The DNA of graffiti can be summarized in a few key particles: style, exposure and knowledge. Style in what you do, exposure in how you do it and knowledge in the way you go about it. While the first two demons can be conquered with each layer of paint you lay (although I’ve never met a writer who is pleased with their work), knowledge is an entirely different ball game. From early stages of photo and blackbook sharing, to the infinite online stream of work we see today, keeping up with how and why writers do what they do, has been an ever changing debate. As a city, Melbourne rarely shares itself outside it’s closed quarters, all the while being filled with great talent and even greater characters. 2009’s Kings Way gave a biblical insight into the mythical 1980s to 1990s period, providing much needed knowledge into a time, yours truly, was only half existing in. But in 2017, there is still so much to learn and I still find myself wondering what makes writers tick – for a craft that provides little to no external reward, within a culture that asks us to look, but never know why.
Recently, Melbourne-based writer Amuse shared ‘The A – Z Project’, combining his passion for letters and the influences found in his way around them. Launching with an exciting solo exhibition in late 2016, this accompanying 50+ page book, directs readers deeper into the artists upbringing, influences and drive for his chosen craft, supplying some much appreciated insight into the mind of one of Australia’s most diverse letter technicians. Spread from A to Z, the book serves as both a display of skill and passion for the former Sydney native, as each letters serves as a chapter into the psyche of Amuse. Some chapters share stories of meeting fellow writers, others with impressions left over the years, making this book a refreshingly humbling experience. Void of bravado, ‘The A – Z Book’ exceptionally compliments nearly 30 years of writing experience, as the author dissects and shares sections of his paint stained mind. Having worked on the project for well over a year: sketching, painting, curating and publishing (along with producing the supporting exhibition) – the finished product stands as a capsuled journey through the alphabet and those who wield it. While only focusing on one such person, ‘The A – Z Book’ is one of the first I’ve read that avoids the late night missions, near escapes and dangerous thrill that goes hand in hand with graffiti, by instead pinpointing the core and comradery this worldwide culture produces. Brimming with personality, beautiful artwork and a ton of heart, Amuse has assembled a truly special release that I hope is not only made part of your book collection, but is seen and imitated by others for the benefit of a culture who’s history and work we hold so dearly.
The A-Z Book by Amuse – is available now from a handful of retailers and directly through artist himself. For more information, hit the link below.