L.A. Graffiti Black Book
by David Brafman
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 27 Apr 2021 | Archive Date 30 Jul 2021
Getty Publications, Getty Research Institute
Many graffiti artists carry sketchbooks, called black books, and they ask crew members and others whose work they admire to inscribe their books with lettering or drawings. A few years ago, the Getty Research Institute invited artists, including Angst, Axis, Big Sleeps, Chaz, Cre8, Defer, EyeOne, Fishe, Heaven, Hyde, Look, ManOne, and Prime, to consider the idea of a citywide graffiti black book. During visits to the Getty Center, the artists viewed rare books related to calligraphy and letterforms, including works by Albrecht Dürer and Leonardo da Vinci. The artists instantly recognized the connections to their own practices and were particularly drawn to a liber amicorum (book of friends), a form of autograph book popular in the seventeenth century. Passed from hand to hand, it was filled with signatures, poetry, and coats of arms, like a black book from another era.
Inspired by this meeting of minds across centuries, these artists became both creators and curators, crafting their own pages and inviting others to contribute. Eventually 151 Los Angeles artists decorated 143 individual pages. These were bound together into an exquisite artists’ book that became known as the Getty Graffiti Black Book. This publication reproduces each page from the original artists’ book and recounts the story of an unprecedented collaboration across the diverse artistic landscape of Los Angeles.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 9 members
5 stars. From the very description of this book, I was sold. I love looking at art, in all it's forms. And since I haven't been able to visit a museum since March (Thanks COVID), I jumped at the chance to see some art on the safety of my apartment. I was FLOORED. The sheer talent and variation of art styles, techniques and subjects in this book is incredible. I think the diversity and differences from each artist to the next is lovely. It really shows that making art comes from the inside, and that anyone can do it, if they're passionate enough. I feel like I should say up front, that I am no art critique, I don't know tha fancy lingo or talk around art gallery hmm-ing to myself. However I can tell you that this art moved something inside me. There was just so much emotion in each slide. This would be an excellent piece for a coffee table or a waiting room. Definitely a stand out book and great conversation starter. The ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
An inspiring and interesting collection of graffiti artwork! A great look into various art pieces done from different artists. As someone who grew up in Los Angeles, this was a great look into street art. *Thanks Netgalley and Getty Publications for sending me an arc in exchange for an honest review*
**I received and voluntarily read an e-ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.** With the pandemic, I was unable to get to LA for my yearly business trip, so this book was a great way to let me feel like I was back in the California sunshine. Overall, it's a great book and would be a perfect gift for the artist/tattoo artist/photographer/LA lover in your life.
Its such a nice and informative book. I loved all off the pretty photos. They told their own story. Would def buy the book!
L.A. Graffiti Black Book is an inspiring and interesting collection of graffiti artwork. It is a joy to be able to see some excellent street art when most of the world is confined to their homes. The variety of artists and their different styles was very good and the information about them was very interesting. Just looking forward to enjoying it all for real in the future. Overall an excellent book.
I really enjoyed this collection, which I think is uniquely poised to be a super meaningful reading experience now, in a time when many of us (myself included) haven't been a museum in almost a year, and don't feel safe going anytime soon. I love art museums, and actually live one block away from one, so it's been torture not being able to take advantage of that. Reading (more like looking at? perusing?) L.A. Graffiti Black Book was like going to a digital museum. I learned more about the graffiti culture in L.A., and about some of the artists, many of whom incorporate their culture into their work. The art was quite impressive; there were so many pieces, showcasing a huge variety of styles and subjects. A motif throughout was the use of text as art, something which I have always been interested in. The comparison between graffiti and traditional calligraphy was a fascinating one, and one I would have liked to learn more about. Although the book was enjoyable in digital form, I think it would be a much richer experience reading a physical book, since the layout of the art on the (sometimes double) pages would be quite enjoyable, and it would be easier to spend time enjoying the details without having to zoom in on your phone/computer/e-reader. For those interested in purchasing the book, I would definitely recommend getting a physical copy! As another reviewer said, it would be a great coffee table book! The only thing that I wish this book had was more about the individual artists. I know that some of them wanted to remain anonymous, but a short blurb either about the artist or a short statement about their piece would have added context to the many, many pieces. There were many that struck me, and I would have loved to know more about the artist and their thought process behind the piece. I would have enjoyed more time given to the words of the artists and less time spent on the foreword by the curator, but that's just personal preference. Overall, it was a great experience!