Read an excerpt after the jump.
DEITCH: How did you discover that art was going to be your path?
BRATHWAITE: I grew up in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn. Growing up, there were always lots of my father’s creative friends in the house talking about what was going on in the world with culture and politics. As a young kid running in and out of the room, I got snippets of this world, and as I became a teenager I began to look at the things I was involved in—the things going on around me. And I saw a similarity, a connection, between what we were doing in the streets and those earlier conversations about politics and art. Suddenly these things were much bigger than we realized. And I started getting really curious about art. I read about the Dadaists and the Futurists and the Constructivists—those kind of movements which were reflecting the angst of the people of their times. Their work was trying to lead a movement. I began thinking about what was happening, with painting on the streets and painting on the trains as being similar but also coming from a real, pure space. It wasn’t being created by academies. It was a spontaneous combustion of ideas that just happened. I would bring these ideas up while talking with Glenn and others. I was trying to find other people who could articulate the graffiti culture and take it out of that negative perception that the media gave us. I wanted to show that we were making viable art, a reflection of the time that we were living in.
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