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New York Daily Photo: Scrap Yard
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Friday, 30 March 2007

Scrap Yard

Until recently, I did not know there was a retail graffiti business. I assumed the purveyors of the activity availed themselves of the various supplies from art and hardware stores. Like anything else, however, if there is a demand, someone will provide a supply. This small shop, the Scrap Yard at 300 West Broadway in SOHO just north of Canal Street, is owned and operated by Mark Awfe. It carries the requisite materials (paints, spray caps etc) and many other items such as T-Shirts, hats, DVDs, books, magazines, mixed tapes, fat caps, video graff, collectibles - all related to graffiti. Click here for a peek inside. In reading about graffiti, I found a world with its own language/grammar, images and culture. All of it foreign to me - the conversation on various graffiti sites was essentially unintelligible. There are many famous graffiti artists like the mysterious Cost and Revs whose work has appeared citywide. There are websites such as 12ozProphet (originally a magazine from 1993), akanyc and fourthehardway. Although the term graffito (plural graffiti) means to inscribe or scratch and goes back to Roman times, the term graffiti now generally implies vandalism - art done on a public surface without permission of the owner. I am seeing references in reading to legal graffiti, a strange concept since the essence of graffiti has been its outlaw rebel element. It will be interesting to see if this activity will morph in some way to become benign and more commercial ...


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