Going All City (Paperback)
Struggle and Survival in LA's Graffiti Subculture
University of Chicago Press, 9780226493589, 240pp.
Publication Date: November 14, 2019
Other Editions of This Title:
In the age of commissioned wall murals and trendy street art, 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 United States waged a war against it from the late 1970s to the early 2000s, complete with brutal police task forces. Who were the vilified taggers they targeted? Teenagers, usually, from low-income neighborhoods with little to their names except a few spray cans and a desperate need to be seen—to mark their presence on city walls and buildings even as their cities turned a blind eye to them.
Going All City is the mesmerizing and painful story of these young graffiti writers, told by one of their own. Prolific LA writer Stefano Bloch came of age in the late 1990s amid constant violence, poverty, and vulnerability. He recounts vicious interactions with police; debating whether to take friends with gunshot wounds to the hospital; coping with his mother’s heroin addiction; instability and homelessness; and his dread that his stepfather would get out of jail and tip his unstable life into full-blown chaos. But he also recalls moments of peace and exhilaration: marking a fresh tag; the thrill of running with his crew at night; exploring the secret landscape of LA; the dream and success of going all city.
Bloch holds nothing back in this fierce, poignant memoir. 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.
About the Author
Praise For Going All City: Struggle and Survival in LA's Graffiti Subculture…
— Times Higher Education
— LA Weekly
— Noam Chomsky
— Alex S. Vitale, author of The End of Policing
— Susan Phillips, author of The City Beneath: A Century of Los Angeles Graffiti
— Luis J. Rodriguez, author and former LA Poet Laureate
— Chaz Bojórquez, artist and LA graffiti writer
— LA Weekly