Michael Jacobson & Tobias Barenthin Lindblad [Eds]
Overground is a book that, in short, everyone should own. Scandinavian graffiti has always been innovative and arguably as pure as the early New York writing, but it’s hard for people to be able to see this as a whole until you get a book as interesting as Overground. 9 Scandanavian writers were picked by a number of journalists and other writers, who present their chosen writer to the reader with interviews and visuals.
What becomes apparent after having read this book is the number of different ways to be involved in graffiti and also the reasons behind wanting to do it. For example, if you look at the work of Norway’s Mr Mucho, you’ll see he likes to follow certain patterns, such as using large numbers of dots in his work, be it on canvas or walls. He even takes his designs and uses them for other mediums, like dressing a bowling pin up in a cape. This innovation is something that one might not expect or think of from a graffiti writer and yet reading the interview with Mr Mucho makes it seem like the most natural thing in the world.
Compare that with someone like Copenhagen’s Kegr, whose section in the book is made up mostly of tags, and you’ll be able to see the contrast in styles. That said, Kegr doesn’t limited himself to tags, and in fact my favourite piece in the entire book belongs to him when he shows a photo of a piece he did with the writing backwards. That’s a perfect way of keeping your style fresh with new ideas, and proves that bombers can easily be brilliantly talented at pieces.
And again the broad nature of graffiti comes into the fore when looking at the final artist in the book, Naestved’s Tele, who uses posters to re-write slogans and deliver his own personal message to the world. As he says himself, one of the interesting things about his work is that the general public don’t immediately think of it as graffiti and as such don’t think “Sabotage! Crime or vandalism!”.
As varied and as far apart as some of them might be, all their views on the freedom of expression in graffiti are amazingly well thought out and natural and it’s a pleasure to be able to read such well presented views and accounts of their thoughts and lives. All 9 writers have their own insight into what they do and how they do it, and if more people read this book, they’d think a little more carefully before screaming rage against writing.