Most of us think we are familiar with graffiti – lettering on trains or graphic images on walls that follow us as we walk by. But Enrico Bonadio’s new book on graffiti and street art opens a door to more complex and nuanced worlds of artists and their communities. The focus is on everyday creators of graffiti and street art. Built from nearly 100 interviews and hundreds of hours of observation, the book is filled with the voices of artists and vivid details of their plein air studios and interactions. Also present in the book is the author, who weaves the artists’ accounts of their practices with his voice and reactions as he experiences excitement and awe at the people he meets and art he witnesses being made. This is a special kind of book of scholarship; it is ethnographic and legal. And it is also colorful, funny, and enlightening.
In this short foreword, I could not adequately summarize the book’s rich detail, and I would feel neglectful choosing only a few artists on which to focus. I will instead highlight some of the productive tensions around which the book is framed, a kind of stage-setting for the book’s unfolding. I will also situate the book within intellectual property scholarship more generally, celebrating its methodological and reformist perspective on the study of copyright and the evolving place of copyright law in the 21st century.
Copyright in the Street: An Oral History of Creative Processes in Street Art and Graffiti Subcultures
(Enrico Bonadio ed.,
Available at: https://scholarship.law.bu.edu/faculty_scholarship/3414