This book exposes the often unnoticed declarations literally etched into the streets of most cities, specifically San Francisco. These are spontaneous and opportunistic illegal acts of artistic expression etched into the sidewalk. Passed over by the masses, these are a factual record of the declarations of its citizenry. What makes these unique is that all of the creators had to have a certain amount of luck or fate. Once the concrete dried, the opportunity was gone, forever. There is permanence to these that is rarely achieved in any other form of raw, impulsive and opportunistic self expression. Most of what can be called graffiti has a short lifecycle. But this stuff is both impulsive and enduring. This book is a celebration of the creativity of those who create without intent, the "non-artists". There has been much attention and documentation of the birth and growth of the “graffiti” art movement. Generally the focus is on form of graffiti art that is based on the repeated leaving of a moniker and/or having some identifiable marker for which an artist or group of artist could be identified with and therefore given credit for their work. The popularity and general acceptance of this form of graffiti is such that ironically to many the acts of public self expression captured in this book are not real "graffiti" but rather just graffiti.
Effectively regulating some forms of graffiti to the definition of graffiti which has been in existence long before Taki 183 first appeared on the walls of New York City and other forms of graffiti to a definition which places it as a form of art. In direct opposite of most “graffiti” art, most of the work captured in this book was done with a desire of complete anonymity and disassociation from the acts occurrence. However it shares the same raw human desire to share, be seen, leave ones mark and to take ownership that is displayed in what is commonly considered as part of the “graffiti” art movement.
Many "graffiti" writers long to have their work displayed for years or decades without being removed or altered. Through committing these acts of graffiti through the medium of concrete, these acts not only gained a longevity rarely achieved in street art but also became part of the permanent structure of the cities streets. When combined with the complete inability to replicate the ability to commit such an act, I began to take notice. While I found many examples of “Blah loves Blah” and “Blah was Here”, what intrigued me was the seemingly large amount of things I was seeing that I could only classify as “other”. Technically and legally it was graffiti but, not what I thought of as “graffiti”. There was mostly complete anonymity of the author contrasted with the deeply personal nature of what was left. Most, if not all of what is considered to be "graffiti" art is done with a preexisting desire or intent to commit the act. Graffiti writers purposely carry the tools needed on them in order to commit an act of graffiti. Usually they also consider themselves artists or part of the "graffiti art" movement. Most of the acts captured in this book were committed by people who likely had no intent on committing the act or purposely carried the tools used to commit the act on them. Imagine someone coming up to you randomly in the street, handing you a blank sheet of paper without a writing utensil and telling you to write or draw something that will be preserved and seen by every passer by for years if not decades later. It is under similar conditions that these acts were committed. This produces a truly unique perspective of a cities past and present. The photographs in this book are arranged in a manner which is meant to be read sequentially. The creation of this book has been an evolution of my perspective of an art form I have long admired and considered myself a part of. In seeing each of these individual acts as part of a larger story, I’ve arranged these in a manner that they not only tell each individuals story but also a larger story as well. The location of each act is stated to further place the reader at the location of the act which is often in itself worth noting. This book is an exploration of the bounds of the graffiti art movement, photo documentary and a city through experimental writing. It is also just a fun book to flip through randomly. In this book, I invite you to take a walk along the streets of San Francisco and look down. With the funding I'd like to collaborate with an editor as well as digitally enhance or retake some of the photos. For the cover I’d like to pour a block of cement similar in size to a sidewalk square and have passers by write whatever they’d like.