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Cholo Writing: Latino Gang Graffiti in Los Angeles - Francois Chastanet


Cholo Writing is the 20th century's oldest form of graffiti, a Mexican-American phenomenon evident in Los Angeles long before the appearance of tags and pieces in the late 1960s New York. It has had a major influence on the visual expressions of Californian popular culture, including the lowrider, surf, skate and hip-hop movements. Placas are territorial inscriptions created to define a gang's turf, a genuine, constantly evolving urban calligraphy with strict codes used by Latino gangs for street writing since the late 1930s. Here, the aesthetic evolution of Cholo Writing is documented and the influence of blackletter typefaces and calligraphic models such as Old English is traced through two collections of photographs. One by Californian Howard Gribble, who photographed Chicano gang graffiti over a wide geographic area in the early 1970s, and one by French graphic designer and writer Francois Chastanet, who traveled to the same Los Angeles neighborhoods in 2008 to document early 21st century inscriptions. The main essay of this second edition has been updated according to the latest historical research on lettering sources. With foreword by OG Chaz Bojorquez, East Los Angeles graffiti pioneer and Godfather of West Coast Cholo Writing for over 50 years

Document Press, 2024
Hardcover, 140pp 
247 x 158mm 

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