Friday, November 22 at 6:00pm
Join us to hear Stefano Bloch, author of Going All City: Struggle and Survival in LA’s Graffiti Subculture (University of Chicago Press, $19).
In the age of Banksy, hipster street art, and commissioned wall murals, it’s easy to forget graffiti’s complicated and often violent past in the United States. Though graffiti has become one of the most influential art forms of the twenty-first century, cities across the country waged a war against it from the late 1970s to the early 2000s. Brutal police task forces were created to stop the scourge, and by the 90s, graffiti had become inextricably linked with rising gang violence in the public imagination.
In this poignant memoir and ethnography, prolific writer Stefano Bloch paints a portrait of the real lives of these vilified graffiti artists, many of whom were teenagers from low-income neighborhoods, growing up amid staggering conditions of violence and poverty. Bloch came of age in late 1990s Los Angeles and now recounts the mesmerizing stories of his fellow street artists alongside his own chilling memories: brutal interactions with law enforcement and random violence at the hands of gang members; white supremacist relatives and undocumented friends; violence and imprisonment; addiction, eviction, and homelessness. Going All City is an unflinching portrait of a deeply maligned subculture and an unforgettable account of what writing on city walls means to the most vulnerable people living within them.
Stefano Bloch, Ph. D., is a cultural and urban geographer, ethnographer, and semi-retired graffiti writer from Los Angeles. He was an Andrew W. Mellon Fellow with the Cogut Center for the Humanities and a Presidential Diversity Postdoctoral Fellow in the Urban Studies Program at Brown University. He is currently assistant professor in the School of Geography and Development and faculty affiliate with the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Arizona.