Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Cherry Bomb's First Tag

A few weeks ago I did a post ("Tag Fever") about the research I’m doing for the main character in my novel-in-progress, Mare, a young orphan-turned-graffiti artist.

Since then I’ve been practicing tags and designs with giant Sharpie markers and gathering supplies for my first experience throwing up graffiti. Today I finally did a practice run…. on craft paper that I put up on the fence by our driveway.

It’s only a “tag”… not a full-blown design.

But I did get into Mare’s head as I pulled on my hoodie and disposable gloves and felt the excitement of listening to that little ball dancing around inside the aerosol cans as I shook them up and prepared for my assault.

I have to say that it was a rush, watching the paint coming out of those cans and quickly outlining and then filling in the bubble letters and bomb with the red paint.

Learning how to make skinny lines for the black and yellow sparks coming from the cherry bomb was fun. And the entire experience was over in 5 minutes!

Which is the way it’s supposed to work, since most taggers are doing this on public property, keeping one eye peeled for the law as they hide inside their hoodies and quickly toss their paint cans into their backpacks before making their get-away.

With school starting this week and next here in Memphis, I hope all of you moms and dads know where your children are. If you suspect them of illegal random acts of public artwork, here are a few signs to watch out for.

Okay, so I love research. But now I need to get back to the written page… to Mare’s story. I think I understand her a little bit better now, although I haven’t felt the thrill of the risky business of tagging a wall in the city. Yet.


Keetha said...

How fun! What a wonderful way to really get into Mare's head. I loved reading about this.

I also love that cherry bomb magnet. What a perfect giveaway for you to have at your book signings!

Susan Cushman said...

Love the idea, Keetha... of even having book signings one day, much less having these great little magnets to give away! Thanks, always, for reading and cheering me on.

Emma Connolly said...

Talk about getting into character! You are a genius! And I'll be happy to bail you out of jail when you get picked up for illegal tagging. All in the name of research, of course! ;-)

Jasmina said...

Funny how graffiti "fonts" look the same the world over ... is it the same TV programs beamed everywhere?

Funny too, how much less graffiti I've seen in more totalitarian societies than in freer ones.

Susan Cushman said...

Jasmina, good observations. Since graffiti began as a way to express unrest and displeasure with the status quo, I'm sure these freedoms of expression were/are less prolific in totalitarian states. As to the "fonts," graffiti artists have developed certain styles--like the bubble letters--that are fairly consistent. It's a fascinating sub-culture.