The Daily Grind Video

“World PieceBook: The Secret Drawings of Graffiti Writers” is the third incarnation of the seminal and wildly original and popular graffiti books “PieceBook” and “PieceBook Reloaded: The Secret Drawings of Graffiti Writers” by veteran graffiti scholars and practitioners Sacha Jenkins and David Villorente.

Published by Prestel and SHR Airlines, Jenkin’s imprint, the books gave insight into some of the practices of some of the world’s most well known graffiti artists via the black book, the sounding board for graffiti pieces. Included in the series were PINK, Lee Quinones, KEO, Blade & ESPO amongst dozens of writers your moms complained about while riding the IRT in the ’70s and ’80s.

This time round, however, Villorente and Jenkins take the show on the road by tapping writers around the world including graffiti artists from Korea, South Africa, Japan, Croatia, Israel and Greece, to list a few of the countries represented in the book. Many of the writers are also women and include MOTEL 7,  KLOR and MAD C.

“World PieceBook” is scheduled for launch today in New York.

GlobalGrind spoke to Villorente and Jenkins about the process. Here’s some of what was said.

Sacha Jenkins, shouting out from a Korean deli in one of the NYC boroughs via telephone, on how the book came about

“It started with the two “PieceBook” volumes, first one 1973-1987; Second Volume 87-2007. We were in this place where we felt like we covered a lot of ground. We looked at each other and thought, what was there to do next? The name World Piece made so much sense. Dave reached out to some of his peeps around the world, and folks got real excited about it.”

David Villorente shouting out from BROOKLYN!:

“I used some of the relationships I had established with in the international graffiti community. Its safe for me to say there isn’t a corner of the globe that graffiti has not touched. Had you asked me a few years back, I would have said most of the talent abroad was concentrated in a handful of European cities; Germany, France… but that’s no longer the case. Even some of the tropical regions, and Third-world nations of the world, seem to flourishing graffiti communities. Their scenes may be a little less sophisticated for the time being. But for the most part, there’s legitimate talent around the world.”

What were some of the challenges you faced when putting together this book?

Villorente:  The new book presented a handful of unique challenges unlike the two previous books where we were able to go to people’s houses and look at their books. A lot of the communication was at a great distance and, at times, a handful of details were lost in translation; language barriers, time constraints and time differences all presented unique challenges. But in the end, everyone was excited to get involved with the new book. We successfully managed to compile some amazing illustrations from around the world.


You guys got people from Canada, Croatia, Turkey, Israel, Hawaii, Russia, Mexico. Did you travel to any of those places or were the images collected electronically? Was it a mixture of both?

Villorente:  A majority of the images were collected electronically. A few of the artist donated the original which was scanned at my apartment. Many of our contributors are artist who’s work I was already familiar with, some I knew through international travel. 

Like who?

Villorente: There’s an artist by the name of LUNAR from Croatia who’s featured in our new book. I was first familiar with his work from my Source magazine column “Graf Flix.” LUNAR brought me out to Croatia for an event in 2005, while there, I met a Serbian artist who we also featured in the book. There are a few artist I met while I worked for Molotow Premium spray paint back in 2002 – 2005. Molotow sponsored a team of international graffiti artist. 

In 2002 I traveled through Europe, my final stop was in Hamburg for an event Molotow was hosting called Urban Discipline. While there I met SWET (Copenhagen), DARE RIP (Switzerland), DAIM (Germany), OS GEMEOS (Brazil), I was able to reconnect with my old friend SHOK (England) – all of these artist are featured in the new book. Sadly DARE passed just as we began working on World Piecebook. SWET was instrumental in securing a contribution from DARE’s family. Some of the other guys I knew through my travels are OKER (England), NASTY (Paris), ZEK, SCIEN and KLOR (Montreal), LUST (Winnipeg). I met DFEK (Montreal) and JORZ (Greece) at an event in Antwerp. 

Can we expect some of the same technical wizardry found in the previous books?

Villorente: Yes! The technical wizardry has become a staple in the Piecebook series. We try and to keep the books as authentic as possible. The effort is like a home cooked meal straight out of mom’s kitchen, these dishes are made from scratch and served with love.   

How long did it take to work on this book?

Villorente: Technically, I think we had a five month window to compile all our material. Our biggest obstacles were language barriers. Translation softwares and websites are a bit too literal. Converting technical specifications into almost 30 different languages is a challenge within itself. I still have no idea how to say pixel width or high-resolution in any language other than English. Something we tend to take for granted here [in the U.S] is that we have access to very simple technologies; computers, scanners, DSL… A few contributors from less developed regions had limited internet access. Some artist could only communicate with me from their local library, university or while at work. While some couldn’t answer my emails until their English speaking friend was available to translate my messages. Slowly but slowly, it all came together. In the spirit in trying to get the best work that we could, it took a little extra digging. We probably went over our deadline by about four months but in the end the book was still on time for the scheduled June 15th release date.  


Images from World PieceBook.


Images from World PieceBook.


Images from World PieceBook.


Images from World PieceBook.

Also On Global Grind:
Did You Know These 12 Celebrities Suffered From Depression?
'The Fate Of The Furious' New York Premiere - Outside Arrivals
12 photos