine to them.
Written by Jasmine Boothe