Graffiti, or bombing, as it used to be called in the 1960s became an art form in the 1980s with the rise of Keith Haring, the pioneer of graffiti art.
The scrawling and drawing on walls, trains, buses and subways used by gangs and artists remains a past time of many young people connected with the hip-hop culture.
Back in Haring’s day the new art became defined the dawn of the new age of text and image. It’s free-form shapes, lines and messages got the attention of the media when Haring took New York City’s subway system by storm with his messages that, in essence, called out for help from the new disease that became rampant among gay men. Haring had AIDS during a time when the deaths from the disease soared among young people.
Last May, Google paid tribute to Haring, using google doodle on their search page with some of his unique, colorful work. Up until that time a new generation of American young people had never heard of this artist. That wasn’t the case in Europe where his work and the art form is revered.
The image above is Haring-like work in a European subway station. The big difference between the American attitude and European attitude toward graffiti is that in Europe they tolerate it, often leaving the good stuff up, while in America it’s painted over in a New York minute.