”The idea of style and competing for the best style is the key to all forms of rockin’.” – Style Wars, 1983.
Are subcultures, like graffiti, floating free in their own space, or are they connected to the rest of society? In Forms of Rockin’, graffiti styles are connected to graphic design and other popular culture expressions such as music, fashion, photography, industrial design and movies for the first time. Anssi Arte analyses some of the most powerful visual symbols of the 1970s, 80s and 90s and compares design, typography and graffiti styles. The visual styles of James Brown, Blade Runner, the Memphis group and grunge music all appear together with classic fonts and graffiti writers.
The clear yet analytical narrative and carefully crafted visualizations make it appealing to both graphic design aficionados as well as graffiti enthusiasts. But Forms of Rockin’ is more than that. This is a must for everybody interested in contemporary popular culture and design history.
Forms of Rockin’ traces and defines the stylistic conventions in graffiti letterforms that have become iconic and globally acknowledged ideals. From the early New York tags to the mid-1990s ugly-fresh styles of Scandinavia, Forms of Rockin’ tells the story of how popular culture and graffiti styles influences each other.
About the author: Anssi Arte
Anssi Arte (b. 1981) is a Helsinki-based graphic designer specialized in visual identities and brand architecture. He has a formal (MA) education in graphic design from the Aalto University of Arts, Design and Architecture.
Arte has been working for a range of clients varying from institutions and corporations to private individuals, both as an independent designer as well as a part of larger companies.
Besides graphic design he is a graffiti enthusiast since childhood, specialized in studying and practising the traditional European and Scandinavian letterforms and aesthetics.