Tags are important for graffiti. Ask a graffiti artist what the first thing he put up was, and it most likely be a tag with a shit Edison marker somewhere. Tags are a form of typography and the artists are highly specialised in the specific letters of their name. For most it takes years to create interesting hand styles. Yet tags are mostly just seen as acts of vandalism, even by the most open-minded art lovers.
So how do you show the beauty of tags? Take it out of the illegal setting of course! And that’s exactly what bad-ass mofo and graffiti art pioneer Evan Roth did in 2009. Over 2400 tags were photographed, ‘tagged’, archived and sorted, to keep a nice selection of comparable tags in the end.
He then created different end-results like screen-prints, a video and a website all showing the tags he took pictures of. And all of a sudden, it’s clearly visible that there’s more to tags than the act of vandalism; they’re a form of identifiable typography, they’re the artist’s unique style, and somehow they’re also all connected.