Blen 167 BNA explains a few facts about the development of graffiti in the Boricua homeland.
Puerto Rico’s graffiti from the 1980s is more or less the same as that of any other country: very much inspired by “Style Wars” and Subway Art. But Puerto Rico experienced something unique that didn’t happen in many other countries: Old school writers from places like New York were sent off to spend their summers with family in Puerto Rico. Writers like Flite TDS, Bio TATS Cru, Tez 3, Duke and many others were the biggest inspirations to Puerto Rican graffiti; later came many others.
Putting art onto the art supplies, this pioneer American brand chooses to target a domestic audience with its graphic-design flash.
Text and photos by the CMC Paint Nerds.
PlastiKote is not only one of the original brands that came in the first spray canister format, it is also one of the most overlooked brands. An American paint that also successfully marketed itself in Australia, the company has made many different lines of paint over the years and is currently a subsidiary of Valspar. For collectors, PlastiKote’s most significant contribution was its production of what have come to be known as “picture cans,” where individual labels were designed under one brand and the color of the can’s contents was depicted by an illustration unique to that color. PlastiKote was the largest company to employ such a tactic, and its picture cans are well regarded and tidily dressed. Colors such as Bittersweet generally had the namesake plant as the image, whereas others showcased a bit more of the creativity of the design team (if there even was one). Swift Red plays upon the old time U.S. image of a red wagon, while Alpine Blue featured a very 1960s spike-tread hiking boot.
In many cases, companies that made “picture cans” (which included Fuller/Fuller O’Brien, Big Bantam, Chase and Spruce) were minor players, making the cans and color ranges slow to be discovered. PlastiKote was the major exception: their picture cans were showcased in bright industry adverts such as this one. The can designs often used a large amount of white neutral space, making the color illustration even more prominent and adding impact to the color name identification.
Many efforts were made over the years to vary can sizes for smaller and sometimes more specific consumer needs. The three-ounce can still exists today and is marketed as a “hobby” or “touch-up” product. Nybco’s Big Bantam line seemed to market its paint as themed for nurseries or children’s effects. Colors included Tisket Tasket Yellow and this Little Boy Blue. Nybco’s bucolic designs for Big Bantam makes them one of the most popular “picture-can” series.
First and foremost, this mag is the shit! I’ve never see a mag like The Infamous, not one. You guys got the shit on lock, products, advertisement, interviews with the old school as well as the new. Hands, throws, freights and burners, all very nicely put together. Mad props! And of course, “Behind Enemy Lines.” I am currently serving five in Florida, shit sucks but it’s almost over. And then… back to the slaughter house!
Graffiti writers tend to be out late night and in some strange places, which results in seeing a number of bizarre scenes. Here are some of their stories.
Illustration by Akil Nuru
I remember me and my old partner getting raided after doing a freight somewhere in upstate NY. The cops chased us into an abandoned warehouse in the dead of night. It was pitch black in there and the place was surrounded with cops. We were making our way through the place by feeling and touching the walls when my partner found a door. As soon as he opened it, I heard this crazy, high-pitched noise that got very loud, very fast… A noise unlike anything that I had heard before. All of a sudden we got bum rushed by a bunch of bats. They were everywhere. I closed my eyes and felt them all over as they whipped by us…
–MONE AOK TFP
El Gitano explains why this Caribbean Gem is, indeed, “The Island of Enchantment.”
Photography by Shaun Baron
Puerto Rico is a U.S. colony located in the Caribbean. U.S. citizens by birth, Puerto Ricans enjoy a very limited democracy, similar to their Cuban neighbors who are allowed to vote for local officials but not for Fidel Castro. Puerto Rico is subject to U.S. laws and although Obama is their president, Puerto Ricans are prohibited from voting for president and have no representation in the U.S. Congress. (Elections are held for governor, mayors, etc.) This has fueled the century-old debate about whether PR should eventually become the 51st state or its own separate nation. Although Spanish is the main language, in the cities many speak or understand English. About 100 miles long and 35 miles wide, with a population of 4 million, this small island is packed with destinations.
Queen Andrea’s vibrant art can be found from concrete walls to major brands and every surface in-between. All facets of her work impact both streetwear and graffiti cultures. Constantly on the grind, Queen Andrea AOK has “killer styles for miles”.
Interview by Stefanie Grossman
What’s going on with Queen Andrea?
Queen Andrea: I’ve been busier than ever these days. Superfreshstudio.com is where my new illustration, art and apparel projects will live, separated from my commercial endeavors and client work. A lot is happening in early 2012, including a new poster series, a solo show of paintings, toys and apparel for KidRobot, and special SuperFresh tees and bags. I paint murals often and stay in the graffiti mix and squeeze into as many group shows and big art fairs that I can. It’s an amazing time for the urban art world.
Banksy: champion of free speech? With regards to a recent TV documentary, the answer is a resounding “NO.”
An editorial featuring the personal opinions of Phil Tanfield, editor-in-chief of The Infamous.
Illustration by Anthony Arias
In the last issue of The Infamous we covered London’s legendary Robbo. Most people in the culture (and the media) have focused on his beef with Banksy as the highlight of, if not the reason for, Robbo’s return. In August 2011 Britain’s Channel 4 aired “Graffiti Wars,” a documentary not just about Robbo and Banksy, but about the mentality of the graffiti writer, the differences between “graffiti” and “street art,” and the burgeoning art market for the “popular and commercially successful version” of street art personified by Banksy. It features municipal workers in London who mercilessly buff graffiti while leaving “street art” untouched, and preserving, protecting and even restoring Banksy’s work when it is dissed by graffiti writers. And it tells the story of “Blek la Rat,” Paris’ original street artist from the early-1980s, whose trademark rat was “closely replicated” by Banksy, using a Banksy quote from a British newspaper admitting as much.
“I’ve learned from others to force myself to use colors that I would not normally choose and to go beyond my comfort zone,” says Kem 3A.
Photography by All Chrome
For me a great piece is comprised of a solid set of letters and a memorable color scheme. When I first started writing in the early- to mid-1990s I quickly realized the visual impact that color makes on a piece. Crazed color schemes always stuck out in my mind, and though I understood little of theory, I understood how certain colors complemented each other very well.