As Spek (RIP) got a dedicated page on instagram (@Speklives) , the profile info gave a link to this interesting article by Sacha Jenkins about Violence and Graffiti Culture.
They called themselves “writers”
because writing is exactly what they did. For the last 30 years, the graffiti culture
in New York City has been maintained and elevated by countless teen spirits—
you know, the kids and big kids (some of them now well into their 30s, 40s, 50s
even) who, with magic markers and spray paint, illegally project their street
aliases onto mailboxes, skyscrapers, garbage trucks and roll-down storefront
riot gates, not to mention the interiors and exteriors of subway cars.
Graffiti writing in New York City has not been a profession without honor. I
know this to be true because my “tag” made waves on the outsides and insides
of subway cars at least ten years before the appearance of my first major byline
in print. There was an honor system that guided this subculture of spraying—
rules and codes and elders that this society of die-hard aerosolics stood by, for
the most part. There was even a system of semi-organized warfare. If you
weren’t getting along with a fellow writer; if two writers were endlessly crossing
out each other’s handiwork and there was no cease-fire in sight, a fair, man-toman fistfight (a.k.a. the “fair one”) would be arranged.
you can download the full article (pdf files) here