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From Publishers Weekly
Almost every artist's face in this 71/2"×101/4" collection of 96 hot-looking four-color portraits (with a few more in b&w) is obscured in some way, reminding us that while some may see these writers as artists, many others, including the police, perceive them as criminals. It's an apt irony for an art form (one still hotly debated as such) that is all about identity and its "tags," placed in inaccessible locations and under trying circumstances. So when an artist among these leathered and t-shirted urban verbal guerillas here decides to bare his or her face (an act of bravery, or bravado?), it's a shock; each artist is more fully represented by his or her unique "autograf" (or tag) perfectly scrawled in thick glossy marker over each shot. REVS, whose huge white block letters are familiar to most New Yorkers, provides a (nicely reproduced) handwritten text on yellow legal paper, complete with misspellings, underlinings and exclamation points: "We need to be paintin 5, 10, 20 story buildings top to bottom with somethin to say... where none of these people in power... can discount your existence!" This terrific books shows its subjects in full effect (if in full stealth mode) with their canvas—New York's five boroughs—sprawled out beautifully and variously behind them, and their names.
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About the Author
Peter Sutherland is a filmmaker and photographer who was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan in 1976 and raised in Colorado. A move to NYC in 1998 prompted his first feature documentary, Pedal, a film about NYC bike messengers that is currently airing on the Sundance Channel. Sutherland also worked as director of photography on Stoked: The Rise and Fall of Gator, a documentary about Gator, a famous skateboarder who was convicted of murder in 1991. Directed by Helen Stickler, Stoked premiered at the 2003... read more
A controversial art form and provocative cultural phenomenon, graffiti has inestimably influenced our entire environment - from music and fashion to advertising, architecture, and graphic arts. Yet it is an illegal activity, which makes its practitioners wanted criminals. Motivated by a desire for self-expression and recognition, the act of marking one¹s territory is done at the risk of severe consequences including fines and jail time. Graffiti writers are outlaws, unknown artists whose faces are known only to their peers. Treated as criminals by the law and dismissed as artists by the establishment, writers are perceived as either alluring anti-heroes or loathsome vandals, and usually remain anonymous to their audience. But not to photographer Peter Sutherland. With an eye for style, Sutherland captures all of the gritty glory and glamour of the graffiti world and its warriors. Collected for the first time in Autograf: New York City¹s Graffiti Writers, Sutherland presents a never-before-seen chronicle of the people and places that populate New York¹s famed graff scene. Featuring old-school legends FUTURA, STAY HIGH 149, LADY PINK and DOZE, as well as COPE 2, KAWS, CYCLE, CLAW, VFR, KR, EARSNOT, SERF, RATE, SACER, UFO, and DSENSE, among many others, each one of the fifty-three portraits is authentically tagged by the individual writers using the same paint markers that brought them fame. Complemented by over fifty landscape photographs and featuring handwritten text by legendary recluse REVS, Autograf is the only book to showcase New York City¹s graffiti scene as it was created and defined by some of the most prolific artists of our time.