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Just to Get a Rep (2004)

7.9
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More than thirty years ago, the youth of New York's neglected neighborhoods started a revolution by spray-painting their names on subway trains. The energy and freedom of this expression ... See full summary »

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Storyline

More than thirty years ago, the youth of New York's neglected neighborhoods started a revolution by spray-painting their names on subway trains. The energy and freedom of this expression has inspired generations of youth throughout the world, yet the established authorities and institutions continually deny its merit. Working against the powers of the media, the police, and the art world, aerosol artists have developed a unique worldwide culture based on respect, camaraderie and a shared struggle to re-claim and re-create their environments. Just to Get a Rep rigorously examines the love-hate relationship between graffiti and hip-hop. Hear the true story of aerosol art as told by New York's pioneers as well as today's innovators from all over the world. Written by Anonymous

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How I learned to stop worrying and love to bomb See more »

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Documentary

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22 August 2004 (UK)  »

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References Style Wars (1983) See more »

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Writers' Bench 2
Written by Kosmic Four and DJ Cousin Cole
Performed by Kosmic Four
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User Reviews

 
It's the bomb!
6 March 2006 | by (Columbia, Missouri USA) – See all my reviews

Is it art? Is it crime? Maybe it's both at the same time? Graffiti is a shared cultural experience. Everyone has seen it, many have hated it, and some have been forced to give grudging admiration its more artistic forms. It has existed almost since invention of spray paint, but in the early 1970s something changed in the world of graffiti.

Two 'aerosol artists' in NYC, who went by the handles Comet and Blade, moved from simply writing their names in spray painted lines to creating ever larger, more elaborate and more artistic versions of their chosen 'tags,' until their work soon covered entire sides of subway cars. While not the first to utilize spray paint as art, their boldness and fame (or perhaps infamy) sparked an explosion of graffiti art across the city, the country, and eventually into Europe.

In Just to Get a Rep Peter Gerard traces the history of aerosol art from a small, insular group of early pioneers to the young people making waves in graffiti today, across the country and across the pond. His interviews with now middle-aged taggers are amusing and help explode many of the myths that have built up around the origins of graffiti art; particularly the association between hip-hop culture and graffiti, which is largely a media invention.

In fact, a real strength of this documentary is the way in which it examines the dissemination of a supposedly underground cultural phenomenon via media like film (in this case, movies like Wild Style and Beat Street), so that what kids in Europe were receiving initially was a very Hollywood-ized version of the culture.

Gerard definitely manages to capture the spirit, frenetic energy, and sense of community in the graffiti world. The narrative alone is intriguing, but coupled with the rich visuals in Just to Get a Rep is well worth seeking out.


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