April 6, 2012
Andrea Nelli was twenty years old when he first went to New York, and he saw BIG-O 116, EVIL ERF 14, RAT FINK 131, SUPER KOOL 223 on the walls. They looked like undecipherable codes, written everywhere with black spray. Afterword he understood that they were always the same names, repeated throughout the city. It was in the early 70’s and all the trains run completely covered by colored and giant graffiti. The subway and Manhattan walls were covered, too.
Andrea started shooting photos, because captured by these compositions and he succeeded in getting in touch with different cliques of writers who introduced him in the New York scene. Big names as COCO 144 guided him. Still student, Andrea Nelli decided to focus his thesis on this just born movement, but already spreading out constantly. More than a 100 photos of names and historical pieces were captured by Andrea, that form a test which presents the phenomenon at its beginning Through his work, we get to know a guy with a sour look, who is trying to find his way among names, gangs, walls and subway, tag and through up, to get to the same conclusion that is still valid nowadays 40 years after: “to get your Name around”. The rule of graffiti.
The next Friday, 13th April, the guys at Spectrum will celebrate the reissue of Andrea Nelli’s ‘Graffiti in NewYork’. A book originally published in 1978 and considered as one of the first books ever on graffiti. If you’re around… ya’ll gotta’ be there!