How to Chicago: Graffiti


7. Thrive. Learn to spot and read graffiti. Not just street art and tags, but the gang graffiti. Gangs are everywhere in big cities (er…fine Chicago). They customarily will leave you alone if you’re not affiliated with one, but it is good to know when they’re at war with each other. Stray bullets do not distinguish membership or not. I’ve yet to locate an official “Reading Gang Graffiti” seminar, but if you can decipher even just a bit of the slapdash along with the colors and what they mean, you’ll know when to keep an extra lookout. An apartment building with red spray paint covering black paint spilling over door ways and covering windows indicates a feud. It may get violent. Raise the antennas and be on guard.

Stare and pay attention to graffiti over the months and years and you will start to be able to make some sense of it. Like an illusion that reveals itself after you loosen your focus. Stare, stare, stare……oh, got it. There’s going to be a drive by tonight. Now stay inside!  

7.5  Thrive.  Learn what the difference is between street art and graffiti.  Street art takes place on abandoned buildings and structures, or has the permission of  the building’s owner. Graffiti takes place on private property. Teach your minors the distinction because one day they’ll be majors and tagging private property is no fun for the owner asshole. 

Top illustration by Wilson.

Props Chance. Coloring Book  y’all.


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