The Future of Graffiti and A PTE

Written by Lonnie Richards aka The Anthropol

This Article is a Continuation from “The G-Word” – What Do You Call What’s On The Wall? – Order a Copy Here to Read the Full Story

The Future of Graffiti and A PTE


Toronto Will’s virtual and physical apprenticeship with RIFF 170 is otherwise rare in today’s American writing culture. And Will more than earned the opportunity. Throughout the years, the making of good writers has been done via a family tradition, via friends, or through the help of programs like United Graffiti Artists.

However, the pioneers (’67 to ’73) are becoming Angels. The innovators (’81 to ’01), who have other careers, are becoming elders painting gifted walls. The writers who started writing between 2005 and 2016 might be the last class of master writers because they’re the last writers to have either a father who wrote or an uncle, brother, or friend who wrote and taught them to write properly. However, the prior apprenticeship in graffiti culture no longer exists for most of “These new writers” (2017 to ”23). They’re “toys,” aka “can’t get rights” to most of the master writers that came before them.

Prediction: American Graffiti by 2035

The 14 to 17-year-old pioneer American writers eventually had Hugo Martinez, or someone like him, to teach them how to be professional artists. The Landlords gave the early writers their clubhouses to keep them off the street. However, the average new writer is considered a pariah to the state and the writers before them.

I have a Predictive Thought Experiment to explain how these current circumstances in graffiti culture will lead to a general downgrade of creative expression among writers by 2035. And I will use the PTE structure to predict how the new revival of American graffiti will look in 2050.

Due to a lack of general guidance, mentoring, or an apprenticeship in graffiti culture, the streets in 2035 will primarily be full of what we’d consider pristine street art today.

Because street artists are still open to mentoring and don’t call new street artists “toys” instead of helping them, as is the case in graffiti culture. So, their art form will continue to blossom because knowledge is exchanged relatively freely among street artists.

But, due to the lack of any actual remaining apprenticeship in graffiti culture, most of the graffiti on the street by 2035 will be post-apocalyptic chicken scratch tags, anti-style throw ups, and characters, and actual pieces will be rarer than they are on the street now.

Considering the old apprenticeship structure of graffiti culture has been replaced with general naysaying, the new writers of the future will have long stopped caring, and black book pieces will cease to exist.

By 2035, black books will be used primarily to collect tags and stickers. For better mobility and privacy, future pieces will predominantly be made on apps like Procreate, iArtbook, etc.

Outside of the pieces on the street done by the few future master writers of each generation, most other pieces created will be drawn by e-writers and traded like Pokémon cards.

Prediction: 2035 American Graffiti will be loved

But there’s nothing new under the sun, and everyone will love the 2035 graffiti except the younger writers of today, who will have to grow to love it in the future. Because on one side of the coin, this future art will be post-apocalyptic and look like the anti-style graffiti movement in Europe today. And, the official “Meccas of Graffiti” title, as far as seeing style and classic graffiti tags, throws, and pieces, could go from NYC, Chicago, LA, and Philly to be given to writers that write in German, Brazilian, and Japan. These places still have a form of apprenticeship in their regional graffiti cultures, and they’ll still be great places to learn to write traditional graffiti.

And on the other side of the coin, the future post-apocalyptic graffiti in America will still be loved because it’ll essentially be a variation of the anti-style made famous by Wombat, Rambo, and Nasty Neckface.

Prediction: American graffiti, 2045 to ‘50

Over time, the post-apocalyptic graffiti on the street will naturally start to finetune again and look like one of Suckybat’s more pristine ups. However, by 2045, the future all-stars in American graffiti writing culture will rise from the anti-style-like and post-apocalyptic era of American graffiti, and graffiti on the street will first get complex and mirror the interactive art done by Rammellze.

And if we are around to see it, around 2050, American graffiti will blossom again creatively and with grand color schemes.

Because I predict the circumstances of eventual boredom and over-saturated walls of the future post-apocalyptic graffiti era will naturally give way to the RIFFs of the future. These distant future master writers of around 2050 will, on the one hand, resemble the mechanical and wild styles of RIFF 170, Phase 2, and Tracy 168. On the other hand, their work will possess the eye-catching images we enjoy in the art of Paws 21, Will Power, and BKFoxx.

Essentially, both separate master hands of graffiti styles combined to create work similar to the mechanical and wildstyle art of writers Menaceresa and DISTORT. But by the year 2050, more so than today, the master writers will be as solo and anti-crew as the general graffiti writers of the future and today.

Because crews don’t make novice writers ex-perienced vandals. The crew TAD means “Toys Aint Down.” Crews actually take writers who have already made themselves ex-perienced vandals. The future writers will frown at that fact and be vehemently independent, outside of repping where they’re from. And Juggernaut crews like The Ex-Vandals will be missing from future graffiti culture. But it’ll naturally come back.

Throws by the master writers in 2050 will more universally be like that of SHORT or ZERS, mixing straight and bubble lettering perfectly. The tags will be like what you can see from Stay High 149, 10FOOT, and ACROYAK, with exciting names styled and appropriately placed anywhere you find them.

I suspect that the brilliant American graffiti minds of 2050 will officially reject the limiting rules of graffiti and be exceedingly experimental, like the work of DEK2DX and zB. And the characters done by the distant future master writers, after the post-apocalyptic era of graffiti in our future, will first look like the work of GOOMBA or Kuraiunchi’s darky poop characters. And their characters will command a presence like the NoSleep character by OptimoNYC.

By 2058, graffiti, in its newly adapted form, will be king of the streets again. It will tower over the street art era that preceded it. You’ll feel like you can hear it when you see it, like 10FOOT.

Important Caveats:

First, I want to explain that my prediction on the future of graffiti art and culture, is only a microcosm of a larger societal drift towards Idiocracy. The prediction is on an art development predicted to happen post an intellectual brain drain in America on a general scale.  But I can only predict the future based on circumstances I can personally observe, so I can’t broaden my prediction beyond America.

The second caveat is that I suppose that the American master writers of the distant future will see researching American 60s, 70s, 90s, and early 2000s graffiti culture and history as less desirable a task than even “these new writers” of today. And they will instead be inspired by what the current train painting era in Europe will become. In addition to the influence of the colorful portraits and nature murals by Brazilian and South American artists, I suspect Tokyo will become the throw up mecca, like Brooklyn and the Bronx are today.

The third caveat is that the street art side, still prominent within graffiti art, through characters, top to bottom, decorative tags, etc., will be entirely accepted by writers in the distant future. The talented but currently on-the-fence art created with Will Power’s formally named “Gritty City” style and the pop graffiti muralism of BK Foxx and Queen Andrea will become an even more commonplace art style among writers by 2050.

As the fourth and final caveat, I like to say that I don’t mean to make these comparisons to say that the future graffiti will only be “biting” from the past. Whether a writer is great, good, or bad, they all, in a way, think the same, but in a slightly different way. There’s nothing new under the sun; we do it differently.

Mr. Candid // Lonnie Richards grew up in Morrow, Georgia. He started his career in investigative work in the military from 2002-09. While the other Intel collectors asked on-the-nose questions, Lonnie won an award for his more practical approach of using candid and non-leading modes of questioning. Today, Lonnie uses his prior reporting, photography, and video approach from the military to cover subjects in the Direct Cinema style of cinematography. Lonnie has a bachelor’s degree in American History and a double minor in Western Philosophy and Ethnic Studies. He has a general love for culture and art but a particular passion for covering graffiti culture and other counterculture movements.

Insta: @theanthropol