If you want to become a graffiti artist or if you are just interested in this type of art, there are some terms you should know. Graffiti is a subculture, so there is some specific language used. The list of terms and phrases are almost infinite. They mostly describe styles, techniques, artists, backgrounds, forms and other aspects of graffiti. If you are not already familiar with graffiti subculture, you probably won’t learn them all, but there are some that are widely used.
Heaven Spot stands for a graffiti that is painted on dangerous and hardly assessable place. Those are such places as roof tops, high road signs, bridge construction parts etc. It is a challenge for a graffiti artist to get there and paint, but it is even harder to remove them. Usually these kinds of graffiti’s and their authors are highly respected, because it takes some skills to paint in such conditions and in some cases artists even risk with their lives.
Piece is widely used term that actually is a shorten form of masterpiece. With this term only very large, complicated and beautiful graffiti artworks are described. There are even some conditions set for a graffiti to be called piece. For example, there must be at least three colors used and there must be complicated shadows or other effects.
Throw up is simple graffiti, that doesn’t take much skills, time and talent to be painted. Usually there is one or two colors used in one layer and graffiti is written with simple bubble letters. There are no shadows or effects used. It is most common way of graffiti, but most of them are not too pleasant for the eye.
Tag is opposite to piece. It is the simplest form of graffiti. It is written either with spray paint or flat marker. There is only one color used in them. Usually it is a signature of a graffiti artist so they are put on the top or bottom of the real artworks; however they are also used as separate paintings. They are widely used to mark a territory. Tags alone are not considered real art.
Stencil is a bit different form of graffiti. There are stencils used made by the graffiti artist. The painting itself is very simple – just put the stencil on the wall and spry the paint, but the main work is to make the stencil. Just like tags, they are used for marking the territory or as a signature.
King is the term that refers to greatest graffiti artists. Nowadays there is also term Queen used to describe best women graffiti artists. This title is given by other artists, but some are self-proclaimed kings. In that case they sometimes put crowns on top of their tags. If other artists disagree with him and decide that he doesn’t deserve to be called King, they cross out the crowns. If real King passes away, he can become an Angel – respected graffiti artist who has passed away.
Piece book or black book is paper block of sketches. It is meant for training and making sketches for future graffiti artworks. That is how graffiti artists collect their ideas and develop perfect style. Some artists are drawing only sketches, without realizing them. They are not considered to be real graffiti artists.