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“Bay Area Graffiti” is the first book ever to document the vibrant graffiti scene exclusively throughout the San Francisco Bay Area
January 29, 2009
Contact: Joel Samberg
New York, NY, December 18, 2008 — Graffiti, an art form that, like many of its practitioners, is often confounding, unappreciated and very colorful, is the topic of an absorbing new book that focuses on the graffiti scene in a region often regarded as being just as colorful: the San Francisco Bay Area.
Mark Batty Publisher, a leader in distinctive books covering the graphic and communication arts, has released “Bay Area Graffiti” by noted San Francisco photographer Steve Rotman. It is the first book to focus on how this explosive cultural phenomenon runs rampant throughout the region.
With more than 700 photographs and personal descriptive commentary from over 50 of the featured artists, “Bay Area Graffiti” is an unrelenting documentation of the graffiti culture that evolved between 2004 and 2008 in the region, and how it blended into the urban and natural landscapes.
Rotman, better known in the cyber world as Funkandjazz—he was a jazz disc jockey and public radio announcer for many years—has been photographing Bay Area graffiti for more than five years, posting much of it online. His personal desire for a more permanent record of his work was met with similar requests from many of his online followers. The result is “Bay Area Graffiti.”
Born and raised in Minneapolis, Rotman moved to San Francisco to work in radio and, while there, became fascinated with the graffiti scene, which to him seemed to match the city’s energetic and continually shifting cultural revolutions.
“I love color, and graffiti is full of great, brilliant combinations of color, as well as fascinating shapes and an undeniable vibrancy. I wanted the book to convey and celebrate the considerable dedication and creativity within the Bay Area graffiti culture,” Rotman explains. “It is very gratifying to preserve the art and perspectives of these extraordinary graffiti writers.”
Rotman sought out an incredible array of locations for the book, including “dingy tunnels, abandoned factories and warehouses, grimy back alleys and off-limits industrial wastelands.” In the book’s introduction, graffiti artist JENKS describes San Francisco as a city that attracts people who have special need to express themselves and explore a wide variety of ideas and lifestyles. “We share a passion for graffiti, an appreciation for the many styles that represent us, and a recognition that being different is being normal here.”
Rotman’s photographic eye expertly shares that passion and gives the recognition to JENKS and his contemporaries, including the graffiti artists HARSH, CHUBS, GORY, PANDA SEX, STEEL and more than 50 others.