Styles of graffiti

Basically, there are eight types of graffiti.

1.    Tag

Tagging is the easiest and simplest style of graffiti; it includes one colour and the artist’s name or identifier. It is considered disrespectful to write a tag over another’s artists’s tag or work.

Graffiti tags in Woden's Callam Street, Canberra

Tags in a stormwater drain at the Callam Street graffiti site in Woden

2.    Throw-up

A throw-up is like a more complicated tag. It usually has two or more colours, and bubble-style lettering. A throw-up can be done quickly and repeatedly, just like a tag.

Example of a throw-up in Chifley, Canberra

A throw-up at Tuggeranong Parkway underpass in Chifley

3.    Blockbuster

A blockbuster is like a massive throw-up, usually in blocky letters. Blockbusters are used to cover a large area in a small amount of time. Blockbusters can be painted with rollers, which makes them faster and easier to do.

Graffiti blockbuster in Kambah

Blockbuster in Mount Neighbour Community Park, Kambah

4.    Wildstyle

Wildstyle is an elaborate version of a throw-up and is particularly hard to read. Wildstyle often consists of arrows, curves, spikes and other things that non graffiti artists might not understand.

Wildstyle graffiti in Callam Street, Woden

Wildstyle in Callam Street stormwater drain, Woden

5.    Heaven

A heaven is a tag or artwork in a place that is extremely difficult to get to. An artist who manages to put one up gains a lot of respect from other artists.

Heaven is graffiti high up in the sky

A piece of heaven from Abyss .607 on the side of Braddon’s M3 Building on Lonsdale Street

6.    Stencil

A stencil is an easy (some say ‘lazy’) way to put up detailed pieces. By spraying over a stencil, you can produce a more detailed piece than by doing it free hand. And it’s also repeatable.

Stencil graffiti at the Ainslie shops, Canberra

Stencil graffiti on Wakefield Gardens at the Ainslie shops

7.    Poster (paste-up)

A poster is a quick and easy way to put up pieces. You just make the piece at home then paste it up where you want.

Paste-up graffiti on the Sydney Building, Canberra

Paste-up by Abyss .607 on the Sydney Building

8.    Sticker (slap)

A sticker is like a downsized poster, and just as easy to execute. Many stickers are simply tags on postage labels, but sometimes they are more elaborate.

Graffiti stickers cover a 'No Stopping' sign on the Sydney Building, Canberra

Stickers cover a sign on the Sydney Building, Canberra

9.    Piece

A piece (short for masterpiece) is a picture that has been painted free hand. They contains at least three colours and take longer to paint. A piece in an obvious place will gain the artist respect from other artists because standing in an obvious place painting on walls where graffiti is illegal is a great risk.

A (master)piece by Abyss .607 at the ANU graffiti site

A (master)piece by Abyss .607 at the ANU graffiti site

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