Tagging as calligraphy

Practical calligraphy workshop

Tags are the central element of graffiti, but also its lesser known part. Whether they are executed with a marker, a spraycan, a roller or even a fire extinguisher, the tags we see in most cities are part of a calligraphic tradition started in New York City in the early seventies. A tradition of stylised writing with its characteristic formal conventions, tools, supports and uses.

In these workshop participants get to experiment with their calligraphic abilities using styles and tools characteristic of contemporary tagging. The workshop helps appreciate this surprisingly interesting calligraphic tradition, the only one widely practiced in western countries.

Introductory talk: History of the calligraphic practice of tagging

After learning about the numerous and fascinating historic precedents of tagging, we explore how, throughout the past five decades, contemporary taggers have colonised different surfaces of the city by transforming industrial tools (spraycans, markers, fire extinguishers, and many more) into calligraphic tools. We also study how generations of taggers from all continents have deconstructed and reinvented the letterforms of the alphabet in countless different calligraphic schools.

Workshop: Introduction to the calligraphic practice of tagging

Participants practise with some of the most characteristic writing tools, techniques and methodologies of tagging, and learn to give shape to a name using different conventions and styles from the rich heritage of tagging culture.

Past editions:

Madrid 2016

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