you present yourself ? (What was your previous book/how are you related
Tristan Manco : I studied illustration at college so I
am an image junky and collector. I work as a partner of Tijuana
Design in Bristol. I have always been a graffiti
fan but the only graffiti I have produced is with stencils my first were
in 1986. Bristol has shaped my view of graffiti as have
my travels where I always choose walls as one of my photography subjects.
My first book Stencil Graffiti came out of my obsession with stencils and
being inspired by Banksy’s first works in Bristol. It also made it
possible for me to visit and interview the originators from Paris such as
Blek and Nemo who I admired greatly. It also gave me the chance to show the
global scene which had not been complied together in a book before. The history
to was interesting to research and my research and archive is still growing.
The Street Logos book came from seeing a new graffiti scene grow up over
the last 14 years. I spotted works like Xupet
Negre in Barcelona back in
1989 and also Andre in Paris many years ago so I have watched this scene
grow from small beginnings.
The first time you told me about your project might be nearly 2 years ago.
What has been so long on the making of the book ?
It is the nature of working with a major publisher. I
started the book in August 2002 and finished the writing and design in
August 2003. Since then
the time has been spent with production, selling and marketing at
Thames and Hudson. It was the same with Stencil Graffiti. I started in 1999 and
it came out in 2002! I have tried to choose images that will look good with
time because two years is a long time in graffiti. The freshest stuff will
always be on the internet or magazines but books last longer.
What was your original goal in making this book ? What were your selection
criteria for the artists that you expose ?
I was originally inspired by the idea of logo tags. I loved the idea. I
was blown away when I first started seeing people like La
Mano making personal
signs in painting, tags and stickers in so many audacious ways and they still
make me smile now. They had so much impact. The more I studied these works
and got to know the artists, I realised that there was more to it than repeating
logos. The general spirit of graffiti was changing and I wanted to explore
that through the work they were producing. Through the language of
icons, logos, characters and signs.
A lot a street stuff did not fit or relate to those ideas and I hope to
explore those works such as Street Sculpture, installations and other
techniques and subjects in other book one day. There is a lot of work that I admire
outside the work in the book but I did not want to dilute the idea but just
putting everything I like in it!
You probably know that many people will compare your book & "The
Art of Rebellion". Is the release of "The Art of Rebellion" makes
you do some changes in "Street Logos" ? And what makes it different
to "The Art of Rebellion" ?
Both books were finished at the same time, so I did not see TAOR till after
I finished. Mine just took longer in production. I started my book 6 months
before The Art of Rebellion but
we were both aware of each others production. Christian was very supportive
of Street Logos. We also tried where possible to make sure we were not repeating
I have Christian’s book and I think he did
a great job. I think he is the only other person in the world right now
who knows what goes into
a production like this. It is possibly crass for me to comment on TAOR but
I think the key difference is all the texts I have written and the thematic
It seems that there are a different book-cover for Europe and the USA. Can
you tell us why ?
I think is just different marketing styles. Plus a dollar price on the back
in the USA. There is a Japanese translated version which will have the European
The 1st sentence of "Street Logos" is "Graffiti art is constantly
evolving". How do you see graffiti's future ?
It is the nature of Graffiti to evolve. That is why ekosystem is a good
website name. Graffiti is an ecosystem that keep producing new hybrids and
new species. I think that painting is coming back. With stickers and posters
you can do some amazing and surprising things but they are only ever quick
solutions. You can not beat painting and stencils to make a real impact on
a wall or a train.
Graffiti can not stay nostalgic. We loved the way it was but we should also
love the way it is going. Just when you thought it was getting boring some
inspired person does something that rewrites the rule book. It just seems
to get better. I think there are talented artists currently who will be the
next Twist, Basquiat or Os
Gemeos. The skills and ideas are out there now.
In the end it is not just about being better but caring about your work and
What are your plans for the future (book release events, new book) ?
I am finishing editing a gigantic book of graffiti for Thames
and Hudson - the book is called Graffiti World and it will be out in autumn. The author
is Nicholas Ganz, a writer (in the graffiti sense) from Essen in Germany.
More about that in the future.
Planned book events are in the form of a selection
of Street Art/Graffiti films:
Bristol’s Cube cinema on
the 31st March and 1st of April, London’s
ICA, 15th April other dates are planned at Madrid’s expo on the 23rd
of April and Barcelona’s Montana store on 17th of April.
For a full list of book release events check : http://www.streetlogos.com
- tristan manco - march 2004