The idea for this article came to me when reviewing Cre-8’s interview, how he articulated the flow & balance or letter structure for “style writing.” This article is special. Spie quoting Dream, writers that are truly pushing the boundaries of graffiti, legends, movement starters, die-hard writers whose resume of hardcore activity spans 3+ decades, writers that invented a style that inspired generations, writers that paint the most dangerous spots we’ve seen all while letting the world know that they are alive and overflowing with life, with hope, with a fire that won’t ever darken, with a spirit that will forever oppose injustice & oppression. 16 writers total and an honor to present to you, my “Definition Of Style” article.

– Jehu OSD

Graffiti style is an inherent expression of creativity that comes from within. It defines one’s uniqueness and is the visualization of an individual’s personality. Style is not something that has been copied off an iPhone screen on Instagram. True style can be imitated but never replicated.

– Baer BTR

The “definition of style” to me is something that transcends from someone’s art to who they actually are deep down. After years of looking up to people, then meeting them and getting to really know them, I realized that some of these people truly are their art. Their piece is a crystallized version of who they are, molded through time and experience into what you see. Their pieces have a certain gestalt that is recognizable regardless of what it says. 

This is not to say that one has to be “stylish” to have “style.” There have been plenty of straight vandals over the years that I consider to have more style than a lot of the folks out there putting up big burners and productions. Their style is in how they move. How they write. You can tell a lot about a person by how they write.

– Nesta OSD

Style to me is influenced by everything we see & hear on a day to day basis. It’s how you stand apart from the next man. Being that we are natural sponges, we unconsciously take a little bit of this, & a little bit of that & with a hint of imagination, we create our own rendition of what we think we remember, & whether it’s acknowledged or not..everything you see has an origin & all influenced. Doesn’t matter who you are.

– Jsme LGF

I remember peaking into a book when I was a kid that described the psychology of handwriting and it made me look at graff in a whole different light. You can kind of tell a lot about a person by their graff style.

– Tase TDK

My definition of style is “making ur message felt.. doing it creatively, bringing originality, style, making a mark somehow” I will remain. Self. Brotha Isreal 

Style is a person’s characteristic expressed through their actions in life.

– Aero OAC..Lords

Style is an individuals innate external expression of ones own internal intuitive creative spirit. It’s like a fingerprint and it cannot be faked or copied without others being able to see the forgery. It grows and changes naturally with the writer over the course of their development. You can’t fake the funk.

– Maseo OSD

The definition of style to me is when you respect everyone that had come before you but you add you own flavor to the art. And everyone around the world knows your art every time they see it.

– Duro3  TDV

Style is a combination of uniqueness, some clear elements that are consistent throughout someone’s work, and the ability to recognize those elements instantly when looking at a tag, piece or character. At a high level of experience, style is the difference between a technically skilled writer who has honed their craft and one that really stands out.  If a writer truly has style they don’t even need to sign their work. You see it and just know who did it even at a glance. That is style. 

– Posh Lords..EK

Definition of style: doing the complete opposite of what anyone’s doing and not carrying what anyone thinks!!

– Pynbal TVC..OSD

“Graffiti is by nature an irreverent, audacious act. One person’s ugly
is another person’s beauty. So style is difficult to define and it’s
more than just the design of lettering, in graffiti, style is also
defined by consistency, placement and repetition. In fact with enough
repetition and good placement, the ugly can become beautiful.  I’ve
seen plenty of writers over the years who have an ugly visual but
still get mad respect because of the spots they choose and the volume
of graffiti they place throughout the city. My old friend Augor once
wrote “Celebrate the ugly” next to one of his pieces. There are no
rules to great style, but if there were, I would say that when enough
people celebrate your ugly, you’ve know you’ve got style.”

– Unit LOD

When we were kids, KWOTE HW said to me “People who don’t get into graffiti to be trouble makers will always lack something in their aesthetic” and he was right. Painting illegal graffiti is the way to find your style, the immediacy of making something in that moment forces you to be there. This is irreplaceable, it’s a pressure cooker, you take all the style people give you  (For me some major ones: ABIS YL 3A, KWOTE, JAS7 RA, DISTORT, REO HI FUA, WON RA, the list is too long), either handed to you by older writers or rubbed off on you by friends you paint with, sprinkle in some inspiration from outside graffiti and boil it down to that one moment where you have 3 minute to paint.  In those 3 minutes anything could happen and sometimes it adds to your style. Sometimes style is a concession, sometimes a direction, a concept, or a tool. Sometimes style is stolen, earned, respected or mocked. Sometimes it’s stagnant and sometimes it changes. Style is a lot of things, but most importantly style is nothing, describing style in graffiti is like describing the smell of a fart, it’s never really important it’s always going to be a fart. But who doesn’t like a 3 minute fart.

– CRAZE  RA..DF..HI..FUA..TA..101

I think style is whatever someone wants to make it or not, however they want to do it, based on their influences or imagination, maybe as a reaction to what they reject, or whatever else they can come up with. There’s tons global and local graffiti history & lineage to find influence, and a crapload more influence that can be found outside of graff. It’s sick to see people’s influences in their work, and how they personalize it to make it their own, and of course enjoy seeing how letters can be manipulated, from a raw and gestural tag or throw up, to an elaborate burner.
– Ween OSD..D2R

I feel like I began to come into my own stylistically when I figured out how to incorporate my own creative instincts and influences outside of graffiti into graffiti’s framework and traditions. Style is who you are and it’s the only thing that differentiates you from the next person spraying arrows on a wall. Style is the opposite of imitation and it’s your most valuable tool creatively, you don’t have to learn it you tune into it.

– Ronie TVC

In my experience real style is something personal. It takes a lot of studying, experimentation, failure and risk taking. Following the trends and fashions can make you a good technician but for me real style stands out much more than good reproductions. There’s infinite ways to draw / build letters. If you take the time to explore new territory and look at the world outside of graffiti to create new graffiti it usually pays off.

1.  Well i see it like this. Ya know how it’s said that there’s no such thing as luck? Luck is a matter of preparation and opportunity. The same could be said of style. You reap what you sow. You get out what you put in. Style merged with technique is the heart and mind union. There’s a lot of practice that needs to be done. There’s a lot of your mannerisms that start to take shape through that repetition. This is where your style reveals itself. It’s your awareness to then use what’s YOU intentionally. When it comes to a confident point where you can freestyle creatively with dope letter forms and connections, that’s when your continual study is evident. The more you practice the more you build. The more you become aware of your mannerisms via that practice, your style become more innate and your uniqueness shines.

2.  Style comes with study of form and structure and acknowledgement of those that have come before and laid the blueprints for you to push and evolve.  
3. Phase2 would explain how the 26 letters of the alphabet are not enough to explain and articulate the expansive depth and realm of experiences and expression. The mind of Rammellzee can take you to another expansive pathway as well. But to be a Style Writer is to get with the architects and study the various lineages.

4. Dream TDK would often convey that “if your signature hand style is dope (structurally executed with form and flair), then your pieces will come out together and solid.” And Doze TC-5 delivered the “Style vs. technique, style will always win.”  “Anyone can do a character but your letters come from you.” -Riff 170
5. Your flow and You can represent with the most utmost sense of freedom. And the purpose, ultimately, is to motivate and inspire people to genuinely exercise their own creativity and to liberate themselves and our collective communities.

 – Spie TDK.. TMC..FC