In the 1970s and ’80s, New York City’s subways and walls were covered in graffiti. The city has a rich history with the street art, and this vintage 1976 documentary, unearthed by Gothamist, details the rise of graffiti and its impact on NYC at the time.
The fascinating documentary, titled Watching My Name Go By, was produced by the BBC and spotlights the young kids who spray-painted their name or expressed themselves using graffiti. The documentary also shows the struggle graffiti artists had with mainstream culture, summed up by one man who dubs the practice “senseless.” Another claims that “it makes the city look very stupid.”
No matter what side you’re on, there’s no arguing the impact graffiti has had. Its bold colors and expressive imagery transcended the walls and was very influential to hip-hop style at the time. It continues to be a legitimate form of art for many, like Banksy and Shepard Fairey.
Watch the full documentary above.