Iconic, Eye-catching Graffiti Characters Are Essential For Budding Street Artists www.ogfatcap.com

Designing your own lettering and trademark symbol is ideal for a quick tag in a prominent place or a signature hidden in a piece of work but graffiti characters in the form of lettering have another potential purpose if you can take a familiar typeface and use it to great effect. There are certain letters in certain designs and colors that provoke a reaction in the general public, such as a golden M, and this can open up new possibilities when choosing and adapting these sorts of characters for a deeper message. This is where stenciling can really have a big impact. The art of stenciling makes it easy to craft something stylish and personal and replicate it in high quantities wherever the artist wishes it to be seen. Stylized lettering is ideal for this because you can be sure of recreating the exact font each time but it can take away some of the fluidity and spontaneity of spraying free hand and really showing off can control, a skill that can be honed in those personalized signatures.

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Creating personal graffiti characters is not limited to text and lettering. Animals, cartoons – original or famous – and other designs can become your calling card.

There are many different ways of using characters to tell a story or make a mark and eye-catching, visual images in the form of cartoon characters and caricatures can make an even bigger impression on an audience than graffiti lettering. The use of a well-known figure, carefully copied and placed into a whole new context, can really engage with the viewer and bring a new visual approach to a political story or social movement. Many artists have taken characters that are symbols of culture or an organization – one of the most common being Mickey Mouse – and have bastardized and corrupted them to make a point about capitalism, wealth, youth culture and so much more. The simplistic, pixilated forms of video game characters have also become a popular choice for replication, understandably, with Pacman ghosts, space invaders and even Kirby figures popping up around the world. Again these figures can be re-imagined in different forms to add a new approach to a theme and it is creations like these, where familiar childhood friends are seen in a new, perhaps even shocking light, that are shared on social media and then viewed across the world.

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Taking inspiration from an existing character is great if you have the skills to paint them onto a city wall but inventing your own graffiti character and design takes things even further and can really help artists to gain a reputation and a following. A simple fish with a large eye and a big grin, to use one particular high-profile example, starts as a simple character that can appear anywhere and then becomes famous. The simplicity and adaptability of such a simple but recognizable character then allows them to be placed in a range of different scenarios and more elaborate paintings to the point of becoming iconic. Residents of Lyon, passing by one of the city’s iconic ducks for the first time, will not have been aware of an artist’s name, but when they saw another duck in that trademark style they would have recognized it and perhaps been inspired to seek out more of them. There is as much joy in finding these characters for the observer wandering the streets as there is for the anonymous man or woman creating it.

It is this idea of an anonymous artist and of building a reputation through a single mark rather than a name that makes graffiti characters so important in street art.


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