What happens when you have a group of artists and intellects that grow up in an urban environment like Jersey City? It’s an interesting question in a city like this. The arts scene in the area is one that’s rapidly growing but I’ve known to exist for a long time. I grew up around the legends of mops, cans, and scratchers, it doesn’t take much to understand the art form in all of graffiti’s renditions. Lines that stretch, point, and skew into a writing that resembles the cuneiform of the Sumerians. These cuts and scratches only legible to the people who give it the time of day, and I spent my adolescence learning the language. There’s a very big amount of thought that goes into graffiti and thanks to the AIDS crew and other historical writers out there it’s been a fun game of catch the tags.
The beauty of it all is its ever-evolving means of existence. No writer sticks to his shtick for too long, everything has to be topped by tomorrow and then again the day after. That’s why you can’t sleep on these things, you leave the city for a week and you’ll come back to one with a new face. Thankfully, the spirit behind the changes stay constant. Holding this zine right now is much more than just reviewing a collection of photos I find an interest in–I’m holding a local historical book.
I refuse to see this as “what’s new with the AIDS crew” because if you have any prior knowledge of the group—you know the origins, you see where it’s gotten, and you’ll grasp the power of where it’s headed. This is past, future, and present at the same time. Each of these writers have done the same thing we’ve all done, grown up in the thick of the asphalt. It’s hard to understand if you’re unfamiliar, but I’d say it’s not an easy task.
It’s so impressive to see the movement—letters going from the Los Especialito boxes to 7ft murals in colors that could flashback an acid trip. This is classic to Jersey City as it’s the evolution of its surface, it’s the very aesthetic the kids have grown up on and it’s amazing to see the crew that grew with it. The zine captures the essence of that with a Wu-Tang sized roster of artists with skills just as impressive. Twenty four glossed pages of Sumerian floss, I really can’t emphasize the beauty of it and scans of pages don’t do it any justice.
We decided the only way to show you a proper preview was through close ups with some musical flavor. It’s short but just a taste of what this zine series will have to offer. You can subscribe to the monthly zine now at the Alone In Deep Space website and follow them on Instagram for updates and drops on their latest art shows and performances.