Detail of "Graffiti Isn't What It Used to Be
The Birth of the Graffiti TagI believe a subconscious need to express oneself bonds artists of different eras together. Just as our instinct to hunt continues to impact the actions of modern man, our compulsion to paint, to create, to document our existence has its roots in prehistoric cave paintings. Contemporary graffiti artists satisfy that innate drive for self-expression by creating a tag unique to them. They "write" their graffiti tags repeatedly. I have chosen "Nolani" as my graffiti tag (it was my Samoan name while serving in the Peace Corps.)
To achieve this combination of styles, I first painted the cave drawing (from Lascaux) and the cinder block wall. Like all my work, it is painted in acrylic on silk. I then covered parts of the cave painting with masking tape. Everything under the tape would be visible in the final painting. After taping, I covered the entire surface with gesso and then painted the graffiti. When I removed the masking tape, the cave drawing was revealed. To complete the illusion and add depth, I added a shadow and highlight to all these cut-outs. So, two paintings for the price of one. What a deal.