Graffiti Kings is the definitive book on New York’s subway graffiti movement, an unprecedented creative explosion that occurred across the five boroughs during the 1970s. This rare, firsthand account of the birth of this movement is the first and only graffiti book to reveal what happened behind the scenes when writers put their lives on the line to grab a piece of fame from a faceless urban landscape.
From 1970 to 1977, Stewart bore witness to the creative breakthroughs that were to become the foundations of modern graffiti: bubble-letter tags, 3-D letters, Wild Style, and the rarest achievement of all, the whole-train piece. His documentation of the movement is supplemented here with a glossary, newspaper articles, and other ephemera that tell the story for the first time.
Through personal interviews and over 275 full-color, previously unpublished photographs, the colorful origins of subway graffiti are brought to life. Legends such as Taki 183, Blade 1, Phase 2, and Co-Co 144, as well as the city officials who saw the writers as public menaces and their art as vandalism, give accounts of everyday struggles, each full of new advancements, excitement, and risk.
Graffiti Kings offers readers a comprehensive look at graffiti´s golden age and the birth of this uniquely American urban art form.