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Books & Magazines July, 29 2011

Curated Q&A | Crack & Shine International

Since the release of Crack & Shine, London’s first graffiti book, publisher Fred Forsyth and photographer Will Robson Scott have been traveling the globe to bring together some of the worlds most notorious and prolific writers for a second volume, Crack & Shine International. Crack & Shine International is an honest and revealing picture of graffiti worldwide, offering within the chance for writers to discuss style, influence and history, and consider how these elements have come together to make graffiti what it is today.

We hooked up with Freddie Fraser Forsyth, the man behind it all, to learn a little more about Crack & Shine International. Check out what he has to say, and view images of the book, after the jump.

Tell me a little about how you find and select artists to cover in the book and how you classify the current state of graffiti?

The original idea was to structure the book so each writer would introduce us to the next, and not have just chapters on cities. So, When we finished the London book and moved to New York, Egs introduced me to Ket and he put in a good word for us with VFR & Noxer.

But as it developed it became difficult to stick to that, so it evolved to be more about the writers we were drawn to and in turn the people they were friends with in each city.

Crack & Shine was in most parts a celebration of a certain style of graffiti I’d seen and obsessed over as a teenager.  But with Crack & Shine International, I wanted to feature writers who represent a certain attitude to graffiti- the style wasn’t as relevant with the second book, it’s the attitude & personality that makes the subject interesting more so than the style in most cases. As I’ve got a little older I’m more intrigued in the motivation behind doing the act despite all the risk involved, and how they’ve channeled that attitude in to pursuing new goals in life.

I think the main issue with graffiti at the moment is the increasing severity of the punishments for getting caught are becoming, especially in London & Los Angeles. Revok’s recent imprisonment being a more high profile recent case.

Commercially,  with the overwhelming recent museum show  Art in The Streets at the MoCA in Los Angeles has hopefully created a platform for  more people to realise that there a lot of very talented artists to come out of the culture. With Crack & Shine we hoped to highlight some of those established artists and the ones who we feel are coming through, such as Roid from London, Katsu in New York & Horfe from Paris.

What are some trends you see regionally around the world at the moment? With the internet facilitating a global community, do we still see a lot of country or city specific styles?

I’m not really an expert on the subject, but things like Crack & Shine style- which is a very city specific culture like Philly handstyles, are almost nonexistent- as far as I recognize the only thing similar is the Parisian handstyle hierarchy passed down from Gorey to Horfe to Tomek over the past decade- something which we’ve tried to document in the Paris chapter of the book.

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