THE BOOK OF TAGS is a DROPDROP Agency project, published by KITCHEN 93 and made possible by the collaboration of over 300 worldwide graffiti writers. The project attempts to analyze and also give voice to one of the most demonized yet pure means of expression within the graffiti world, the Tag.
The Tags appeared for the first time in the early 70’s in New York City in the form of marker signs on subway cars. Tags are today as they were in the beginning, a sort of nickname or alias used by young people belonging to every kind of social class, to leave their mark on public property and be noticed. After thirty years of elaboration and development of different styles by the writers, tags have taken on a strong aesthetic value. Using the state of this art as a point of departure, DROPDROP carried out two years of research worldwide studying and identifying tags. From thier collection, DROPDROP selected the most significant examples for this book .
THE BOOK OF TAGS presents the personal signatures of 150 writers coming from 20 different countries throughout the world. This selection includes some of the most influential tags belonging to pioneers in the graffiti world as well as others that represent innovative and experimental calligraphic styles. The tags which we personally have collected are displayed in alphabetical order, one per page correlated with a caption to facilitate the deciphering of the different calligraphic styles. DROPDROP’s purpose is to create a 1980’s style graffiti Â« blackbook Â» object, simple and essential in the layout and rich in content.
The First Section of THE BOOK OF TAGS consists of short introductory essays by five prestigious individuals working in the fields of design, calligraphy, graffiti and architecture.
– BURO DESTRUCT: designers collective from Bern (CH)
– BARRY MCGEE (TWIST) contemporary artist from San Francisco (USA) with a strong graffiti background.
– OLIVIER STAK: artist and chief editor of World Signs from Paris (FR)
– HASSAN MASSOUDY: Contemporary Arab calligrapher born in Bagdad (IRAQ) now living in Paris (FR)
– STEFANO BOERI: Architect / urbanist and director of Domus, from Milan (IT).
The Section with texts has been enriched by photographic contributions which we have collected from photographers working on this subject around the world:
– DAVE CHINO, N.Y.C (USA)
– ANDREA BOSCARDIN, Milan (I)
– ALEX FAKSO, Bassano del Grappa (I)
– IGNACIO ARONOVICH e LOUISE CHIN (Lost art), Sao Paolo (BRA)
The publication ends with a black and white action photo gallery compiled and edited by DROPDROP in an effort to show the beauty and energy of the act of tagging in its original context.
DROPDROP believes that THE BOOK OF TAGS is a useful tool for a broad range of readers, who are sensitive to the complexity of the subject. It is hoped that this work will serve as a reference tool concerning a phenomenon which stands on the thin border between art and vandalism.