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'Going All City': How A UA Professor Is Changing The Conversation About Graffiti In LA

By Steve Goldstein, Kaely Monahan
Published: Tuesday, February 11, 2020 - 12:29pm

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Going All City Stefano Bloch
University of Chicago Press, Maria Celis
Stefano Bloch and his book, "Going All City."

The term ‘graffiti’ elicits visceral reactions among many people, who think of it as a form of vandalism — with words and images painted or drawn upon public buildings or structures.

The embrace of public art, though, has helped redefine what graffiti is and, sometimes, how it’s perceived. And many of the people who’ve practiced the act of graffiti were making political statements, much more than trying to attract attention for defacing a piece of property.

Stefano Bloch grew up in Los Angeles as a graffiti writer, facing a difficult home life with an out-of-the-picture father and a heroin-addicted mother in a gang-ridden area. Bloch is now a professor of cultural geography at the University of Arizona and author of "Going All City: Struggle and Survival in L.A.’s Graffiti Subculture."

Bloch told The Show how he reacts to people who think of graffiti as vandalism and not art.

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