Graffiti is what it is. I've come to realize that arguing about it is much like arguing about anything else. Politics, religion, butt sex, whatever. There is no right or wrong.
There are certain aspects of the culture that I despise and I have lamented about that before numerous times. One of the most interesting facets of graffiti is that people rarely if ever agree on who is considered "good". The criteria for being good at graffiti doesn't really exist because it in of itself is a culture of despicable little cunts that would rather bump their gums and hear their own voice than give someone some credit.
I don't care for that line of thinking at all. Even people I don't "like" I still can recognize the value or the skill in what they do.
The moral of this whole rant:
Do not worry about anyone's opinions of you. There will ALWAYS be some asshole waiting to shit in your cereal so why even worry about what the hell they have to say.
Let's get back to the list.
This list is simply people I personally think were doing it this year and many years before. No one is really better than the other.
#5 Horfe (Paris)
One perusal through this guy's output and you will surely see the vast diversity of style from this beast of spray. Horfe has a penchant for mid to late 70's styles, but he also adds his own steez to it all which is what makes him stand out. When you look at his flicks you can't help but get jealous of the spots this guy is doing.
#4 Smash 137 (New York via Switzerland)
I have always liked Smash 137's work. I remember the first time I saw it and I instantly noticed that his pieces stood out in a really good way. Someone gave me his new book Smash 137 by OTR for Xmas. In it he really goes in depth on the origins of his style and gives his thoughts on style writing in general. After reading it straight through it gave me a huge amount of respect for his process. The dude does outlines so effortlessly it pretty much bums me out on the daily.
#3 Jurne (California)
I know a few cats that paint with dude on the regular and as much as I do not want to publicly "fan out" Jurne is doing it. I can't even fathom how he does his pieces. They are so clean and so bonkers. At first glance you'd think he was just recycling 90's styles, but that would be short changing dude's hustle. He is really on his own planet style wise.
One peep at his thread or flickr account and you will see a writer that isn't really equaled as far as I can tell.
#2 Adek (New York and Worldwide)
If I didn't know better I would have thought this guy was either a robot or a team of people pretending to be one person. Amazingly enough he is simply just a man with a can or an army of one which ever you prefer.
Adek has always seem to be ahead of everyone. I go somewhere and he's been there and left his mark. He leaves it so frequently that you'd think that he lived there. Wrong. He was just visiting. I flew to New York and as soon as the taxi pulls up to the bridge there he was. His throw-ups drenching every wall in sight. His tags on every damn roll down door in the city.
Is he the most up writer of all time? Fuck if I know and fuck if I care. The guy doesn't need anyone's stamp of approval. He just keeps doing what he does.
#1 Dondi (New York) R.I.P
Dondi? Oh how original you say? Why does Dondi make the list? Cause he was fucking Dondi.
It's really strange how relevant Dondi remains in the culture. So many roads lead back to him. His style wasn't the most unique I could ask my buddy Keo TC5 to probably list off all of the writers that Dondi was inspired by and mixed together to create his style no problem. So if he wasn't the most original then why is he still so highly regarded to me and the culture in general? I guess when you look at his pieces there was just something they had whether it was in his letters or his color schemes or his overall technique and cleanliness that just simply stand the test of time and probably always will.
Whenever I get stuck on an outline or unispired I grab Style Master General and I get an instant jolt. I often end up going cover to cover with the dam thing and forget I was even drawing.
2009 Was A Shitty Year:
Iz The Wiz RIP