The Library

They Call Us Vandals

[Dom Kallar Oss Klottrare]
Malcolm Jacobson

Sweden has always had one of, if not the, best hip hop cultures outside of America, and it comes as no surprise that their graffiti is some of the most dynamic, thoughtful and beautiful art in the world. So when my Swedish friend sent me this book, I couldn’t get into it fast enough.

Malcolm Jacobson has collected photos he’d taken throughout the 80s and 90s in Sweden and collated them in this wonderful book. He separates them into categories, from walls, legal walls, panels, window downs, whole cars, bombing, jams and even tattoos. This allows the reader to progress through each section of the book, able to fully appreciate each different type and style amongst similar backdrops.

In addition to the superb visuals, which are all printed in full colour and often take up many pages without writing so as to give a full layout of how the graffiti in Sweden looks, Jacobson has interviewed some writers, including female writer Karma. The most impressive aspect of the interviews is that he never pushes the artists with his questions, he simply lets them speak and talk about how graffiti has affected them, how their life has revolved around it and how growing up has opened their eyes to where writing sits in their life’s priorities.

This books goes far beyond art, and winds around culture and the expression of self that these artist’s are allowed to feel their way through. What the writers say is uplifting and powerful, much more so than anthing a politician can say against graffiti. These people aren’t vandals, they are some of the only people who take life by the throat and throw it against a wall.

Anyone remotely interested in graffiti should pick this book up. It’s beautifully laid out and features some absolutely incredible artwork. The fact you get both visuals and text [translated into perfect English] only adds to the brilliance of the publication. Buy this book now.