Radom Now (and then)

Radom Teraz is a newly published magazine about graffiti culture in the central European city after which it’s named. Taking ‘Radom now’ as its focus the publication showcases images of graffiti taken in the city from around 2019 to 2021. Basically, every aspect of graffiti writing in Radom is covered here from trains to legal walls and street tags to sketches. There’s a series of particularly nice then-and-now photographs of typical Polish housing blocks showing the ageing of fresh chrome into faded white ghosts, or, in other cases, their complete obliteration by the new beige range of colours painted on the buildings’ façades. The images of graffiti are presented in a variety of formats so there’s a spread of full-colour legal walls on one page, followed by some atmospheric black and white yard photos on the next, then on another a selection of cut-and-paste style street scenes. Not all the images are strictly from Radom but, as explained in the publication’s intro, the city’s graffiti writers always carry the spirit of Radom with them. 

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Graffiti Discourse

Graffiti is a new collection put together by Friederike Häuser which, as its German subtitle suggests, seeks to provide a range of contemporary and interdisciplinary perspectives on the topic. In his forward to the book Jeffrey Ian Ross describes it as yet another nice contribution to the increasing academic literature there is on the topic. Containing fifteen chapters, ranging across diverse topics, I’ll just focus on those written in English.  

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Think Global Graff Local

I recently picked up two nice local UK zines one covering the cities of Bristol and Leicester. The former is the fourth edition of a West Country gem that I’ve read before but unfortunately have missed a coupla issues of. Covering a range of street damage this zine does everything it needs to really; lots of tags, throwups, vans, rollers, dubs, pieces and a few sketches for good measure. The city is pretty battered and the untitled zine gives a nice feel for what it’s like walking around checking out the Bristol based crews and tourists stopping by to leave their mark. 

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Métro memories

In Paris they take graffiti seriously. Just walking around the French capital leaves a certain kind of tourist full of admiration albeit for the hardcore damage rather than the usual attraction of towering ironwork. In particular the technique of ‘punitions’ whereby a train panel is covered with repetitions of a tag, rather than a larger piece, fires the imagination. Travelling around the city on the métro and the eye is drawn to another type of tagging in the form of the numerous abrasive marks scratched into the shiny metal doors of the carriage interiors. Hidden in plain sight most passengers must barely notice these colourless tags but a new publication MF.67D: Ligne 12 sets out to document some of those that can be found on the twelfth line of the subterranean transport system. 

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Nationalist muralism in contemporary Poland

Having reviewed Wojciech Wilczyk’s work in the past the Graffiti Review were pleased to catch up and ask the photographer about his newest release Słownik polsko-polski, which translates as the ‘Polish-Polish Dictionary’. This evolved out of his previous book, named after the notorious ‘Holy War’ derby between the two major Kraków football clubs, which documented the graffiti of Polish fans. His latest publication focuses on the nationalist murals that have come to dominate the country’s walls under the PiS government. 

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‘Read all about it!’

To give it its full title Boulevard: On Trespassing and Culture is a great project, conceived by Thomas Lauterberg alongside editors Robert Kaltenhäuser and Harald Hinz, which was launched last year. The aim of the publication is to collect and reprint hard to find essays alongside translated texts previously unpublished in English. Boulevard is foremost a critical and art-historical endeavour presented as a midi format newspaper with three distinct pull-out sections. The first of these is a short current affairs section of graffiti news and reviews, in the middle are the reprinted essays, and finally a paper filled with striking images.

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Capital Night Life

Front cover of The London Line zine.

They say never judge a book by its cover… well, when it comes to graff mags, the reverse applies, they should always be judged on their cover. So having first clapped eyes on The London Line, produced by the photographer Cities At Night, I knew it was gonna have some nice content without even opening it! The zine is pretty self explanatory; the publication is made up of analogue photos showing London around the moonlit hours.

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How B****y didn’t conquer the Middle East

When the new book by Sabrina DeTurk plonked through the letter box and I saw the title I admit I wasn’t too enthused. Firstly street art ain’t particularly my cup-of-tea and secondly the topic of Street Art in the Middle East isn’t exactly uncovered ground since the Arab Spring. I hold some vague theory that the street art that accompanied the uprisings was seized on by Western spectators as an easy visualisation of events in an otherwise politically alien landscape. It was perhaps proof this ‘backward’ region was yearning for Western values and culture. The attention on street art was another simplification of events that fed into, what David Wearing calls, “a deeply ingrained set of basically racist assumptions that frame many people’s understanding of our relationship with this part of the world.”

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