DSE, Kambah, 1993. Photo: DISE
Graffiti, as in hip-hop rather than 70s punk and anarchy, got started in Canberra in the 80s. Here, writers talk about how they came to pick up their first spray can, from the 80s through to the 00s. Not all influential writers from this time are represented here, and each has their own experience and unique story. Together, these stories build a picture of Canberra’s growth as a graff city.
It all started in late summer 1982. School holidays just before Christmas. I remember it like it was yesterday.
I was a b-boy (a breaker) first – starting with robot and boogie in 83, then breaking in 84 when it exploded in Australia.
I think my initial exposure to graff was from a BTN (Behind the News) special we watched in 4th grade in about 1986-7.
I started writing in ’88 and I am still going. Two local dudes were commissioned to paint a rooftop facade of my local pinny parlour in mid 1988.
“I started in 1988 (seriously anyway, I went through the beat street breakdance thing like everyone else in 1985) …
I started writing in 1989, I was living in the Charnwood area of Canberra, where I grew up.
“Yeah, well, I started when I was about 12/13 years old, early 90’s. I would go to Sydney to visit family.
“So I got into it before I actually painted, for quite a number of years, maybe like, three years? I was really into it.
I started at the end of ’96 around this area…Initially Belco, yeah, because at that time I was too young to drive or go too far from home
I think I was around 16 when I did my first piece? And yeah, there was a bunch of friends lived on the same street and we used to like, you know…
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