Graffiti Japan is a bold title for the recently released book by Remo Camerota. Can a book really live up to its name and adequately cover the whole country of Japan's graffiti movement? Yes, the book successfully accomplishes what it set out to do.
Remo took on a tall task since he is from Melbourne, Australia and did not know the land nor the language of Japan. He befriended a Japanese graffiti artist who introduced him to the Japanese graffiti scene. Remo moved to Japan and traveled across the country to paint and also document the works of top Japanese graffiti artists.
The book is beautifully made with high quality graffiti pictures. It is really special since we not only see the works of the artists but also their insights and thoughts on graffiti. The first part of the book features interviews of each artist alongside their work. It is interesting to read about their inspirations and approaches to graffiti. Some artists not only paint using English letters, but also in Kanji (Japanase characters).
The second part of the book highlights some of the graffiti meccas in Japan. We get to see pictures of graffiti from Hiroshima, Osaka, Kanagawa and Tokyo. Many pictures come from places to which no foreigner or even some locals would have access. Only seasoned graffiti artists know about these hot spots.
It is fascinating to see the Los Angeles influence in many of the works throughout the book. Kress, one of the most active graffiti artists featured in the book directly attributes West Coast graffiti especially Los Angelesâ€™ CBS crew and its members. He names Xpres and Mear as being the catalyst in his graffiti career: "I had seen a feature on West Coast graffiti in a street culture magazine. This inspired me to start doing it myself. After that the works from CBS crew inspired meâ€¦ I was impressed by the characters by Express and Mearâ€¦"
Graffiti Japan is one book that every graffiti enthusiast should have in their library.
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