San Francisco wasn’t always a wretched hive of scum and hipstery. Well, it’s always been full of scum, but I’m OK with that. And back in the 90s, the best graffiti scene in the country was without a doubt the Bay Area. The part that made it so awesome, and the reason it made such a big impact on me, was the intersection of graffiti and scrappy white skater/hardcore kids. Without naming any names, the 90s Bay Area (and Seattle) graffiti and hardcore scenes were made up of a LOT of the same people, and I feel pretty lucky to have been around to be a part of all of it.
The legendary ORFN. YOU LOSE EVERYTHING.
Sadly, the SF scene went mostly unknown to anybody who wasn’t there at the time until a couple years ago, when movie came along called PIECE BY PIECE. Documenting the last 30 years or so of SF graffiti culture, this movie is pretty much the last word on SF graffiti. The whole thing is on Youtube, but it’s worth getting the DVD exclusively for the one part that isn’t: in the “extras,” there’s a little feature about BISIE and US crew, who were probably my biggest influence as a kid and very closely linked to the hardcore scene.
EDIT: my comments were originally based on an 8-part version that Jewtube apparently took down. I’m leaving them as-is because I’m lazy, but whole movie is embedded above.
Part 1: Mostly about old stuff and SF in general. Gets good at 6:45 when NORM and REYES come in.
Part 2: More about old shit, I recommend skipping to the bit about bus writing at 5:00. That was the foundation of the entire US crew/San Mateo county style that alllllll the hardcore kid writers were into (AOD/BTM/NCS etc).
Part 3: This is about the first-gen SF oldfags hating on the second-gen kids who were trying to do something other than copy wack NY graffiti from the early 80s.
Part 4: These are what I would call the golden years of SF graffiti, when pretty much the whole SF graffiti scene was dudes from various hardcore/punk/power violence bands that you probably fap over. The punk/hc influence really cannot be understated… for example, I guarantee it’s not a coincidence that KR reps a crew called MDC.
Part 7: The beginning of this is all about KUK (Killing Ugly Krusties), who were the epitome of the West Coast DIY hardcore kid graffiti scene. Note the Dystopia song in the background.
There are a few other parts, but I left them out to make it a little less TL;DR. Definitely cop the full DVD and watch it from start to finish!