LA Graffiti Black Book available to buy at Museum Bookstore

LA Graffiti Black Book

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'a lively compilation of styles that capture the energy of the field, while creating a formidable record of its time and place' - Hyperallergic

A collection of unique works by 150 Los Angeles graffiti and tattoo artists 

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 Durer 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 150 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.

  • Author: D Brafman,  associate curator of rare books at the Getty Research Institute
  • Hardcover: 176 pages | 168 colour illustrations
  • ISBN: 978-1606066980
  • Publication date: April 2021
  • Dimensions: 25 x 15 cm

'Inspired by the blank sketchbooks (often called black books or piece books) that graffers carry, share and collaborate together on, as well as the 17th century European autograph books known as liber amicorum (Latin for "book of friends"), this new volume represents the collaborative nature of art in the streets' - LA Weekly

'This Getty Black Book not only serves to offer its audience a historic compilation of this unique Los Angeles art culture, but, also, the sentiment of each stand-alone artist'UP Magazine

'a lively compilation of styles that capture the energy of the field, while creating a formidable record of its time and place' - Hyperallergic

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