‘Bomb It’ looks at all sides of graffiti issue
Wednesday, April 23rd 2008, 1:52 AM
Jon Reiss‘ latest documentary, “Bomb It,” explores the controversial subculture of graffiti through themes of public space, freedom of speech, corporate advertising, and social and political issues. The film visits cities from around the world – Los Angeles, Philadelphia, New York, London, Paris, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Barcelona, Cape Town, Sao Pãulo and Tokyo – and delves into how writers have incorporated graffiti into each of their varying cultures as a means of expression, protest, and beautification.
Around 200 graffiti artists were interviewed for the documentary, including prominent names such as Cornbread, Taki 183, Terrible T-Kid 170, Os Gemeos, Blek Le Rat, Faith 47, Zypher, Revok, 2ESAE, and many more. Reiss also spoke with people who opposed graffiti including government officials from around the globe, anti-graffiti groups like T.A.G. (Totally Against Graffiti), and even New York’s own City Councilman Peter Vallone. The film brings both views to the fore, presenting a comprehensive look at how graffiti is viewed throughout the world and revealing the depths of graffiti culture.
“We made [“Bomb It”] so that it would appeal to all people not just people interested in graffiti and street art,” says Reiss. The film succeeds in this mission by presenting a riveting narrative with a mix of global music, striking interviews, amusing animated segments and stunning artwork.
Award Winning director Jon Reiss discuses his explosive new documentary and what to expect with the May DVD release.
Daily News: What inspired you to create this film?
Jon Reiss: I was approached in Los Angeles to write a narrative, like a regular feature film about graffiti writers. Even though it was kind of interesting to me, I realized I didn’t know enough about graffiti to write a script for a Hollywood studio without doing some research. When I made a film called “Better Living Through Circuitry,” I became friends with some people I met and one of them, who was a DJ, said, “Oh, I’m a writer, I know lots of writers”.
In terms of graffiti writers, most of them don’t consider themselves artists, they call themselves writers, it depends on who you’re talking to. She introduced me to a couple of people and that was when I interviewed my first “old school” guy, [Sharp], who had amazing depth and understanding of not only graffiti, but also its relationship to society and its relationship to history. Then I also met an up and coming writer, 2ESAE, they’re both in the film. Between those two guys I was kind of hooked. Usually when I find a culture or a subculture that has so much more depth to it than most people are aware of, to me, that’s a pretty interesting story to tell.