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A Brief History of Graffiti

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Richard Clay


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The film examined elements of the history of graffiti from cave painting, via Ancient Rome, through C19th France (and the invention of lithography and its impact on 'wall culture'), to the emergence of modern graffitism in New York and its impact beyond (focusing on an innovator of stencil art, Blek le Rat, and contemporary French street artists Sowat and Lek).

Publication metadata

Author(s): Clay R

Publication type: Digital or Visual Media

Publication status: Published

Year: 2015

Extent of Work: 60 minute documentary

Contents: A 60-minute documentary written and presented by Clay for BBC4

Publisher: BBC4

Place Published: BBC4

Type: BBC4 Arts documentary

Format: 60-minute documentary for BBC4

Performers(s): Clay, R

Cast: Clay (presenter) plus interviewees

Credits: Writer and presenter

Notes: Clay's conducted original research to shape an idea that he discussed with the films Producer, Charles Furneux, and then with the Channel Editor of BBC4 (Cassian Harrison). When the latter showed interest, Clay conducted further research supported by a research assistant employed by the Producer to identify locations for filming and interviewers. That research informed a pitch presented to the BBC commissioning editors by the Producer and the commission. The film was unscripted and Clay spoke to camera and conducted interviews based on the research done in preparing to film. Once the editing process began, the Director (Nick Powell) discussed with Clay key themes that would need to feature in the Voice Over (VO) to connect the filmed elements into a coherent whole. The Director drafted a VO script that Clay rewrote until it represented his own views based on his research for the film.